Our Kachra house

We like to call our house ‘Kachra Mane’, which means ‘Kachra house’ in Kannada. Kachra of course means discarded, as in waste thrown into a dustbin. Most of our house is built of kachra stuff.

We (that’s my family – my wife, my daughter and I) designed our house to be light, both physically and on the pocket. We had 3 basic rules in mind in the design:
1. The Green mantra of 3R – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
2. Invite the weather in, because Bangalore has pleasant weather most of the year. Most houses are designed to keep the weather out.
3. Rethink the old methods of construction.

Reduce – to buy less and use less.
Reuse – use elements of a discarded item again.
Recycle – use energy to change the physical properties of the material, to make something new.

Our house has massive amounts of Reduce and Reuse, no Recycle. We have also used massive amounts of a fourth R – Rethink.

The benefits

1. A house that cost us 50 % of what it would otherwise have cost, if we had built it the traditional way.
2. Use of cement, steel, sand reduced by 80 %.
3. A nice, warm feeling that we live in a low-carbon house.

Our home was inspired by these people

R. Vishwamurthy, whose beautiful house in RT Nagar is built mostly ofย  reused construction material. It was built in 1975. Here’s an article about it.

Anjali Chandavarkar, a friend.ย  We got the idea of making furniture out of reused pine wood from her, and then extended the idea to making our whole house out of the same wood.

  1. pragna
    April 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    is it earth architecture????

  2. April 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    No. Cement, but reduced to a bare minimum.

  3. soumya
    June 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    sounds great.. but seeing is believing.. so can you put up pics of the house and if its there already can you pass on the link. would love to see how this Kachara house looks

    • June 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      There’re a whole lot of pics. in the page ‘Reduce, reuse, rethink’ page. Did you see these, or do you mean these are inadequate ?

  4. soumya
    June 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Yes would have loved to see more pics. btwn have emailed you on your official id. could you pls check and get back

    • June 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. Will add some kind of an album with lots more (and bigger) pictures.

  5. Anjali Chandavarkar
    January 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Thank you Das for giving me credit which I deserve not!
    Your passion for the 3 R’s is awesome! So proud to be your friend!

  6. K. Srinivasan.
    November 29, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I would like to see a photograph of the house.

  7. rahul ravindra
    September 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    hi, im workin as sub-editor of a home n interior magazine in kerala..cud u pls giv ur contact no??

  8. Shivanand
    January 12, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Hi. . We are planning to construct a house near yelahanka .. Can we come and see your house . .Please share your number . . Shivanand (9845919756)

    • January 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Sure. Just call me. Will email you my number.

  9. January 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Hello,

    I read about your home in the Housedelic blog. You have done an amazing job with your home. As an Upcycling freak, this is just what excites me. My in-laws’ house, which was built in the early nineties has doors and windows which were sourced from junkyards. In fact, mMy Father- in-law joined two individual long decorated planks of wood to make one big entrance door! Now, as we are making plans to renovate this house, your home serves as the perfect inspiration. I would love to visit your home sometime. Can you please share your email address or contact number with me?

    • January 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Hi Sowparnika.

      Thanks for the nice words. I’ve emailed you my phone number.

  10. July 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Das, It is inspiring to see someone go an extra mile to do something he believes in. I am going to renovate a portion of my house and I want it to be sustainable. I got to know about your house when I was doing my research and I feel in love with it. This is exactly how I want to build my house as well. But I have a few questions to clarify on the methods used. How durable is the bamboo ceiling? Does the bamboo ceiling keep the house cool during summer? What kind of precautions & maintenance should be taken while using pinewood? It would be great if I can talk to you about it. And by the way I live in Coimbatore.

    Thanks,
    Abbhi

    • July 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Abbhi.
      I’ll email you my contact details.

      Das

  11. Anu Elisha
    July 23, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Das!

    Im a friend of Anjali Chandavarkar. I was very inspired by your use of crate wood in your house and have used the same for my entire kitchen and also the doors of my built-in wardrobes. Would like to share some photos with you. Please do let me know your email id.

    Regards
    Anu Elisha

    • July 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Anu,

      Great ! Will email you my contact details. Maybe I can pick up some ideas from what you’ve done.

  12. Alagu
    July 31, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Dear Mr.Dasarathi, I’m a primary years teacher…I find your ideas very inspiring and there’s so much we can share in the classroom! I would love to visit your house – if that is ok, will you please share your contact number? Thanks very much ๐Ÿ™‚ – Alagu

  13. Ms A
    July 31, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Mr.Dasarathi, I’m a primary years teacher – I find your ideas inspiring and there is so much we can share in the classroom. I would love to visit your house – if that is ok, will you please share your contact number? Thanks very much ๐Ÿ™‚ Alagu

    • September 12, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Hi Alagu.

      Sorry about replying so late – missed seeing your email. Sure, please do come over some time. I’ll send you my contact details.
      Das

  14. August 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Dear Mr. Das,
    Great to see your ideas and your methods. I am planning to build a house near Yelahanka soon. I am sort of trying to cut down on funds. Your ideas will be wonderful for me, as well as contributing to a better environment. Would love to meet up sometime. Please mail me when possible.
    With kind regards,
    Dean Gregory.

    • August 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Hello Dean.

      You’re welcome to drop in and take a look at the house. Have emailed you my phone number.

      Das

      • September 12, 2014 at 10:59 am

        Dear Mr. Das.

        I am sorry for the late reply. Thank you for your quick response. I will surely drop in and make sure i call before i do so. Meanwhile, i have an opinion on the name you have chosen: Kachra Mane. Of course, you have a valid reason to call it so, but also sir, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. So your house’s name should actually be “Treasure House”, and not “Kachra”! Look at it from another view: You are using materials taken from earth. The earth is a treasure. Nothing is waste. So still, your home is a treasure! Also, your home is contributing to a greener environment, so there you go Mr. “Treasure” Das, that is the name that suits you and your home!

        Thank you for your time in reading this little thought of mine!

        Kind regards,
        Dean.

      • September 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm

        Hi.
        Thanks for the nice suggestion. You’re right, Kachra IS Treasure.
        ‘Kachra Mane’ is supposed to convey the message that you can actually build a home using material that is regarded as kachra.
        People get intrigued by the name, ask for the reason, and I get a chance to explain this.

        Das

  15. Sumodhini
    October 22, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Hi!

    I’m a student of architecture at BMS School of Architecture. For my thesis I’m a designing a building with some of the sustainable features that you have described here. I would love to come look at your house sometime. Please email me your contact details.

    Thank you
    Sumodhini

    • October 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Hi.
      Have emailed you my contact details.

  16. Ferdinand Sousa
    January 14, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Dear Mr Das,

    I’m very impressed! I have always been a fan of reduce reuse recycle ๐Ÿ™‚
    Very often, people associate it with being cheap, but that’s their problem not ours. And who says it needs to be expensive?

    I was interested to know more about your kitchen cabinets. You did mention using reclaimed pinewood packing, but who did the work for you? Let me know any details you can share.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    Ferdi

    • February 4, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Sorry, saw your post just today – some technical problem in the blog. Sadly, I don’t have the contact details of the carpenter who did the kitchen cabinets.

  17. Maitreya
    July 4, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Dear Mr. Das,

    Very inspiring to read about your innovative methods. I have been struggling to find ways to cut down on usage of wood while building my home. Your usage of reclaimed pine wood is very intriguing. Would want to understand that better, could you please share your contact details?

    Thanks,
    ~Maitreya

  1. January 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

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