A photo story of Kalukanda House

Our Luxury Villa Build – the story

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It’s hard to believe that it is only 21 months since we bought a plot of land with a derelict house on it a mere 24 hours before returning from a family holiday in Sri Lanka. Totally un-expected, un-planned and a hair-brained concept to boot, but fate propelled us and where there is a will there is a way. We took a deep breath and threw ourselves in to find the grit and determination to complete a luxury villa build.

It was tough leaving the family behind every few months to travel out and oversee the build. They loved getting the videos and photos I sent home with each visit but seeing their faces as the gates opened to them in February of this year was the best finish we could hope for.

I am an Interior designer, used to working on complex projects – our villa build team were incredible, and we could not have done this without them. I highly respect them in their profession and they are now firm friends –THANK YOUto the Kalukanda House team, this post is a tribute to you.

Armfuls of photos taken of house and garden from the same viewpoints throughout the year have been filtered down to just a handful here.

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An auspicious moment to start

A beautiful ground breaking ceremony was held at 8:12am on Thursday 9th February 2017, with foundation stone then being laid at 10:17am. I was expecting to be a spectator, but was blown away to find I was the participant. The auspicious time was chosen to bless the build and the house, the foundation stone was laid where our sofa currently resides.

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I have written about the journey after each site visit in previous 2017 posts. I hope you enjoy these frames.

Kalukanda House is operating as if it were a boutique hotel, although you get to have it all to yourself when you book it. If you would like to find out more about staying, you can contact me any time at stay@kalukandahouse.com


We really wanted to ensure we maintained the integrity of the original architecture of the house. Sadly we had to raze it to the ground as it was structurally un-sound but we stuck with the same layouts – the design extended the original house within the same footprint and maintained all the detailing. We re-used all the original shutters and doors, built new ones to match and even made the new fretwork in the original pattern.

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A new yoga shala was built towards the back of the plot – a favourite spot to relax or to work out. These images show how the villa developed from that angle.

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This series of images shows the same angle from the moment the gates open to the villa. A new 8′ front wall and gate have been installed for privacy and replace the original little wooden picket fence.

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Two upper bedrooms have an open balcony looking down onto the main living area. It’s incredibly high, and the lights that I designed are 1.8m tall in antique brass – they needed to be BIG!

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Interior Lounge views

The double height lounge space is just spectacular! The space is airey and cool, a lovely breeze rocks through the room and incense can gently waft up high.

Whether it’s a pot of Sri Lankan tea or a cooling gin and tonic, this space is just gorgeous to sit in. Since these photos were taken, a smart TV (with international channels and that streams netflix if you have an account) has been installed here for any moments that you fancy some screen time.

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It is just wonderful to plan a dining space that is outside. Big enough to house a large table for 10-12 with a nice view of the swimming pool..

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The Pool

The pool was a labour of love – constant discussion with the family who wanted a deep, large swimming pool “big enough to swim in” versus a budget that would only do so much. Happy with the result though – this is a pool you can most definately swim in!

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There was a moment when I wondered whether the double height interior lounge space would work with it’s enormous proportions. The lights had to be big enough, the furniture bold enough to stand up to the room dimensions and of course some personal connection too.

Even as a professional interior designer, I held my breath in January as everything was put into place. I am really delighted that the exquisite antique pieces look like they have always been in place, the lights are the perfect size and our amazing artisan craftsmen more than delivered on their stunning handmade pieces.

The 4 poster beds are handmade, the blue skirt belonged to my daughter – a Sri Lankan skirt given to her by her grandmother, and the vintage British Rail artwork is a little nod to our roots in the UK.

More can be seen on the villa gallery pages

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An auspicious moment to open

As with the ground breaking ceremony, the house was blessed the first morning I awoke in the house. I was there with friend and photographerJanie Airey, the villa builders, landscape gardener and villa staff …. two priests, more incense and many prayers for a happy future for everybody who built the villa and stays there in the future.

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We saw the plot on 26th August 2016 and by December the builders had moved in and set up the site. Building work started properly in February 2017 and 11 months later, on 21st January 2018 we blessed what had become Kalukanda House.

Just 100m from a lovely local beach and with plenty to see and do nearby, we want the villa to be a happy place where great memories can be created for everybody who stays there.

Find out more about the villa here

We hope to see you soon!

E: stay@kalukandahouse.com

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