A country house is defined as a home built on the outskirts of a city or in the country-side. In olden days, these were modest housing arrangements to meet the basic needs of a working-class family residing in the countryside, but over the period of time , it started being associated with temporary residence to spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. A country house is an alternative to urban housing and equipped with modern services and facilities.
Country houses are gaining popularity in India with a large number of people including the Non Residential Indians investing in properties like country houses as real estate has only seen an upsurge in the country. It is a popular housing option in places like Alibaug, Munnar, in the hillside of Himachal Pradesh and north east and is an ideal option for holidays or short seasons, as an alternative to a permanent home. Some of its essential characteristics are construction with simple materials, presence of a fireplace (in the colder regions), availability of a porch or terrace and space to enjoy outdoor activities etc. These features make the country house a second home of the family to ideally spend their vacations in.
The country houses around the world are characterized by different elements. For example, a typical country house in England must have a well-kept garden, while in Germany, country houses have a basement and a fireplace with gable roof.In Russia and some parts of Scandinavia, having a sauna in a country house is indispensable. In the United States and Canada, a porch with a small terrace is very important.
The best known country house styles are:
Rustic: These are built with natural materials such as clay, wood or stone. The design adapts to the surrounding environment and usually contains the basic services and elements.
Modern: Modern country houses are built with various materials, such as wood, stone or glass. The presence of asymmetric ceilings or lattices are common. The architecture is innovative and stands out from the surrounding houses. A modern country house can also be a mobile or a prefab home.
Minimalist: These homes are usually built of concrete, they are small and with a room or with open interiors, without many divisions. The outdoor area usually has a pool, many fruit trees and a modern barbecue area.
Victorian: It is an elegant country house, but also very functional and inspired by the design of houses in the United States and Great Britain. Its main feature is a porch decorated with columns and its gabled roof.
Country house, England: These houses were formerly very elegant brick mansions with large gardens, however, today may be more modest homes made with wood and perfectly designed for long seasons. A garden must always be present in a country house.
Chateau, France: These are residences with or without fortifications. They are common in France, but it is possible to find them in other European countries, such as Germany and Switzerland. They usually own their own orchard and some farm animals.
Wood: It can be used not only for structure or views, but also for walls, floor and ceiling. Hard, soft or recycled wood, every option can be used to build a country house.
Stone: Slab or whole stone, in coatings or as a structural element, stone is one of the favorite materials for construction in country houses.
Brick: It has a great insulating capacity and can help to maintain cool and warm temperatures.
Concrete: It is one of the most practical building materials at present, which can combine with other building materials and with a good design can look spectacular and adapt visually to the environment. It has the advantage of being easily available and is affordable. Some other materials used for the roof, handrails or decorative and constructive elements are: bamboo, palm, steel, reed and smithy.
The advantages of a country home are better quality of life that it brings to the tenants living far from the city, contact with the nature ,possibility of having space for an orchard and having farm animals. A country house can be transformed into a productive ranch and generate extra economic resources for the family.
The disadvantages are the possibility of not having all the services like water, drainage, electricity and little access to internet and telephone in remote areas. Roads may not be in good condition too, either just dirt or lack of street lighting. In addition, in some emergency, ambulance services or firefighters may take longer than normal. Also, like a conventional home, a country house needs regular maintenance.
The price of a bungalow depends on factors like size, style, and location. The prices of housing in the outskirts of Tier 1 cities are more expensive than those of Tier 2 or Tier 3 cities. It may cost around 10 lakh rupees for a rural side country house including cost of land if built with cheaper materials, but will be around 15-20 lakhs if built with brick and concrete. The cost of construction of a bungalow depends on area of construction and on the specifications. The cost of land in the hilly regions is a bit cheaper than plain lands, but construction costs will be higher.
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