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The HOME stretch

This month, I am updating on house progress and also sharing a few sneaky peak secrets about some jaw dropping experiences you can have as we make exciting new friends..

The last site visit to Kalukanda House was 9 days long and was jam packed with meeting contractors as well as potential Partners to help us create wonderful experiences at the House. The story behind this house build is a passion to re-discover the country I spent my early years in whilst connecting it to the 21st Century. Kalukanda House is more than just a place to stay.

Roughly 3 months until the build is complete, our attention turns to 2018.


How to spend time at Kalukanda House

I’ve previously mentioned surfing, paddle boarding and a whole host of other stunning activities on hand close by. On top of that, Kalukanda House has been designed so that yoga and wellness retreats can be hosted there, as well as intimate cookery classes and who knows, maybe as a haven for writers and painters. A week watching cricket at Galle International Cricket ground has been mooted as an idea as has the odd cycling adventure too. Having already started to look more deeply into these activities here is where we are at…

The arts..

A global literary festival takes place every year in Galle – the likes of Margaret Atwood, Ian McKewan, Salman Rushdie and many other well known names have attended. I am keeping up pace on works at the house so that in 2018, we can go along ourselves and see what’s what in the world of book lovers. It’s only a wee tuk tuk ride away, I can’t wait to get into the busy hustle and bustle of Galle Fort during a book festival and then return to the breezy privacy of palm trees and pool at Kalukanda House are some sample testimonials from a few authors who have attended the festival…


To tickle your curiosity further and whet your appetites for what else is to come, I thought I’d share a couple of other secrets as to who we’re making friends with…


Sri Lankan experiential travel experts..

The first one of these (for the moment) mystery Partners, is a family friend – one of those people who know people I know really well….really well….and yet our paths have never crossed before September 2017. I am really excited that we could work with this lovely local who has spent many years building up a business as an experiential holiday expert in Sri Lanka. There is a well beaten path of stunning scenery and attractions that anyone visiting would want to see, but it’s also great to know those gem like individuals who get the inside scoop on what’s OFF the beaten track. Watch this space in early 2018 for more news on how Kalukanda House will get involved.



Inspirational yogis..

Next on my list of people who I thoroughly enjoyed meeting is a gorgeous yoga instructor who is not a Sri Lankan by birth, but definately has the spirit of one and has decided to live and work on the island (hurrah). She wants to take people on truly local experiences as part of a wider yoga, sporting and wellness adventure. So any of you out there who fancy combining a week of yoga and Zen-like calm at the house whilst being taken on other local adventures – look no further. You can grab a few friends and book a week at the house together for a truly tailor made treat of a holiday … Stay tuned as plans take shape – we will send out newsletters about that soon.

(credit for this photo to my mystery yogi, permission given to post)


Our very own Kalukanda House host..

My final piece of people news this month is that we have recruited a host and manager for Kalukanda House. An energetic, warm and generous person who has many years of experience in the hospitality industry  and comes with glowing references. Our manager spent some time with me last week being really supportive and helpful whilst I bombed around town picking up documents, organising transport for my sourcing trips and keeping me up to date with upcoming events in the area. It was not only a taste of Sri Lankan hospitality but also really comforting to know we will all be in really good, capable hands when our doors open in February.

I checked with him to ensure these warm, roasted chilli cashew nuts will be available to nibble whilst sipping a sun downer at the house… I can assure you they are sublime!




Design details

So my love of doors is being  indulged – I separately found these antiques for the front door (which is being made to my design). Dutch antique door hinges and dancer door handles – they are not connected in era or design but I really don’t care – they will be fabulous on installation.



This gorgeous antique day bed is going to be refurbished and installed in the house..


A big nod to my roots – a beautiful antique, brass temple lamp is taller than me and is going to be polished up and taking it’s place at Kalukanda House. My mum had one of these in the house when I was growing up – I remember dreading polishing it at the time..


Investigating materials and colour ways for the sofas…super warm tones are a Velvet Orange Design favourite.




Here are some images from my trip out last week…

The pool has been prepared for tiling and is being tested for leaks – the blue-green slate tiles are not yet installed, but the water already has a beautiful colour.


THESE handmade tiles on THIS veranda. Yes, it took a good couple of  hours laying these out and deciding on tile size as well as pattern, but the devil is always in the detail.


View from the pool deck…

Since these photos were taken the lower roof has started to get tiled with the original roof tiles which were carefully saved from the old house..


The garden has been cleaned up and prepared for landscaping and planting – there will be three levels with a fun croquet style pitch at the rear, cabana with pool table and a yoga platform on the middle level and the swimming pool and house at the bottom.

I spent some time with the garden designer figuring out where we would place the beautifully fragrant Frangipanee trees, they are so simple and elegant and will feature heavily throughout.


View of rear of garden standing on middle level – Cabana and yoga platform here..


Croquet here….that incredible rock face which forms a back and side wall stretches up to about 25m in height and is one of the things I love most about the garden.


I did a little yoga move where the yoga platform will be and this is what I saw….blue skies and gently wafting palm leaves..


Inside the house..first coat of paint is on. I have designed a light for this room, it is so high that it needs something extra special  – all being made locally in Sri Lanka..


The original cement fretwork from the windows has been re-created in wood ready for installation in their top sections.  The original (rotting) fretwork from the roof edges has also been made new. Kalukada House may have been built from the ground up, but she is keeping many of her original details, even if they have been re-created…it feels like the right thing to do.



SO – things are really heating up. We are 75% of the way through and this is the time in any project where I tell my clients to hold their nerve and hang onto that vision. Thinking now beyond completing the house and HOW we want it to be used is refreshing and exciting, and a good distraction from the intensity of this final quarter.

Please feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to find out about staying at the house in 2018 and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more regular photos and updates..


More next month,






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