OUR STORY

This enchanting property is the brainchild of Sandeep Hegde & Pallavi Bhat, driven by their shared passion for preserving heritage and creating memorable experiences.

Areca County is more than just a project; it’s a labor of love that began with a vision to breathe new life into a forgotten gem. Sandeep and Pallavi, fueled by a deep-rooted appreciation for history and architecture, embarked on a journey to revitalise this heritage property and transform it into a beacon of cultural resurgence.


THE IDEA – 2012

Everything starts with an idea and you work hard in life to make that dream into a reality.
The idea of Areca County dates back 2012. However at that time Sandeep did not have enough money and bandwidth to work on it.
Some write ideas on tissue papers but Sandeep ended up documenting the idea by creating the Facebook Page for Areca County on 11 June 2012.

Even at young age back in 2012, Sandeep was crystal clear that Areca County will be an eco friendly property located amidst arecanut plantations.

Sandeep married Pallavi in 2013 and the next few years passed on with their new found life, travelling around the world.
They had a child in 2016 and next few years again passed on focussing on raising the child.


MANIFESTATION – 2018

With a well settles life, the idea of Areca County makes a come back in 2018.
They start looking for suitable land and the next steps. Being a coastal town, they did explore beachfront options, but it was dropped considering the impact it would have on environment and sensitive biodiversity region.

Photo of Heritage Home as on 10th November 2018.

Finally they freezed on the property bought by Sandeep’s grandfather Ramakrishna Hegde in the 2000’s with an abandoned home.

Being more of a soloprenuer, Sandeep preferred building a small scale botique homestay instead of a large scale resort.
They also decided to use local materials like laterite stones, wood & clay tiles for roofing.

Photo Shot on 9th November 2018 – Sandeep’s visit to a Laterite Stone Quarry near Honavar

Sandeep’s visit to a local Saw Mill near Honavar

THE BEGINNING

No one knows the exact date of construction of the heritage home. We believe it be constructed around the year 1929 based on engraving on the roof tiles used. Since the home was abandoned for decades, we were not sure whether we can renovate it.

Sandeep has always been mindful of his time and valued involving professionals for their expertise. So he started asking in his friend circle about architectural services.

Screenshot of a sample email reaching out to an architect which did not materialise due to delay in response.

A good friend Chinmaya Shankar referred to Architect Mahesh Chadaga. Mahesh also had a farm house in Hosanagara and the our wavelengths resonated well.

Photo of heritage home as on 19th January 2019 during Architect Mahesh Chadaga’s site visit.

Based on the site visit, Mahesh suggested that we retain and renovate the heritage building and we agreed.

Sandeep prefers keeping things straight forward and documented. We had a simple agreement with Mahesh on 2nd Febraury 2019.

We continued sharing ideas and discussing the requirements. Soon we had the first cut of revised floor plan for the heritage building.

We decided to retain most of the structure as it while adding extension for reception, dining area and common toilets.

First 3D Design of Areca County Cottages


CONSTRUCTION

This was the first ever construction for Sandeep & Pallavi.
They didn’t even build a home but had started building a homestay!

Photo of Heritage Home as on 21st April 2019

Photo of Heritage Home as on 21st April 2019

Photo of Heritage Building as on 27th April 2019, front portion removed for renovation.

Photo of Heritage Building as on 27th May 2019 with re-roofing work in progress.

Re-roofing with approximately 2 feet increase in the wall height

The regions gets heavy monsoon rains for few months and generally all construction activity is paused during this time.

Meanwhile we decided to procure wood from Karnataka Forest Department. These are the trees in the forest which are generally uprooted and was a more ethical way of procurement since Sandeep is very conscious on the environmental impact. Pallavi hailing from Yellapur, we decided to visit Kirwatti Forest Depot. We were pretty impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the Government Staff.

Pallavi’s Dad & Advit checking the wooden logs at Kiwatti Forest Depot

Quality Grading of Wood as per Karnataka Forest Department

Variety of wood finishes kept for display at Karnataka Forest Department

The procurement process from Karnataka Forest Department is pretty straightforward. Each log has a number and we select which log we wanted to procure. The actual purchase happens online with a bidding process scheduled at a specific date at time. Once you win the big, you make online payment and finally they will give a pass for transportation. We mostly procured a wood named “Jambe” known for its hardness and durability for over 500 years!

Since the rainy season ended, we also started with the wall construction.

Site Photo as on 3rd October 2019

Site Photo as on 7th December 2019


COVID – 19

Mid way of construction the world was hit with COVID-19 pandemic. Working in the software industry Sandeep was aware of the scenario in China and anticipated the destruction in India as well. A conscious decision was made to pause all the construction activity. After two waves of covid we resumed the construction activities in October 2020. But we wanted to be conscious of next waves and take it slowly.

Site photo as on 25th October 2020 with roofing preparations.

Roofing Photo as on 11th November 2020

Site Photo as on 9th January 2021

Heritage Building – Dining Area Wood Work as on 12th February 2021.

Cottage Electrical & Wood Work as on 12th April 2021

Laterite Stone Wall Finishing Work as on 14th May 2021

Heritage Building Extension Work as on 10th June 2021

Heritage Building – Reception Extension Work as on 24th June 2021

Laterite Stone Polish & Laterite Steps

First coat of painting as on 29th July 2021

Interior work on Heritage Building as on 29th July 2021

The lady you see in the picture is Nagaveni and after several years she is still working with us as a housekeeper. Pallavi took keep interest to up-skill them from farm/construction work to housekeeping work.

Tiling Work as on 3rd October 2021

Cottage interior ready with Cot & Mattress as on 26th November 2021

Interlock Work as on 3rd December 2021

Wooden Side Tables Ready by 3rd December 2021

Cafe Tables Ready by 6th December 2021

Opening Preparations with Special Decorations by evening of 6th December 2021.