The under roofing is of bamboo culm. Wooden boards laid over thick hardwood joists form the floors. Nowadays, zinc roofing sheets and nails are increasingly used.
In larger Tana Toraja villages, houses are arranged in a row, side by side, with their roofs on a north-south alignment with the front gable facing north. Opposite each house is the family’s rice barn, or alang customarily a symbol of family wealth, and together they form a second row of parallel buildings. Houses of the Mamasa Toraja, however, are orientated to the direction of the river with their rice barns aligned perpendicular to the house.
The tongkonan at Ke’te’ Kesu’ is reputed to be 500 years old; too old to trace a direct descendant from the founder to maintain the title that goes with the house. The buildings themselves, however, are constantly maintained and renewed, thus this age refers to the length of time years for which that particular site has been used as a meeting place.