The existing house consisted of two levels on a gently sloping site, where one entered from the top level through a small semi-open verandah. A small living room and 3 bedrooms were arranged in the upper level, with the dining and kitchen on the lower level to accommodate the slope of the site. The existing design was a simple one, made interesting by the utilisation of the slope of the site. However, the major functional and aesthetic disadvantage of the existing house was its small central living room. The room was itself small and its functionality was totally reduced by the placement off the 3 bedrooms around it. Thus, 3 separate doorways branched off from this living room. In addition, the entry door as well as the staircase opening was again positioned into this small room. Thus, there were circulation paths all around, ultimately diminishing the usable space inside the room.
Naturally, one of the major requirements of the renovation was that the poor design of the living room be addressed. In the end, this was done by sacrificing one of the smaller bedrooms directly behind the living room. The single common wall connecting this bedroom and the living room was demolished with the result that it totally opened up the whole space. In addition, one of the doors to the masterbed was shifted so that it increased the privacy and also for improving the efficiency of the circulation spaces. The window on the leftside of the entrance was removed and a landing alcove created to access the stairs leading to the top floor. This further opened up the space, bringing in another dimension to the spatial volume.
An additional floor was created on the top by adding a multifunctional space which doubled up as an informal lounge and a study. The overriding concerns were to create a space which was open, well ventilated and yet, one which was private. Thus, the vocabulary evolved consisted of floor to ceiling openings, large overhangs and ample greenery. The space was a simple one, a linear volume which opened out onto the landscaped terrace garden on one end and onto the lush greenery of the treetops on the other end, creating a corridor through which wind traversed continuously all day long. The small terrace garden elevates the overall design, creating a well proportioned space which is very private, all the screening provided by the coconuts and the ficus tree canopies. This landscaped garden with the river pebble bedding and green palms help in anchoring the space. A bedroom space and toilet make up the rest of the space on this floor.
There is an inclination towards the earthy in the form and texture of the materials used – a combination of exposed bricks and pristine white walls, offset by the earthy colour and texture of the matt floor tiles. This is enhanced by the large openings all around, designed in simple steel joinery, creating a seamless transition between the inside and outside. The wardrobes in the bedroom are finished in exposed mdf and glass. The furnitures in cane along with the vibrant hued fabrics spice up the space adding more life. The rustic theme is carried forward in the accessories like the terracotta urns, the traditional old hanging lamp etc. The framed black and white photographs on the walls, taken by the architect himself, add a lot of character to the space.
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