Growing up in a stately home


Growing up in  a stately home

MAGNIFICENT: An exterior view of the house. DH photos by Janardhan B K

Age once weighed heavily on this house. Chipped off paint, leaking ceilings and worn out wires were there for all to see but the 110-year-old house lived.

And then began the work to restore the house in its vintage form. During the course of the four-year-long revamp, Sameena Ameen, the lady of the house, redid the place. She has restored both the century old elegance and its youthful charm.

It didn't require the touch of an interior designer or inputs from an architect, Sameena used her aesthetic sense and says it is her passion and sentiment toward the house that inspired her to salvage it from decrepitude.

The paint on the walls, both interior and exterior were scrapped off and replastered, the Italian tiles that beautifully adorn the ceiling of the house were repainted. A few of the doors leading to the outside of the house from the bathrooms were sealed and the wooden doors reused in several places in the house. In fact, the ornamentation of the house is even now a never-ending process. “I have broken off the top portion of the wooden door and added a tainted coloured glass to it to give it a modern look,” says Sameena.

While the basic structure of the house remains intact, the red oxide flooring was replaced with printed tiles to match those on the ceiling. The floor prints changed from room to room to blend with the furniture and accessories in the room. The chandeliers, the glass table lamps that wear heavy work on them, all as old as the house, are polished to perfection. The 110-year-old winding clock has been replaced with a similar looking quartz clock which Sameena says she picked up rather carefully to match the old one. “In fact, we did want to demolish the house and build a new one. But the kids are so sentimental about the house that they wanted it restored at any cost, even if it meant spending the same amount that we would spend on building a new one," confides Sameena.

POLISHED: The dining room.The house, situated a good distance from the road, is spared of traffic snarls. The pathway and the lawn have been done up with Mexican grass.

An old bamboo swing was especially ordered for the lawn from Rajasthan and the tall red patio that stands in the middle of the garden has been done up with leftover pillars from the house.

Sameena has just added marbles to the verandah and bought marbles peg tables and brass stands to continue her passion to beautify the house.

Her three children grew up in the house and they say that their pleasure in having grown up in an old house compares to no modern house. “We intend to maintain the house and restore it at any cost. I grew up here and the joy of growing up here is unmatched and no new plush bungalow will give one the pleasure we receive here,” says Ameen, the man of the house. 

The house has been eyed by land-grabbers and developers. There have been requests to let it out for film shoots. “We simply ask them how they can walk into a private property and ask for the house to be sold or given up for a few hours for shoots. People tempt us with huge sums of money but we ask them in return if they could give us a similar property anywhere in the City. They have no words to reply,” says Sameena, who compares the house to an estate in the heart of the City.

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