A serene world, this!

A serene world, this!


This bungalow in Bangalore’s Hebbal was chosen for an international television show and has the distinction of being the lone house from India in that list. The 12,000-sq-ft house is a visual treat, writes Apurva Bose Dutta

Free-flowing spaces: Nature is a part of the entire house and all the rooms open into the garden. Photos courtesy: Khosla AssociatesAnnabelle Manwaring’s bungalow in Hebbal is well known as the house “where a lot of film shooting takes place.” It was also shot for a TV show in Hongkong as one of the six best houses in Asia and has the distinction of being the only house from India in that list.

A stroll through this12,000-sq-ft house on a one-acre plot takes you to a refreshing world filled with serenity.

Borrowing the traditional concept of a courtyard house, Bangalore-based architect Sandeep Khosla, heading Khosla Associates, ensures that this seven-bedroom house has a fascinating modern vocabulary. The ground covers the drawing, dining, kitchen, study, family and two bedrooms while a living room, four bedrooms and a terrace cover the first floor. Nature is a part of the entire house and all the rooms open into the garden. The architecture and interiors complement each other and the house takes full advantage of Bangalore’s temperate climate through its design features of semi-enclosed and open-to-sky spaces, covered tiled walkways, verandahs, terraces and sloping tiled roofs.

Courtyard & tiled roofs

The central open-to-sky courtyard area (a multipurpose transition space) gives the house its feel by virtue of freestanding abstract walls, voids and sloping tiled roofs with large overhangs. While antique artefacts and the Kota and mint sandstone flooring add to the Indianness, the contemporary manner in which they have been implemented in sync with the architectural character of the house is interesting. The abstract freestanding walls create moments of privacy as well as divide space beautifully. Freestanding vertical stone monoliths aid in cross ventilation while some gorgeous paintings bring in a lot of cheer. The shallow reflecting pool with the blue tiles gives a feeling of being indoors-outdoors. The temple tree under the striking steel truss and Mangalore tiles, white pebbling and subtle lighting make for a stunning evening appearance.

Light and shadow playfully lighten up the courtyard on account of the covered walkways. A free flowing drawing and dining space envisions a lot of voids and punctures which replace fuller walls successfully. With a Jaisalmer stone flooring, this space throws open fascinating views of the courtyard with the water body. The rooms are also awash with natural light due to the full length curved toughened glass window in the dining. An entire wall devoted to family pictures in the family room on this floor adds a nostalgic feel to the space. The courtyard plays its ambient role in the upper floor too where the well-spaced bedrooms (ensuring privacy) are connected to the hub, the living room through walkways.

In fact, an interesting visual picture is provided of the different levels of the sloped roofs when one peeks in from the upper bedrooms to the courtyard. With an interesting profiled ceiling, the living in stark white has a lone accent piece of a colourful painting giving the space tremendous vivacity. Also of interest on this floor is a staircase leading from the master bedroom’s private terrace on this floor to the ground floor leading further to the amoebic shaped swimming pool at the back of the house. The bedrooms also assimilate views of the paddy fields beyond.

Sandeep’s philosophy of designing has always ensured that  the exteriors are in total sync with the interiors. The same is evident in this house where apart from the entire layout of the house, the interiors were planned by the architect to every small detail including the placement of each piece of furniture/painting etc. A certain calmness and peace radiates throughout the house and the credit also goes to the fine mix of contemporary and traditional furniture, accessories, antique pieces (like charpai, boat ends, Rajasthani tables) and the natural feel omnipresent in the house, marble bed platforms in the bedrooms and marble alcoves serving as shelves, materials like flame finished granite, sandstone, kota and Jaisalmer stone.

Furnishings in Indian silk, cotton, organza and chenille keep the softness intact. Most of the furniture has been custom designed by the architect. Diverse materials and colours placed in harmony with each together bestow a tacit meaning to unfettered affluence.

(The writer is an architect)