An arty affair to remember

An arty affair to remember

beautiful homes

An arty affair to remember

Sadhana and Kiran’s charming home is a unique blend of the traditional and contemporary. Use of natural materials makes a visitor feel close to nature and right at home, says Smita Jayaram

Away from the noise of the bustling city, there is a house in Bettahalasuru, near the airport, which stands independent and unique in every possible way. A residence combined with an art gallery, there are different features in the house with a story to tell.

Sitting in their living room, Sadhana and Kiran tell me how they converted their dream home into a reality. To keep the house as natural as possible, the architect from Kerala has used the five elements – air, light, mud, water and stone – to design the house.

The labourers and material were specially brought from Kerala as the owners believe in using natural materials. A part of the house has been built with stone and the rest has wire-cut bricks whose natural colour not only brings in some visual connectivity but also enhances the beauty of the house. As this is the load-bearing structure, there are very little barriers and the space is well-defined. Exposed brick adds to the elegance and simplicity of the design.

Spread around 4,300 square feet, this east-facing house welcomes you into the small foyer with a bench which is tucked into a well-maintained garden. The space utilisation and the clean layout effortlessly blends with the material and texture.

As you enter the house, you come upon their small, cozy drawing room filled with little artefacts that have been collected by Sadhana over the years.


Collection of ethnic dolls from Rajasthan, antique brass and carved wooden pieces from different places stand testimony to her taste. A part of the hall has mud plastering which not only keeps the room cool but also gives a very earthy feel to the living room.

The traditional large window in the living room area brightens the space and allows a lot of natural light and ventilation. “I wanted to avoid curtain rods and frames so I have a simple wire for the long curtains hanging at the two ends of the windows which brings more depth to the room,” Sadhana says.

The living room space is dominated by a centrepiece which is nothing but reclaimed wooden printer or letter block drawers turned into a table. The flooring is of granite; Kiran and Sadhana sourced it from Jaisalmer. It blends well with the whole feel of the house. “The idea here was to have an old-style house with an earthy feeling,” Sadhana says.

Next to the living room is the pooja room built out of stone. The architect summoned a mason from Salem to build this part of the house. They allowed him to go by his instincts and the room has a free-flowing spirit. He has placed the stones randomly to build the wall. Each person who looks at the stone wall deciphers a different design – the wall is so unique! The house has a small courtyard outside the pooja room which is the focal point of the house.

One can view the entire first floor from the courtyard. The double-height roof, with Mangalore tiles, has a skylight which brings in enormous light into the internal spaces. The ceiling also seamlessly connects both the levels of the house which has an opening from the first floor. There is a small niche in the dining room which has been decorated with a carved wood-work of Dasavatharam from Kalahasthi.

The ground floor also has two rooms tucked away from the main area, giving sufficient privacy to the residents. There is a second door situated close to the stairway, providing easy access to the first floor and is often used as an alternate entrance by the family.

The kitchen in this house is traditional but with a modern touch to it. Instead of a modular kitchen, Sadhana preferred slabs and open shelfs. “Things in the kitchen are not only easily accessible but also maintenance is a lot easier for anyone who comes here,” she says. There is another exit point to the utility area which is regularly used by the helpers in the house.

Functionally speaking, the upper level can be accessed via a tiled staircase that opens into the gallery and bedrooms. The first floor of the house has a gallery called the Nivriti – The Art Quarter, which often displays paintings of artists, which is also adjacent to the balcony. The setting is perfect. The gallery also has a seating area which oversees the puja room. A sense of tranquility pervades one’s senses upon entering the gallery.

The balcony, with terracotta flooring, opens up to the green natural surroundings. There are three rooms on the first floor; one room is a home office for the gallery. Another unique quality of the house is that all the rooms have built-in cupboards with stone slabs and shutters which are not only convenient but also easy to maintain.

The use of exposed bricks and natural stone gives a very rustic feel to the house. The colour scheme, the use of mud wall, jute and plants in the interiors brings the feeling of being surrounded by nature. There are objects on display like a grinding stone, ceramic pickle jar and brass pots which are no longer used in homes today.

The architect may have helped them in planning the house, but it’s the family, their positive energy and the love for art that makes this a very special home.

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