Home with a heart

Home with a heart

Home with a heart
It takes more than four walls and a roof to make a home. It ought to be a reflection of its inhabitants, a fine merger of modern architecture and practicality, says Bindu Gopal Rao, as she visits one such home in Basavanagudi.

Home is where the heart is. I realised how true this is on visiting the home of the sister-duo, Vijayalakshmi Rao and Radha Rao in NR Colony, Basavanagudi. The home built on a pre-existing ground floor is a perfect example of an effortless merger of traditional and contemporary elements.
The exterior facade of the home has interesting terracotta murals in a rich sienna shade that perfectly offset the white paint. Spread across 5,400 sq ft and three levels, this home illustrates how architectural intelligence can be merged with practical considerations to create a space that is your own. Having lived abroad for several years, the sisters have a keen eye for detail and deep understanding of architecture.

Labour of love

The structure took 18 months to complete and has been a labour of love, to say the least. “When we started building this home, the architect gave us a rather conventional plan that had several walls and a closed kitchen. However, I changed it as we wanted an open architecture,” reminisces Vijayalakshmi. The new home is a five-bedroom, four-bathroom pad housing numerous artefacts from around the world. A small seating area on the outside is a thoughtful gesture to help guests wear their shoes.

The wooden main door opens to reveal the main living space, furnished in shades of beige and sienna and with antique accessories blending seamlessly with the interiors. Their travel influences are visible in every aspect of the decor. So, whether it is the puja room door – an antique-restored temple door - or the  antique pillars that stand on either side of the kitchen entrance, it is evident that this home has imbibed both, aesthetics and practicality. The living space is contiguous with a formal dining space that has a marble dining table with an intricate inlay worktop from Agra. The display units with antique carved wooden frame proudly showcases their artefacts collection.

The colour theme for the interiors is mainly white, except for one wall in ochre and the designed cornices in the ceiling, which are a combination of white and gold. This space integrates seamlessly with the Italian modular kitchen done up in black and white theme. The kitchen has a broom closet, a pantry that is carefully concealed behind a fibre door and an eat-in area. Much thought has been given to the placement of the various elements in the kitchen for energy efficiency. “I suggested the use of a triangular design for refrigerator, cooking range and sink as this is the ideal format in the US,” explains Vijayalakshmi.

A small green house is also part of this floor and a line of potted plants can be seen in full glory here. A balcony off of the living room also offers a touch of green with plants and a seating area as well.

The ground floor living room is sparingly furnished and retains most of the furniture from their parent’s old home, including 75-year-old cupboards, which were used as snack holders. This floor has a gym, a painting workshop for Vijayalakshmi and a spare room. Since their late father was the owner of the first vessel hiring business in Karnataka, the sisters have deployed some of old vessels as decor elements here, adding a unique touch.

As you take the stairs, you cannot help but notice the beautiful oil paintings, done by Vijayalakshmi. Also, the striking red carpet in the living room on the first floor catches your eye instantly. Radha informs that the carpet is 60 years old!

Thematic decor

There are two bedrooms on the first level. Vijayalakshmi’s bedroom has been furnished with antique cherry wood furniture, imported from the US and even has a 100-year-old settee made from fine wood. The bathroom here is spacious and is fitted with a tub and wall-to-wall mirror. The other bedroom was designed for their late mother and has an interesting seating space adjacent to the large bay window and the attached bathroom has a shower cubicle.

The second level opens to a living-cum-study area where again, there are paintings and artefacts from their travels across the world and two large wooden pillars. There are three bedrooms here, two of which are the guest bedrooms with a common bathroom. Radha’s room in her own words is “an engineer’s room” with contemporary neat lines as far as the furniture is concerned and done up in a rich shade of brown, along with an attached bathroom with a contemporary shower stall.

On both floors, a linen closet is located adjacent to the bathrooms to store towels and other utilitarian items. Each room has a different theme and has been furnished differently. Also, Indo-Italian and Macarena marble adorn the majority of flooring here. Even the closets in the rooms are customised to their needs. Every corner of this home has a story to tell and it represents a perfect mix of the East and the West.
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