An elegant, fuss-free home

An elegant, fuss-free home

warm look The Padmanabhans’ home uses a lot of wood to give it that warm, cosy feel. Photos by the author

When you enter the home of the Padmanabhans, what instantly catches your eye is an elaborate puja room or rather, puja mandir. This large worship-area is the focal point of the house and attracts our attention immediately––above everything else around. Taking that element forward is the profusion of pictures and icons of gods across the home, all belonging to a deeply ingrained Vaishavite tradition of the residents.
For the rest, the home is an elegant, fuss-free and minimal one––an apartment in south Bangalore where a joint family lives. It is neither imposing nor ostentatious; but cosy, well-appointed, immaculately clean, with muted colours, understated décor, and a richly spiritual ambience that is palpable from the moment you walk in.

The interior design is by the Padmanabhans’ son Sekhar Vasudevan. It wasn’t really a formal or strict plan though, he explains. We had some general principles based on our personal beliefs and the interiors evolved from that over the months that the house was being readied for occupation, he adds.

Lots of wood

There is extensive use of wood throughout the house. The drawing-room furniture is all in teakwood. And there is plenty of plywood around the house with a veneer of teakwood except in the master bedroom where rosewood is employed for veneer. Walnut wood finds a place in the kitchen. Wood was the favoured material because it exudes warmth and is also a natural material compared to say stainless-steel, rubber or plastic, and thus gives the house an ethnic and traditional look, say the family members. Which also explains why the decorative accessories are all traditional ones––nothing modern or contemporary is used anywhere.

The residents believe in Vaastu so that principle has guided most of the design of the home, or at least as much as a readymade apartment permits. We couldn’t modify things beyond a point, so we implemented the main features, explains the family. One of the areas where the adherence to Vaastu was possible was in the kitchen where the stove faces the east, and the drinking-water source and wash-area are in the north-east. Again, since Vaastu stipulates sharp edges as being auspicious, accordingly, the kitchen has no rounded or curved edges––all of them are at right angles.

Colourful kitchen

The kitchen is actually the most colourful area of the home thanks to the brightly hued tiles which line the walls and the vases laden with flowers. Blue and white décor objects also find a place in the stand overhead. These colours are complemented by the dark, warm American walnutwood used for the doors of the kitchen cabinets––the body of these cabinets is in plywood.

Granite is a popular choice for kitchen-counters but this kitchen counter sports a special, smooth material imported from Germany which is highly corrosion-resistant and tough. This is a material used in laboratories since it can resist all kinds of chemical spills including acid, explains Sekhar. Even granite is porous and can thus resist corrosion from strong chemicals only up to a point, he reveals.

The house abounds in pictures of scenes from the life of Lord Vishnu and Krishna. We are told they are all framed prints of original paintings by ISKCON artists.

There are no carpets. Floor-coverings of this kind were eschewed since they gather dust, add to indoor air-pollution and also hamper the efforts to keep the house spotlessly clean at all times, we are told. It is also the reason why easy-to-clean vitrified tiles are used throughout the home for flooring, except in the bathrooms where flamed granite is employed to avoid slipping. The absence of carpets and any elaborate décor objects are one with the general tone of simplicity and understated décor that one notes throughout the house.  

The elaborate puja-mandir was specially designed after the style of the Krishna temples of Jaipur and Brindavan. So the altar has four pillars topped by an oval roof.
There are three levels within which the arrangements are made––again according to tradition. So, the topmost level has the Krishna and Venkateshwara images, the second one contains pictures of the Acharyas i.e guru-parampara, while the lowest level serves to house the lamps, incense-sticks and other worship paraphernalia. 

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