Monsoon Retreat, a villa amidst the picturesque hills of Khandala, is a luxurious extension of nature and gives a new meaning to the seldom experienced concept of ‘space and privacy’.
An evergreen courtyard, a clear blue sky and an open space that eagerly offers privacy, is a refreshing combination that greets you as soon as you follow a tree-lined road leading up to the villas designed by Abraham John Architects for Suniel Shetty’s real estate venture, S2 Realty & Developers.
Located in Khandala, which is merely two hours away from Mumbai, this private gated community of premium villas called ‘Discovery’ offers everything that city life is devoid of – a breathtaking landscape, elegant structures, an enduring and green design, an abundance of natural light and fresh air and the excitement of ‘discovering’ skylights and courtyards that add an element of surprise to indoor spaces.
Alan Abraham of Abraham John Architects collaborated with Mana Shetty of R House to create twenty one resort-like signature villas that are part of a luxury gated project. There is a community centre created on a water bed, while private swimming pools and evergreen gardens with exotic plants accessorise each villa. An additional four hundred trees have been planted in the property gardens, a paradise for birds and butterflies.
The villa Monsoon Retreat encompasses five bedrooms with attached bathrooms (an optional media room), in addition to a staff room, a kitchen and powder room. Every room opens up to a private outdoor space. The C-shaped, private pool surrounding the dining room adds a dash of an exotic, island-like feel to the area. The proximity to the outdoors during meals is a pleasant surprise and this space has been conceptualised as ‘the dining island’. At Monsoon Retreat the indoor-outdoor boundaries are cleverly erased as the decks and landscaped gardens serve as expansive entertaining areas that come with artful illumination and mood lighting.
Conceived as an ‘outdoor space’ by Abraham John Architects, the living room opens onto decks and gardens on either side. A rough stone wall serves as a textured backdrop to the living room and continues onto the deck, adding a rustic and earthy touch to the setting. The two floors of the villa are linked by a cantilevered wood and steel staircase, set against imposing double storeyed windows. This allows lush indoor plants to not only thrive but also create a raw yet pure ambience.
A striking feature of the villa is the open floor plan that compels one to cherish the living cum dining cum swimming pool and deck areas as an expansive lounge. Here stylish lights suspended from the ceiling add to the magic and create an absolutely calming environment.
On the first floor, two bedrooms are separated from the master bedroom via a bridge that spans across the double height space of the living room. The master bedroom is a complete suite by itself and includes a private terrace, a master bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. Indoor courtyards, skylights, double height sliding and folding windows keep you connected to the serene landscape from this vantage point.
Each villa of the development has been designed in response to specific site conditions; here pitched roofs have been specified to withstand the extreme monsoon rains experienced in the area and a carefully chosen palette of ‘sustainable’ materials are included. Open spaces allow natural light to flush the indoors as well as enable effective natural ventilation – mitigating the need for excessive air-conditioning.
Architect Alan Abraham sums up the experience of working on this illustrious and nature friendly project, “Suniel Shetty is a great nature lover and our team at Abraham John Architects enjoyed collaborating with him. It allowed us to create an inspirational landscape design for every signature villa at Discovery, Khandala, where the spectacular property gardens, foliage on terraces and indoor courtyards have enabled us to literally bring nature into the living spaces. Landscape and lighting design play an essential role in the project. Rain water and ground water discharges have been harvested to form the central water body for the amenities area and ensure the water necessary for landscaping of the entire project.”
Text By Namrata Joshi
Photographs Alan Abraham