Contemporary meets traditional to create a feel-good vibe in this sprawling bungalow in Vadodara, Gujarat.
Amidst a cluster of high-rise buildings on a residential street in Vadodara stands Neer Bungalow – a quiet, unobtrusive structure that commands attention: for its linear and contemporary design.
Designed by Usine Studio, the bungalow embraces contemporary design with ease while discreetly including traditional Gujarati elements that are inextricably linked to the client’s everyday functioning.
Yatin and Jiten, co-founders of Baroda based Usine Studio describe the basic structure of the bungalow as two cuboids stacked atop each other to create a visually appealing intersection. Their main aim, they disclose, was to create a residence that reflected modern trends, had minimalistic interiors and was essentially maintenance-free.
The jhoola at the entrance of the bungalow encourages socialising during early mornings or late evenings when the weather is cool; but there is little else that marks this residence as a typical Gujarati household.
Usine Studio’s success in delivering a contemporary residence is apparent right from the entrance where an uncluttered corridor leads visitors to an open foyer in the centre of the ground floor. From here, the foyer radiates into a formal living room, family and dining room, kitchen, puja room and guest room.
The beauty of the concentric layout lies in the way each room opens out onto a patch of green, erasing boundaries between indoor and outdoor living spaces. This openness is further accentuated by glass walls and doors that invite light in and offer a soothing vista of green.
Facing the front garden is a large space that doubles up as a dining room and family room. Says Yatin, “Here, the residents come together to interact as a family – to dine, socialise, or just watch TV.”
A clever layout positions this room adjacent to the kitchen and servant’s quarters making it easy to interact with the staff or to fix a quick snack during TV breaks.
The designers appear to have saved the best for last with the real scene-stealer on this level being the formal living room at the far end of the house. A rich, formal atmosphere is built into this room with the help of elegant white sofas, assorted colourful cushions, an eye-catching copper mural from Bali as well as gold and silver foil work on two wall panels.
This formal space spills out onto a private lawn allowing guests to marvel at a mature, flowering Kailashpati or Cannon Ball tree and revel in the calming presence of artificial water bodies.
There are, if you stop to count, three sit-outs in all on the ground floor itself. Yatin justifies this saying, “Gujaratis socialise a lot in their spare time with their friends, relatives and neighbours. These sit-outs and including the jhoola at the front entrance make it conducive for the family to sip tea and chat comfortably.”
In keeping with the contemporary, minimalistic theme, the designers have favoured a warm colour palette across the house with soothing shades of brown and cream being the dominant colours. Wood as a material is consciously used across furniture, ceilings, flooring and for doors and windows, lending a unifying element to the overall décor.
Where the ground floor remains pleasantly formal, the first floor exudes personality and character. In the master bedroom as well as children’s bedrooms, the designers have allowed bright colours to seep into the walls and upholstery.
Bold colours, floral motifs and a slew of textures suddenly take over from the muted browns and creams of the ground floor. A feature to appreciate, even emulate here is the spacious dressing room with storage that is attached to the bathroom.
The huge dressing area provides ample storage to stack clothes, shoes and accessories thereby keeping the bedroom more spacious and free of clutter. The son’s bedroom, reveals Yatin, received the most luxurious treatment of all with a huge walk-in wardrobe, bathroom and large window overlooking the greenery.
Furniture for most of the house was created on site, including a few artifacts and small pieces of furniture sourced from Bali as they fitted in perfectly with the theme. At heart, Neer Bungalow is a bright, airy and comfortable residence that ultimately strikes a pleasant chord between contemporary and traditional lifestyles.
Text By Christabelle Athaide
Photographs Courtesy Tejas Shah