A world away from the bustle of Mumbai, caressed by swaying palms and gentle sea breezes stands the Manor House – a charming weekend getaway in Alibaug, a mere 20 minute drive from Mandwa Jetty.
The maverick team of White3, comprising of Shane Pedder (Projects Principal) and Chaitaniya A Karnik (Design Principal), met by chance on a friend’s project in Alibaug.
Shane, who has previously worked in Australia and India in construction and development, and Chaitaniya whose time at Marmol Radziner Associates in Los Angeles saw him designing for Hollywood stars, political celebrities and large scale projects the world over, have both returned to their passion – that of creating bespoke luxury homes.
Standing on the rural site, facing the spectacular views of the Kankeshwar hills, they decided to design a regal manor, where every room overlooked this breathtaking tableau. Since the master plan for the home was to capitalise on the 180 degree panorama, all spaces face the mountains, including the azure blue pool that lolls like an oasis wrapped among the foliage.
The Manor House reverberates the company’s motto of designing comfortable spaces that age beautifully and acquire character as time goes by. “Our thought process is directed towards modern living and advances in technology, while always remaining committed to traditional craftsmanship and generational wisdom,” states Chaitaniya.
As the road meanders towards the property, you can catch glimpses of the tower roof harmoniously blending in with the surroundings. While you come to a halt at the main entrance nestled among a lush bamboo grove, a tree bark acquired from a local saw mill is left exposed to offset the otherwise finished home.
“This Japanese Wabi aesthetic is our attempt to leave each of our projects with some architecture that is alive and changing,” says Chaitaniya. The 3500 sq. ft. house has been designed like a classical manor, as one arrives through a small ingress which opens into a voluminous space. The view too is initially curtailed and then unexpectedly materialises as you walk through the door, a characteristic blueprint used in English country homes.
The facade is an outcome of a functional response to the view and climate. The back of the house is austere with slit windows and a cylindrical stairwell that helps cut out the oppressive summer sun and shelters the house from the lashing rains. While the view-side has floor to ceiling windows with a rectangular framing pattern similar in concept to Japanese Shoji screens and in treatment to the Bauhaus aesthetic.
The soul of the home is the spatial relationship between the living area, the pool deck and the landscape (where every tree has been preserved) that has been designed as one organic indoor-outdoor experience. Keeping in tune with nature, the house has no paint, and subtle lighting reflects the lime plaster walls and floors which are a special feature in this residence.
The kitchen has two sections, one which is an open peninsula galley with a breakfast nook, and the other being a hidden back-of-house area. Leading through the dining room doors is the alfresco pool patio fringed with indigenous fruit trees, fragrant lemon grass bushes, feathery pampas and emerald green lawns.
Between the living and dining areas are two spacious powder rooms, one indoor and one outdoor. The outdoor one is an all wood space with slatted teak that has been sanded and naturally oiled reflecting a chic cabin theme.
On the other side are two guest rooms with door-walls and bathrooms that open out onto a deck with uninhibited views of the rambling mountains beyond.
From the double heighted living room a stunning spiral staircase that has been enclosed in a tower (whose spire roof profile is readable from the inside) leads you to the first floor and the indoor balcony connecting the two master suites. This bridge not only links the bed rooms on either side, but also serves as a lounging area fronting the scenery from a completely new height. Each suite has a built-in closet and a large private balcony that presides over the entire property.
One bathroom is fitted with an antique-wood basin and custom French gold fittings, kadappa shower and matching lime floors and walls, while the other has a muted vintage blue look. The beds are positioned in the middle of the room to take full advantage of the scenery and have a Haussmann style indoor standing-only balcony.
Future projects include homes in Goa, Lonavala and Mumbai. “Our creations are where our clients live their history and so our practice drives us to try new things in every project, keeping to the spirit of effortless living,” concludes Shane.
Text By Natalie Pedder-Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy White3