Liberation from the shackles of a client’s brief enables Kalpak Bhandari to tailor this home for himself in Pune, to the preferences of his own family. Adopting a fusion of styles, it is filled with furniture and artefacts that he and wife, Pooja are particularly partial to.
When an architect designs a home for himself, we know that there is freedom from the tyranny of a client’s brief. So Kalpak Bhandari decided to have no specific theme or style when he created this 2,500 sq ft three-bedroom home for himself and his family – though he does mention a vintage French inspiration.
“None of the finishes are so expensive that we would be reluctant to change them…and most of the furniture has been manufactured by us in mango wood, making it more affordable. This wood has the same qualities as teak wood in terms of its workability and the way in which it can be carved,” he says.
At the entrance of the apartment, a large mirror in a carved wooden frame visually doubles the area of this transitional space. Further inside, an entire wall clad from floor to ceiling with framed mirrors in different shapes makes for an eye catching display. “Like a piece of art, no two frames are identical,” says Kalpak. Within this display is a door to the household help’s room. Discreetly set within the multiple frames, it is almost invisible, unless one goes looking for it.
In the living room, most of the furniture has deliberately been kept lightweight, to facilitate moving it around whenever required. A Versailles chair adds visual interest with its elaborately styled shape.
Frequent guests and entertainment requires a casual rearrangement of seating, unencumbered by heavy immovable pieces. “Earlier, we lived in a bungalow where there were no amenities available for our son, but since we’ve moved here, we do quite a bit of entertaining,” says Kalpak’s wife Pooja. A jewellery designer by profession, she brought her sense of aesthetics to the soft furnishings, wallpaper, artefacts and the kitchen. The main light fixture has been fabricated in-house by Kalpak.
The dining table has Crotch veneer on its surface with the grains running outwards from the midline in a symmetrical mirror image fashion. This highly prized pattern of grain is revealed when a trunk or heavy branch with two forking branches is cut through the centre of the fork. The terrace outside has a 6m high ceiling. The alcove for seating creates a cosy cocoon at one end and has vertical panelling for the backrest.
Most of the wood finishes are in a distressed look, with a cream and gold patina. “We prefer texture to the smooth gloss of glass,” says Kalpak. So the natural texture of the veneer has been retained, with knots and grains visible, without any attempt to smoothen the surface. The flooring is a combination of Italian marble and glass mosaic tiles. The joints of the mosaic are filled with epoxy grout, so as to add to the texture. Fabrics used include silk and linen.
“If it looks good and feels good, we don’t mind the maintenance,” says Pooja. Most of the fabrics had been purchased from a visit to Panipat several years back. “We knew that we’d use it someday, at some place,” says Kalpak.
The master bedroom has an antique dummy door for a headboard, in the aforementioned distressed finish. With chandeliers hanging from the ceiling for bedside lights, there is an old world charm to this room. “The chandeliers ensure that the surface of the bedside tables, which is small enough to start with, is not cluttered further,” says Kalpak.
The son is a football fan, so the roller blinds in his room bear life-size images of star players Messi and Neymar. On the wall above the study table, a bookshelf in a complex geometry is from MDF Italia. The sofa-cum-bed offers floor space for fun and games, when not in use for sleeping. Another sofa-cum-bed performs a similar function in the guest room, which is used as a home theatre and a study most of the time. The retractable screen of the TV is out of sight when not in use.
“Everything used in our home is a reflection of who we are, what we love and what gives us comfort. The art and the artefacts have been collected over a decade during our travels to different parts of the world. We’ve collaborated with different artisans to create different customised pieces in the interiors…like door handles in metal and wood, light fixtures, the highlight wall in carved wooden frames, a few pieces of furniture and so on,” says Kalpak.
“We thoroughly enjoyed the customisation process and feel that this is what makes our home a very personal and intimate space for us. The fusion, materials, colours and textures are a true reflection of our taste.Moreover, efficient use of space and detailed planning ensured that all the functional requirements were met and key issues were successfully addressed in the design,” concludes Kalpak.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs By Shirish Ghate