When Sravanthi and Sharath Koduru walked into the Turiya Villa & Spa in South Goa, they knew they had found their designer for the renovation of their residence in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.
Without an iota of doubt in their minds, they approached Sandesh Prabhu for the project. The opportunity to refurbish a 40-year old construction on a massive site is a unique one that the Mumbai-based firm seized right away. The 15000 sq.ft. site boasts of a vast lawn with ample vegetation, offering the double-storied villa pleasing panoramas.
With a built-up area of 9000 sq.ft. the residence occupies one quadrant of the site, leaving the remaining three open to the sky. The zoning is layered such that the built portion of the house sits on one corner of the site, flanked by an L-shaped semi-built space (on both floors) which overlooks the garden.
Inspired by the restoration of the 100-year-old house in Canacona, the Kodurus gave Sandesh this reference as a brief. Though, visually, the design was to have its roots in traditional elements – colourful and ornate – the clients wished for modern amenities. “I need a beautiful, very modern, stylish kitchen. But, it should have an old-world charm,” said Sravanthi.
After analysing the existing 6 BHK layout, several interventions were made. All efforts were directed towards making the house feel more open and spacious. “Orientation according to natural lighting and ventilation is extremely important,” says Sandesh. Walls between the living/dining and the verandas have been broken and replaced with expansive French windows. The existing windows have been widened and heights increased such that the sills are now only 12” off the ground.
Bathrooms have been enlarged to a luxurious size; the tiny, old vents have been expanded to allow for better entry of sunlight and air circulation. Additionally, each bathroom has been provided with an outdoor space – much like the restrooms you might find at a posh spa retreat.
“In terms of how kitchens work, Hyderabad is culturally very different from, say, Mumbai,” explains Sandesh. The existing plan had two small kitchens. One was to be used by the hired help for heavy-duty cooking/cleaning. The other was to be used by the owners especially while hosting guests – almost like a secondary dining area. In a sense, this is reflective of the highly social lifestyles of the Hyderabad elite. The designer decided to enhance this experience by merging the two small units into one large space that would work like an open, display kitchen. A separate small kitchen was accommodated for the staff to use.
The first floor initially had five bedrooms. Two of these have been clubbed together to create a palatial master bedroom experience with a sizeable walk-in closet. The L-shaped terrace that occupies 20% of the first floor has been partitioned with subtle gestures. This division allows each bedroom to have its own, private balcony area. Here, too, walls between the bedrooms and decks have been replaced with French windows.
When asked to comment on the aesthetic quality of the house, Sandesh says, “It was very easy for me to understand their requirement because they were clear about wanting something similar to the house in Goa.” The clients were immediately drawn towards the natural and rustic material palette of the resort. The design studio is inclined towards using earthy materials, for example, natural stone rather than artificial tile.
“We take the stone and treat it in different ways for different areas – so that a little bit of variation is achieved. Take, say, the Jaisalmer or Kota. You could possibly sandblast it or riverwash it.” He goes on to add that 90% of the furniture pieces in his projects are designed by the studio in-house. At the Kodurus’ residence, everything from the sofas, centre tables and beds to the dining table and its chairs have been customised to fit the client’s specific tastes.
For instance, a table has been created by fixing a glass piece over a couple of old art pieces. Accessories such as soft furnishings, show pieces, light fixtures, etc. have been outsourced. “Every project is different because every brief is different. We enjoy versatility in our work.”
Sandesh acquired his degree in interior design from Bangalore University. In 2000, he started his career under renowned architect Hafeez Contractor. He was engaged with the practice for two years and worked on purely architectural projects. On discovering his passion for interior detailing and furniture design, he moved to the role of an in-house designer.
After three years, he was ready to make his own, unique mark in the field of design. Thus, Sandesh Prabhu Design Studio (SPDS) was born in the year 2005. For the past 11 years, he has worked on exclusive and high-end projects for a clientele that includes actors, cricketers, builders, industrialists, artists and designers from India and overseas.
Text By Priti Kalra
Photographs Amit Bhandare