In this charming bungalow in Surat, Design Ritmo has succeeded in creating a sense of grandeur by cleverly incorporating theatrical design elements. The outcome does complete justice to the client’s main requirement of ‘a simple but dramatic ambience.’
Excellent use of natural light, an imposing spatial volume and a dramatic ambience characterise this elegant residence in Surat. Sitting on a south-east facing plot, the house had the natural advantage of access to ventilation and lighting from two sides. This set forth the process of maximising the use of daylight and channelising it to every corner of the house.
The design team has implemented the lighting strategy using a few strategies like the ceiling to floor glass façade on the south has helped bring in copious amount of natural light. To offset this glaring brightness, grey slate stone has been used to clad the walls while the steps have been covered with dark polished wood. Wood plate lights arranged with an intentional randomness on the wall not just work as foot guide lights in the evening, but also bring in an old-world rustic charm to the narrow spaces.
Another interesting approach to illumination is the use of sky lights in the library on the second floor. Designed with a double height ceiling, the library has the illusion of opening up to the magnificent sky. There is a lot of theatre going on in this cosy library space – adjoining the book shelf is an exposed brick wall against which a comfy white-and-grey couch rests.
Quirky art pieces adorn the encompassing glazed walls that allow ample sunlight. But the crown of glory clearly rests on the majestic ceiling which lets you believe you are reading in the outdoors with its bird shaped hanging lights. The library is undoubtedly one of the eye-catchers in this beautiful residence.
The layout of this bungalow is neatly segregated – while the ground floor contributes to the spatial configuration and the three car-parks, the first floor is where the living space begins. There are four bedrooms, of which the master bedroom and the son’s bedroom are on the third level. Just below, on the second level, are the library and the younger child’s bedroom.
The first level has a voluminous appearance; however it is compartmentalised into public (living and family seating area), private (grandfather’s bedroom) and semi-private (kitchen and dining) spaces. The compartmentalisation is subtle – for example, a stylish wooden staircase serves as a break between the public and private spaces. The lift acts as a logical connecting point between the semi-private and the private spaces, and a simple L-shaped design separates the living and dining areas.
To cater to the client’s requirement of a visually big space, Design Ritmo has implemented a few ideas; the double heighted ceiling and the sky light library being the prominent ones. Open bedroom planning is another clever design feature – huge ceiling-to-floor closets run parallel in each bedroom with a central, continuous space running from the balcony window and leading into the bath zone. Glass partitions and wooden frames serve as segregation indicators, successfully lending a voluminous look to the bedrooms at the same time.
The choice of materials for the residence had its share of debate – while using multiple materials is the popular trend, the design team chose to go ahead with a minimal palette for this project. For example, only one type of teak veneer was used throughout the house. It was a challenge to convince the client about this, but ultimately they were won over by the sophisticated finish and appearance.
While for the exterior walls, basic white rustic texture was used, for the balcony and entry canopy, exposed RCC texture and teak wood ceiling panels were the choice. The beige travertine stone cladding, laid out horizontally, renders a touch of elegance and also works to give a sense of ‘bigness’ to the building.
In the interiors, too, continuity in colour palette is retained with similar beige and white tones. Marble flooring and teak wood veneer dominate the interiors; the slate stone and exposed brick wall contribute the ruggedness required to be in sync with the exposed RCC finish used in the exterior.
As much as this is a work of intelligent design and execution, it is also a project that’s been done with great care and meticulous detailing. As the proverb goes, ‘It takes hands to build a house but only hearts can build a home.’
Text By Ramya Srinivasan
Photographs Courtesy Ravi Kanade