Located in Raichak, a modest hour away from Kolkata, the BMA villa is serenaded by the breeze of the River Ganges. This sprawling 4500 sq ft villa is designed as a vacation home where one is guaranteed an exhilarating sense of freedom.
Designing a vacation home can be liberating. There are lesser restrictions than a project in the city, and hence it becomes easier to express yourself and also have some fun while you are at it. When you enter the BMA villa, that infectious feeling of abandonment simply wins you over.
Built for the management team of BMA Wealth Creators Ltd., this leisure home is where nature is at its best. Not just when you step outside, but also when you’re lazing in your couch or walking around the house. Pooja Bihani, principal architect, Spaces and Design, describes this as an “inside out” approach, where the outdoors are welcomed into the living space with perceptive use of materials and architectural elements.
For example, to access the dining space in the ground floor, one has to step outside the living room and walk through the outdoors. Definitely an unusual approach, something that’s not done in a typical residence in the city! But in this farmhouse setting, it works brilliantly as an excuse to connect with nature.
It respects the landscaping not as just paraphernalia, but as something that is integrated into the core design. The outdoor bar counter studded with a black onyx stone and a wine cellar is a wholesome entertainment hub, where one may socialise with guests and relax.
There is another dining area in the back garden that opens up from the master bedroom and the dining room. Decked up with a charming outdoor dining table and a bright umbrella, this garden also has a barbecue for quick party hors d’oeuvres.
A splendid space for hobnobbing with friends while soaking in the greenery! Another instance of the strong connect with the outside is the L-shaped pool at the entrance, setting a relaxed mood as you step in. This pool is visible from all rooms except one; so wherever you are in the house, the refreshing, cool waters influence your mood.
As you crossover a small bridge from the pool, to the left is the tastefully designed living room with calibrated leather-finished kadappa stone flooring. The leather finish is distinct in its wet look and smooth texture, rendering a rustic sensibility. “As you walk on the stone floor with your bare feet, its undulations feel natural and charming,” says Bihani. So, even when you’re inside, you experience a bit of the outdoors all the time.
This choice of rustic materials and textures is extended to almost the entire house – whether it’s the bush tiles on the façade of the steps that create a play of light and shadows or the clean granite finish in the dining space.
It is also as much for maintenance as for the look-and-feel. “Raichak is a humid place, and so the selection of materials is extremely important. In these weather conditions, the walls usually tend to deteriorate after a few years. So, we decided to paint only about 5% of the walls. The rest is all done by cladding with a careful choice of natural materials,” explains Bihani.
Sleek contemporary interiors complement this countryside ethos. Bihani describes this beautiful balance as “rustic chic”. The life-size horse sculpture, the shocking pink couch, grass turf ceilings and the Italian marble backdrop in the living room are some of the signature elements that add a touch of luxury and even a bit of quirkiness gesturing that it’s time to unwind.
While a vacation home is traditionally designed for adults,the children often tend to be ignored. Not here in the BMA villa. A spacious children’s bedroom on the first floor welcomes as you ascend the steps, transporting you into a world of its own.
All-white walls and blue rugs with boyish, sturdy furniture turn on the charm of this place. The room opens to a balcony that takes you down through a flight of steps directly to the front lawn circumventing the ground floor. While the children get to enjoy some outdoor fun and freedom, the adults don’t have to worry about the main spaces getting dirty!
The room is also designed with bunk beds to accommodate at least four children at a time. Bihani shares, “The bathrooms are planned for multi-use with cubicle baths and double washbasins, so the kids can get ready together. Also, no study tables on purpose! So no one feels pressured to take the books out!”
It is this level of careful attention to minutiae and the incredible effort by Spaces and Design to provide a timeless and nurturing ambience that makes the BMA villa a holiday home that will have its owners coming back to it regularly for years to come.
Text By Ramya Srinivasan
Photographs Courtesy Vivek Das