We open the doors to the most breathtaking Chennai homes. Photo credit: Björn Wallander
A Crafts Infused Chennai Home, by Niels Schoenfelder and Malavika Shivakumar
Despite a scattering of swanky new residential high-rises and theme parks with names like ‘Oceanique’, ‘Ecstasea’ and ‘Dizee World’, the road south from Chennai to Kovalam still retains remnants of a rural setting. It is down one such seaward lane that German architect Niels Schoenfelder of Mancini Enterprises along with his wife Malavika Shivakumar—partner in the Chennai-based embroidery atelier of Jean-François Lesage—have built a home for the family. The frontage presents a bare expanse of white wall with a deliberately uninviting steel door that opens outwards. To step inside, however, is to suspend belief. You enter a large dining space, with its floor of waxed black Kadappa stone and whimsical art deco dining table. Here onwards, surprise after unexpected surprise lies in store. The low-slung building gives on to a walled courtyard with raked yellow sand in Zen garden-like symmetry. Beyond lies the two-storeyed main house, its central double-height living area soaring to a pitched roof, and walls of birch ply, stained deep blue with natural indigo. The eye travels upwards from an innovative steel bookcase of Schoenfelder’s design to an ingenious “bridge of books”; this links the master bedroom to a large walk-in area that he teasingly calls “my lady’s boudoir’’. The decoration of the interiors extends the Indo-European design vocabulary. Artfully conserved 17th-century French embroideries are arranged alongside Thanjavur polychromes and sculptures, Burmese lacquered objects, photographs, and treasured family memorabilia. The overall vibe of the home is earthy, calm and always inspiring.
Glam Elements Dominate this Chennai Apartment, Designed by Vinita Chaitanya
As briefs go, this one for an apartment in a building in Chennai was tailor-made for Vinita Chaitanya’s particular sensibilities—a sophisticated abode that was high on glamour. The interior designer, in turn, has wreaked stylish havoc within the 2,900 square feet of this expansive apartment. The building itself, designed by the Rahul Mehrotra-led architectural practice RMA, for a joint family of three brothers, their families and their mother, played more on the tenets of modernity. And Chaitanya, brought on board by the oldest brother to endow his first-floor apartment in the stylistic traditions that are her signature, took cues from the architecture. With the shell all ready and interiors in progress on other floors, the interior designer worked in the direction set by the modern proportions of the building. While the flooring, therefore, takes a muted cream-coloured palette, and the furniture is all clean-lined symmetry, the overtone of glamour-defining flourish comes through the layering and materials. Interestingly, the entire space throw up linear silhouettes including the horizontal layout, wood-lined french windows, panelled ceilings, and sharp vertically extended pieces of furniture. The clean-lined furniture upholstered in velvets and silks, is textured with semi-precious stones and gold leaf embellishments, also transplanted onto the ceiling. Accents of silver, copper and brass add a touch of opulence. The interplay between traditional and modern elements is also at work, and all of it comes together in a space redolent with luxury, an aesthetic true to Vinita Chaitanya’s patented range of work.
A 4-BHK home Seamlessly Downsized to a 2-BHK Bolthole, by And Design Co.
“We chose a vibe that evoked an understated elegance while bringing its inhabitants’ uber chic lifestyle to the fore,” say Rupesh and Archana Baid, co-founders and principal interior designers of And Design Co. The clients—a young couple—chose to downsize the original four-bedroom layout by turning one bedroom into a walk-in closet and one, into a home theatre. Dominated by hushed tones, weathered finishes and modern flourishes, the home meanders like a river through earthy moods and hues projected on white-grey European marble, back-painted glass, dark oak veneers and decorative rustic wallpapers. Translucent honeycomb patterns delicately veil the wooden front door, hinting at the home’s elegant interior. Inside, a foyer unfurls an incandescent personal bar that serves as the tour de force of the entryway. “The home features automated lighting systems and double-glazed UV filtered windows, reflecting the owners’ need for a smart home,” says Rupesh. Plush furnishings from Baxter dress the common spaces, while the living room breathes a classic, vintage air, courtesy a handful of curated tchotchkes and Cadillac-inspired displays. “Trinkets and objets d’art collected by the clients over the years find expression in the home, dazzling against the underlying grey-brown palette,” notes Archana. The bedrooms are awash in soft hues and smart mosaic tiling help the bathrooms truly stand out.
A Chennai Residence With Timeless Architecture and Classy Interiors, by Design Inc
Elegance and creativity are features that define this Chennai home designed by Khushboo and Kunal Khandelwal of Design Inc. The brief was simple—an elegant and luxurious home with enough privacy for four generations to live together. “Each family member desired an individual space that resonated with their personality and yet blended in seamlessly within the larger design sensibility. Being ardent believers in design we wanted the space to not just be luxurious but also transcend the barriers of time. The home had to awe and stay in the minds of the visitors long after they had left the house,” says Kunal. The result is a residence that is both magnificent yet subdued, focused on the necessities of its end users without compromising identity and artistry. The sprawling 7,000-square-feet home accommodates four bedrooms with walk in wardrobes and en suite bathrooms, plus another guest bedroom. Additionally there is a large living room, dining room, home theatre room (den), puja room, kitchen and a family room. The space is designed keeping in mind the principles of vastu. All the public areas are laid out on one side of the house and the personal spaces on the other. Perched on the 14th floor, the home boasts of uninterrupted city views. Oversized windows bring views of the docks, the ocean and the city to life. Plants within the house add a refreshing dose of freshness to the interiors.
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