Located in the heart of Panaji’s popular old Latin quarter is a cluster of brightly coloured Portuguese-style homes, protected by the heritage department. One of these is Tuan Pereira’s ancestral home – a lively yellow coloured villa built in a typical Portuguese style. Originally a government office, Tuan’s grand father, Gomes Pereira bought it over. The home was named after Gomes Pereira who was an eminent nationalist, journalist and lawyer, and is filled with items of Goa’s history.
Tuan had retained as many of his grandfather’s antiques as possible, right from the furniture, ceiling fittings and wooden flooring.
The grand living room hall once entertained many gatherings. Today, a chandelier in the centre of the hall lights up the rich rugs and wooden floor. In the corner of the hall stands a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the very same statue that Gomes Pereira once carried during his political processions.
As with most old heritage villas, this one needed some renovations. “We have not modified any of the exteriors,” says Tuan. “Parts of this house also had the old walls made of mud as well as wooden and laterite stone walls. We had to create a new front door and add rooms in the basement.” In addition, the roof tiles had to be revamped to modern Mangalore tiles. The villa requires maintenance every 6-7 years.
Through the years, Tuan has also added his own collection of furniture and home decor. One of his favourites is a painting by the late renowned Goan artist Mario Miranda.
He finds that there are pros and cons to owning a villa in today’s world, as many people who are pressed for time do not have the means to maintain a huge property. But it is the abundance of space and the connection to one’s roots and history that makes some hold on to their heritage homes.