Known for its majestic rows of Chinese fishing nets and Portuguese and British influences, Fort Kochi has many Anglo-Indian and Indo-Portuguese styled heritage homes converted into homestays. One such remarkable home is The Malabar House heritage property that belongs to Joerg Drechsel and his Spanish wife, Txuku Iriarte.
What started as a hitchhiking experience across India in 1972 soon turned into a great love for the country. And so in 1994, he was back with Txuku. That is when they bought an old bungalow and made it into The Malabar House!
The Malabar House has a documented history dating back to 1755, when a Dutch, by the name of Jan Herman Clausing bought the property from its original owner Mathew Henrich Beyls. Later on, many spice traders, tea traders, and bankers owned the property until Joerg arrived in 1994.
Spanning over a period of three years, the renovation of the house has been done keeping in mind Kerala’s culture, its art, collectables, crafted designs, and flavours. Built during the British period in India, The Malabar House continues to evolve, highlighting Kerala’s culture in a timeless yet contemporary manner.
The couple sourced out most of their furniture through popular in house design studios, crafted artworks on commission, and antiques from warehouses located at Fort Kochi’s popular Jew Town.
Having either turquoise blue or striking red walls, the rooms are modern with mostly traditional wooden furniture and home decor. Each room also has an attached balcony, a swing or a window with a sit-out that provides relief from the coastal humidity.
The traditional beds are the centre point of the room that have been teamed with soft white sheets, light coloured cushions, and bed throws inspired by the Jewish culture. The high ceilings and high arched doorways are another striking feature of the bedrooms.
A few modern and traditional ceramic wall hangings and bold bronze sculptures also decorate the property along with antique wooden characters that tell stories of the old kings.
The Malabar House may have won many awards. But above all, it brings out Joerg and Txuku’s genuine love for art and tradition.