Tired of the insanity of city living, Anumita and Rajaram found themselves in search of a space more quiet, peaceful and friendly to the four-legged members of their family. And so they began to build a home for themselves in Sarjapur, just outside main Bangalore city.
As I went to their home, what struck me the most was this couple’s commitment towards having a sustainable and efficient home. Working with architect Vikram Subbaiah, they constructed a mud-block home. This means that the entire bungalow is built with bricks made of soil, stone and dust – saving on the energy required to burn, cure and transport traditional bricks. Mud-block constructions are also typically free of cement on the outside, automatically making the house cooler.
When asked what kind of home she was looking to build, Anumita candidly answered “I wanted a place that is comfortable and informal – a living room that encourages conversation. That’s why we don’t have a TV.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
The living room consists of cane furniture with comfortable futon-style cushions, placed around a coffee table. Just behind the cozy living room space is a square dining table along with 4 wrought-iron chairs. When asked where their furniture was from, they answered “Oh, here and there. Auction houses, roadside shopping places, gifts from friends… even our childhood homes.”
It’s hard to accurately describe the many elements that make up the rest of the living-dining space. There are chest-of-drawers, wall bookshelves, large etched vases and lamp lighting against different walls and in various corners, somehow coming together completely organically.
A sociologist by training, but (we suspect) an artist at heart, Anumita has hand made nearly everything in her home. Collecting bits of fabric from all possible sources, she stitched together different bits and pieces to make beautiful cushion covers, wall hangings, bedspreads and even her kitchen apron. Old bits of leftover wood were creatively put together and covered with collage work, coloured thread or paint to make the artwork adorning every room in the house. Lampshades were made using textured tissue paper fortified in layers, plumbing string, and even surgical bandage. These handmade lampshades were then fashioned into different shapes to put around single light bulbs.
Next to the dining space is an open kitchen, carrying light wood cupboards and drawers and a large door leading out to a beautiful patio. Decorated with two bright green chairs and handmade mosaic work all around, Rajaram says the patio is his favourite spot, especially at dusk and twilight. This little garden haven attracts birds, snakes and insects of all kinds that he loves to watch and photograph.
From the living room, a flight of stairs of blue oxide (fondly called the waterfall) leads to Rajaram’s office space on a mezzanine floor and further up tp Anumita’s workspace and their master bedroom.
A small pantry and laundry area sit just near a balcony. When asked about this space, Rajaram said “A lot of people generate soiled clothes in one place, wash them downstairs in another place and then up again to dry them in yet another place. Why do that? It’s important to think about your lifestyle and design your space such that your house works for you. So our bedrooms, laundry space and balcony are all near each other.”
Every so often we come across spaces that have too much to say about them, and this was definitely was one such home. While a location 40km from the heart of the city carries with it obvious challenges, this couple has found a space that speaks volumes about them, their likes and dislikes, their sense of style and their love for the environment.
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