ABM Architects restored this quaint villa in Dehradun and made us feel that we’ve stepped into an Enid Blyton classic

NOV 15, 2020 | By Sonia Dutt and Latika Amersey
Peppered with muted, pastel-hued furniture and accents, the space is furnished with Fusion Access sofas, propped with cushions customised by ABM Architects using fabrics from Bharat Furnishings; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja
The dining corner features strawberry-hued walls, a custom table and an arrangement of plates from Spode, UK, napkins from Good Earth, candleholders from Sabri’s in Landour, pewter ware from Oma and the framed mirror on the wall by ABM Architects; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja
(L-R) An assortment of platters from Good Earth and Essaji’s; Close-up of the bougainvillea-inspired plate and napkin; Vase from Magnolia, and cup and saucer from Royal Winton, inherited by the Sobtis, enjoy pride of place in the same area; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja
(L-R) The master boudoir houses a Fusion Access chair and a mirror by ABM Architects; The same bay window corner has floral patterned screens from Bharat Furnishings; The master bath is done up using Carrara marble and black granite mosaic shower cabinet, accented by ABM Architects’ mirror and a vase from Oma. All fittings including the WC, are from Kohler; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja
The master bedroom uses local hydrangea-inspired covers by ABM Architects on the four-poster bed. The side table, white ottoman and light wood inlaid cupboard are all from Fusion Access; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

The Sobtis are stylish and have an exemplary taste. For their vacation home, it was no surprise that they wanted only the best, without any compromises. Tree Tops, as the name suggests, is their getaway from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city.

Surrounded by trees, a lush green two-tiered lawn and beautiful local flora and fauna, this British-style country bungalow in the heart of Dehradun, has flowing red brick arches supported by a high sloping roof in natural slate and white contrasting trims.

As you stand on the lower lawn, you see the imposing front elevation…with its bay windows and litchi trees on either side as if to frame it in total symmetry. At the verandah, you can soak in the panoramic vista of the Sahastradhara valley, while enjoying a cup of tea with jam biscuits and a good book, the perfect way to unwind.

This cosy seating area features a Fusion Access centre table, floor cushions from Marina Home, table lamps and chandelier from Imagination Light & Decor, vase and tea light holder from Magnolia and ceramic ducks from Ishatvam; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

Reviving fine features A major waterproofing problem led to the transformation of this approximately 15-year-old bungalow. This included an architectural overhaul by acclaimed veteran Alfaz Miller of ABM Architects, and interior styling by Riyaz Himany and his design team led by me.

The upper verandah uses furniture from Fusion Access and paintings from Philips Antiques; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

While most of the structure was retained, important characteristics like the brick facade were ripped off and laid out with a new one. We also removed the attic with a spiral staircase, recast the sloping roof to make it higher, widened the windows both ways and created an upper bay window.

This east-facing verandah has furniture from MG Road, lithographs from Sabri’s, ceiling light from Imagination Light & Decor and an Anemos Lifestyle fan; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

The Sylvian details With the interiors, the only brief from the Sobtis was that they didn’t want a rustic, unfinished look. We suggested bringing the British countryside aura inside as well. As soon as you enter, the authentic fireplaces and classic wooden staircase instantly catch your eye.

The upper lawn is ideal for an afternoon tea beneath the litchi trees, seated on outdoor furniture from MG Road; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

Tranquil creams, pistachios and peaches offset the peeping strawberry walls and dark wood floors. In the living room with a wood fireplace, the family often congregates over a drink or two. Stroll through an arched opening and an inviting dining area with its bay window beckons you to a table set for an English breakfast.

An antique hat rack is remodelled and painted white by Latika. Wall lamps from Imagination Light & Decor and Oma stools complete this corner; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

As you climb the wooden stairwell next to the wall of family photos and hand painted console from The Great Eastern Home, you enter a vast verandah. The outdoors are brought in by the large expanse of sliding and folding timber windows, while the avian lithographs from Philips Antiques help enhance that atmosphere. Meanwhile, guest bedrooms with cheery, custom made pink and lime green floral bedding and another in blue and yellow exude warmth.

The floral theme continues in the powder room with the help of a wallpaper from Marshalls Wallcoverings, Queo basin, Kohler faucet, mirror by ABM Architects, Ishatvam pitcher and Good Earth basket; Photographs by Tanuj Ahuja

The master bedroom with its four-poster bed, wooden rafters and bay window is tucked away at the end of the balcony. Even though there were a few roadblocks, in terms of the tiring renovation process and accessorising right, this home managed to be exactly what the Sobtis wanted: Peaceful and tranquil, a place that blends the outdoors with the calming interiors.