Blast from the past—ALARA brings back old world charm in this Chennai home

AUG 10, 2021 | By Kashish Kaushal
Each space has been detailed with the same materials in different ways, so that all the spaces connect with each other effortlessly; Photographs by Yash R Jain
The dining space was designed with a beautiful half panelled teak wood wall displaying unambiguous geometric patterns; Photographs by Yash R Jain
Siemens appliances in the kitchen brings sophistication in this house rooted in retro elements; Photographs by Yash R Jain
A clean and minimal kitchen with modular cabinetry from Veneta Cucine; Photographs by Yash R Jain
Stella sofa by ALARA and centre table by Calligaris delicately blends with all the elements of the living space; Photographs by Yash R Jain

Describing it as a dream to design, Amrita Thomas Modi—principal designer at ALARA with co-founder Arjun Thomas has tailored this 1,300 sq ft home for Appaswamy Real Estates, an elite builder in Chennai. Located alongside the river Adyar, the two-bedroom house is characterised by the two pillars of mid-century modern design—simplicity and functionality.

Endowed with complete creative freedom, Modi began nurturing the petite loft with her company’s signature timeless and elegant designs. Experimenting with colours and textures in this home, she adapted to retro elements within a contemporary context. The house celebrates organic materials like cane and teakwood through its furniture, custom storage pieces and design elements.

Artifacts by Glass Forest adorn the cabinet with open and closed shelves; Photographs by Yash R Jain

Aiming to create a space that stands the test of time, Modi shares the idea behind her choice of colour and material palette, “Being on the smaller size in terms of square footage, we stuck to neutral shades of grey and off white. A lot of mirrors were used to reflect light and create a sense of space. To comply with the mid century modern theme we explored endless possibilities with cane”.

The living area is a mix of raw and refined elements. Chandelier by The White Teak Company beautifully illuminates the space; Photographs by Yash R Jain

Demarcating the foyer area, a multipurpose teak wood cabinet with cane shutters brings forth a vintage vibe. Originally an enclosed room, the foyer went through a couple of structural changes that resulted in an open living and dining space.

Accessories by Good Earth, Nicobar and Oma Living are the perfect additions to the living area. The carpet by Jaipur Rugs brings an understated allure to the space; Photographs by Yash R Jain


Dining chairs by Magari, accents by West Elm India and Frequency chandelier by Arjun Rathi exude opulence with just the right amount of detailing; Photographs by Yash R Jain


Like all Indian homes, this dining room too had a hand wash area, which was cleverly concealed with a large sliding mirror; Photographs by Yash R Jain

Continuing the overall theme, the dining area adds more character to the space with its wooden dining table, cane chairs and lighting scheme. The open kitchen further maximises the feeling of space with its grey lacquered cabinetry and white Corian countertops.

Dramatic, functional and aesthetically balanced, the primary bedroom is the highlight of the house. Disclosing it as her favourite room to design, Modi reveals, “The large panels of mirror juxtaposed with expanses of cane created an incredible backdrop to the bed. We used contemporary rose gold pendant lights to contrast the same in a seamless manner”.

Meaningful detailing also finds place throughout the home, besides efficient use of available space. The secondary bedroom features a bed by ALARA, carpet by Jaipur Rugs and lights by The White Teak Company; Photographs by Yash R Jain

Shades of grey enrich the secondary bedroom with a geometric paneled wall, acting as a neat backdrop to the upholstered bed. Grey painted wardrobe with a sliding cane panel ties the space together. Awash with a vintage demeanour, this clean and crisp family home is every bit as luxurious as it seems. 

If you liked this mid-century themed apartment, we bet you will love this home dipped in traditional architecture and Indo-Saracenic styles designed by Sunita Yogesh!