Bold and artsy: this Chennai bungalow by Chestnut Storeys is one for the ages

FEB 27, 2024 | By Aanya Jain
The formal living room is quite truly the opposite of boring. Eclectic and layered with textures, one could spend hours in here. The artefacts are from HeritageBlend The Studio; Photography by Ishita Sitwala; Styled by Samir Wadekar
A custom sofa sits on a Jaipur Rugs carpet. The quirky lion yali was sourced from an antique store in Kerala. A series of artworks from Gallery Veda bring rhythm to the space; Photography by Ishita Sitwala
Within the frame of the arch sits the vibrant red dining table, perfectly customised for the space; Photography by Ishita Sitwala
Making a mark yet chic, is the bar area. Sauve in its grey and silver hues, it is the perfect juxtaposition of modern with vintage miniature Mughal artworks. In the foreground a Rekha Rodwittya painting brings the colour; Photography by Ishita Sitwala
In the son’s bedroom a suspended bed is the focus. A quirky artwork by Bandana Kumari brings the fun; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

Nestled among the who’s who of Chennai’s in the Boat Club area, this home is an art collector’s dream. Designed by Farah Agarwal of Chestnut Storeys for her own family, the standalone bungalow is modern yet vintage; intimate yet eclectic!  

When Farah came across this 7,000 sq ft bungalow appropriately titled ‘The Deco Haus’ she felt a sense of excitement, “Because of the challenging nature of how I would need to approach it in the sense of design without touching the bones of the structure.” Perfect for her family of four, the 50 year-old home was revitalised though unique, antique art pieces and bold colour schemes. 

Chestnut Storeys
In the formal living room, custom sofas add to the grandeur. Dotting the room are artefacts sourced from HeritageBlend The Studio that complement the artwork from Paresh Maity; Photography by Ishita Sitwala; Styled by Samir Wadekar


A carefully curated collection of art and furniture are grounded by a carpet from Jaipur Rugs; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

Not shy, on a high

Drawn to the wide spaces, vast lawn and terracotta ceilings, Farah knew this home would be the best fit for her family. A duplex, the residence is divided into entertaining areas and private areas, yet it is united through its themes. 

Chestnut Storeys
Light streams into this corner made pretty by Paresh Maity’s artwork; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

Enter into a foyer with the guest room beckoning on one side and the formal and informal living spaces extending an invitation on the other. Bold arches and commanding lines delineate the architectural landscape, weaving a consistent motif through every corner and curve of the home. 

A bust by artist Venkat Bothsa is the perfect addition to this corner of the formal living room; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

There is no shortage of artworks on the walls. Every corner has something to ponder upon, be it the regal presence of the yali lion in the informal living room or the captivating series of Mughal paintings beside the bar. With a predominant colour palette of greys, beige and tans, the living spaces were kept neutral. Tying in the colours from the artwork is the vibrant red dining table, separated from the informal living room by a strong arch.

Chestnut Storeys
The informal living room looks onto the dining room with elements of colour and texture tying together the adjacent spaces; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

On the upper floor, the private spaces were given even bolder pops of colour, highlighting the personality of each occupant. “I made a conscious effort toward retaining the terracotta ceilings and arches from the original layout,” explains Farah in order to keep the integrity of the bungalow. In the family room, a forest green wall forms the backdrop to images representing their travels across Asia.

Emerald green with accents of brown and tan, the colours embody the playful nature of the family room. Artwork by Bibhu Nath lines the walls and the playful bronze statue, sourced during the family’s trips through Asia, add to the theme. The Martaba jars have are an HeritageBlend The Studio find; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

Each of the three bedrooms is a testament to the occupants’ personalities. While the master bedroom shies away from the bold theme of the home, it is promising in the designers commitment to unique art pieces. The son’s bedroom is the perfect example of how impactful paint can be, radiating with an electrifying energy. The daughter’s bedroom is an antithesis to the son’s, yet draws back to the overarching theme of the home. 

Chestnut Storeys
In the master bedroom, a custom bed sits below a set of art pieces by Preetha Kannan and oversized wall lamps. The bedding is from Address Home; Photography by Ishita Sitwala


Following a contemporary Indian theme, the guest bedroom features a bed with classic lines and a headboard with pretty motifs. The bed is dressed with furnishings from Address Home and antique kavadis from HeritageBlend The Studio line the wall; Photography by Ishita Sitwala


Chestnut Storeys
In the son’s bedroom a suspended bed is the focus. A quirky artwork by Bandana Kumari brings the fun; Photography by Ishita Sitwala

A family rendezvous

The love and attention to detail poured into this residence is clear in the composition of spaces. No corner has too much or too little going on. Farah’s expertise in balancing elements has truly come through, and what better place to do it than her own home! “Designing a home for a family often comes with the difficulty of having to adapt multiple  requirements into one cohesive concept, so I always try to understand the nuances and needs of the family and strive to seamlessly work them into my model without much resistance,” Farah explains.

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