Designer Cathy Blundell’s 18th century stunning Jodhpur home is an evocative play of textures

JAN 8, 2019 | By Sonia Dutt and Cathy Blundell
Set against a large champa tree, teak bed with yellow cotton covered mattresses by CRN Design Studio and classic wood carved daybed bask in the sun; Photographs by Amit Mehra
Partial view of the mansion’s back facade, with intricate carvings; Photographs by Amit Mehra
The distressed grey teak, master bed is covered with linen custom made by Rasa Jaipur. The natural teak cupboards complete with private bar, are panelled with mirrors. While the linen curtains were sourced from Synergy in Mumbai, the antique carpet is from Marrakech; Photographs by Amit Mehra
The living room in the guest wing accommodates tribal pieces collected by the homeowners for over  20 years. These are set on specially created teak and iron shelving. The seating area is made up of chairs upholstered in silk and cotton, propped with cushions from Via Jodhpur, a Jaisalmer stone bowl on the Thakat table and a locally sourced Gujarat horse figurine; Photographs by Amit Mehra

Cathy Blundell, founder of Soul Source India, shares the story of how a number of changes and additions have transformed Sukh Sagar haveli into a covetable home. 

I remember the first time my then-husband Roberto Nieddu and I drove into Sukh Sagar haveli, a Rajasthani style structure with old neem trees dotted around the arid land. We knew immediately that it was destined to be ours.

The haveli dates back to the middle of the 18th century and is situated near a lake and was primarily used as a hunting lodge for family and distinguished guests. The building had been vacant for 40 years and the two-acre land around it was being farmed by its loyal caretakers. As designers, this was the perfect project for us to create a modern, comfortable living environment, in keeping with the mansion’s traditional style.

Teak furniture by CRN Design Studio and vintage cushions from Marrakech make up the poolside seating area. The arched gateway, seen at the back, opens into the haveli grounds; Photographs by Amit Mehra

Organic divisions
The stables were renovated first, so we could live on the property till it was time to give the place its new life. In this phase, we planned the master boudoir, our daughter Bianca’s room, a living/dining space and an expansive kitchen. The pool area was created outside the bedroom where the water well used to be—we wanted to ensure we could spend time outside whenever the weather allowed and enjoy the gardens.

This tea table is dressed using white linen that belonged to Cathy’s grandmother, a runner made from old silk saris, Royal Doulton china teacups, a vintage sterling silver tea set, Moroccan glasses from Good Earth, a locally sourced horse bust and an iron candle stand from CRN Design Studio; Photographs by Amit Mehra

Keeping with the Mughal architecture, the family wing is on the other side of the main entrance, where we designed three guest suites and a few more living spaces. For the entryway, stone carvers worked onsite on the intricate sandstone pillars and arches for eight months. It took about 80 people to install the heavy 21 ft, iron and recycled teak doors. Behind the visitor wing, the vegetable garden gives us fresh produce throughout winter.

A cosy room  where guests are entertained using furniture by CRN Design Studio and a combination of vintage Indian and Turkish cushions. On the wall is an old Chinese painting of a maharaja from Gujarat, circa 1900; Photographs by Amit Mehra

Self extensions
At the time of building, there was not much available in Jodhpur, which forced us to be creative and make everything ourselves. For the interiors, all the furniture was done by our company CRN Design Studio. We have been collecting antiques in this city for over 20 years and have created the perfect place to display them. Every living corner is sprinkled with something old as well as new…I guess you could say this is our signature style. Our home has become a wonderful way to demonstrate our aesthetic and showcase our architectural and interior design expertise.

Scroll below for more images from this haveli-turned-home in Jodhpur belonging to Cathy Blundell and Roberto Nieddu… 

This bathroom features black stone counter tops, whitewashed wooden cabinets, soft taupe walls and custom made marble sinks; Photographs by Amit Mehra


A wall of artefacts includes an old Burmese Buddha and a wooden sculpture from Madhya Pradesh, among other collectibles. On the table are Royal Doulton china plates, antique Canadian pressed water glasses and Georgian Plain sterling silverware on the indigo block printed tablecloth; Photographs by Amit Mehra


A 15 ft-long colonial wooden unit is flanked by chairs upholstered in kantha by CRN Design Studio. The wall shelves are made with a carved stone panel, while the vintage brass candlesticks were bought in southern India; Photographs by Amit Mehra


Section of an old carved teak beam from Bikaner with traditional lacquer moulding; Photographs by Amit Mehra


This grand room, which was originally used to host musicians and dancers for entertainment, features a double-storeyed ceiling. Ring chairs with jaali designs echo the old stone frameworks above the pillars. In the centre of the circa 1900 Thakat table are antique brass candlestands from southern India in a wooden Nagaland trough. Also seen are a Persian carpet from Europe and a baby grand piano gifted by renowned Spanish flamenco pianist Chano Dominguez; Photographs by Amit Mehra