Dotted with heirloom pieces and nostalgia is this Chennai home by Vaishali Srinivasan of 85:15
DEC 13, 2021 | By Twinkle Tolani
Simple and straightforward, this home in Anna Nagar in Chennai has a predominant ‘70s feel with a modern and tropical underline. Vaishali Srinivasan, founder and principal architect of 85:15, has astutely given a new identity to this 3000 sq ft apartment.
Inhabited by three generations of a family, finding a designer whose style matched their preferred aesthetic was crucial. “Our discussions revolved around creating spaces that have individuality yet blend well together when seen as one. We were asked to create a space that is thoughtful, easy to maintain and warm,” informs Srinivasan.
A lime plaster wall in a shade of green invites visitors into the living room as they enter. On the opposing side, a TV unit fashioned of an unpolished 14-feet long Kadappa top and wood and cane storage cabinets adds warmth. A cane sofa with floral upholstery poses a stunning contradiction.
A two-seater swing, a reclaimed bookshelf and two antique rosewood chairs, which were sourced from Pondicherry, encapsulate the living room space. Elements like an antique window sourced from Rajasthan, a marble top centre table and a ceiling-hung subtly introduce nostalgia to the space.
“We loved designing the living room the most. The lime plaster for the accent wall was narrowed down after sampling almost ten different shades across 30 days. We learnt so much about the material—the way it reacts to light and air and the weather in this process”, reveals Vaishali Srinivasan.
A teakwood and concrete arch leads to the reading lounge bracketed by two heirloom storage units. Two fun yet practical chairs and a wooden bench pave the way to a rustic aesthetic. Large, louvred Pondicherry windows looking onto the common garden add authenticity.
“Our favourite feature of the home has to be the louvred windows borrowed from the heritage buildings of Pondicherry. The carpenter’s hand made the windows on site from reclaimed teak, and it completely changed the mood of the entire house when they were installed. They filter daylight into the house so wonderfully. It brings in the old world charm we wanted the space to have”, gushes Srinivasan.
A standard 6-seater made of rosewood and cane dating back to almost 70 years graces the dining area, where a wall is divided into individual sections for refrigerator, pooja unit and storage for cutlery. To the left, the kitchen and utility stand is modern and organised. All appliances, including an extra built-in refrigerator, are built-in that contributes to a generous work area.
In the vicinity, the grandparent’s room adopts steadfast mechanisms like easy to use sliding doors for the wardrobes, which lock automatically with a slight push. Brass highlights in checked patterns on the wardrobe shutter are mimicked on the headboard too.
A long passage across the grandparent’s room leads to the other two bedrooms. In the son’s bedroom, wallpaper from the Nicobar X Nilaya Collection sets the mood. Cement shelves juxtaposed with dark wood impart a juvenile touch.
Srinivasan makes known, “There were technical challenges with the cement wardrobe with the teak shelves in the son’s bedroom, concerning cracks and finishes that were resolved through various permutations and combinations.”
Louvred windows, a lowered cot and a fabric sandwiched glass door leading to the walk-in wardrobe make for the defining elements in the primary bedroom. A free-standing long mirror and a rocking chair perfectly complement the green lime plaster wall.
Although the home oozes the laid-back style of the French Heritage town of Pondicherry, each object has a story of its own. “We explored parts of Pondicherry, sourced furniture from Jaipur and lights from Bangalore, including restoring the dining table set we stumbled upon in an antique store. We wanted to blend antiques with modern functional objects, and we did!”, finishes Srinivasan.
If you enjoyed touring this picture-perfect heirloom home, do check out Ravi Machani’s Svasa Homes where South Indian heritage meets modern luxury