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Grounded and centered, Joe Vadgama’s striking penthouse in Goa is the perfect spot for some serious downtime

FEB 25, 2021 | By Joe Vadgama
The penthouse features bespoke furniture by Vadgama Real Estate Developers, soft furnishings by Carolina Paez and a Maria Philipose artwork; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
View of the pool around dusk; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
Furniture by Vadgama Real Estate Developers, soft furnishings by Carolina Paez and an artwork by Maria Philipose is seen here; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
This lounge is located on the third level of the penthouse; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
Seen in the bar are a six-seater table by Vadgama Real Estate Developers, lights designed and made by Mahesh Pednekar, and artefacts curated by Carolina Paez from Assagao's Rangeela Fashions; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
The sun-lit bedroom features furniture by Vadgama Real Estate Developers, soft furnishings by Carolina Paez and natural stone flooring; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
The open bath is finished using matte-finished ceramic tiles and a bespoke drain grille; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj
The studio suite features a bed by Vadgama Real Estate Developers, a dressing area made of reclaimed timber, soft furnishings by Carolina Paez and a Maria Philipose artwork; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj

Roman architect Vitruvius defined the three principles of architecture as solidity, utility and beauty. I would like to add one more to the list—harmony. A prime example being my striking penthouse in Goa, which not only fulfils all three prerequisites of a Vitruvius-certified home but is also in acquiescence with its peaceful surrounding. 

I’d envisioned the home for a long time. Being its designer and builder myself, I had the freedom to plan it so. The bigger challenge, however, was to build around obstacles and find solutions to the hurdles along the way—that’s what’s this an exciting journey.

I turned this 1,000 sq ft space into a sleek, imaginative, non-fussy and fairly rustic home, using a distinct warehouse-style. Concrete, brick and steel are employed for an unfinished look that’s complemented by the many shades of grey. Since it is set on the banks of Goa’s Nerul river, the home’s fluidity is derived from the confluence of neat, straight lines. 

The flooring in the penthouse is created using natural stone; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj

The untouched location has inspired the toned-down palette of raw timber, wood and steel. The blend of light and concrete works well together. It not only adds style but also provides a sense of peaceful cleansing (almost like removing any hint of commotion). 

The hand-built kitchen comes with a bespoke stainless steel butler sink, granite worktops, roof panels, natural stone flooring, light fittings and furniture by Vadgama Real Estate Developers; Photographs by Prajwal Nagaraj

I’ve always used windows as a critical design element. In the case of this penthouse, they offer abundant access to breathtaking views of coconut treetops, verdant fields and spectacular sunsets. The most interesting as well as the most enjoyable aspect of this build was the kitchen window. The unique sash window opens horizontally upwards, using counterbalance weights to assist and relieve the overall weight of the window section.

The kitchen features interesting and unique materials. Unlike a modular flat-pack job, it is hand-built with doors textured for an aged-timber appeal. The drawer fronts are branded with text like in the markets of 1800s London. All the furniture is designed and made by hand onsite. The kitchen also features a double fridge freezer, gas oven, hob, water kettle, toaster and cutlery, all of which I’ve carefully selected myself.

The bedroom is spacious with an ensuite bathroom but the best part of this penthouse, especially for a guest, is, without doubt, the plunge pool. As you move to the terrace, bright pops of colour act as a pleasant surprise with breezy plants to complete the homely feel.

Coming to my principle of harmony—harmony with the environment holds up high for me. So, this home is environment-friendly and uses locally sourced materials and textiles. Our toiletries are organic and paraben-free; we use solar geysers and LED lighting. In fact, even some of the glassware in the bathroom is made from recycled beer bottles.

After growing up in London, I chose to settle in Goa and establish my company Vadgama Real Estate Developers here. (We’re now working on our third project here in Goa!) This penthouse is a reflection of my love for architecture and design.

Joe Vadgama’s penthouse is available for short-term leases on Airbnb. Click here for more information