Evoking memories of a glorious past, Karan Darda Architects realises a childhood dream for his Pune based clients

MAR 3, 2023 | By Siddharth Babani
The living room is a welcoming space with a warm woody palette featuring a custom-made sofa and swing, a coffee table manufactured by Design Bee over an area rug from Rugberry; Photographs by Hemant Patil

Architects often contend with requests into conjuring up homes etched in the memories of their clients. Nostalgia is a bitter friend that does not let you move on, it does not let you take risks and reinvent oneself. In most cases that may be a limiting factor to the personal development but this home in Pune is a most fantastic recreation of childhood memories made honest by a deep rooted sensation of innocent longing.

Located in a village called Urawade, 30 kilometres from Pune city, this 2000 sq ft bungalow draws its inspiration from the ‘Wadas’ of old, traditional Maharashtrian homes which have evolved under the Marathas and Peshwas. Architect Karan Darda of Karan Darda Architects embraces the natural and traditional elements of brick, granite, teakwood and bamboo with a touch of the modern to create a most surreal escape to a bygone era.

The low set windows offer a panoramic view of the surroundings and shower the living room with natural light through handcrafted bamboo shades made by local artisans; Photographs by Hemant Patil

Taking the tour

The entry to the home is from the east through the veranda. Walking through the front door one notices the wonderfully laid out living and dining room in open plan and the gigantic wooden spiral staircase in the right hand corner a few paces in. The living room is awash with natural light coming in through the handcrafted bamboo shutters. The floor to ceiling teakwood windows allows for a transient connection to the outdoors almost allowing the environment to flow in expanding the room infinitely. 

The low mounted wooden bench runs against two of the walls in the living room. Inspired by the divan, the seating is decked with comfortable padding and cushions tailored in a cream fabric to compliment the lightly painted walls of the room. Sitting across the bench, the traditional ‘jhula’  too is crafted with similar finishes with veneer panelled cupboards lining the western wall behind the swing. The low lying furniture does an exceptional job of accentuating the height of space allowing the room around it to grow and breathe.

A beautifully crafted staircase gives way to the purpose built dining table and chairs from Design Bee; Photographs by Hemant Patil

Residing amongst the antique hardware, the revived switch panels and sitting under a singularly beautiful fan, the bespoke dining table and dark painted chairs adhere to the strict palette maintained throughout the room. Suggestive of a sculpture, the heavy but minimal staircase occupies a prominent corner of the room. Connecting the two levels of the home, the bold spiral staircase sits proudly within this home where most of its elements have receded into the overarching aesthetic devised by the architect. 

Simple veneer wall panelling in the bedrooms is all that is needed to carry forward the minimalist approach to the home; Photographs by Hemant Patil


With an eye for detail, the vintage switchboard is a nostalgic touch that adds to the old world charm of the traditional Maharashtrian home ; Photographs by Hemant Patil


The lovely reading nook looks out over lush green scenery at this reclusive Pune home; Photographs by Hemant Patil

The first floor consists of two bedrooms, one to the right above the bedroom on the ground floor and the other directly in front of the staircase. All three bedrooms have been thoughtfully crafted, following the minimal and meditative quality throughout the home with the wood panelling, wide windows, reading platforms and antique finishes. There was never a need for gratuitous ornamentation. The clean simple lines best reflect the qualities of the traditional Wada and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Ideas to bookmark

The rough and textured granite floor swimming through the rooms has a magnetic presence within its context and provides warmth and stature to the house. Aside, the stunning bespoke switch board harkens back to the past and is truly an implication of gleeful design lost to modernity.

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