Shrutika Raut orchestrates rustic symphony in a Pune home inspired by Van Gogh’s painting
JAN 9, 2024 | By Virender Singh
Whether it’s apples, milk bottles or a tangle of wilderness laden with nascent buds, the old European creatives conjured up vignettes that could easily be transmuted into architectural reality. Dream-clad in the languid tenor of a Provençal countryside, this three-bedroom Pune home gathers inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh’s post impressionist painting Butterflies and Poppies.
Captivated by its subtle warmth, principal architect Shrutika Raut of her eponymous firm srds | shrutika raut design studio deviated from the stereotype of contemporary abodes, instead bringing out an inimitable rusticity that tugs at your heart-strings.
“Looking at the painting, all I could take from it was the greens, the softness, the butterflies adding life to the painting, and the subtle warmth of the colours on the canvas. This was the starting point of our design process,” Shrutika muses.
Reclaimed teak roll-top desks, ornate porcelain dishes hung as wall art and a timber dado rail running along the perimeter of this 2,000 sq ft cove are marinated in the ephemerality of French cottage core. Nestled in the suburbia of Pimple Saudagar, this home titled Bloom and Berries underwent structural modifications, balancing the homeowner’s dichotomy between entertaining guests and retiring to a contemplative seclusion.
“Existing kitchen walls were taken down to expand the dining area,” reveals Raut. “The kitchen was then replaced by the study room (fourth bedroom), which created a nice separate corner.”
Blossoming in style
In accents of dark purple, black bean and vermillion, Shrutika Raut refracts a luscious colour palette that stands out with quaint intimacy against dark wooden tones of vintage decor sourced from local second hand markets in Mumbai.
This ‘Bloom and Berries’ theme rears its head first in the foyer, mauve panelling and a floral wallpaper simulating a baroque entrance. Sculpting natural light in moderate restraint, wooden louvred windows just above the eye level, ensure that the living room is drenched with a chiaroscuro of fickle shadows all day long.
A stepped reading alcove underlines the clerestory, introducing nuanced dimensions and a quaint aura of intimacy. One marvels at chessboard cement tiles from Bharat Floorings in shades of cherry mahogany that imbue a reassuring nostalgia, matched by lime-plaster walls and the chamois of a roughly-hewn ceiling. A motley crew of Ikea bamboo armchairs, antique standing lamps and a hand-painted console table evoke memories of pastoral elegance.
Transcending the ordinary
An extension of the living room itself, the dining area is laid out like a Vermeer-esque banquet, featuring an eight-seater dining table illuminated by thoughtfully curated pendants while artisanal ceramic tiles embedded in the walls perpetuate a foliated motif with 18th century Delft unconventionality. Breaking away from tradition, the kitchen embraces white GI windows with Georgian bars, a timeless aesthetic for modern energy-efficient homes.
“You can see how minute details like the ceramic sink, the curtain below the sink and square wall tiles complement each other while having their own distinctive features,” Raut elaborates. A crockery cabinet in bazaar pink, staid wooden shelves and a gleaming marble countertop exude an irresistible charm.
Where life and art intertwine
As we walk down a labyrinthine hallway, the first bedroom is flooded with yellow paint above the skirting board and a stippled butti wallpaper overarching the dado that reminds you of Rajasthani brocade.
Floreate hand-cast tiles of cement, a white wardrobe with fabric curtains, the metal frame bed and a strikingly damask escritoire harken back to the royal Dutch bungalow legacy. The next bedroom is far from basic, a pinstripe wallpaper enriched by century-old wall lights sourced from used furniture boutiques, while a rattan headboard piques visual intrigue.
“The wear and tear from the table, the roughness and squeaky sounds from the chair, the vintage picture frames all together create a nook of curiosity,” Raut illustrates. A cubist, almost holographic flooring revels in a mesmerising liveliness, the four-poster bed and organic upholstery keeping up an endearingly outmoded appearance in the master bedroom.
En rapport with the homeowner
The ‘Bloom and Berries’ philosophy underlying this home is rooted in the use of sustainable materials and indigenous techniques — operational louvred windows for thermoregulation, reclaimed teak and breathable lime plaster — embodying a narrative that rejects categorisation. This dwelling stands testament to a mellifluous blend of creativity, trust and a commitment to crafting spaces “where every corner tells a tale and every detail is an experience.”