Tanushri Dalmiya combines craft with conscious design and resurrects this Chennai home for a young couple
SEP 14, 2021 | By Kashish Kaushal
In Alwarpet, a quiet leafy neighbourhood of Chennai, the Anya residence is a home for a young couple that harnesses natural light and space to create visual impact. In the hot and humid Chennai climate, greenery played a pivotal role as the house had ample scope for landscaping on all sides.
The brief for founder and principal architect Tanushri Dalmiya of Vayam, was straightforward—this 45 years old, 4300 sq ft residence was to be refurbished as a temporary abode, bringing down walls to create large spaces. From a five bedroom bungalow into a three bedroom home, the residence bathes in daylight with ample verdure.
“The interior walls were brought down strategically to allow for continuous movement between the living, family and dining areas with all three spaces opening outdoors to a shaded verandah. It was a conscious decision to avoid using any curtains and allow generous amounts of natural light to filter through the verandah into the space”, reveals Dalmiya.
A socially responsible and relevant house, it is deeply rooted in a tropical context while treading gently on planet Earth. Not only did this drive the design process, but it also guided team Vayam to judiciously pick all the materials. The clients themselves being owners of a conscious lifestyle brand resonated with the theme and echoed with their vision. Thus, natural materials, local crafts, upcycled saree upholsteries and lime plastered surfaces were embedded in the material palette.
Revealing more about her thought process, Dalmiya says, “I recall screening through innumerable rugs, to ensure none used viscose or polyester which are highly chemical intensive processes. The home embodies the essence of sustainability and stands as an ode to natural materials in design”.
Surrounded by pristine verdure, a six ft large urli welcomes visitors at the threshold of this Chennai home. Brimming with marigold and reflecting the petals of little lotus light fixtures handcrafted in banana fibre paper, the bronze sculpture evokes a sense of nostalgia, attached to a traditional South Indian home. Elevating this feeling and bringing back memories of childhood are familiar colours and shapes of Channapatna toys only disguised as the weights of a modern console. To the left of the urli, the welcome continues through a formal living space adorned with Tanjore Paintings and dressed with a large rug, twisted and knotted with banana fibre ropes.
Delving deeper into the house, a more intimate family area is flanked by a verandah on the west which is shared by the living area, a show kitchen in the north and the dining area in the east.
The remarkable aspect of this space is that all of it is defined merely by furniture in what is otherwise an open floor plan, and a change in the flooring from Kota to carbon tiles and athangudi tiles. Between the show kitchen and dining, a small passageway leads to the kitchen, puja and guest room.
The staircase beside the dining area opens into a large study—the most utilised space of the home. It doubles up as a home theatre in the evening. Thus, the furniture designed for the space not only bears in mind the working habits of both the users but also allows for a comfortable lounging experience.
The primary bedroom opens up to an intimate terrace that is shared by the study, clad in athangudi tiles, drifting away from the rest of the floor plan which is clad in wood.
Right from hard furniture, to soft furnishings, each component of the home (barring the sanitary fixtures) is 100% handmade in India, boasting of sustainable but affordable luxury and bearing testimony to Indian handicrafts and expertise—unfolding in a manner that is both experimental and innovative.
If this home leaves you spellbound, make sure you check out this palatial bungalow in Vadodara, designed by K.N.Associates!