Take a tour of Stapati founder Tony Joseph’s home in Kozhikode
FEB 24, 2020 | By Anamika Butalia and Pinky Akola
The drive up to the hilltop Montana Estates, just 23 minutes from Kozhikode city centre, presents a winding landscape with several arterial routes. One of which leads straight to the doorstep of celebrated architect Tony Joseph. Everyone in town seems familiar with him and the home he’s lived in for just over a year. (“Oh, Tony sir’s house,” our driver said, not needing the address.)
Yet Joseph wears his renown lightly, is one of the most down-to-earth creatives we’ve met, and is truly comfortable in his skin. Not surprisingly, his spacious 7,000 sq ft home reflects exactly that. Joseph and his wife Sonia’s three storeyed home Yahvi is a treasure trove of memories and possessions, prized for the emotive value they hold.
Nestled on the left of the main entrance is a family room, where furnishings are arranged to house tens of photographs of the entire family, each signifying an important moment of accomplishment or happiness. A little past the cushy couches in this space, shelves hold a number of worn out tomes that conjure images of being thumbed through and re-read by the couple and their two daughters. This lived in appeal continues across all levels.
Artworks accompany one’s ascent to the first floor landing, which opens on the right to a breezy living room and a concealed guest bedroom, and on the left to a chic dining area, bar and kitchen. A 180 degree turn from this spot immediately opens out to an outdoor deck and plunge pool that’s surrounded by greens.
“The entire hilltop was barren when we first began to build. Every single tree and shrub has been transplanted here to create this verdant cover. The level above is the highest point on the hill and you get a good view from each of the three bedrooms. Yet you’ll always find us outside on the deck,” says Joseph.
Accessed through the sliding glass windows and doors that encase the structure, the outdoor area is a haven for quiet contemplation. We sit down here for a chat and without warning, the sun hides behind dark clouds and the northeasterly monsoon pelts down on us. “With such weather, living here is like taking a vacation every evening,” says Joseph.
His comment brings a vision of holiday homes in Kerala’s rubber plantations to mind. And why not, for all the timber used in the house—the carved segments at the back of the bar, room partitions as well as the stairway—is sourced from the John Bosco home in nearby Pathampuram, which was especially bought by Joseph for this purpose. Sonia adds, “Considering our lineage traces back to rubber plantations in the state, it feels like we’ve brought a piece of our heritage into this home.”
Aside from wood, the home features white oxide walls, left bare for a wabi-sabi appeal, and most of the furniture and art have been with the family for 30 years. The idea behind it all, Joseph says simply, was to “create a space that’s comfortable and livable, not one that makes us think twice about whether to place our feet on the coffee table or use a coaster for a glass. In fact, our dining table, which is paired with custom chairs, is built to be sturdy enough that 10 people can dance on it. We even tested it”.
We imagine an evening with family members hyped up and dancing atop the table but it’s hard to wrap our heads around it. Instead, we relax in Joseph’s seemingly nonchalant yet thoughtfully planned design. The house perched on the hill creates a dreamy setting of wide open spaces, earthy materials and tranquillity. Around dusk, with jazz music playing in the background, Yahvi proves—just as the name suggests—to be the point where heaven and earth meet.