This 14,000 sq ft Alibaug farmhouse is the holiday escape of your dreams

SEP 11, 2018 | By Shobhan Kothari
(L-R) Left: Adjoining the master boudoir, the basin area has been treated as a corridor leading to the plunge pool. The patterned wall, Ego Stud mirror from Diesel Living with Moroso, stone bowl basin and artist’s console evoke the typical idyllic ambience of a farmhouse, while the white oak flooring, ceiling and aluminium brise soleil bring essential warmth; Right: Created as a space of solitude, this end of the same cantilevered kids’ area looks out onto the seasonal pond. The theme was nautical, which reflects in the selection of colour in the loungers as well as the frames that adorn the wall behind;The swimming pool is the heart of this expansive villa. To its right, the living pavilion is encased in glass, while the master bedroom wing sits atop the outdoor dining area. The brise soleil (aluminium screen with a wooden finish) forms a shield against harsh climatic conditions;The glass pavilion that houses the living/dining room addresses the pool on one side and is flanked by a court with a lawn and water body on the other. Its fabricated roof in wooden rafters and white hanging lights crown the muted interiors. The furniture is a mix of brands and designers like Hans Wegner, Macchiato, Charles & Ray Eames and some designed by ADND. Made from a single log of wood, the centre table complements the house’s rustic setting;Left: The entrance court with an aluminium screen door, is also a nice place to relax and read, with the pop coloured horse sculpture, batik printed frame, carved peg table and folding seater for company; Right: The alfresco dining area is the heart of entertainment. It abuts the pool bar on one side and a lawn on the other. All the furniture and lighting were sourced from China;Left: The children’s room with a custom bed and seating area, is actually a wooden box inside a glass container. Mahogany, wenge and walnut were sourced for the relief work; Right: Within the same space, the bath was designed with a skylight to let the sunshine in.

Anyone in this profession will tell you that a repeat customer is a feather in your cap. What’s even better is when one of them refers you in the midst of their project, to a potential new client. That’s how I got to know Nikhil Gupta – he contacted me, we met up and the rest was history. The twist in this tale though is that we never executed the project for the individual who referred our firm!

Coincidentally, Nikhil calls this farmhouse “C’est La Vie” – that’s life…which seems so apt. Alibaug is a complex hamlet to construct anything in especially in the torrential monsoon. But we managed to design this 14,000 sq ft estate reflective of the owners, Nikhil and his partner Karin’s open-hearted attitude and gregarious nature – the large, open, fluid and transparent spaces celebrate the idea of natural landscape interspersed with built form.

Blue Green Oasis: When we met the couple they mentioned how they wanted the pool to be the focal point, owing to their love for water. Another key comment was the need for areas that would bathe in sunlight. They were easily leaning towards a modern tropical villa with hints of South-East Asian styles. A site blessed with vegetation and a seasonal lake provided the perfect setting for this holiday home. At the entrance, a cluster of trees provides a grand canopied entry, while also creating the necessary buffer from the main street. The driveway snakes its way past the greenery to the arrival court where you are received by a curved stone wall. The villa unfolds from here.

The Grand Scheme: The house has been designed in different clusters of programs, held together with a sturdy circulation spine. The living/dining pavilion in glass has a deck extension onto the central pool on one side and private lawn on the other, bound by the curved stone wall at the entrance. This court is further enhanced by a water body fed by a gargoyle that emerges from the partition. At the pool’s far end is the Jacuzzi and sunken seating which overlooks the main lawn with the tennis court at one end of the property. Opposite the living zone, the guest area has four bedrooms with attached baths. The bar and outdoor dining zone flank one end of the pool while three water spouts edge the other. Directly above this space is the master bedroom that comes with a plunge pool facing `the lake, created as a “getaway” for the clients. Our favourite corner though, is the children’s room – a “box within a box” cantilevered on a singular large column. The far end of this chamber has two blue chairs that face the pond, making for an idyllic setting.

Sensible & Sensitive Choices: Designing second homes is about creating a micro-environment if the vantage views are missing. Also, the idea of the served as well as service spaces being segregated is key. Our process is about offering moments, elemental and episodically unfolding. The circulation and zones between functions follow a sequence of activity. The furniture has been kept aesthetically appealing but practical, while strongly emphasising on minimum maintenance. Surfaces also withstand the severity of the climate. The use of natural stone and wood, LED lighting and abundance of landscape allows the bungalow to be endorsed as eco-friendly.