This 14,000 sq ft Alibaug farmhouse is the holiday escape of your dreams
SEP 11, 2018 | By Shobhan Kothari
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.