This modern-boheme themed villa in Goa is one from a utopian world

SEP 18, 2018 | By Jagvir Matharoo
(L-R) Left: The tea corner in the living room comes alive with colour and patterns from the refurbished screen, chairs from Flame and Portuguese chest with carved mirrors from Jodhpur. On the Art Deco rosewood table sits a dainty tea set in silver; Right: Facing the dining section of the open-plan kitchen is a wall with prints by Raja Ravi Varma. Below the frames sits a typical Portuguese console from the ’30s and an Art Nouveau lamp from Antwerp with a graphic printed Freedom Tree shade. In the centre, the refurbished mid-century dining table and cane back chairs help maintain the easygoing air of this space. On the table rests a pepper grinder shaped like the Television Tower in Berlin;The look of the master bedroom is an ode to the owners’ “collective aesthetic” – from the antique ‘20s wardrobe bought from Kolkata and the brass platter resting on the window sill from Jaipur, to the marble-top Art Nouveau tables and Kartell acrylic lamps. The glass cookie jar holding banana leaves works as a nice makeshift vase, while the vintage Suzani bed throw and cushion covers from Flame fill the room with texture and colour;Left: The summer patio just outside the living room, propped with a custom seater, cushions from Flame, thrifted rug and a classic Portuguese wooden folding chair. While the vintage divider enhances this corner’s intimacy, the Moroccan tray table, tea glasses and hand-painted teapot make it a little more idyllic; Right: On the exposed brick wall hang iconic Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma’s prints and an antique Belgian mirror. Steel lamps stand on either side of the console that used to be a display unit for selling bangles. Under the ceiling lamp from Morocco lie mid-century cane back benches and teapoy with refurbished marble top, resting on Fabindia dhurries.

A house can become a home, if it is a reflection and extension of the owner’s personal style. Martino and I have always been in love with nostalgia. We both have been collectors of antiques and curiosities for some time now. The transformation of a found object in a curated atmosphere is almost unbelievable. Every piece strings a story to the making of an abode.

For us, it is always a work in progress…adding and subtracting as we move into various stages in our personal growth of style and aesthetics. An escape from the consuming life in Germany brought Martino to Goa about eight years back. Having met him in Mumbai, with almost identical ideologies and to live a more sustainable and resourceful life, I soon followed in his footsteps. Since we both came from similar design backgrounds it was natural for us to collaborate and develop Flame, the fashion and lifestyle label that Martino had started in Goa. We used to live in a larger Portuguese bungalow, which had a studio within.

The need for a detached atelier and a private abode brought us to our current space. Its oldest section is roughly 200 years old and the newer structure underwent a few modifications over the last decade. Overall, it measures about 2,500 sq ft, the layout and architecture almost traditional Portuguese. A summer patio opens up to a large living room. A narrow passage leads you to the open-plan kitchen, one of the most important areas. Since the guest bedrooms and the master boudoir all open up to the cookroom, we consider this space as the heart of our home. From monsoon evenings to balmy summer nights, the refurbished ’50s dining table has witnessed many conversations. Large Portuguese windows open up to lush trees outside. And with Martino being a passionate cook, we end up preparing food from a lot of the locally sourced produce. To deal with the wet waste, we created a compost pit in our backyard, which in turn gives us manure. This is our small contribution towards reducing our carbon footprint.

We both love to travel so it’s very difficult to put one particular style or genre to our aesthetic. “Modern boheme” comes closest. A mix of the ’20s oriental and the post colonial ’50s is what we gravitate towards always. I love the clean lines of Art Deco and post modern periods, while Martino has a strong south Italian heritage with an ardent traveller’s eye. Our villa encompasses things purchased over a period of time, from flea markets in Mumbai, Goa and Jodhpur. Some were bought and remodelled to our requirements while others fit just as they are…like the brass trays converted into tea tables.
Since this is an open planned space, the challenging part was to be able to create intimate areas. Vintage dividers were used to lend a sense of warmth and privacy. To tackle the lack of daylight in one of the middle rooms, a high glass door was installed in the guestroom. This also made the layout more fluid and transcendent in a way, where one room flows into the other.
For us, home is where we walk in and become a cohesive part of it. From the walls to the chairs, each and every aspect of this place has had a story that we have shared together