Architect Dean D’cruz’s expansive family home in Goa is a splendid blend of history and homeliness, enveloped in a cocoon of green

AUG 27, 2018 | By Mrudul Pathak Kundu and Nadezna Siganporia
The main verandah that leads you into the home features columns made from a single piece of Burma teak with solid wood trellis railings and Spanish Portuguese tiles that are as old as the structure; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
The master bedroom features a Rime of the Ancient Mariner themed mural, a floral pattern on the ceiling and cement paint flooring. An eclectic collection of furniture like the antique bed and writing table from their families, a sofa from an old Parsi home and a Chinese side table; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
The main living room holds many family memories including Dean and Alice’s wedding reception which took place here. French doors with pointed arches open out to the wrap around verandah. Pieces like a 100 year old family piano, Dean’s father’s desk and a meeting table from Alice’s ancestral home lend character to the space; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
Located in a peaceful corner of Saligao, Goa is the sprawling 8,600 sq ft, Portuguese style villa with its beautifully restored 105 year old architecture. Dean D’cruz of Mozaic Architecture and his wife Alice, an English professor, lovingly call this home Villa Rosa Cruz.
Another angle of the main living room showcases a large painting of a beggar on the streets of Panjim by their daughter and an antique record player that the family still uses to play their envious collection of records. The painted mural along the ceiling is of Thumbelina riding the frog; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
Old World Charm The layout of their home is typical of large Goan houses. An impressive staircase leads to wrap around balconies and an entrance foyer with two living rooms on either side. Beyond this is a long multipurpose room which doubles up as a dining and family space. “A unique feature seen in the front of this house is the balcao (a porch) that overlooks a courtyard garden and allows for interaction with the outdoors. The main bedrooms give a view of the verdant greenery through generous corner verandas,” Dean explains.
True To Its Roots Dean’s creations exalt local architecture and materials. He ferociously advocates sustainability and green structures. It comes as no surprise that very few alterations were made to their home. My career over the past 25 years as a diplomat has allowed me to explore exotic, culturally rich countries. I was based for two to three years at a time in Jakarta, Kuwait, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Cairo, Beijing, and now in New Delhi. I wanted my home to reflect the traditions and aesthetic heritage of diverse cultures in which I’ve had the pleasure of being immersed. I have been able to travel, document by photography, and bring home art, handicrafts and objets d’art which serendipity helped me find. I feel a sense of real pleasure when forms, shapes and patterns somehow connect in objects and furnishings which were purchased years apart, from different corners of the world.
The long dining hall has a Jacobean set, the L&T boardroom table and a contemporary Scandinavian table. An old light from The Bombay House illuminates one corner and a ship’s bell has been repurposed into a dinner gong; Photographs by Fabien Charuau

Each time I start an assignment at a new location, I relish with excitement the opportunity to create over the first month or two of settling in a new living space using my furnishings and artefacts in different juxtapositions, new colour schemes for walls, and new finds during my time in that country. Anchored by my usual preference for a muted palette such as charcoal, dove grey, ecru or taupe, over the years my aesthetic is usually to showcase art objects and let the eye wander. I have a penchant for sculptures and three-dimensional objects rather than art hanging on walls.

The smaller of the two living rooms doubles as a library, boasting a large collection of books from Dean’s mother and his wife Alice’s father. A mural themed on The Secret Garden runs along the wall, while curvilinear patterns adorn the 16ft high ceiling. Old family photographs, an antique chandelier, bookshelves from the old Saligao Club and seating from Dean’s grandmother’s Bombay home fill up this cosy space; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
The furniture, much of which I designed myself, tends to be contemporary in lines and minimalist in shape, while the objects I am attracted to are usually extravagant, ethnic and evocative with respect to the story and history of that culture which is suggested from the appearance and patina. During these past three years in India, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hunting for period pieces which represent the rich and ornate artisan traditions for which the country is renowned. From an antique pillar from Gujarat to temple chariot panels from Kerala, to bracelets from Orissa and half-completed sketches for miniature Moghul paintings from Rajasthan, not only has my decor collection been enriched, but my travels and vivid memories from my time here have left their indelible marks as life experiences.
Scroll below for more images!
In one corner of the wrap around verandah is antique furniture from Dean’s grandmother’s Bombay home; Photographs by Fabien Charuau


The step out between the old living area and the verandah showcases restored, old Spanish Portuguese tiles that feature varied patterns and add charm to the home; Photographs by Fabien Charuau


Typical of old Goan homes, the oyster shell windows allow privacy and bring in ample light; Photographs by Fabien Charuau