Architect Dean D’Cruz’s expansive family home in Goa splendidly blends history and homeliness, enveloped in a cocoon of green
AUG 27, 2018 | By Mrudul Pathak Kundu and Nadezna Siganporia
Old-world charm The layout of the 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. Masonry repairs, woodwork, adding electricity, and converting the trellis summer rooms into bathing spaces were some crucial changes.
Original features like oyster shell windows and the 16ft-high false ceiling with decorative panels and painted murals were retained. The most impressive feature is the Spanish and Portuguese flooring that despite being over a century old, shows no sign of deterioration.
“The entrada (entry) door is made of genuine China mosaic of old crockery,” he says. Throughout the home tall doors and windows with pointed arches evoke a sense of gracefulness and the riveted metal work hearkens to the pre-welding days.
Treasure trove of memories Most of the furniture was bought by Dean’s parents, some sourced from antique shops and auctions at old Parsi homes. Heirlooms like a 100-year-old family piano, meeting table from Alice’s ancestral home, a large collection of books from their parents, and chairs from his grandmother’s Bombay house fill the expansive rooms.
“Our 14-seater dining table is Larsen and Turbo’s first boardroom table, a gift from Holk Larsen for whom my mother worked in the 1950s-60s. The home is an assemblage of memories of different friends. It was like keeping a memory of them back in India.”