Studio Praia curates an enticing premise for a lazy summer day at Villa Kanai in Goa

APR 28, 2022 | By Twinkle Tolani
The dining area of Villa Kanai features a restored bar unit sourced from a local Goan antique store that juxtaposes against the smooth finished dining chairs from Freedom Tree and the demure Windows of Goa photograph series by Anthea Saldanha and Rochelle Santimano; Photographs by Fabian Franco
The living area, dining area and open kitchen flow into one another and bind the easy-going Goan life narrative. The dining table and bench crafted by an in-house carpenter; Photographs by Fabian Franco
A covered gazebo in the verandah makes for an intimate family setting with cane furniture and greenery taking the experience a step further; Photographs by Fabian Franco
The banana fibre pendant lamp from Oorjaa and Terrazzo tabletop is made from recycled Kingfisher beer bottles from Jyamiti & Sea formulating a texturally rich design in the living room; Photographs by Fabian Franco
In the guest bedroom, a distressed bed from a local Goan antique store and art by Richa Kashelkar that depicts the idyllic life in the region foster a tranquil spirit; Photographs by Fabian Franco

Whether you soak in the beach waters in Goa or not, being drenched in the state’s Indo-Portuguese architecture, culture and cuisine, is a given. Oozing this signature Goan charm with contemporary finesse is Villa Kanai in North Goa designed by Rochelle Santimano, Principal Architect of Studio Praia

The 3,000 sq ft home built by real estate developer, Faria Holdings, is huddled amongst ripened-with-time Goan homes and foliage of the Arpora village. It serves as a home away from home for the dwellers, the Bhatia family. 

The effortless coming together of this distinctive, nonchalant aesthetic can be accredited to the firm being local and understanding the nitty-gritty of the vernacular style. But, more than that, it is Rochelle’s triumph in subtly imbuing elegance through nuanced chic interventions that have brought the project its glory. 

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A distressed wooden floor lamp from a local Goan antique store, brass antiques and potted plants speak of a rustic yet contemporary aesthetic in the living area; Photographs by Fabian Franco

Pronounced by a typical collonaded verandah, the main door opens into a passageway lined in marine printed tiles, making for a cosy welcome. With a glimpse of the roomy living area at its far end and the staircase alcove and rooms on either side, the passageway forms the central spine of the home. 

The immediate attendance of the home’s primary spaces with one just one foot inside unarms and intrigues simultaneously.  

A Sea Urchin pendant lamp from Oorja adds a dash of panache along with lumination to the passage of Villa Kanai; Photographs by Fabian Franco

A light-stained wooden console and tall, distressed pots emanate rustic vibes right from the foyer. Down the passage, one door opens into the guest bedroom, and another leads to the staff quarter. The latter can be accessed from outside the home as well.

The lounge sports a distressed antique study table restored and refurbished from a local antique store and a brass table lamp from Fabindia; Photographs by Fabian Franco

Once further past the flight of stairs and a nook housing the powder room, a simple arch frames ample space constituting a living room, dining area and an open kitchen. Wood and glass panelled doors provide a peek of the adjoining verandah and pool. 

The Rotação Armchair from Claro is paired with palm fibre and cane wall decor from Nicobar and Rangeela in the primary bedroom. A planter from Flame Store and granule rug from Rugberry further accessorise the setting; Photographs by Fabian Franco

The playfulness of the ivory cement tiles peppered with marine blue and olive geometric patterns accompanies the sophistication of plush fabrics and light-flooded interiors in the family area.

A set of three arched mirrors emphasise and contextualise the tropical greenery of the verandah outside. Next to it, in a niche, a minimal library inspires quietude.

Beneath the warm light of a banana fibre pendant lamp from Oorja cushion covers from Nicobar and decor accessories from Rangeela, Ikea, and local Goan antique stores come together to create a cosy reading nook; Photographs by Fabian Franco

With the outside making its presence felt inside, a gazebo by the pool, where the family happens to spend a considerable amount of time poses as a semi-covered living area and mitigates the remaining distinction between the outdoor and indoor.

The sleekness of the wooden staircase and iron balustrades is playfully contrasted with a green wall and old-school wooden framed window; Photographs by Fabian Franco

The primary bedroom and second guest bedroom on the floor above share a balcony overlooking the pool. The fourth and final bedroom is a miscellaneous room, which can accommodate work, exercise or leisure.

Throughout the home, shades of blue and green borrowed from the home’s surroundings, like olive, indigo and teal are balanced with the modern sensibility of cool greys and soft whites. 

In the primary bedroom, a charcoal black four-poster bed crafted by Studio Praia’s in-house carpenter and a hand-tufted rug made from recycled plastic bottles from Rugberry imbue a contemporary outlook; Photographs by Fabian Franco


Ikat lamps from Fabindia in the primary bedroom rub off the rustic charm in the space; Photographs by Fabian Franco

The rugged texture and tone of wooden elements present a delightful contrast with smooth cement finishes. A case in point is the Kotah stone flooring and cane furniture of the gazebo.

The metal planter from Rangeela and grey cement oxide walls are the defining features of the second guest bedroom; Photographs by Fabian Franco

Alongside the building finishes, the furniture also plays a pivotal role in delivering a rooted yet relevant output. “While most of the furniture was either made by our team of carpenters or sourced from furniture stores across the country, we have also included antique furniture pieces restored from old Goan residences.

Even the art is carefully curated to enhance the overall ‘susegaad’ feel,” reveals Rochelle. 

In the powder room, a mirror from Syed Abbas steals the show. A former sewing machine table repurposed as a basin counter base and striped marine blue & white cement tiles provide a source of vividity in the space; Photographs by Fabian Franco


Cushion covers from AA Living and Nicobar and a tropical wall mural by artist Rudranee Chiman render the miscellaneous room colourful; Photographs by Fabian Franco


The living area is flanked by a generous verandah and a pool. The space adds a contextual twist to the project; Photographs by Fabian Franco

For a quotient of quirk, each space in the home has a different patterned floor, but the patterns came from the shortlisted colour palette to avoid going overboard. The thoroughly calculated design decisions and well-executed details of the home imbue an earnest flair in its design. 

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