An old, 1,800-square-foot house in Bangalore is renovated by architect Reeti Jain and transformed into a contemporary home that’s quirky and fresh.
Seamless is the word that pops into your mind the moment you step into the Ramnane family residence, in a quiet, leafy nook of Bangalore’s plush locality of Koramangala. The owners wanted a signature home that represented them, their beliefs and personalities. Architect Reeti Jain possibly smiled to herself when she heard this brief. It was both liberating and specific as it gave her the freedom to design something modern, and unique within the framework of precise needs and limitations of the building costs and budget constraints.
“I firmly believe that design must pertain to the user,” says young Reeti, who was a perfect pick for the restaurateur couple. What emerged from the collaboration was a harmonious blend of modern finishes, clean lines, and painstaking detailing that runs through the course of each piece of custom-designed furniture and every corner of the house. Reeti also believes that form must follow function, hence there are no deviations from either the compact yet free-flowing form or the utility of specific spaces and the pieces of furniture that inhabit them.
Right from the entrance door with its four petal engraving, a peeping window and customized hardware, you know that the old structure has given away to a new life statement. The optimized space and the openness are a far cry from the original plan that had boxy rooms, pokey windows, aged flooring and old-fashioned, veneered wood work. The layout was opened and repositioned around living, private and utility spaces and every inch was put to use.
The living area celebrates pastel hues of olive, organic furnishings and uninhibited light. The walls are swathes of white restfulness, projected shelves accommodate well chosen artefacts and the flush storage units make the clutter disappear. A bar, a dining area and the kitchen form a melded whole. The bar unit is a quirky lacquered and hardwood composition with more than enough storage that makes it unobtrusive.
The entertainment room dominated by a Mediterranean blue wall is magnetic. This unique wall has a world map which holds the souvenirs and photographs from their travel escapades. Painted steel shelves accommodate further more collectibles. And the comfortable, custom-designed seats are perfect to sink into. The entertainment unit has ledges and storage drawers that tuck in sound systems and other paraphernalia. A built-in acrylic tray cleverly holds the remotes.
A walk up the stairs to the first floor reveals the children’s bedroom. It has Caribbean blue and green flashes on its furniture and an airy balcony that has been converted into a study zone. Reeti, who is fond of embossing signature touches on every storage accent, outdoes herself here by clearly demarcating each of the storage shutters with computer icons like USB, CD and Games. Even the window grills have playful details like clouds and butterflies. The wall-to-wall wardrobes have birds and inspirational quotes engraved upon them. Another fun element is the white laminated study top which can be scribbled upon and wiped clean.
In the reframed master bedroom, Reeti made the dressing unit invisible by fronting it with a mirror. The entertainment unit installed horizontally in the wall saves even more space. Built-in glass shelves, with removable rods hold bangles, while two removable acrylic boxes within the wooden counter accommodate cosmetics. The bed with storage boxes holds linen and other utilities. The lighting throughout the room, as in the rest of the house, is ambient as well as functional. Smart ideas, such as an open shelf within a modular chest of drawers, make the idea of a bedside table multi-functional. There is an ingeneous magazine-holder slit incorporated in the bed. Being right next to the side tables, it is convenient and accommodates reading material cleverly.
The erstwhile stairway with grill details is now an exquisite design flourish. A glass railing and black and yellow steps add character to the otherwise drab functional element. Near the landing, a blank wall is painted yellow and transformed into an altar with two wooden brackets and a shelf.
What the house is most of all is an intimate sanctuary with a soul and a mind, along with a certain discipline that manages the wear and tear and clutter of everyday living effortlessly. It is comforting without being frumpy and has character that is not impersonal but representative of the people who live in it.
To renovate an existing house in a manner that extends the area by incorporating the balconies and outdoors into the living space.
Living room Plum and olive linen, bright bohemian upholstery, polymer coating/half white lacquer on furniture, hard wood Dining room Mahogany dining table, lacquered hardwood. Crockery unit with a hardwood top that doubles up as a bar counter Kitchen Polymer coated shutters and green granite counter Family room Smoked wooden flooring, blue lacquer hardwood ledge, acrylic boxes, iron particle wall paint Staircase Granite treads and border tile ceramic risers Master bedroom PU-coated chest and side tables and smoked veneer Study room PU-coated study storage and TV unit, post CNC cutting and burl veneer on wardrobe
Location Bangalore Area 1,800 sq ft Core team Architect Reeti Jain Art Claynest Civil contractor Suresh Interior contractor Ajay Kumar Yadav
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