Sylvan Charm

Designed by Dipen Gada and Associates, this farmhouse near Baroda is a sprawling haven that basks in the glory of nature.


A rustic feel is generated as the structure, constructed from exposed brick and with a sloping roof, stands against the kota cobblestone paving and sprawling greens.

A leisure house on the outskirts of Baroda, designed by Dipen Gada and Associates (DGA), creates an ambience of indulgence with its rustic appeal. Nestled in a rural landscape, this 3,000-square-foot farmhouse is sited on a 1,00,000-square-foot plot, and enjoys breathtaking views of the landscape.

The Patels, who wished for a home where the entire family could enjoy the quiet beauty of nature away from the hustle of the city, approached Dipen for his neat, elegant works. Other than this requirement, the architect enjoyed a free hand to conceptualize and implement his ideas. Seizing the opportunity, Dipen decided to steer clear of short-lived voguish design and craft a timeless structure — an amalgamation of smart architecture, interiors and landscaping. The firm drew inspiration from the rural setting and decided to use natural materials that would be in sync with the pastoral and earthy spirit. Therefore, the entire house, which is primarily planned on a grid of 14 ft x 18 ft, is constructed with exposed brick walls.

The central courtyard is graced by a planter surrounded by a water body. The azure tile, used in the china mosaic of the water body, reflects the blue of the sky.

A long driveway flanked by rows of trees leads up to the single-storey structure with a centrally ridged, slanting roof that is treated with polished, rough wooden planks that sport a rafter-like appearance. Near the entrance lies a large open area, paved with cobblestones. Incorporated into this space and detached from the main house, is the prayer room, which can be accessed by a path lined with bottle palms. With glass-white marble flooring and white walls, this spiritual oasis has a serene environment ideal for meditation and prayer. The idol is placed against a beautiful hand-carved wooden panel with matching jaali panels that serve as shutters for the windows.

The arched main door with panelled wooden shutters marks the transition from outdoors to indoors, a change further emphasized by a switch in flooring material. While the porch is paved with Indian stones such as mandana and irregular rough kota with pebbles at the joints, the foyer revels in the warm beauty of polished jaisalmer. Here, an inlay of terrazzo harks back to work seen in old manor houses.

The living room has river-polished kota stone flooring, a rough wood-panelled ceiling and kitsch cushions — which add a splash of colour to the lively space.

A vestibule connects the entrance to the living room. The latter, an elegant space, offers panoramic views of the sprawling garden and pool area. Soft furnishings in an eclectic mix of bright blues, oranges and pinks, add a dash of vivacity. The ambience is welcoming without being over-the-top.

The central courtyard is the heart of activity in the house. It acts as a transitional space, dividing the living, dining and kitchen area from the bedrooms. Covered with wooden pergolas, the courtyard provides a stage for the play of light and shadow that happens according to the movement of the sun. The earthy expanse of terracotta and jaisalmer (used on the floor) is broken by the blue china mosaic of a water body, at the centre of which stands a beautiful adenium.

This sustainably designed house faces the west to maximize the flow of the south-west winds into the living spaces. The fenestration is configured to allow natural light in. The central courtyard also ensures an escape route for hot air. These strategies help in cutting down on the usage of artificial light and climate control systems. Owing to the composite climate of the region, this area miraculously keeps the house cool in summers and warm in winters.

The river-polished kota bed-back and the exposed brick wall present a stark contrast to the soft, rich of the fabrics used in the master bedroom.

Further into the home, the intricately designed teakwood table with a neat inlay of tiles dominate the dining room. A bay window on one side allows warm, golden light to flood in while offering cooling views of the pool. Both, the dining and the living rooms open into a large verandah decorated with furniture custom-made by Dipen. Walk in a little deeper, and you enter the kitchen whose antique-looking, rough kota tiles and teak cabinets, are just as pastoral as the rest the house. On the other side of the courtyard are the guest and master bedroom.

Chic, romantic and elegant… the plush, embroidered bed linen, rich silk drapes and minimal use of other decor elements makes the bed the focal point of the master bedroom. The river-polished kota bed-back and exposed brick work present a stark contrast to the soft silk of the fabrics. The antipodal characteristics of these materials feed off each other, heightening the textural experience. The wardrobe features shutters crafted from wooden strips woven together, while the bay window has a wide sill that doubles up as low seating. The master bathroom is clad in rustic brown-tiled walls and floor, and has a robust jaisalmer basin counter with a stone basin. A jacuzzi is set into a jaisalmer platform to top the relaxing experience. But the feather in its cap is the outdoor shower area, complete with a rain shower panel and a bamboo screen for privacy.

The master bathroom creates a relaxing ambience as the floor and walls are clad in rustic tiles. Polished jaisalmer stone is used for the counter.

The guest bedroom is warm and comforting. The dark wood flooring complements the brick walls perfectly. The achromatic theme for the canopy and white bed linen gives the room an airy feel. Bright pink and orange cushions add a dash of vibrancy. The Madhubani painting by artist Bhavnadevi also goes well with the organic setting. A strategically placed mirror in the tight-spaced bathroom lends visual depth and brightness.

The experience of visiting this home is fresh… its clean layout effortlessly interacts with an interesting play of materials and texture. “This project was truly a labor of love from both the client’s as well as our side. It is rare when ideas of the two are in complete harmony,” Dipen wraps up aptly.


To build a traditional farmhouse, where the entire family could spend quality time together and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Wall Exposed brick construction Ceiling Centrally ridged sloping roof treated with polished, rough wooden planks to give a rafter-like effect Flooring Jaisalmer, jodhpur and kota stone

Project Mangala Farmhouse Principal architect Dipen Gada Core team Shruti Patel and Shalini Pereira Landscape Tulsi Narulla Structural consultant RV Patel Year of completion March 2009


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