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This Kasargod ‘Mansion’ is a sight to behold

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A 15-minute conversation recently planned with Arun Shekar Gowda turned out to be a long chat about how the studio practices and how they have evolved since their inception in 2015. Humming Tree, an architecture firm based out of Kozhikode, Kerala, recently completed a 12,000 sq.ft. home in the state’s northern district of Kasargod. And as we hear from Arun, the Artistic Director at Humming tree, it was a collaborative journey that spanned some 2-4 years, planning and curating the home’s aesthetics. “Every space in the house looks like it is from different projects but it's all knitted together through its tones and materiality,” he says.

The 5-bedroom house is an interesting curation of designer furniture in vibrant colours, thematic floorings and artistic mirrors. The Moroccan wash, Floria Velvet Chair, and the Roly Poly chair are among the collection of handpicked pieces that reflect the distinct lifestyle of the residents. Meanwhile, the locally made terracotta pots and vases dyed in black and white created a connection to the Kerala origin of the homeowners.
 

Humming Tree, an architecture firm based out of Kozhikode, Kerala, recently completed a 12,000 sq.ft. home in the state’s northern district of Kasargod. Arun, the Artistic Director at Humming tree tells us that this project was a collaborative journey that spanned some 2-4 years to plan and curate the home’s aesthetics. This 5-bedroom house is an interesting curation of designer furniture in vibrant colours, thematic floorings and artistic mirrors. The Moroccan wash, Floria Velvet Chair, and the Roly Poly chair are among the collection of handpicked pieces that reflect the distinct lifestyle of the residents. Meanwhile, the locally made terracotta pots and vases dyed in black and white created a connection to the Kerala origin of the homeowners.


As the clients grew up in a traditional Kerala home, they were certain about not wanting any wood based finishes and designs. However they both love craft, art and design, and also wished their home to reflect their personality and travels over the years. We asked Arun to detail the thought process behind the design of the home, which they refer to as the ‘Mansion’. Edited excerpts:

Beautiful Homes (BH):What is your design process, and specifically for the Mansion project?

Arun Sekhar Gowda (ASG): So ideally every project that we take has to be distinguished and we try to attract clients with a similar mindset. We try to calibrate the aesthetics and the design language that the clients are looking for and eventually we work towards it. So here for the Mansion house, the clients were clear about what they wanted. 

BH: So how long did it take you to find and curate the different furniture, lighting and objects for the home?

ASG:  It took almost three years. Plus another six to eight months for the landscape to complete. And since every space has its own character, we had to weave everything in because we didn't want the whole place to look like an installation. At the end of the day, we knit it together with respect to similar wooden flooring, wall colours and even common materials. This created unity and at the same time, every room had its own character. All the marbles were sourced from the same place but we went to Kishangarh and the stone yard to get swatches to finally find out how it would look in the daytime, polished matte or glossy etc. In the end all the different marbles including the statuario marble turned out to be impressive and romantic.
 

Sofa chair & coffee table for living room - Beautiful Homes

A customized sculptural table surrounded by armchairs and sofas in faux leather is well complemented by handcrafted carpet from Jaipur rugs.

The Roly-Poly chair is something that we and the clients really loved because it's so fun and quirky and adds a really nice statement to the whole space. These designs are rare in a Kerala home. And we’ve blended these pieces effortlessly with some  manchatti works, the traditional clay pots from Kerala. This was done to bring in a Kerala element in a subtle way. 

BH: So when you were setting up the mood board for the whole house, did you have a colour palette in mind or did it gradually form?

ASG: We are really proud of the fact that we can trust our gut feeling. Like, the dining area we didn't want too many colours but at the same time, we wanted the dining chair and the table to speak for itself. That's why we kept everything very white and minimal. If you see the prayer area, there is an arch, a glass and then another arch. So we didn't do it, just because we wanted to put in cladding materials there. We wanted certain elements to take the centre stage and we kept everything else minimal. 

The son‘s room had a leather couch, usually seen in a bachelor’s pad. And everything else here was mostly in the hues of greys, dark blacks and browns. We always speak to the clients because I always feel that understanding what they want and who they are as a person is extremely important. We navigate through the client's perception and also have some of our signature things in every space.
 

Turquoise sectional sofa, ottoman & standing mirror - Beautiful Homes

The suede couch in luxe prussian blue complements the brass details and custom-made tables with a marble top.

Wood wallpaper with open shelf design - Beautiful Homes

Dark oak finish veneer paneling highlight the custom made pots.

Wall panelling with white linen blinds - Beautiful Homes

Fabrics sourced from Ralph Lauren have been used here along with the fluted panels in black that creates a light and shadow effect.

BH:  What were some of the specific learnings or challenges that you came across? 

ASG: The number of materials we had to use and figuring out how to marry everything together was a big challenge. The other bit of learning we had was about lighting, using architectural lights, accents and designer lights in various places to create the effect we wanted.

The learning would have happened mostly onsite. For example, if you see the amount of natural light coming inside the house, we had to figure out what materials on top of the skylight would be best suited to get this diffused light. So these are the things, we kind of mix and match with respect to our 3D views and later going to the site and understanding the site context was a big learning.
 

In fact one of the kids living here, who was in her sixth grade, was very particular about her room needing to have something with feathers and we were equally excited about getting it done for her. So the entire room was done in a monochromatic shade of pastel pink, matched with lampshades and rugs from Jaipur with similar subtle tones. And then the other child’s room was a completely different vibe as she didn’t want to have a typical feminine room, instead she wanted hers to be themed entirely dark. The furniture placed here was voluptuous and curvaceous, which generated a heightened feeling of boldness and drama. Since all the rooms were mostly well lit with natural light it helped to elevate the overall aesthetics of the space

So here in the same house we had people with different preferences and tastes. But we were able to effortlessly cater to all their requirements because the clients were very sure about what they wanted. They told us, this is how their day begins in the morning and this is how it will end, and we designed around that.
 

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