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Designer Anarr Gunjaria gives us a tour of ‘The Inside Out House’ in Ahmedabad, and shares tips on how to design a biophilic house
Ahmedabad-based interior designer Anarr Gunjaria conceptualised the interiors of a unique indoor-outdoor bungalow, which was designed by architectural studio Modo Designs. Known as the ‘The Inside Out House,’ this 12,600-square-feet villa is situated in the western part of Ahmedabad. The clients—a couple and their two daughters, desired an open and airy home that helped bring nature inside. This one-of-a-kind home focuses on combining the surrounding natural environment with the indoor spaces harmoniously. The bungalow showcases how biophilic design can be successfully incorporated in Indian homes. It features open-to-sky courtyards, lush green gardens and floor-to-ceiling windows. Additionally, the home’s interiors house planters that complement the verdant greenery outside.
This two-storey, Ahmedabad home’s central area features three courtyards–an inner court, an outer court and a dining courtyard. The ground floor features the living room, drawing room, dining area, puja room, home office, gym, spa, and one bedroom, while the upper level houses the lounge and three additional bedrooms. Each bedroom opens into a verandah, which provides the clients a half-indoor, half-outdoor living experience. The furnishings are modern and eclectic and add pops of colour to the otherwise muted interiors. While the home is aesthetically pleasing, it is highly functional and reflects the lifestyle and personalities of the clients.
Here Anarr shows us a glimpse of the distinctive bungalow and shares tips on conceptualising beautiful indoor-outdoor homes.
Anarr Gunjaria (AG): From the early discussions, the client wanted a home that was open to the natural environment and rooted at the same time. This unique bungalow houses numerous open-to-sky courtyards that blend effortlessly into the indoor spaces. The interior design features natural materials and textures that complement each other and happily co-exist.
AG: The essence of the house is its openness; the boundaries between the inside and outside gradually blur and create a dynamic dialogue with nature. This home is a passionate testimony to the ‘India Modern’ design aesthetic. I believe that home is not a place, it’s a feeling, and this home is a testament to that thought. The entire villa is crafted of exposed concrete. The interiors feature Kota stone, and wood, which gives the concrete a softer visual look.
AG: The clients are a couple with two daughters who are studying architecture. They are rooted in their traditions but are also global travellers, equally open to an eclectic design aesthetic, which is reflected in the home’s interior. The clients wanted an open-to-nature home with space for entertaining guests. Multiple rooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass pocket doors that open onto courtyards, abetting an easy rapport between indoors and outdoors while upholding a strong sense of privacy. The puja room courtyard can hold festive gatherings, whereas the dining courtyard gives freedom to host brunch parties. The main verandah is where the residents can enjoy sit-down dinners or family parties. Although the residence is well-suited to entertaining, it does have a public and private divide, with the second-floor housing bedrooms, a family lounge, and balconies.
AG: To incorporate nature into your spaces, try to maximise natural light in your entire home by repositioning any furniture, blinds, curtains, or anything blocking the full potential of sunlight. Nothing brings clarity or highlights the intricate design details of a room like a stroke of natural light. Additionally, bring in the right amount of greenery, and you will see the difference instantly. To embrace nature further, use materials such as bamboo, cork, sustainable timber, stone, and rattan for your furniture, home décor, kitchen worktops, and floors. The key to bringing the outdoors in is to look at the area surrounding your home. Let the views and materials outside your window inspire the colour palette. Use natural textures like wood and stone to add visual depth and dimension. For example, the textural quality of natural flooring and stone tiles provides a beautiful, organic contrast to the sleek, structured industrial metals. Not to be overlooked, outdoor spaces play an essential role in the overall harmony of a home.
AG: Connecting indoor and outdoor spaces creates continuity and provides context while capitalising on some of the mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of biophilic design. Plus, nature-inspired interior design is timeless due to the universal appeal of organic materials, earthy colour palettes, and other natural elements. Mature trees and lush landscaping provide that ‘curb appeal,’ which everyone loves coming home to after a long day. We want to extend that warm welcome from sidewalk to entry, elevating your everyday life, while honouring the outside world.
AG: The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilised, and meaningful environment, not about fashion or trends. Effective space planning is an essential component of any successful interior design project. By considering factors such as structure, flow, lighting, and furniture placement, you can create a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional and efficient.
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