Evolving from the initial idea of an ultimate bachelor pad for Karan Paul into designing a home for him and wife Indrani, Studio Lotus was approached to convert an existing office block into a tasteful apartment, in a minimally invasive manner.
An existing home office (a temporary steel structure) used by the family for their internal meetings was converted into Karan and Indrani’s single storey, 2,000 sq ft villa. The key strength of its design is the manner in which it is planned. The house is located in the middle of a garden flanked by a thick grove of trees on one side, and a pool and verandah on the other.
Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens, the single storey structure was built in metal with a light weight roof and glazed on three sides. The client wished to retain the uninterrupted views of the greens while still allowing him privacy when he chose it. In order to achieve this, the existing glazing system of uPVC sliding doors was retained. Additionally, the existing office entrance through a slatted wooden portal was also retained as the main entrance to the house. This guided the zoning of the interior space.
The fact that the existing building was a steel structure, encouraged us to strip the cladding down to expose the columns and brick exterior. One major task was to replace walls facing these external views with glass doors and windows and build partitions where privacy from the outside was required.
All the internal walls were removed and replaced by a single line in plan – just one wall, shelving unit and glass panel which separated Karan’s public living space from his private sleeping area and wardrobes, and master bathroom (which has a courtyard of its own). The only barriers are the external shell, stripped and painted white.
The primary intervention was to strip the shell of all the walls and partitions in order to expose the metal structure internally and create a large open space that can serve multiple functions. A single partition, that acts as double-sided storage, was introduced to divide the public area of the apartment from the bedroom. This multipurpose partition houses all the AV equipment towards the living room, converts to a book shelf in the bedroom, and is also the primary wall in the space on which our client, an avid art collector, can showcase his collection. The door between the living room and the bedroom is a sliding folding glass partition that can be opened up to make the whole space one. The powder room, efficiently uses an oddly shaped triangular space, and is tucked away behind a panelled partition with a concealed door.
The space was conceived as a non-descript backdrop to house all the crafted inserts and the art. The few external civil walls were clad in half-cut brick and all the surfaces were painted white. Three exposed ISMB columns in the space were flamed and lacquered to add some industrial character. The client wished to keep the palette simple, with subtle art deco details and industrial elements to create contrast. Saw-cut wooden flooring, white on white panelling and delicate brass accents, all add warmth and richness to the space.
The bare aesthetic continues as a backdrop for the customised elements inside. This being a small space with the focus on the green outdoors, we stuck to a monochromatic white, grey and black palette throughout. All internal partitions were conceived aselements of bespoke furniture and shelving; for instance, the entertainment unit became the primary separator between the living room and boudoir. Karan loves Art Deco; which was used as an underlying reference for contemporary interpretations of certain pieces like the panelling detail, the custom designed suspended brass shelving screens that separate the entrance lobby and kitchen from the living room, the sliding screen of brass and polished SS sheets enclosing the walk-in wardrobe and the stone motifs in the two bathrooms.
The garden facing the bedroom was enclosed to create a private step out that houses a custom designed marble Jacuzzi. The walk-in closet and the ensuite bathroom, also enjoy views to the private garden, and are separated from the bedroom by an intricate brass art deco inspired screen. The bathroom is clad in Statuario marble with a custom designed vanity carved in a block of white Statuario with customised chrome fixtures. The shower sits as an insert adorned with a monochromatic marble inlay in a geometric pattern.
Almost all the furniture is from Karan’s earlier collection, which he wanted reused. The only new additions are the brass screenshelves, the folding brass and polished SS screen and the suspended fireplace from Focus. While creating a shell that had character and could still be neutral enough for Karan’s eclectic pieces and artworks was challenging, the entire process of putting the house together as a single unit was immensely rewarding for Studio Lotus as a team.