Sandstone white and turquoise blue…this colour combination has become synonymous with the laidback and almost ethereal charm of the Grecian islands. Without a doubt, they are one of the most visited isles in the world…for good reason too. No wonder then, it’s been said, once you experience this slice of heaven, it gets etched into your psyche and becomes a hallmark for a restful way of living. In other words, it’s an experience that most wouldn’t forget anytime soon. And this is precisely what Vishal Jain felt…his vacation to the Grecian islands left him awestruck. The relaxed and paced lifestyle, the delicate interiors, the minimalist detailing, all stayed with him long after the vacation ended. But he didn’t want the journey to end there. For his two-bedroom, 2000sqft getaway home in Pune, Vishal was certain he wanted to recreate the sun, sand & silence of the Grecian islands. His vision for this second home was that he should feel like he’s revisiting there, every single time he entered his second home. And that’s the exact brief the shared with designer Natasha Shah Gadiya of the design firm Between Walls. Vishal approached Natasha as the talented designer has amassed a reputation for her lilting design narratives where sunlight and a restrained style become the cornerstones of her unique approach to space planning.
We catch up with Natasha and request her to take us through the making of this project. “The client was fascinated by his travel to Greece and wanted his holiday home to reï¬ÂÂect his love for it. We explored the idea of living on an island and came to one very important observation. I quickly realised that it’s all about using local materials and being sustainable as far as possible in the overall design language.” Natasha’s in-depth research lead her to extensive mood boards, which is a lesson for us too. There is more to this highly-sought-after Grecian-inspired lifestyle…more than just white and turquoise. Natasha goes on to elaborate her findings, “We visualised the space as a white space with yellows and blues and various patterns and textures. We had to give the client the experience of a holiday home that he admired while keeping in mind that the vernacular design sense should remain but with materials that were available in and around Pune.” We quickly realise this project is more than just an aesthetic design…it’s rooted in detail.
Natasha started the entire design process by going about with selecting materials that were sustainable in nature and handcrafted – from start to finish, in the city of Pune. She goes on to elaborate, “We wanted to use local materials available in Pune in such a way that they looked diï¬ÂÂerent and we could achieve the eï¬ÂÂect that the client was looking for. Use of recyclable material was also done at a great extent as budget constrains was a major factor, it being a vacation home and all. We reused the waste kota stone that was discarded on site as the terrace ï¬ÂÂooring and created a pattern out of it which replicated the old streets of Greece. The beds and seating we made in civil and ï¬ÂÂnished with IPS. The staircase tread is made from readymade tread-tiles and the risers are of printed tiles to pop in a little colour and the railing is made on-site from Teakwood and polished. All internal ï¬ÂÂoorings and dado’s are tiles.” Natasha’s fearless approach to using humble products, in ingenious ways elevates the overall bones of this home. There is so much depth to her design arsenal, and she has paid close attention to getting textures right – you can’t help but want to reach out and feel the bumps and grains of materials. Such a refreshing and organic way to interpret the brief. This project resonates with Natasha on a aesthetic and conceptual level, “I am most inspired by Geoffrey Bawa’s works. His design portfolio shows us that local and sustainable materials can work in symmetry.” Although we do not see his flow of design in this project, Natasha highlights that like Geoffry’s affiliation with local materials, this project too, reflects that ethos.
Colour plays a very important role in accenting the overall theme of being inspired by the Grecian islands. The young designer keeps the palette very simple and clean – yes, white & blue. But she’s also peppered tones of yellow and haystacks brown, for that extra punch. This example has us leaving the house. The main door is painted yellow to bring in the cheerfulness and excitement. As we enter the living room everything around is in shades of white and then there are browns, yellows and blues splashed on the canvas. The jute carpet, the pots and the cane wall art are all handcrafted. The balcony connects to the living and the children’s room. A rocking chair has been placed there to unwind and relax. The light and shadow play that the ceiling bamboo performs throughout the day adds to a lot of character in the balcony. The children’s room has been kept simple with just hanging ropes from the ceiling on the corners of the bed for it to connect to the outdoors. We appreciate how Natasha joins the dots and connects the rustic vibe from the living room, into the children’s room, with these clever organic touches. The master bedroom door opens to a very dramatic blue ceiling and white sheer space along with a cosy corner with a round jute carpet and bamboo wall art. And finally, another example of clever usage of colours…the blue dummy window on the terrace! Natasha upcycled a spare window unit with a fresh lick of paint turquoise paint, and the effect is cooling and exacting, all at once.
Now that we’ve started talking about the terrace, it will be hard for us to stop! The terrace is an expansive space – complete with a bar, a proscenium-style seating area, the stunning flooring, we mentioned earlier, a stunning gazebo-like structure that shades most of the terrace, and then again, the pops of colour – yellow and blue. Natasha has created a modern space, in an otherwise restrained design. The terrace is an indulgence – Vishal and his family can potter around the steps of the proscenium and watch the projection of a movie on the white canvas of the walls. And the bar! This stunning area overlooks the gorgeous sunset view…and you can find us here, perched on one of these bar stools, enjoying a virgin mojito. Or that’s what we tell ourselves!