Project name: Mangalas Farmhouse
Architect : Dipen Gada & Associates
Client: Mr. and Mrs. Patel
Site coordinators : Chetan Builders
Photography: Tejas Shah
Base Text: Shalini Pereira
The city of Vadodara, once a princely abode, abundant with history and culture has seen rapid growth and advancement with regard to its economy and infrastructural development. While the city boasts of an active pulse, the outskirts, pristine with a rural landscape symbolize an ideal region for homes, farmhouses and vacation retreats for families. A beautiful example of the same is the Mangalas Farmhouse, nestled along the rural landscape. Occupying less than 10 percent of the total plot area, landscapes for the ideal home, the structure holds its esteem as a simplistic, one storied house, with the idyllic sense of vernacular architecture, as depicted by the exposed brickwork and sloping roof.
With the client brief being the design for a home which could bring the family peace and quiet from the commotion and turmoil of a regular city life, the architects were given a free reign to execute the ideal spaces and to opt for the most suited methodology and materials, with the only request being the materialization of their dream farmhouse, while in resonance with the nature and the surrounding beauty. One of the essential decisions taken at the conceptual stage of the design was to keep the entirety of the house, that is, the interiors as well as the exteriors, in tandem with each other, the idea was to enhance the rustic feel while maintaining an integral contemporary design. The usage of natural materials such as Kota stone and Jaisalmer stone along with teak wood within the design indicates the same.
With a lengthy driveway leading towards the entrance of the house, the approach is shaded by trees on either side in such a way that it is reminiscent of an avenue, with the gaps through the foliage occasionally teasing at a glimpse of the house, which is emboldened by the stark red of the exposed brick, while still maintaining an air of subtlety due to its natural origin. When observed at night, the house is glorified with a sense of mystery and drama. The driveway is followed by an open space of a large area, which serves for the purpose of parking. The landscaping is in accordance with the general natural theme and the open space has been paved intensively with cobbled stones, and the same has been laid according to a custom made pattern. Conventionally customary to imbibe Pooja rooms in homes with immense importance, the same is followed here as the Pooja area gives the first glimpse of the home, as one follows the driveway. Detached from the main house, the Pooja area is led to by a pathway paved in Jodhpur stone, which is edged on either side by bottle palms. The room itself reflects virtuousness with its glass white marble flooring and white walls, creating an atmosphere of serenity, as deemed ideal for prayer as well as meditation. One of the special elements incorporated within is hand crafted wooden paneling, in front of which the idol rests. The shutters of the windows are also designed with hand carved jaali work panels.
The entrance to the home is through a porch, which has Kota stone terrazzo floors with pebble inlay, which invigorates a sense of rusticity, and lays a precedent to the remainder of the house. The doorway is arched, and the wooden paneled door maintains the idea of piousness with a hand carved mantra onto it, and the overall composition forms a welcoming picture. One is led to a small foyer within, with bright Jaisalmer flooring and wooden ceiling, serving as the ideal buffer preluding the living room. Reminiscent of the manor houses belonging to a former era, the Jaisalmer floor has a motif of terrazzo tile work inlayed into it.
As one treads further into the house, they are treated with stunning panoramic views of the sprawling garden and the pool. The centrally ridged sloping roof has been treated with polished rough wood planks to indicate an effect of traditional rafters. Yet again, through this treatment of the ceiling along with the rough Kota stone flooring and exposed brick masonry tend to place focus onto the rural and rustic theme, which is further highlighted with the aptly infused soft furnishings within the room, with the accents a play with an eclectic palette, a confluence of traditional Indian colours, such as magenta, rani pink, orange and green, which factor in a contemporary touch.
The heart of the house, as is conventional in vernacular settings is the central courtyard, which is adjacent to the living room. Keeping in tandem with the ideal of hierarchy of spaces, with an indicative distinction between public spaces, semi-public spaces and private spaces the courtyard acts as a transition space between the bedroom spaces and the living and dining room spaces. Originally open to sky, the courtyard was added with wooden pergolas and in order to ensure security the gaps were filled with glass panels. The flooring has been done with terracotta tiles with blue coloured China mosaic border highlights, along with Jaisalmer stone. With the colour combination applied herein, it formulates a dialogue between the house and the sky, with the glass panels and pergolas acting as intermediary, highlighted by the water within the planter in the centre of the courtyard. The pristine picture is completed by the beautiful Adenium tree which sites in the centre of the planter and its branches seemingly reaching up to the sky.
Also adjacent to the courtyard is the formal dining space. The ceiling treatment followed is the same as the one applied in the living room. The dining table takes centre stage within this room, with the custom made teak wood table with its tile inlay dominating the room. To one side of the table is a bay window which allows the warmth and the rays of sunlight to flood into the room, along with providing a brilliant view of the pool and the garden area. The dining room and the living room both open out to a large verandah, for which the designer, Dipen Gada himself, has selected special pieces of furniture.
The kitchen area follows the same theme, with the tiles with their antique appearance and teakwood cabinets complimenting the exposed brick walls and formulating an aura of old world charm. For flooring, the Rough Kota stone tiles have been opted, which are recurring throughout the design of the house.
The courtyard separated the guest bedroom from the master bedroom, with both rooms being designed in the same theme as that followed in the rest of the house, but with both rooms being designed to achieve varying ambience. The materials opted for possess a certain richness which add a sense of warmth and even romanticism to the rooms.
The guest bedroom comprises of décor with the bed being dressed in white, and the addition of bright orange and pink cushions exaggerate the whiteness. The dark wooden flooring is primarily responsible for forming cohesive warmth with the brick masonry and the white linen for the bed and canopy balances the richness to emulate airiness. Above the head board of the bed hangs an original Madhubani painting, by artist Bhava Devi, selected by the designer himself.
The master bedroom holds true to the format opted, with a central bed, plush bed linens, rich silk drapes and soft furnishing, with the civil material, furnishings and upholstery fusing together to give rise to a pretty picture and an ideal bedroom. The soft lighting aids in adding romance and sensuality to the space. The materials such as river polished Kota stone for the back of the bed, along with the exposed brick masonry are in stark contrast with the softness and richness of the fabrics employed. The bathroom attached herein has been designed as intensively as all the spaces, and is hence, one of the best spaces in the house. The tiles opted for the room are rustic brown in colour, for the wall and the flooring and are complimented by the Jaisalmer stone counter and stone basin. The focal point of the bathroom is a Jacuzzi set into a Jaisalmer platform, and there is an outdoor shower area to the side, which is resplendent, especially with the incorporated rain shower.
The designer speaks fondly about the project, stating that “This project was truly a labour of love from both the client’s as well as our side. It is rare when the client’s and the designer’s ideas about a house seem to be in total synchrony. Inspiration was drawn from the settings and the architecture with trueness to materials can be seen throughout the house.” The project is truly a manifestation of the wishes of the client merged with the ideals of the designer.
– Devashree Vyas ,Volume Zero