Explore this tranquil, green Kerala home
Colonnade verandas, courtyards, high ceilings, breezy folding doors and a clean contemporary design make this Wayanad, Kerala home conceptualised by Mohammed Afnan and Arun Shekar of Humming Tree, a delightful space. The home is a combination of art, furniture and, the use of locally available materials like clay, terracotta and reclaimed wood up the eco-friendly quotient of the residence. Courtyards and double height ceilings dominate the 3,200-square-foot bungalow.
The client wanted the home to resonate with traditional Kerala architecture, with a a modern twist. An ornate Kerala teak door is the main feature of the entrance accentuated by a trunk-less elephant, floor standing mirror, photo frames from Mysore and custom-made benches by Humming Tree. The owner had bought the door and artefacts from an old manor house near Mattancheri and the entire space has a nice tropical vibe that flows seamlessly into the entire home.
The house is made using laterite stones and bricks local to context and mud, and the design is contextual to heavy monsoons and harsh sun. “The double height ceilings and courtyards ease the cross-ventilation, so several openings, doors, and windows were added with clay roofing which also helps regulate the microclimate. We worked with locally available natural stones. Terracotta roof tiles have been used for the roofing as it reduces heat retention. Organic bees-wax and local mixtures of lime have been used to coat the interior walls and exterior wooden surfaces,” says Shekar.
The contemporary living room has a wooden deewan along with three legged high stools that sit opposite a durable carved wooden coffee table with brass hinges; a Wabi-Sabi style rustic pot, acid-finish glass vase, vintage Mughal painting and cement flooring complete the scene. Afnan explains, “We began with nothing and worked with what was contextually available on and around the site, adding earthy tones to visually and functionally define spaces within the whole home. It was enriching and an ode to Gods own country.” A painting by a remote village artist from Karnataka accentuates the living room, where a vintage wooden daybed, a Pottery Barn jute rug and abundant daylight combine to create a cozy reading nook, with a high ceiling showing off its beautiful hanging lights. Rather than adding air conditioning here, the designers created several high walls with windows to let the hot hair pass through and create natural ventilation.
In the dining room, a custom dining table by Humming Tree is paired with three legged chairs, sourced from Mattancherry (the art hub of Kerala) and a bench. The hanging clay pendant lights were designed by Humming Tree and produced by ‘LIGHTS’, Calicut with the help of local clay makers in Kerala. Due to the smart positioning of the courtyards, the house remains remarkably cool during the day and seamlessly blends the outdoors and indoors. Behind the dining space is a carpet of green and tall trees that stretch deep into the forest.
Custom bedside tables soften the bedroom’s sharp linearity in the master suite. The bed linen from Zara Home, the cot from Mattancherry and the rugs by Stories come together to create a clean, minimalist look. The other bedroom features a vintage, retro-inspired poster, a popular fixture from Sri Lanka. Earthy colour palates, greens and clay tiles have been here to also help control the heat.
The open kitchen overlooking the dining and living area receives ample amount of light through the day. The colour palette is earthy and, the granite top and wooden cupboards add character to space. Cement flooring has been used to give seamless, unfinished texture all over. This is a home where aesthetics meet sustainability and form and function come together to create a space that dreams are made of.
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