The house of architect-designer duo Sabeena and Rajiv Khanna – Creative Head and Founder Principal of KIA Design Studio – is a realm of peace and tranquility in the urban hub of Gurgaon. The home symbolises simplicity, comfort and echoes their love for nature. It radiates the energy of three generations of architects.
Born and brought up in the city beautiful, Chandigarh, the influences are evident for Sabeena to have chosen natural brick tile for the exteriors and lavishly manicured greens within which sits their house. Entering the portals of a wood slatted gate, one is welcomed with a canopy of sails over the driveway in a fluid geometry with lush greens all around. Both Sabeena and Rajiv share a love for the outdoors and the pride of their garden is a tall palm tree with a banyan growth wrapped around it, sourced from a remote nursery in Uttranchal. Also, stone statues in soft sandstone color tone, sourced from Dhrangadhar in Gujarat dot the garden in abundance.
The garden area with an intimate sit out under a lemon tree and a barbeque corner is used for small social gatherings. The larger lawn dotted with Champa trees and Ficus topiaries gets active early morning with yoga sessions with friends and dawns a surreal appeal in the evenings as the strategically placed lights come on.
Design: Minimalistic & Contemporary
The design intent for the house was clear from the very start that since they would be in a cocooned working environment all day, the outdoor evenings had to be in the lap of nature. They would rather sip a drink in the lawn with the wind chime ringing than sit perched on a concrete balcony staring at the greens. Hence, the constructed footprint of the house was kept as minimal as possible to accommodate large, landscaped greens.
The house consists of an entrance lobby as a transitionary foyer that unfolds the spaces beyond. The large living-dining-lounge space flows into each other to allow large gatherings to be catered to with ease. The double height lounge connects the upper and lower levels of the house and its skylight above, allows ample natural light inside. This is the most used space of the house where the family relaxes together. Six bedrooms have been planned across different levels of the house for all the family members. Large picture windows in each room allow ample natural light within. The terrace has been the venue for many a rooftop bonfire parties with friends as the architect couple enjoy socialising.
Abundance of natural light and ventilation keeps the house charged with positivity. The whiteness of the house inside is further accentuated with large picture windows for a strong indoor-outdoor connect. The wooden ‘chiks’ create a beautiful play of light and shadow on the surfaces within. The only color in the house is the backdrop wall of the lounge which has been done in ochre yellow to bring prominence to the interior setting.
The focal feature upon entry to the house is a large, antique Tanjore painting. Even though the house makes a contemporary design statement, the living room corner was specially designed in dark wood flooring and mango wood ceiling rafters to create the perfect ambience for this antique along with the collection of other Tanjore paintings.
A collection of vibrant abstracts in oil adorn the living room wall along with an art work of an urbanscape gifted to them by an artist friend. A corner in the lounge has a pair of paintings bought in Samarkand showing the blue domes and the architecture of one of the oldest cities in the world. Very painstakingly, these were framed in distressed looking blue frames so as to highlight the artwork. Their trips to Venice have been immortalised in the water colors, the black and white charcoals and the theatrical masks from the region. A colourful market scene captured in water colors by an artist from Bengal adorns the dining room wall.
Lithographs in black & white of the monuments of Delhi dating to almost 100 years ago, hold a place of pride in the upper lounge. The master bedroom has the traditional ‘Thanka’ paintings on silk, bought on a trip to Dharamshala over three decades ago. Recently added to the art collection is a pair of large sized, traditional ‘Pichhwais’ on cloth, sourced from the artists of Nathdwara, Rajasthan by Sabeena.
The furniture and joinery tones are in natural wood with an emphasis on the darker palette. The rooms are airy and spacious with ample natural light filtering in throughout the house. Floorings in dark green marble juxtaposed with in fills of yellow Jaisalmer stone in the lobby and staircase areas are supplemented with vitrified tiles in neutral tones in the public spaces. The upper level bedrooms in dark wooden flooring exude a warmth and personal charm.
The colours of the art on a white palette with lush green outdoors make for a soothing and calming realm within a bustling metropolis.
Ar. Himani Ahuja