Mo­ment Sun in the

Ar­chi­tec­ture is of­ten the best barom­e­ter of a city’s char­ac­ter, finds SANHITA SINHA CHOWD­HURY on a tour of sumer homes acros the world

India Today - - LEISURE -

Sum­mer homes are an es­capist’s route to liv­ing in har­mony with the sun. While in In­dia most of us seek refuge in the hills or take shel­ter be­hind firmly fas­tened doors and win­dows, with the air­con­di­tion­ing on full blast, abroad sum­mer is the time to em­brace all that’s al fresco. But when it comes to choos­ing from the colour wheel or pick­ing fab­rics and ma­te­ri­als, ho­mo­gene­ity is ob­served, at least on the home front. These vil­las, some cra­dled in the hills, oth­ers skirt­ing the sea, high­light coun­try- bound dis­tinc­tions and sea­sonin­duced sim­i­lar­i­ties and por­tray how their res­i­dents en­joy and make the most of these sunny months within their roost.


The gated com­mu­nity of Vero Beach, Florida, ad­heres to the Caribbean colo­nial style of ar­chi­tec­ture, char­ac­terised by steeply pitched roofs, tall win­dows and gen­er­ously- sized in­door and out­door spa­ces. Paris- born de­signer, Robert Cou­turier toys with these rules to cre­ate this whim­si­cal hol­i­day home.

He uses aqua blue and milky white ex­ten­sively to pro­vide much needed respite from the warm and hu­mid cli­mate. The turquoise blue ceil­ing at the en­trance con­trasts with the white sun- washed walls cre­at­ing an oa­sis of si­lence. The in­te­ri­ors are ver­ti­cally aligned and bereft of colour, save the fam­ily’s col­lec­tion of art­works, an­tiques and boldly de­signed fur­ni­ture. As a re­sult, each piece gets some breath­ing space and is bet­ter ap­pre­ci­ated.

The colour pair­ing spills out­door with the bun­ga­low’s white stucco and wood ex­te­rior end­ing in a swim­ming pool. Checks dom­i­nate in this area, be it the criss- cross fur­ni­ture, can­tilevered shades or French doors.


At its de­serted best, the sea­side town of An­tibes in south­ern France was an in­spi­ra­tion to artistes like Pi­casso, Hem­ing­way and Fitzger­ald. To­day, it is a sum­mer play­ground for the well- heeled, with lux­u­ri­ous chateaus hid­ing be­hind tall pine trees.

For this eclec­tic villa, Bri­tish de­signer Kelly Hop­pen tweaked her trade­mark de­sign vo­cab­u­lary of straight lines, strict sym­me­tries and neu­tral hues, to match the brief for a tra­di­tional home suf­fused with colour. “The owner wanted to treat her home like cou­ture and asked me to cre­ate one which is pretty but not too fem­i­nine in its over­all ap­peal.”

While de­sign­ing a sum­mer home, Hop­pen strives to achieve a calm and re­laxed mood. She swears by the unas­sum­ing taupe, am­ple proof of which is to be found through­out the es­tate. She started with a mono­chrome pal­ette, as she does in most of her projects, and en­hanced it with lively colours us­ing fab­rics and state­ment fur­ni­ture and art pieces. Since her client’s favourite colour is pink, she placed an eye- catch­ing candy pink Moi­son­nier ta­ble at the cen­tre of the en­trance hall and flushed the edges of the ceil­ing to floor cur­tains with a brighter ver­sion of the same hue.

She also cre­ated an el­e­gant out­door din­ing space with wrought iron chairs up­hol­stered in light linen sur­round­ing a white Hevening­ham ta­ble. Or­nate Guadarte chan­de­liers shine down from the wooden roof, on friends and fam­ily rel­ish­ing the warm cli­mate, and the breath­tak­ing views that the town has to of­fer.


This Mex­i­can ha­cienda with rose pink ex­te­ri­ors is nes­tled amid cas­cad­ing water bod­ies, colour­ful flower beds, and but­ter­fly swarms. A smoke haloed vol­cano tow­ers over the 15,000 acre prop­erty and puts on a light and sound show for its res­i­dents ev­ery night. “The invit­ing coun­try­side and eter­nal spring- like weather makes it hard to stay locked up in­side. Long walks, hunt­ing or bird watch­ing are an ev­ery­day ac­tiv­ity here,” says Cou­turier who is based out of New York. Be­sides ded­i­cat­ing a chunk of the plot to land­scaped gar­dens, he has pro­vided a row of balconied French doors on the first floor.

The sepia toned walls glow in sun­light and are fes­tooned with wo­ven ta­pes­tries, paint­ings of wildlife and wooden hang­ers with som­breros. Tak­ing cues from the past glory and splen­dour of this 1870s bun­ga­low, Cou­turier cre­ated pala­tial in­te­ri­ors and drenched the fur­nish­ings in cheer­ful tones on a Mex­i­can paint­brush. “Colours in Mex­ico are strong and we wanted this project to be con­nected with its sur­round­ings and cul­ture,” he adds. Vin­tage can­de­labras, fire­places lined with lo­cal ceramic tiles and or­nate mir­rors are com­mon in this paean to the Wild West’s dra­matic set­ting.


A port town in Turkey, Bo­drum is a pic­turesque tableau of sugar cube houses heaped up on lush, green hills. One of the big­gest houses of the quiet plateau is the villa of ar­chi­tect Hakan Habif. The three- storey struc­ture on the banks of the idyl­lic Aegean Sea is loyal to the tra­di­tion of all gen­er­a­tions dwelling un­der one roof. “The house plan is hor­i­zon­tal and de­signed to con­nect self- con­tained, pri­vate units with com­mon spa­ces,” says Habif. Cel­e­brat­ing the gor­geous Mediter­ranean weather, the habi­tat is in­ter­spersed with shad­owed open spa­ces which can be ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fer­ently ac­cord­ing to the sun’s mood. “Out­door space is an in­sep­a­ra­ble part of Bo­drum homes since we don’t spend sig­nif­i­cant time in­doors be­sides nap­ping,” Habif adds. Sim­plic­ity is the dom­i­nant con­cept, ev­i­dent in the use of earthy shades and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als such as stone, wood, soil and wicker. The house is a con­tem­po­rary take on the con­ven­tional ones seen on the Aegean coast.


De­signer Meg Braff loves to paint. A self­con­fessed sun seeker, she heads to the sea­side ev­ery sum­mer, her wa­ter­colours and sketch­book in tow. For the Round Hill Ja­maica home, she un­capped her sum­mer shades— sunny yel­lows, del­i­cate pinks, flat­ter­ing corals and her favourite, blue, the colour of the sky and sea and splashed them on the up­hol­stery and ac­cent ac­ces­sories, to brighten up the plain white in­te­ri­ors. Her paint box bor­rows these colours from the Caribbean is­land’s land­scape of palm fringed beaches, deep blue sea, and mem­o­rable sun­sets.

The open air cot­tage is rem­i­nis­cent of the mid- 60s and has a ca­sual, is­land feel. The New York- based de­signer be­lieves that out­door spa­ces are an ex­ten­sion of the in­doors and it is es­sen­tial to have an area where one can be close to na­ture, find shade yet be in the warm sun and en­joy the breeze. To make this tran­si­tion seam­less, she seeks help from or­ganic ma­te­ri­als, bright fur­nish­ings and sim­ple sil­hou­ettes. “I love to use rat­tan, wicker, and straw to achieve the bare­foot sum­mer feel. Sim­ple cot­ton fab­rics and tex­tures such as raf­fia and grass cloth on the walls are a lovely way to cre­ate such an am­bi­ence. Bam­boo painted fur­ni­ture and sim­ple shapes are also wel­come,” Braff ad­vises.

She uses shades of a sin­gle colour, pri­mar­ily in flo­ral mo­tifs, against white in ev­ery room. Though pas­tel pinks make an ap­pear­ance, blue, in its var­i­ous shades, dom­i­nates. The white and blue Por­tuguese bed­sheets are redo­lent of porce­lain wares and have match­ing cus­tom- made pa­per lamp­shades. This in­for­mal setup is fol­lowed out­doors too. Light­weight white chairs shaded by a retro chic pink um­brella are sta­tioned on one end of the pool which in­vites you to take a dip. The beachy villa em­u­lates Braff ’ s fresh and el­e­gant dé­cor sen­si­bil­i­ties.

The study has a mix of pop- coloured fur­ni­ture and art ( above); the lobby leads to a spi­ral stair­case ( be­low)

Dra­matic use of colour has been co­or­di­nated by the de­signer through the unique art­work and stun­ning bed linen

The Span­ish and Mex­i­can colo­nial style liv­ing rom is done up in Cou­turier’s favourite sumer colour, yelow

The chil­dren’s be­drom is in the lower most level of home ( above); a tented deck over­loks gar­dens be­low)

A shaded breezy din­ing area ( above); the out­door liv­ing room with bam­boo fur­ni­ture has an is­land flair ( top above)

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