House proud

Own­ers of the city’s most creative homes in­vite you for a look

India Today - - SIMPLY KOLKATA - BY MALINI BAN­ER­JEE

THE SE­CRET GAR­DEN

Past the sub­ur­ban area of Hari­navi, down a wind­ing road that goes past palm groves and over­flow­ing ponds is the leafy green charm of fash­ion de­sign­ers Ch­huti and Raja Adhikari’s abode. A large four­walled space with a thatched roof, Chutti’s Shan­tiniketen’s Kala Bha­van roots find cre­atively ex­pres­sion here. De­signed by Kala Bha­van se­nior Sub­hashish Saha, the house has win­dow blinds in­spired by Jo­gen Chowd­hury’s art, and red ce­ment floors, a rare sigh now. “It was huge trou­ble get­ting the floors done. My fa­ther in law found some af­ter a mas­sive search,” re­calls Chutti. The best thing about this home is its or­ganic na­ture. They have a rain- fed pond that calms at first sight. “I med­i­tate here,” smiles Chutti as ducks race to the pond which is also used to breed fresh wa­ter fish like tilapia and rohu. “We needed a pond for our batik work, and now we wash our clothes there,” laughs Raja. How do you rec­on­cile, a TV, two- door fridge and com­puter with no AC or wash­ing ma­chine? “The elec­tronic shop while de­liv­er­ing the fridge asked ‘ Sir do you have a wash­ing ma­chine?’ I said no we have pond in the com­pound. They thought we were play­ing a prank.” You move al­most seam­lessly from in­doors to oudoors fol­low­ing the be­tel leaf vine on the walls, onto the kitchen gar­den rich with flow­ers and veg­eta­bles. Raja also grows bon­sai plants which dot the perime­ter.

TOP TIP While build­ing a farm house many don’t pre­pare the gar­den in ad­vance. It is im­por­tant to start the land­scap­ing early so it is lush by the time move in. An­other thing to do is start col­lect­ing early. We picked up most of our paint­ings from our trips to Nan­dan Mela in Shan­tinike­tan.

FAVOURITE SPOT No doubt it’s the ghat at the pond. Chutti likes med­i­tat­ing and my­daugh­ter and I fish here.

FLOWER POWER

Far from the hus­tle of the city lies sculp­tor and in­sta­la­tion artist Narayan Chan­dra Sinha’s house. A six bed­room bun­ga­low that he was in­spired to buy af­ter he fell in love with the Si­mal ( silk cot­ton) tree that leaned against it. “The house has been done in tones of beige and brown. The only bright colours come from the cush­ions and the flow­ers,” he says. Flow­ers are im­por­tant to him. They grown in abun­dance in his gar­den and fresh ones are floated in an urli daily. The fur­ni­ture and the lights were made by him and each has an un­usual orign. Win­dow grills form the back­rest of a chair, a

cart’s wheel forms the base cir­cle of a chan­de­lier and panels of an old door from his an­ces­tral house is now a swing on the ter­race which has an open air bath tub. “The house is sur­rounded by trees, no one can see,’ laughs Sinha. What’s im­por­tant in his house are mem­o­ries. Jethima ( aunt) and Didima’s ( grand­mother) old trunks oc­cupy cozy cor­ners. Sinha has re­fash­ioned his mother’s old taant sari into an equi site kan­tha bed­spread. “I like to be con­nected to the women of my fam­ily. I never met my grand­mother so I have kept her trunk full of things passed on my by my mother, so I can feel that she is close to me,” he says.

TOPTIP I like old things. From a win­dow grill to your mother’s old shawl I think it’s im­por­tant to pre­serve mem­o­ries.

FAVOURITE SPOT My bed­room, with its four poster bed cov­ered with the kan­tha that used to be my mother’s sari. It also has my­grand­mother’s trunk.

HOME IS ART

Artist Chan­dra Bhattacharjee, let wife Shoma, have a free reign when it came to de­sign­ing their three- bed­room apart­ment off Golf Green. Shoma re­paid him by ap­pro­pri­at­ing works of his art that she felt were too pre­cious to let go of and added them to their home that over­looks the rolling greens of the Royal Cal­cutta Golf Club. The first thing that greets you is the floor- to­ceil­ing book case stacked with a col­lec­tion rang­ing from JM Coet­zee to Tagore. Mas­sive posters from across the world, vin­tage black- and- white ad­ver­tise­ments. Their din­ing ta­ble was picked up in Goa, and is made of ba­nana leaf panels which have been lam­i­nated and painted. The ta­ble faces a wall on which is mounted Frieda Kahlo’s in­scrutable ex­pres­sion, high im­pact even as a poster. A pas­sage con­nect­ing two bed­rooms mounts Chan­dra’s largest paint­ing ‘ The Black Hole’, a 4ft by 3ft can­vas. “Ac­tu­ally this isn’t a very ‘ draw­ing room’ paint­ing,” says Chan­dra of the dark moody work de­pict­ing a hand tear­ing off flower petals. But Shoma laughs it off, “for an artist he of­ten ends up stick­ing to a safe zone when it comes to our home dé­cor.”

Shoma’s sig­na­ture comes though on the shelves hold­ing me­men­toes col­lected from across the world— Egyp­tian cats, Turk­ish evil eye re­pel­lents, Nor­we­gian fig­urines and even voodoo dolls. Chan­dra’s art isn’t the only thing that finds place, son Aranya’s child­hood draw­ings are also framed and add a splash of happy colour. A short walk away is Chan­dra’s sparsely fur­nished stu­dio filled with stacks of can­vases. His work­ing space is right next to the ve­randa from where a tree flut­ter­ing leaves conatantly casts mov­ing shad­ows. The walls too have paint­ings. “I find I can’t let a blank wall be. It al­most itches,” he laughs.

TIP­TOP We picked lighter colours as our apart­ment is small and we wanted a sense of space. Use bright shades spar­ingly , for a pops of colour in be­tween.

FAV COR­NER I like read­ing by my book­shelf. In my stu­dio, I like sit­ting on the easy chair when I am not paint­ing.

CIN­EMA MEETS COUTURE

Ac­tress- turned- in­te­rior de­signer Shrreya Pande’s liv­ing space is not what you would ex­pect look­ing at the façade of this three- storey house in Kankur­gachi. While the out­side blends into this north Kolkata lo­cal­ity, you walk in to be zapped by Bol­ly­wood- in­spired lux­ury. Even her all- white bed­room is dom­i­nated by a round bed nor­maly seen on the sil­ver screen. “I saw it in a Kar­ishma Kapoor film and I had to have it,” smiles Pande. Ref­er­ences from films are every­where, a poster of Tol­ly­wood’s ever­green pair Ut­tam Kumar and Su­chi­tra Sen from

Harano Sur, a cush­ion de­pict­ing Meena Ku­mari’s Paakezah avatar and a Andy Warhol in­spired Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe cush­ion mark their space too. Then there is Au­drey Hep­burn, whose im­age is every­where, on posters and prints. “She’s my style in­spi­ra­tion,” says Shrreya.

TOP TIP I like col­lect­ing pic­tures and post­cards from my trav­els. You can frame th­ese and can make a nice one of a kind col­lage of mem­o­ries.

FAV OURITE SPOT My back lit mir­ror .

CH­HUTI AND RAJA IN THEIR GAR­DEN

FROM RUS­TIC TO KITSCH , OWN­ERS OFTHE CITY’S MOSTCREATIVE

HOMES IN­VITE YOU IN FOR ALOOK

NARAYAN CHAN­DRA SINHA’S LIV­ING ROOM

CHAN­DRA BHATTACHARJEE AND SHOMA IN THEIR LIV­ING ROOM

SU­BIR HALDER/ www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com

SU­BIR HALDER/ www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com SHRREYA PANDE IN

HER BED­ROOM

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