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