NA­TURE RE­FINED

Filled with warmth and en­ergy, Chi­tran­gada Singh and Jyoti Randhawa’s Gur­gaon villa takes one back to coun­try liv­ing, finds SHELLY ANAND

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Shielded from the glar­ing lights of the cam­era and heat and dust of the green fields, ac­tor Chi­tran­gada Singh and golfer Jyoti Randhawa’s home is a story in sim­plic­ity and un­der­stated lux­ury. Tucked away in a tran­quil, re­sort-like lo­ca­tion on Sohna Road in Gur­gaon, the 1,000 sq yard villa is not just another brick and mor­tar struc­ture. It is a prop­erty which re­flects the per­son­al­ity of its own­ers, their likes and dis­likes, and their val­ues. A cosy abode—one that meets the needs of the peo­ple who live there and in­vites visi­tors in with open arms—it ex­udes warmth and good vibes that en­gulf you the mo­ment you step in.

Spread over a base­ment, ground and first floor, the French coun­try style cot­tage is a fash­ion­able ad­dress with in­te­ri­ors that have a lived-in look. A foyer ush­ers one in­side the home, which is full of nat­u­ral light due to an open-tosky ceil­ing cov­ered with thermo cool­ing in­su­la­tion. A few steps away is the liv­ing room with glass win­dows and doors. This is di­vided into three sec­tions with dif­fer­ent seat­ing

ar­range­ments and done up mainly in cream, beige and off-white. It shares space with the din­ing area which sports a wooden six-seater din­ing ta­ble. Just out­side the liv­ing area, a flight of stairs takes one to the first floor, which is again flushed with nat­u­ral glow.

Un­like most mod­ern celebrity spa­ces chock-a-block with or­nate bric-a-brac, the cou­ple’s turf, which they share with their six-year-old son Zo­rawar and Randhawa’s fa­ther, thrives on love and laugh­ter. The re­al­ity of Singh and Randhawa’s life in Gur­gaon is far more nor­mal. “For me, home means com­fort and ease. I al­ways wanted to have a place which is not too for­mal and stark; but one which has a ca­sual flavour and lots of en­ergy,” says Singh.

That their cas­tle com­mu­ni­cates with cer­tain elo­quence and clar­ity is ev­i­dent in the way rooms have been dec­o­rated with thought­fully-cho­sen fur­ni­ture like the flo­ral-patterned high back chair in the liv­ing room

or the cane bed in the mas­ter bed­room, fur­nish­ings and ac­ces­sories from places across the world, through use of tex­tures for most ba­sic fit­tings like doors and win­dows and the man­ner in which nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als have been used to cover floors. With not a sin­gle hint of ce­ramic tiles, the floors in dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the house are cov­ered in ma­te­ri­als vary­ing from con­crete, sand­stone, tum­bled fin­ished mar­ble and brass. Even the doors are in solid Burma teak wood re­splen­dent in their glory with no ex­tra coat­ing of pol­ish. “Our idea was to give the villa a rus­tic look with lots of open­ness and air to breathe in,” ex­plains Randhawa. To leave the doors with­out any layer of paint, for in­stance, was a con­scious de­ci­sion taken by the cou­ple so that the raw look comes out in the form of grains and im­per­fec­tions.

Be­fore the fam­ily of four moved in to make the cot­tage their new ad­dress last Oc­to­ber, struc­tural mod­i­fi­ca­tions were car­ried out. Noth­ing short of a bare shell house, the villa’s DNA was changed to make it spa­cious. Like the two pil­lars which were there right at the en­trance were re­moved, floors were lev­elled on the ground floor and the wall in the liv­ing room was bro­ken down and in­stead a wall to floor glass frame was in­stalled to let in suf­fi­cient light.

One thing both Singh and Randhawa were clear about from the out­set was to en­sure the rooms have an earthy look with lots of solid hard­wood and teak wood and no over-the-top em­bel­lish­ments in any form. To help re­fine their vi­sion of do­mes­tic bliss, they got in­te­rior de­signer Ro­hit Kapoor whom they met through a com­mon friend to give shape and char­ac­ter to their villa. It took Kapoor al­most two years to re­design and re­con­struct the in­te­ri­ors and make the man­sion fit for com­fort­able liv­ing in tune with the cou­ple’s idea of a sim­ple and clas­sic hearth. “They didn’t want any­thing grand and were keen on dec­o­ra­tive min­i­mal­ism. Mod­i­fi­ca­tions, how­ever, were nec­es­sary to bring the place up the mark, es­pe­cially stream­lin­ing the awk­ward floor plan and other changes. At the same time, Singh had a clear and pre­cise idea about the type of fur­ni­ture and fur­nish­ings she wanted to have. So, you will find fur­ni­ture pieces and dé­cor ac­ces­sories from in­ter­na­tional fur­ni­ture brand Ethan Allen here which she picked up from Dubai,” ex­plains Kapoor.

The re­laxed look of the villa with its soft, beau­ti­ful, coun­try in­te­ri­ors, and nat­u­ral and muted colour tones, sig­ni­fies that the house is all about jux­ta­po­si­tion— for­mal and in­for­mal, rus­tic and el­e­gant, dressed up and dressed down. The mas­ter bed­room with its large bay win­dows and tiled hard­wood ceil­ing has cream-coloured con­crete floor tiles and sports a sim­i­lar colour scheme when it comes to walls. An an­tique Ethan Allen cream­coloured cane bed with wooden frame and ac­com­pa­ny­ing bed­side ta­bles and a flo­ral up­hol­stered couch in cream and red gives the room a calm and col­lected feel. Art­works in the form of three small frames and a huge horse sketch line the wall be­hind the bed. That Singh loves to pick stuff from her trav­els and is emo­tion­ally at­tached to them and the art­works is ev­i­dent from the knick-knacks dis­played in the house. Like there is a Lord Kr­ishna Nadraj can­vas done by hand by an artist from Jaipur which she got for the home; it is dis­played on the wall out­side the mas­ter bed­room. Sim­i­larly, a clus­ter of masks in dif­fer­ent shapes and colours cover the wall out­side the guest bed­room. Ask her what made her set­tle for this villa, and her eyes light up. She says, “The mo­ment I saw the slop­ing roofs in the bed­rooms, I de­cided that I have to have a house like that”.

Keep­ing in tune with the colour and de­sign scheme of the mas­ter bed­room, the liv­ing room is also done in muted tones with hints of colour here and there in the form of ac­ces­sories or sin­gle fur­ni­ture seats. Ethan Allen’s pres­ence can be found here as well in the form of beige coloured so­fas and wooden cof­fee ta­ble. The horse sketches are a com­mon fea­ture in the cot­tage and they carry the story for­ward here too along with crys­tal and glass ac­cent pieces and steel lamps. Randhawa’s nu­mer­ous tro­phies are also neatly and proudly dis­played here. When asked about the horse sketches, Singh says, “I love to sketch and th­ese art­works are proof of that”. The one in the liv­ing room and in the bed­room for ex­am­ple, were picked by her from Madrid.

As they say, home is where your story be­gins. And Singh’s and Randhawa’s pad is where class and style share a happy space.

The liv­ing room with its cream and beige colour scheme ex­udes a warm and earthy ap­peal

Col­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent- sized masks cover the wall out­side the guest bed­room ( left); wooden hard­wood ceil­ing de­fines the mas­ter bed­room (be­low)

Down to earth and close to na­ture, the cou­ple’s home is noth­ing like stiff, in­tim­i­dat­ing celebrity spa­ces

(Clock­wise) Ac­ces­sories in the shape of wooden framed mir­ror, an­i­mal-in­spired fig­urine and a metal horse bell find their due place in the cot­tage

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