FLIGHT OF FAN­TASY

How one fa­ther’s man cave be­came the fo­cal point of his fam­ily’s home

Malaysia Tatler Homes - - SANCTUARIES -

Ever since John Gray’s in­ter­na­tional best­seller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in­tro­duced the con­cept of the man cave – each guy’s pri­vate and per­sonal sanc­tu­ary – its ex­is­tence has widely be­come the norm in house­holds the world over. Fre­quently oc­cu­py­ing spa­ces that are tra­di­tion­ally con­sid­ered mas­cu­line (such as garages, base­ments or sheds), many men strive to en­hance their caves with the lat­est gad­gets and cut­ting-edge ap­pli­ances. The ul­ti­mate ac­ces­sory nowa­days? Ac­cord­ing to Rahul Sharma, the chair­man and manag­ing di­rec­tor of Hyrd.io, it is a flight sim­u­la­tor. Rahul’s Clear Wa­ter Bay home is not, how­ever, the quintessen­tial bach­e­lor pad. In­stead, it is the com­fort­able fam­ily home that he shares with his wife, Shveitta, and their golf-lov­ing daugh­ter, Inara – warm and wel­com­ing, but with a de­cid­edly mas­cu­line aes­thetic. But it has not al­ways been this way. “My pre-ren­o­va­tion house was quite beau­ti­ful, so it was a very tough de­ci­sion to bring it down and restart,” ex­plains Shveitta. “I had col­lected quite a few an­tiques, but some­how I was ready for a fresh look.” She worked

with Hong Kong’s Muse Stu­dio and Ce­bubased Ate­lier A on the in­te­rior de­sign. “The brief was fairly sim­ple – I just wanted to open up the house as much as pos­si­ble, bring in more nat­u­ral light, have light colours and sim­ple straight lines. The idea ini­tially was that of a man cave, and then pro­gres­sively be­com­ing more fem­i­nine.” At first glance, mas­cu­line el­e­ments reign supreme. From the mo­tor­bikes that greet vis­i­tors at the en­trance to the model air­planes and vin­tage au­dio equip­ment on artful dis­play, indi­ca­tions of Rahul’s var­ied pas­sions are ev­ery­where. As with any shared space, though, Shveitta’s in­flu­ence is also ac­counted for. A long, nar­row din­ing ta­ble de­signed by a fam­ily friend – Cebu-based Ital­ian de­signer Carlo Cor­daro of Ate­lier A, who is also re­spon­si­ble for all the fur­ni­ture and doors through­out the fam­ily’s abode – con­jures im­ages of con­vivial din­ner par­ties and long evenings spent exchanging thoughts and the­o­ries. “We love en­ter­tain­ing at home,” says Shveitta of the gen­er­ous liv­ing and din­ing area. “As In­di­ans, we grow up hav­ing peo­ple come in and out of the house all the time. My vi­sion while re­do­ing the house was to have it as an open house and an in­cu­ba­tor for new ideas. I’m part of the Tedxwan­chai

team, so we have had a few very in­ter­est­ing gath­er­ings in the house where we dis­cuss ideas that may change the world.” In keep­ing with Shveitta’s vi­sion, the house’s palette is muted, act­ing as a blank can­vas upon which stand­out pieces can make a state­ment. Shveitta de­scribes a per­sonal at­tach­ment to sev­eral Kash­mir and Per­sian rugs, ex­plain­ing the rea­son for their pres­ence: “Ev­ery­thing else is new, but I kept the rugs, as they were the first things we bought when we could save enough money in the early days in Hong Kong.” The only other rem­nant from the home’s for­mer look is a framed wooden carv­ing in the liv­ing room. “It’s a gor­geous carv­ing from Orissa in In­dia and de­picts the var­i­ous poses of Gane­sha, the ele­phant god,” ex­plains Shveitta. “Gane­sha is a much-loved god who is the har­bin­ger of op­por­tu­ni­ties, and helps over­come hur­dles and ob­struc­tions. I wanted to keep him

with me – the is­sue was how to make it fit with the mod­ern theme. That’s when we de­cided to put a frame around it to give it a straighter look.” Clean lines are cen­tral to the con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic em­ployed in the Sharma home. A stun­ningly sim­ple open kitchen is where the fam­ily find them­selves spend­ing most of their time. Its re­strained or­na­men­ta­tion is echoed in the an­te­room and bar area, which in­tro­duces darker woods and bur­gundy hues that echo el­e­ments of a tra­di­tional gen­tle­man’s club. Of course, the most mas­cu­line piece in the Sharma abode has to be the flight sim­u­la­tor. Lo­cated at the en­trance, the mon­u­men­tal ma­chine is Rahul’s pride and joy and in­dica­tive of his first love (mo­tor­bikes come in a close sec­ond). “Ever since he was a child, he would sur­round him­self with model air­planes and sit among them for hours,” says Shveitta. “Since the age of two, he has had a fas­ci­na­tion with planes. That love and fas­ci­na­tion re­mains. He knows ev­ery­thing there is to know about a plane. Sadly, he couldn’t join the air force due to asthma, but he has more than made up for it now.” This home is a prime ex­am­ple, if ever it was needed, of the im­por­tance of a space in re­flect­ing and en­hanc­ing the lives of those who in­habit it – and yet an­other ar­gu­ment in favour of the man cave.

THIS PAGE Model air­planes hint at owner Rahul Sharma’s first love; the home-built flight sim­u­la­tor con­firms it

OP­PO­SITE Clean lines, white walls, wood pan­els and struc­tured so­fas cre­ate the im­pres­sion of a con­tem­po­rary con­ver­sa­tion pit

FROM LEFT Nat­u­ral light floods the liv­ing room, il­lu­mi­nat­ing vin­tage au­dio equip­ment col­lected by Rahul; out­side boasts a minia­ture putting green for daugh­ter Inara, a golf whiz

FROM LEFT The kitchen is where the fam­ily spends most of their time; the state­ment din­ing ta­ble, de­signed by Carlo Cor­daro of Ate­lier A, is where they en­ter­tain

THIS PAGE Mir­rored stor­age gives the il­lu­sion of ex­tra space and adds light to the guest bed­room

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