A Pune Home That Blooms Under A Skylight

  • 2 Jun '21
  • 6:30 pm by Manisha AR

The project ‘House Around the Skylight’ tackles clutter by adding concealed storage space and toning down the color palette of a family home in Pune. As a way to build a language and bring coherence to this home, the duo Satyajeet Patwardhan and Pashmin Shah at Amoeba Design stick to the bare minimal aesthetics of cement, wood, and brass. The overarching themes of this design are post-modern meets minimalist.

Every home comes with its own story. A place that has been lived in will collect objects and memories that can become hard to let go of (regardless of what Marie Kondo might have to say about letting go). “It’s honestly part of Indian culture to hold onto objects for a long time,” says Patwardhan. “However, it makes for a very sustainable lifestyle because we tend to repurpose objects and use them for as long as possible before discarding them,” he adds. Using this as a starting point for their renovation project Amoeba Design developed an artistic language within the space. In many parts of the home, they have added closets and storage cabinets to bring texture and volume. For instance, in the master bedroom, there is a curved hollowed-out wall above the bed–and in place of brick, they filled the wall with cabinets in dark grey which have been customised in-house by Amoeba Design.

The balcony has been merged with the living room. Additionally this sofa set inspired by the Italian quilted Nubuck sofa was customised by Amoeba Design. Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala
The kitchen and dining area share a communal space close to the living room. Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala

The house was bright-colored and dimly lit before, but after the renovation, it is neutral-colored and brightly lit. By turning core design elements of this project on their head, this renovation project works very well to center the needs of their client- a touch of class with the feeling of the home kept intact. The exaggerated curves in the living room, the long lines on the ceiling walls, and the wooden cabinets work very well to make it appear more spacious. A striking feature of this home is the addition of a skylight in the living area. By merging the balcony and living room, Shah and Patwardhan make it more expansive. The fact that the house is located on the third floor (right under the terrace) worked to their advantage because the architects were able to raise the ceiling of the terrace to match the height of the overall building. This change not only increased space but also brought in a lot of natural light. As a result, they now get an unobstructed view of the trees that surround the building. They also opened up the kitchen next to the living room to turn it into a more communal space.

All of the lights in this home were from a lighting consultant in Bangalore. This entire wall is actually a concealed storage space in the master bedroom. Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala
The pop of brass in the bathroom against the black horizontal cabinet lines brings in the art deco opulence. The House Around the Skylight in Pune, Maharashtra by Amoeba Design, Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala

A place that doesn’t scream wealth but doesn’t shy away from the gloss either,” was the brief given to them.

“To create a sense of a ‘home’ that aspires ‘class’ and to accommodate all the storage requirements was a challenge for us because our sensibilities lie in extremely simple, rustic, and earthy aesthetics,” says Patwardhan. 

After tackling the storage issue, their sensibilities do come across in the interior design of the space. It is minimalist and centers small objects like earthenware, plants, and non-intrusive furniture against neutral-colored walls. They also use a generous amount of brass to bring in pops of color to the home. The bathrooms have a subtle sense of Art Deco aesthetics of layering contrasting shapes against bright colors and strong horizontal lines. For instance, the soft-curved mirror in the guest bedroom or the very modern chandelier in the dining area hints at decadence and class aspiration from the client brief.

The architect’s rustic sensibilities come across in their choice of neutral palettes and soft shapes in their choice of soft furnishing and decor pieces in the living room. Many of the furnishings are from The Pure Concept and D’Decor. Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala
The ceiling fan that can be seen from the passageway near the dining area has been sourced from Magnific. Photo credit: Talib Chitalwala
The bed cushions are from Nicobar and some of the hand linens in the bedroom were made from their fabric in the Pashmin Shah’s personal collection sourced from West Bengal. Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala

No matter how much one ‘classes up’ a place or rebuilds the layout of a house, it can only feel like a home when the people who live there can enjoy it. While some of the mid century art in the home has been found on Etsy, Patwardhan tells us that they deliberately left many of the walls blank and some parts open so that the family could fill them, over time, with their own artistic choices. He also says the biggest compliment they received was from the mother-in-law who lives there. She admitted that even without the children, the newly renovated space felt like home.