In Goa, A 20-Year-Old Villa Gets A Modern Facelift With Rooms Inspired By Wes Anderson And Charles Eames

  • 18 Apr '24
  • 12:14 pm by Beverly Pereira

Breathing new life into an old home to meet every modern convenience is an undertaking best pursued by those truly appreciative of the enduring charm and value of the old-fashioned. To retain an old structure’s integrity while infusing it with modern design requires a keen and sensitive eye. When Eshita Marwah of the Surat-based design studio /e was entrusted with the redesign of a 20-year-old villa in North Goa, the designer worked closely with the homeowners who came with eclectic and evolved tastes—Anjali Mody, founder of Josmo, and her husband, part-owner of Goa FC along with other ventures. In doing so, Marwah crafted a dwelling of incessant delight with design-driven spaces inspired by a blend of diverse influences, ranging from Old Goa to Charles Eames

Sitting on the banks of the Nerul River that flows into the Mandovi, Villa Marina is a 22,000-sq-ft home with six bedrooms and nine baths spread across four floors. The two-decade-year-old structure came with good bones and all it took was a mere refresh to its façade and extensions to balconies to bring it up to habitable standards. Keeping the overall shell intact and steering clear of tampering with character-defining features, Marwah’s studio then set out to upgrade the flooring and finishes of almost all areas before they began revamping the villa’s interiors.  

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Indoor plants commingle with Josmo and Hatsu furniture, soft furnishings by A to Z, and decor from Mody’s collection in the tropical-esque living room. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

The homeowners’ only asks were to be handed over a home with an immersive tropical experience through the inclusion of colour, texture and patterns. “The clients have eclectic tastes. They wanted something wild but timeless, and they had an idea of designing all six rooms based on different themes. They already had some themes in mind, and we stuck to four of the six themes. ” says Marwah, adding that they then settled on two Wes Anderson-esque rooms instead of adding a Kusama room. 

With an unobstructed view of the river from a majority of the bedrooms and social spaces, the home lent itself well to Goa’s irresistible tropical charm. The living room and dining area open up beautifully to the river, and floor-to-ceiling glazing to maximize the most blissful riverine views. “There’s no telling outside from inside because of the tropical-themed interiors,” Marwah adds. 

If the homeowners envisioned being engulfed in nature’s bounties at their soon-to-be-home, then this is exactly what played out. Verdant shades complement the sage-green living room with indoor plants and a nature-inspired hand-painted mural by Rogan Designs. Two social spaces sit adjacent, a larger living room and a more intimate and chic space, distinctly carved out yet united in their lush green aesthetic

Marwah paired pieces from the client’s collection like a pair of tiger chairs from the client’s collection with a rug from Jaipur Rugs, a statement lamp by Mother Gone Mad, and furniture by Hatsu and Josmo to meet the final mood board for every space in the home. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

The starting point for every distinct space in this villa was extensive mood boarding based on the pre-decided themes. Another interesting aspect of the design process was Mody and her husband’s larger-than-life inventory of furniture, rugs, art, and lighting that was already on site. “We decided what we needed, what we wanted to keep and reuse in new ways, and how to design and procure the rest so that it would pair with our final mood board and themes,” Marwah explains. In addition, rugs were sourced from Jaipur Rugs and soft furnishings from A to Z, while a statement light was custom-made by Mother Gone Mad. 

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Aside from furniture by Gunava, The Wooden Story and Josmo, this intimate and chic social space is adorned by a lamp from the client’s collection and an IKEA floor lamp, and a custom rug designed by Eshita Marwah. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

The living room, for instance, is abundant in Josmo’s unmistakable furniture and pieces by Hatsu, The Wooden Story, and Gunava Design, but it also features fabulous pieces from Mody’s private collection. Marwah designed a huge custom rug for this space, while sofas in a soft shade of seafoam, a pair of handpainted tiger seats, and cane lamps lend a sense of being cradled in the lap of nature. 

Furniture from Josmo is beautifully juxtaposed with carpets and a chandelier from Mody’s private collection in the dining room. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

“The day after they finalized the project and contract with me, Anjali was going to be delivering twins,” says Marwah, citing the challenge of time constraints since the family wanted to move into their home very soon. Still, the mammoth task of renovating the huge villa was completed in just four months.

A mural by Rogan Designs lends a kitschy touch paired with a custom Mother Gone Mad light, and furniture by House of Things, Josmo, and The Wooden Story in the Anderson-themed master. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

A floor-up, unique colour palettes take over three bedrooms and an airy, sun-drenched family room. Two bedrooms perfectly articulate Anderson’s signature symmetry and quirks. Both rooms focus on a range of colours, patterns and prints, says Marwah, who used the existing couch, curtains and rugs to design the rooms around that. “They are all very curated.” 

The children’s room designed entirely around the Montessori theme carries a minimal look for the twins. “This room was designed to be clean and neat and takes care of specific Montessori method-related requirements including custom furniture and other elements that allow the kids to have enough space to move around and explore. We designed a custom floor bed and added some fun lighting and artwork,” says Marwah.

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The Anderson-themed master bedroom carries meticulous detailing with a custom bed, linen from Mantra furnishings, and soft furnishings by A to Z. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

In the master, a soothing shade of blue is interspersed with Wedgewood blue accents. The laminated wooden flooring by Magalogue, a quick fix to avoid civil work, replaced the older flooring of this two-decades-old Goan villa. Carpets from Mody’s private collection fit into this highly curated space with a candy-striped bed that aligns with the Anderson-esque aesthetic.

The Anderson-themed guest bedroom features art by Mrinal Dey, India Mahdavi x H&M cushions, a monochrome striped table by House of Things, a carpet from Mody’s collection and a vase by Eeshan Kashyap. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

Given that the homeowners came with an extensive collection, Marwah admits that organizing pieces and art proved to be a challenge. “Many things were in storage and at different places, so getting an inventory was a challenge. I wanted to reuse and refurbish as much as possible to place things where they belonged as per their new themes,” the designer explains. It was also no easy feat to bring together the many different themes into one and ensure the clients’ personalities still came through.

The family room on the first floor features art by Mrinal Dey, a Mother Gone Made lamp, a rug by Ambiente, and furniture by Josmo and Studio Wood. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

A spectacular wall art piece by artist Tarini Sethi is hard to miss amid fascinating pieces of collected art and a custom Mother Gone Mad lamp in the leafy double-height family room. Furniture by Josmo and Studio Wood and a rug by Ambient Rugs ground this space in warmth and vibrancy.

A beautiful chandelier by Kaleido fits into the Old Goa scheme of things in this guest bedroom with its mural by Rogan Designs, and a refurbished antique bed, chair and table. The bedside lamp is from Mody’s collection while the rug was sourced from Art Avenue. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

Further upstairs, three more bedrooms beckon with their distinct themes. The first draws inspiration from the quaint charm of Old Goa. Since there was no real-time constraint in readying this extra guest room, civil work was undertaken to employ terracotta tiled flooring that brings the room and its theme together. 

Again, this room was built around existing vintage furniture from Mody’s collection. Rogan Designs was yet again employed to weave its charm into the room through the visual depiction of Old Goa as it were. The artwork is reminiscent of Azulejos, or the quintessentially Portuguese blue-and-white hand-painted tiles also ubiquitous in Goa.

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A bedroom on the third floor honours the iconic and revolutionary design of Eames with a lounger by Red Oak, Josmo sofa, and art by Dhruvi Acharya and Dessine Art. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

The next bedroom is a nod to the late, great American designer and architect Eames. “This room was designed around existing artwork and with refurbished furniture. We added more artwork and quite a few new pieces of furniture and lights while using existing rugs too,” shares Marwah. A lounger in the likeness of the iconic Eames lounge chair finds a fitting place here, as do artworks by Dhruvi Acharya and Dessine Art. At this juncture, it is important to note that recreations of Eames chairs are legal so long as they comply with certain copyright laws and aren’t passed off as authentic.  Even more intriguing pieces of furniture sourced from Baro Design, Josmo, Red Oak, The Wooden Story, and even Chor Bazaar find a home here.

A foliage-rich wallpaper by Elementto is the perfect backdrop for a poster bed from Mody’s collection and side tables by Gulmohar Lane. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala; Styling: Samir Wadekar

Here, a raw wood table by Josmo, refurbished Natuzzi sofa, other pieces by Jain Exports and Gulmohar Lane, and a foliage-rich wallpaper by Elementto are excellent touches that tie in with the jungled ways of Goa and its wilderness.