For a professional landscape artist, the garden is just as important as the house. Shweta Gupta’s love of the outdoors developed in her childhood home in New Delhi’s Panchsheel Park, which was surrounded by greenery. So, when she moved to Bangalore with her husband Diwakar, it was only natural that a tropical garden would be the focal point of their home.
Four years ago, the couple bought an empty plot in Yemlur and asked their friend, architect Kabir Hira, to help design their home. Gupta says he was an obvious choice because of the rapport they already shared and Hira’s flexibility in designs. “We showed Kabir a few pictures of houses we’ve seen and added my spatial leanings as a landscape artist,” she says.
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Two years later, the family was able to move into their two-storey, cream and brick home with a stunning two-storey-tall window in the front and large sliding glass doors spanning the back of the house. “We were a little apprehensive about compromising our privacy with the large window at the entrance,” says Gupta. But the couple was determined to open the inside up to the outdoors. The plot of land spreads out over 8,500 sq ft. with the house taking up just over half of that space.
In the front of the house, a cosy garden with tropical palms and a little pond full of blooming lotuses is visible from the foyer through the huge front window. Inside, the spacious living room and dining room open out to the backyard lawn. Thanks to the glass doors, the rooms almost merge with the outdoors.
“Since Bangalore shuts down by 11.30pm, we entertain at home a lot and this space—the living room that runs into an outdoor lawn—becomes the focal point. During the day, of course, my two sons get a lot of space to run around.” The backyard—with a barbecue, an outdoor bar, and a seating area—has been set up as prime entertaining space. A bar, powder room and guest bedroom on the ground floor complete the party atmosphere.
Due to their love of “beachy” places, Gupta struck a tropical tone in her outdoor design. The front garden has a variety of palms and Heliconias. The back lawn is lined with a lemon tree, a peach tree and a banana plant. “The kids enjoy the thought of having fruits growing at home,” she says.
Gupta says that going green in a city like Bangalore is easy because the weather supports the growth of most plant varieties. “Plus, everything in my garden has been picked up from nurseries around Lalbagh” (similar fruit trees can be bought at Devappa Nursery, Lalbagh Main Road, Bangalore. Trees are available in the price range of Rs20-125).
Indoors, the house has a minimalist feel, particularly since the two young sons appreciate the space to play. The decor tends towards a nature-inspired look, with cowhide chairs and clusters of loose rocks.
The rooms have few walls, so there is little demarcation of space. The subdued colour choices accent the vibrancy of the gardens outdoors. Aside from one brick wall in the dining room, the walls and furniture are mostly cream and dark brown, such as the cream-coloured sofa Gupta picked up from Proform in Delhi (a similar sofa can be purchased at Proform, Regent Plaza, MG Road, Delhi, for Rs2.97 lakh plus the cost of fabric).
Most of the furniture and accessories have been sourced from various countries. The lava stone Buddha on the lawn was shipped from Bali, while the dark wood dining table with a cabinet to go with it is from Thailand.
Upstairs, the couple’s sons, Eashaan, 10, and Amey, 5, played decorators for their bedrooms. Both opted for a blue colour scheme (the couple isn’t sure which of the boys picked the colour first). The furniture has been custom-made, according to height and colour specifications provided by the boys.
In keeping with the open-to-nature theme, a large balcony stretches through the length of the first floor and overlooks the lawn at the back of the house. Besides, the master bedroom has a private balcony, accessible from its spacious bathroom.
While the family feels settled in, the couple is not done with decorating the house. “Every time either of us travels,” Gupta says, “we find something or the other that just goes with the house.”