Sometimes, luxury is not about what you hoard but what you leave out—with well-informed intention, and awareness of what really matters. It is about the lungs of a house that swell with the joy of life when the breeze kissed by mangroves rushes in. It is about the windows that open to green eternity. The indulgent expanse of a deck with a sunbed and an outdoor spa bath overlooking a Goan sunset. The absence of clutter, infused by a priceless quirkiness that places a distressed (aged) rocking horse on a bed of white pebbles. That combines a Rajasthani table with a pink sofa and a grandmother’s striped chair. That distresses a colonial chair to look as if it has graced that one special nook in the house forever. That offsets a satisfyingly warm, rosy laterite wall with an antique, blue-finished armoire. That introduces a sumptuously detailed Portuguese mirror and chest to a three-bedroom house that is so starkly minimal that it appears to be just a backdrop for all that Goa stands for.
Click here to view more images of the Khoslas’ goan getaway
The Mangrove is architect Sandeep Khosla and his graphic designer wife Tania Singh Khosla’s sanctuary away from their hectic professional lives in Bangalore. This Goan villa is blessedly quiet, sitting in a complex of new homes that face dense mangrove plantations on the backwaters of the Nerul creek. Just a heartbeat away from Candolim Church, which Sandeep calls “imposingly beautiful”, the location combines two of the best elements that make Goa so well loved: its verdant soul and its distinctive architectural heritage.
An eclectic mix
The villa, in keeping with Sandeep and Tania’s aesthetic sensibilities, is minimal without being impersonal, imposing without being ostentatious. So you have a double-height living room, a split-level kitchen and dining area, and a dramatic cantilevered wooden staircase with glass sides leading up to the three bedrooms. The lines of the architecture remain clean and sparse. “Large expanses of vertical blinds accentuate the verticality of the living room and its floor-to-ceiling windows. Light filters softly through the white matting, and in one instance, a floral silver-foil print has been done in a pattern on the blind,” says Sandeep.
Without boundaries: The dining set is intentionally kept low to provide an uninterrupted view of the mangrove plantations beyond the windows. The red laterite wall adds warmth and colour. Sanjay Ramchandran / Better Interiors
These are the big concessions to small details that make the house a visual delight, from the decor to the scale of the windows in relation to the furniture. Distressing the living room furniture creates a lived-in warmth and a sense of history in an otherwise spanking new abode. Sandeep’s passion for combining unlikely elements into seamless visual harmony is visible everywhere. He points to the “eclectic mix of elements”, sitting on a shocking pink sofa teamed with silver brocade cushions.
Rooms with a view
Seamless harmony is the leitmotif of every Khosla home, including their own. “This row house is perched on the edge of a strip of land facing lush vegetation as far as the eye can see. So the house takes advantage in every way of the views from every room. The dining table and benches are kept intentionally low, simple and minimal, so as not to distract from the view beyond,” says Sandeep. This love for rooms with a view extends to the bathroom attached to the ground-floor bedroom, which has been given an open-to-sky courtyard shower.
The interior plan is invigoratingly open and multiple decks connect rooms to the Goan landscape outside. The open kitchen interacts with the dining area. On the upper level, the luxuriously spacious master bedroom has a large picture window.
Warm of palette and heart
The Khoslas know how to make any space “pop” without going over the top. A simple bedroom, for instance, gets its character from a time-worn blanket chest and the hints of green in the furnishings that seem to flow from the verdure showcased by its picture windows.
Modern, minimal elements such as the glass-sided staircase, white window blinds and a bed of white stones give the old rocking chair a dramatic focus; and if openness to the outdoors is achieved by the tall blinds and huge picture windows, spaciousness and flow are established indoors by letting the living and dining areas and kitchen connect seamlessly, overlooked by the bedrooms on the first floor. Sanjay Ramchandran / Better Interiors
Another bedroom revels in plum hues, the warmth of paper lamps and foliage that grows within and outside.
The hot colours complement the feel of the home’s surfaces too. “The warmth in the house comes not just from the pink, silver, white, aqua blue, purple and orange tints of the colour palette, but from the timber floors and sloping timber ceilings. And from the large laterite wall in the dining area,” Sandeep says.
The Khosla retreat in Goa is a place where less is enough, where drama means an exclamation mark followed by long, serene silences. And a special kind of hush is part of the decor.
Project name: The Mangrove
Location: Candolim, Bardez, Goa
Design team: Sandeep Khosla and Tania Singh Khosla
Area: 3,000 sq. ft
Project duration: 6 months (June-December 2009)
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