An amalgamation of sensibilities, this Jodhpur holiday home designed by Sravanya Aditya Pittie combines the royal aesthetics of the Marwari community with contemporary comforts and styles.
Ideated by Soka Design Studio, the 5,000 sq. ft. home is set on a 2-acre property and was designed for a nuclear family, of Marwari descent, who wished to see their heritage represented in their home. In typically Rajasthani style, the house has been built using red sandstone locally sourced from the Dholpur area of the state. In deference to the climate of the area, large windows and doors provide adequate cross ventilation. Sunlight that pours in into the aangan or verandah in mesmerizing patterns through arches and decorative jalis. The home was completed in the pandemic and took almost a year to finish. Pittie, Founder of Soka Design Studio, worked to create furniture in-house with the help of local craftsmen. Unprecedented roadblocks like sandstorms glazed furniture with dust, but the home was completed to Pittie’s exacting standards in April 2021.
An Indo-Saracenic architectural theme is followed throughout the house. This Gothic-style of architecture in India originated under the British Raj and is evident in the little touches of culture and history. Vintage fans from an old royal Chettinad family, whose multi-hued silks and aged velvet imprinted with a “Made in England” sign along with initials of the previous owners have been transformed into ornamental wall décor. Even the British-style floral wallpaper and a refurbished deep red piano are part of the transformative theme.
Complementing this traditional aesthetic, Pittie kept the interiors of the home swathed in deep shades of blue, red, gold. Bright pops of colour have been added via brightly printed wallpapers that cover almost every room in the mansion.
The designer was ecstatic to work with maximalist wallpapers on a large scale, as the opportunity to do so in smaller full-time residential homes is rare. “In urban spaces it is hard to work with bright wallpapers, as people want more subtle décor, but in a holiday home you can get away with it,” said Pittie. Two distinct designs adorn the walls in the living area. The lower wallpaper is a paisley print with multi-coloured fine stripes. Pittie has chosen a floral-patterned wallpaper for the upper section of the wall, to bring in a sharp contrast between the outdoor arid terrain and the verdant, botanical accents within the home.
The guest bedroom too is steeped in wallpapers by Cole and Sons. The chinoiserie theme used in this room, which Pittie proclaims as her favourite, is reminiscent of palaces like the Badal Mahal and Taragarh Fort. The blue-and-white colour palette harmoniously shares the space with grey, in the guise of flooring and bed upholstery. Zoom in on the cushions and blinds, and one can see the replication of the wallpaper on these fabrics as well.
Trips to various antique stores in Kerala and Mumbai produced the typical chinoiserie vases. The rug, a piece from Ilo Rugs integrates with the colour scheme immediately.
On the other end of the home is the master bedroom. Simple, yet tasteful, the room has been given a royal modern makeover. Soft neutral tones of the D’Decor wallpaper and dark mahogany wood flooring pairs with classic art prints.
Raja Ravi Varma prints with zardozi work bring a piece of history into the room, while a verdure console from House of Things adds patterns into the mix. The table is scattered with antique crowns of varied sizes. Those traditionally used by actors who depicted mythological characters. Like a page straight from Aladdin, a carpet chair by AKFD occupies an artistic corner of the room.
The study is another room adorned with art, which has renowned artist Akbar Padamsee’s sketches. Also decked with Cole and Sons’ wallpaper, this room has a detailed cane and keys print.
The children’s room is playfully decorated with tassel details in the lamp and stool, which sway with the wind, every time the balcony doors open, adding a sense of whimsy in the otherwise elegant bedroom.
A marble Golden Ratio sculpture stands proud on the wooden side table and directly contrasts an old Raja Ravi Varma fabric print embossed with zardozi work. The golden ratio was used by ancient Greek architects, Egyptians, who used this principle to build the pyramids, and experts say Leonardo da Vinci also applied this ratio in his art as well. The placement of the modern sculpture next to the Ravi Varma print is an ode to the latter, who was influenced by the Renaissance period.
“Art is my first love,” said Pittie, as her mother was on the board of the NGMA, National Gallery of Modern Art, and she was often dragged to art galleries as a child. This passion for art makes itself known. The living room is covered in sepia prints of palaces, forts and temples by Raja Deendayal. Each photograph is accompanied by a thin gold frame that is placed a couple inches away from the art, leaving negative space for the wonderfully colourful wallpaper to shine through. Since Jodhpur is a major army base, Pittie scoured a shop neighbouring an army cantonment area to incorporate it into the décor of the home. Sitting on the coffee table, therefore, are hard army hats with customised acrylic bases. “Some of the hats also had initials and the authenticity of the pieces became so much more real for me. The contrast of royalty to martyrs, truly make it evocative of Rajasthan,” said Pittie.
Blue inlay panels from Agra adorn this console that was assembled on site in Jodhpur. The old prabhavalli (a brass arch that acts as a decoration for religious idols in Southern temples)pictured above was originally from an ancient temple in the South and was found in an antique store in Kerala. Atop the console sit two jewel-like crystal candelabras from Taherally’s. The console is sandwiched between two White Domus benches in beaten black metal.
The dining table and chairs were commissioned, and custom designed by Jai Danani. While the chairs have geometric designs, the table centrepiece is a pressed flower vase with black lacquer, by Juhina Sodhi. High above the dining table is a lighting fixture by Shailesh Rajput, made of metal bulbs in matt and shiny finishes, inspired by traditional Maharashtrian bridal jewellery.
Balconies open out from each bedroom and the office, while one large entrance verandah is dressed up with bleached blue chairs. The tabletop is made with flowers from Himachal pressed into black lacquer.
This intimate outdoor setting is conducive to long conversations. One’s eye first gets caught on a wall sconce by Shailesh Rajput, called Shambu, an ode to Lord Shiva’s trishul that represents the three worlds (trilok) – earth, sky, and the atmosphere.