Jun 20, 2011

House Beautiful ~ At Home with Rama Ananth

Rama Ananth, a fellow blogger, an excellent author, and a fitness enthusiast, shares her beautiful home on The Design Enthusiast. I am glad that she agreed to do a guest post and let us peek into her carefully planned and thoughtfully done up home.

So fasten your seat belts ..and off we go to Bengaluru, India to peek into Rama's lovely Spanish Style villa

Our House: Buena Vista ( Beautiful View)

Our house was conceived with lot of love.  Ananth always loved Spanish architecture, and always used to tell me that if he ever built a house he would go for the Spanish style. We just left it at that for neither did we have a plot to built a house nor were we looking for one for everything had gone beyond our means.

Then one day, one of his very close friend said there was a beautifully located plot in Whitefield and that it was owned two friends jointly and they wanted to sell it off as they had no use for it.
  They were somewhere in Bombay. He said we should grab this opportunity and just buy it as an investment. This place Whitefield was quite far from the city, it was not well connected by bus or any such thing. Only retired army people and some Anglo Indians lived there in old palatial bungalows.

However the plot was huge and the area though not developed was quite good, peaceful and quiet. There were just a Niligiris shop  selling  some bare essentials. Since it was affordable we bought it, and forgot everything about the plot.

Then as years passed by we found living in Indira Nagar on the 100th feet Road was becoming impossible, with all the noise, and pollution, and random constructions everywhere- all the beautiful houses were being demolished to be built into apartments, the traffic had also increased tremendously, it had totally become a commercial place- literally a concrete jungle.
Our children too were growing up, and living in the cramped apartment and with my husband's office too in it was becoming very tough.We then decided, that it was time we built our own house, and moved away from all the chaos.

But there was a catch Whitefield was still not developed, it still lacked  all the facilities. Our son who was in 9th at that time would have no proper bus to reach his school, my daughter would have to drive for 1 hour in the peak hours to reach her college. And as for me I would not be able to go out as often as I wished to, because of the  same problems.
Anyway, finally we decided to just go ahead and make plans for building the house and later on worry about the various problems.

It was very exciting, we went through various books to see what type of Spanish house we wanted, and finally Ananth came up with the basic design, which we gave it to our neighbour and close friend Jyoti Dhingra who is an Architect/ Interior Designer, to work on it.Then another business friend was given the Contractor's job, and so on,  till we had all our close friends working at some level or other on our house project.

Then we bought a very good book which was going for half price in some book shop- we were lucky, we immediately grabbed it, and from that day it was like a Bible for us.
The book was: Casa California  Spanish Style by Barbara Clemente. Back then, we didn't have proper access to internet, like today. We had to do lot of research. It was tough running around finding things, and when we could not afford some of them,  doing it all by ourselves, was the only option, or finding an alternative, without losing sight of the main theme, for, everything had to look and feel Spanish.

Although it was difficult, it was not  impossible, for in India too there are  many things available,   only one has to patiently look for them and place them/ use them properly.

We wanted to use wooden rafters for the ceiling, but wood was very expensive, so we thought and thought and, finally, our Architect Jyoti got a brilliant idea, Bamboo- she said we could use that instead of wood, which turned out to be cheap, yet beautiful and very innovative and also suited the theme of our house. Our contractor had a Bamboo farm, and he selected the right size for our use. 

Then came flooring, we decided to go  in for terracotta tiles for both inside and the outside. Wow! again we not only saved lots of money, we also got a beautiful and highly durable,totally natural flooring for house. The color terracotta simply looks lovely and it gives such an earthy feeling. It not only keeps us warm in winter but also keeps us cool in summer, what more can one ask?

The same tile fellow agreed to design our roof tiles also for us, because we wanted it to look like  Spanish tiles, which has a slightly rounded cylindrical look, like the old tiles you might have seen in Indian villages, but of slightly good quality.

We found a very good cane boutique shop, just by chance, which designed cane furniture, so we selected our entire cane furniture from the various books that she had. We had our front door, a copy of an antique door we found in our Spanish book, done by our own carpenter, who not only made the door, but also all the doors/ windows and the staircase.

The stained glass panels too was done by a dear friend of ours.
 Since we had lots of space, we decided to go a for a standard size swimming pool. And I had my own Aerobics Hall too, where I could conduct my classes.

Then another business friend of Ananth was handed over the landscaping of the garden, we liked the Moorish style garden, and Shakeeb our landscape architect came up with a very simple yet beautiful  Moorish garden for us. We also requested him to give us a perennial garden so that, there is never any need to change plants, and also plants that would not need much maintenance or need a lot of water.

Now comes the decorative tiles which is must in every Spanish house, which is what gives it a charm not to be found anywhere else. When we found the designer handmade tiles very expensive,  we made beautiful tiles ourselves. Our daughter and son pitched in here. We went and bought a good tile design book, and once they got the hang of it there seemed to be no stopping, for they came up with beautifully painted tiles in a jiffy. We had them put everywhere in our house.

We had a dream to build a beautiful, comfortable airy cottage, with a budget in our mind, and, I must say we managed to stay more or less within our budget, without straying too much from  it. And believe me, we had not even been to Spain, when we built this house, we visited Spain only after 6/ 7 years after it was built. It took us about 1 year to built this house. Isn't it amazing, that if one is focused to accomplish something, it can be accomplished?

 Oh, I forgot we even have a proper bell-- a huge brass bell which we have hung in our terrace, making a special arch for it to hang.

Well,  there are so many little little details, it would take me ages to go into each and everyone of them.
To cut short an already long story, I would like to end this with a comment made by an Architect from California, James Madson of Madson Design:

Hi Rama,
I think your home is beautiful, and a wonderful example of architecture gracefully informed by different traditions.  It's a great fusion of California Spanish Colonial with Indian motifs and materials.  The gable overhang at the front of your house is particularly notable, in that you captured the character of Spanish Colonial, with their heavy exposed purlins and corbels, but used slender bamboo beams and knee braces instead-- this manages to be loyal to both traditions simultaneously.

Just click on the pictures of our house displayed on the right side of my blog: Photoset from flickr, Our Spanish Villa In Bangalore India.

Did you enjoy the tour of our house, which part of the house did you like the most?

Thank you Rama, for the tour and the write up. Every corner reflects the love which went into putting this place together. Rama, blogs at Time,Time, I have all the time...and shares her love for travel, writing and life in general...So hop over to her blog and see why its on my daily visit list :)

Previous home tours >> Here


  1. The landscaping left me speechless. It's a gorgeous home, inside and out.

  2. Home sweet home,Truly!!. I have already left a commenton her post

  3. Beautiful home Rama....Love the tall ceilings... and the bell is a lovely addition & Especially I love the outdoor garden....Beautiful landscape... !!!

  4. The house looks exotic Rama,I loved the idea of bamboo shafts for the roof and the bellshaped arch with the bell.Not to forget the terracotta murals!

  5. landscape is truly fabulous...itz a beautiful wholesome artistic home...

  6. Thanks everybody for you lovely comments. Asha, I am surprised to see you here.
    Sudha if you had not encouraged me to write this, I never would have done it. Thank you very much.

  7. I cant get enough of Rama... and her gorgeous home... and her fabulous heart ... Bless.. !! Loved this post Rama.. and truly your home is a delight.. and an envy point.. :-)

  8. Enjoyed reading it again - can never get enough of this beautifully designed home .

    Hi Sudha ,i had left you a mail the same day you commented on my sister(art conservation )post.Just wanted to make sure if you received it .


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