The guests at our home
“Our little Paapu loves fishes. Not to eat, of course! She loves just staring at them. So when we are out dining, if the restaurant has an aquarium, you can find her near it, all mesmerized!”
There is no point in trying to tell her that her parents are celebrities, they have to be with her till she is bored of watching the lovely finned creatures. When he brought the flat, the first spot that Bala fixed in his mind was one for an aquarium. Their flat is in Thara Bhavan, next to Renaissance Hotel, at Palarivattom, Ernakulam. What we had in mind, was to briefly meet up with the actor and then rope in the Interior designer for a detailed story on the flat.
Stars, with their busy schedules may not have the time to look into building their homes. But Bala surprised us by getting into the details, into all the nitty-gritties that went into making their lovely home, his involvement in the entire process was indeed commendable.
The entire duplex flat measures about 2500 sq. ft.
“Every corner of this flat is designed based on Vaasthu principles. Amritha is a hard-core believer in all this.” When Amritha looks up from the kitchen, he adds with a smile, “I am into it too, by the way!”
A home and an office
Along with his stint in acting, Bala moved in production, and so there was a need for an office space in his home. That’s how they ended up combining two flats, in separate levels and turned it into a duplex flat. For family and close friends, there is a door in the ground floor that leads into their home.
For those visiting to discuss business, a door in the first floor leads them to a formal living or office space. Bala & Amritha had to do quite a bit of searching to find a large sofa for their office room. “Especially when people come in to invite them for an inauguration, there are at least 8 of them, and they all have to be accommodated!” adds Bala.
Both of them wanted a flat that seemed just like an independent home and the Interior designer Ajith Mohan’s smart plan does full justice to this.
The difference in design concepts begins from the hall in the ground floor. One side of the hall is completely traditional. This is where Amritha does her music practice and sadhakam. Wooden panelling has been done on this side of the wall. Apart from the Veena and the Thamburu, there is even a guitar shaped cupboard adding to the charm. The Puja area is adjacent to the main door.
Now onto the other side of the room. Contemporary styling is proudly announced here by a stylish L-shaped leather sofa. Facing this, is the TV unit. In between these areas is Paapu’s world. This side has been converted to a play area, with a turf flooring and a mini toy shop even!
The Puja space was given near the main door because, they leave the house only with a prayer and the entry into the house should also instil in them a peaceful and happy feeling. The play area is an extension of this idea. According to a Tamil belief, ‘God & Child are one’ says Bala.
The aquarium was Bala’s surprise element for mother & daughter. The wall near the staircase was broken down to find space for the aquarium. Though it was built with their daughter in mind, Bala seems to spend more time near this now. He says, sitting here looking at the fishes takes away all tensions and stress.
The kitchen used to be a closed one. They took it down and converted it into an open style one. It looks better and this is great use of space too. Another advantage according to Bala is that the entire house fills up with the tasty aromas of Amritha’s cooking! The cabinets are built using a marine plywood veneer. A place for the washing machine was fixed upon when the kitchen was designed.
The dining space is just opposite to the kitchen. The major highlight here is the eco-friendly furniture. From the dining area, you can get out into a backyard. Their favourite pastime is having a Barbeque party here for their friends. There is even a tastefully done guest room on the top floor.
The White Effect!
His vast experience in front and behind the camera gives Bala a great sense of judgement when it comes to selecting colours. White, the colour that reflects light in the best way is the main colour used in the interiors. Coffee brown & Cream complements white beautifully.
The house needs to appear bright even when the electricity fails, so that’s another reason for choosing a white theme. For this, even the ventilation was given extra importance, and there is a nice, airy feel inside the house. The flooring is done using white, vitrified tiles. An imported glass with 2 mm thickness has been stuck on the surface.
With a little child at home, was white a sensible choice? My doubts were immediately dispelled by Bala’s calm remarks that his house is no museum, every corner needn’t be spotless and perfect. Leave it to the child to make it even more beautiful with her innocent little strokes!
A dance floor has been added to the top floor and there are plans to convert the space into a Multi-Gym.
We enter Paapu’s room on the top floor, fully expecting a pink theme. But we are pleasantly surprised with the lemon-yellow chosen for the room. Amritha gives us the explanation for this; “Pink is a girl’s colour, whereas lemon yellow is a common colour.” “And again who knows if the future addition is a boy or girl!” Bala playfully quips. Just then Paapu wants to know who we are talking about, and for once, the hero forgets his dialogues!