“The first lockdown imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic led our clients to rethink their spaces. The idea of renovating their 20 year old beach house just outside city limits sounded like the perfect distraction from the everyday chaos of being locked inside their city apartment. The brief to this end was straightforward, they wanted something minimal, quick, and easy to execute. They wanted the beach house to double up as an exotic getaway, their own personal haven amidst all the chaos. The larger idea was to keep the shell minimal and bare while being open to play it up with furniture and decor. The clients wanted it to be one with nature and preferred natural elements like wood, bamboo, and earthy ceramics to make up the design language.” shares Design Firm, Auburn Studio.
The Design Intent:
The design philosophy was driven by three major themes/focus areas –
- Staying true to the brief, interiors were kept to a minimal with reliance on raw exposed finishes and textures
- Unique art pieces, plenty of greenery, and handcrafted furnitures were used to bring about the element of exotic getaway
- Aligned spaces and elements to focus on breathtaking views of the vast pool to add to the wow-factor
The highlight of the beach house is easily its sunken living room, a structure that we envisioned and created. The beach house boasted a huge living area and the clients were very particular about having plenty of seating areas to host guests. The initial idea was to use furniture and landscape to create multiple seating zones so that it doesn’t end up looking like just another large hall. However, as soon as we saw the site, we just knew how well a sunken living room would work in the space while staying true to the client’s requirement of multiple seating areas.
We sunk the space in the center down by three steps to create a seating area facing the pool. Once seated, the regular swimming pool appears at the eye level rendering the illusion of an infinity pool.
The Spatial Configuration/flow:
The beach house ebbs and flows like an exotic getaway. The antispace by the entrance lays the foundation for a grand reveal of the entire open plan of the ground floor. The space begins with a small living room set up and a pool table area consequently leading to our signature sunken living room, complemented with a bar setup at the back. At the rear end is an open kitchen with dining and a guest bedroom.
A grand set of stairs leads to the private first floor that houses a family room and a cosy dining area that overlooks the ocean. On either side of the living room are the bedrooms with attached washrooms.
The Material Palette:
In line with the minimal approach, we went with a grey-on-grey monotone as our primary palette, complete with cement finished floor tiles, grey walls and grey ceiling. We relied on the furniture to bring about character and accentuate spaces. We customised furniture pieces to bring in various elements of warmth, we also reupholstered existing furniture pieces in sand-coloured tones and topped them off with raw and natural finishes.
All the lighting used was handmade with cement, wood, or bamboo finishes.
The primary challenge, as with any renovation project, was working within the existing constraints of the site. This meant we had to keep our designs and ideas fluid enough to move along with the space as we go.
What we loved about the project:
- We loved the fact that we used customised furniture, it gave us so much more room for creativity. The opportunities available to completely transform the space was immense.
- We also re-used a lot of their existing furniture as our clients have great taste. It blended in well with the aesthetics and was, of course, a sustainably wise choice.
- We played up all the bedbacks in the bedrooms adding a touch of unique character in each room
- The clients shared our love for live edge and rattan furniture
What is your favourite aspect of the project:
It has to undoubtedly be the sunken living area. We created a cosy yet luxurious space with lush greenery on all sides, topped with a brilliant view of the pool and the garden. It instantly transports you to a holiday resort – that’s all the boxes ticked for our clients.
Project Name: The Balinese Beach House
Design Firm: The Auburn Studio
Size: 6,500 sq.ft
Location: ECR, Chennai, India
Principal Architect: Sushmitha Ramesh
Client: Ashish Gupta and Shweta Gupta
Photography: Yash R Jain