Since the maximum footprint permitted by the zoning authorities is quite restrictive, permission for two bungalows was sought. The required distance of 25 feet between them led to the creation of the gazebo in the garden, accessed by a pathway between the two structures.
In every space, the volumes are expansive. The living room on the first floor enjoys spectacular 360-degree views, while most rooms in the home enjoy 180-degree views which extend to the horizon. The bungalow itself has a glass façade on three sides. The fourth side accommodates the rooms for the staff. All the plumbing has been run on that side.
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The kitchen looks like no other, impersonating a dining room, as it were. A crystal wash basin from Murano has a small gap between its base and the counter below. When the overhead light is switched on, it casts an attractive pattern on the counter, adding a touch of sophistication that is not customary in hardworking spaces such as kitchens.
The staircase is a simple one. “Anything elaborate would have used up 5 percent more area, which I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice,” says Reddy. Overhead tanks were also rejected, as they would have affected the appearance of the elevation. An underground sump with pressure pumps supplies water to the bathrooms and kitchen. Solar panels on top of the service areas generate enough power for the home to be off grid.
“The weather in Coonoor is known to be capricious…it can change with little or no warning. One moment it is sunny and the next it can turn cloudy, with heavy rain. The wind velocity causes a high-pitched whine, so it was essential to have heavy double-glazed windows with a vacuum between the panes,” says Reddy. While designing the house, the intention was to enable a togetherness with nature, whether one is sitting outside in the garden or inside. All the full-height windows open onto either a balcony, verandah, terrace, deck or the garden itself. Slim railings offer minimum obstruction to the views of undulating hills in the distance and skies with woolly clouds that seem almost within reach. Within, fans are used only to circulate air, with air-conditioning being totally unnecessary. “In rooms with 17-foot-high ceilings, I’ve used tower fans, since the long rods needed to suspend the ceiling fans would have looked quite ugly.”