One of the perks of being an architect is the ability to design one’s own home to match every desired specification, from the overall blueprint to the location of power outlets.
Just ask Malay Doshi, partner at local architecture firm Saransh Architects and lead architect for his apartment in Ahmedabad, in the western India state of Gujarat.
“Everything was built exactly for his daily needs,” says Malay of the apartment (and of himself as client), “from where he could read, to something as small as where his phone could be charged.”
Measuring 725sqft, the apartment originally featured two bedrooms that have been knocked down to create an open-layout studio. Partition walls were removed, as were the toilets, kitchen, and even the flooring. Efforts were directed at creating a minimalist yet tactile space, with materials chosen for how well they age.
Upon entry, one gets a full view of the apartment, save for the bathroom – the only room in the house with a door, made of fluted glass to ensure a flow of daylight into the space.
From the entrance, one reaches the living area, which flows into the dining space and an elevated entertainment den. Across the dining area is an open kitchen; from there a corridor leads to the bedroom.
Storage considerations proved a challenge with the new layout, however. “Being such an open house, the various daily needs of running a home were difficult to fit in – such as general storage for cleaning supplies, luggage, and so on,” says Malay. “This was resolved through designing a few not-so-visible storage areas, instead of a store room.” The elevated den, for example, sits atop a hollow space for storage, accessible via trap doors.
Colours and materials served a large role in the apartment, demarcating the various spaces and their purpose. Shades of concrete grey in the kitchen and bathroom contrast against the off-white and light grey palettes of the rest of the living areas, which also feature polished concrete that extends partially up the walls from the floor. The softer furnishings, such as the sofa, curtains, and the cushions in the entertainment den are also outfitted in grey fabrics.
Cement tiles, brass touches, wood and stone also serve as inlays amidst the polished concrete flooring, creating interest.
Wood from 60- to 80-year-old Valsad Teak, sourced from the housing clusters of Old Ahmedabad – also known as ‘pols’ – has been chosen for their rich, aged texture and sustainability.
Aside from a few custom-made furnishings, the light fixtures are mainly from Flos, while bathroom fittings are sourced from Kohler.
The compact entertainment den, which also houses a library, features a wooden motif for a cosy ambience. Meanwhile, the bedroom is dressed in warm beige tones and teal floor tiles – a sunny aesthetic that also signifies the personal domain of the homeowner.
Among the many features of the stylish abode, designed to cater to his lifestyle and various needs, Malay says the entertainment den is his favourite.
“Whether it be reading a novel, listening to some music, doing some sketching or watching something online, it all happens here,” says Doshi. “It has become the most lived-in part of the home.”