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This 6,000-square-feet villa is located in a small town close to Palghat in Kerala, on a large plot along the banks of a river. The client is a popular Malayalam movie director—a household name in Kerala. He and his family wished to live in a space that was cosy and familiar. “All through the briefing, the one word that stood out and therefore defined the design style was ‘tharavad,’ which is a typical ancestral home of Kerala. The client’s family wanted to feel like they had moved into a ‘tharavad,’ characterised by an indoor courtyard and the heavy use of wood, terracotta, greenery and bricks. However, we consciously avoided overdoing the ethnic elements and interspersed the look with a few contemporary pieces to break the monotony,” states Ganesh Nair of Whitespace.

Living Area

The living room furniture is a mix of ethnic teak, cane pieces and contemporary sofas. The room also features a shelf showcasing the client’s numerous awards and a few curios collected during the family’s travels. Behind the living room, is a sunlit indoor courtyard with a terracotta-tiled floor typical of a ‘tharavad.’ The courtyard features a tree surrounded with wooden benches and a large modern art piece. An adjoining space in the living area is used for prayers and for hosting small religious get-togethers. An ornately carved round teak table with cane and teak chairs form the seating here. It is visually divided from the main living area with an antique partition, hand-picked from a Jewish settlement street in Kochi.


A nook on the second floor functions as a library with a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf and a stairway to a wooden loft and a large guest bedroom. “The main stairway, which has a terracotta floor and a contemporary glass barrier leads to a black rosewood console exhibiting the client’s trophies. The client is also an avid traveler. Therefore, an equally large sized, framed world map hangs above the console,” adds Ganesh.


“The bedrooms comprise teakwood, four poster beds with woven cane headboards. Seating is primarily in teak, cane and linen, keeping with the overall styling. All bedrooms have a separate dressing area with mirrors and low height seats designed in Roman style details,” Ganesh says.

Kitchen & Dining Area

A modern kitchen complete with an island is attached to a dining area featuring a brick wall and a long, wooden bench-like teak dining table. A hand-painted ‘Last Supper’ painting is placed on the brick wall. A hand wash area with an antique brass mirror and lighting with brass detailing is part of the dining area.

Outdoor Areas

“A terrace with a ‘C’ shaped wooden bench around a central tree is for informal gatherings and can comfortably seat a dozen people. The ‘L’ shaped verandah overlooking the riverfront has teak and cane furniture and a swing repurposed from an antique door to host evenings with friends and family,” says Ganesh.

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Contemporary, classy and chic, yet rooted firmly in functionality, the DNA of this home is emblazoned with eclectic, intercontinental inspiration. “The aesthetic is mostly inspired by designs I have observed during my extensive travels to Europe and America. You’ll see glimmers of 5-star luxury, while also feeling cocooned in homelike comfort,” says Ganesh Nair of Whitespace.


The front door—featuring a panelled, Prussian-blue facade with a glass-panelled inset—distinguishes the home from its neighbours. Beyond, lies a foyer, characterised by a breezy pine seating area and a rafter-clad roof. An ornate glass table, overarched by an accent mirror, injects depth and drama into the space.

Living Room

Enveloped by walls of wood and white, the living room exudes the style of an opulent hotel lobby. A wood-panelled feature wall echoes the warmth of the wooden floor, while plush, indigo armchairs inject regal splendour into the otherwise understated colour palette. Abstract aqua artwork and classic wall mouldings serve as emblems of imperial charm, lending epochal character to the contemporary decor scheme.


Muted facades and electrifying tiles cure each other in the slimline kitchen. “Since it was a small apartment, we were tasked with making such spaces as the kitchen appear larger. We absorbed the utility area into the kitchen and maintained a uniform, seamless tiling scheme throughout to visually elongate the space,” says Nair.

Dining Room

Sunny, airy and carefree, the dining room is the epitome of a breezy summer’s day. A large open display unit filled with handpicked curios stimulates visual interest while adding cheer to the decor scheme. “We perpetuated the living room aesthetic with a base palette of white, while cutting the monotony with bright yellows and blues. We were particular about maintaining a European sensibility by way of colour, material and texture. We used royal blues, whites, greys and wines to curate a colour spectrum reminiscent of Europe. We complemented these hues with muted fabrics and subtle patterns, and plenty of pine wood,” says Nair.


The home’s half-bedroom—repurposed into a den—is designed equally for intimate soirées and marathon movie nights. Dark grey walls, wooden flooring, a grey casual sectional sofa and a pine wood bench weave a picture of warmth and comfort.

Master Bedroom

Sombre lighting, soft hues and candelabra-style luminaires paint a romantic, Parisian-chic scene in the master bedroom. “We designed ceiling-height wardrobes in plain white, and kept the patterns and textures simple, to conjure a sophisticated vibe. We juxtaposed the wooden floor with wooden panelling on one wall to bring in warmth,” notes Nair.

Master Bathroom

The master bathroom—steeped in royal blue and ivory—masquerades as a gleaming jewel box. His-and-hers sinks reminisce princely basins of opulent hotel suites, while gilded hardware offers understated glamour against the solid walls and cabinetry.

Daughter’s Bedroom

The client’s 23-year-old daughter wanted a space that nestled in the sights and sounds of the nearby Aarey Forest. The room earns a playful edge by way of cheerful lighting, bold pops of grey and yellow, and a bistro-style guitar accent highlighting the wall. Need a break? Journey with us as we explore these 6 serene mountain homes Our compilation of homes from Karjat, Ooty, Aamby Valley, Khandala, and Lonavala offer 10 mins worth of happy, free scrolling. Take a look Majestic mountains and lush scenery envelope this holiday villa This hilltop home, designed by WhiteSpace, blends into the surrounding landscape with its natural wood grains, rustic finishes, rugged textures and organic palettes This holiday home by WhiteSpace is a quiet retreat in Ithlar, a hilltop hamlet about 20 kilometres from Ooty. All photos courtesy Shamanth Patil—Rays & Greys