• Apartment With A Private Terrace is a Retirement House | Shreya Krishnan Design Studio (SKDO)

    Nestled in a high-rise in the heart of Adyar, a leafy suburb of South Chennai, this second-floor apartment with a private terrace is a retirement house for a couple who moved back to India after having spent the majority of their working lives abroad. While designing the space, we realized this was an opportunity to reconstruct the idea of “home” . We wanted to disperse the impersonal luxury engendered by developer-led mass housing while incorporating their international experience and sensibilities.

    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a discernible shift in users’ expectations of residential spaces. Beyond the allure of a posh address or best-in-class amenities and high-end finishes, there is a heightened awareness. It is of importance that well-lit and well-proportioned spaces contribute to overall well-being. This includes areas that seamlessly facilitate living, working, and recreation while offering abundant access to open and green spaces.

    Apartment With A Private Terrace is a Retirement House | Shreya Krishnan Design Studio (SKDO)

    Design Philosophy

    Thus, the design philosophy marries the Scandinavian concept of ‘Hygge,’. It loosely translates into English as ‘coziness’ with a distinctive South Indian tropical modernist sensibility. Moreover, it is inspired by the context and the client’s cultural grounding while steering clear of clichés.

    Hygge encompasses both physical and emotional wellness. Moreover, it promotes connection and conviviality and creates a sense of warmth and comfort above all else. The success of this project lies in bridging the gap between one-size-fits-all solutions. 

    retirement house

    Seeking a living space that could adapt to evolving needs, the brief was clear. It was to have a comfortable abode that accommodated both present and future requirements. The wife, a culinary enthusiast, harboured a wish for a best-in-class kitchen, utility, and storage space.

    retirement house

    retirement house

    Study Space

    On the other hand, the husband, embracing remote work, needed a tranquil study space. Additionally, they envisioned a welcoming guest room for family and friends, including their daughter.

    The design approach prioritized integrating the brief into the existing plan, considering natural light levels, and seamlessly blending with the apartment’s existing materiality. The apartment is strategically divided into distinct activity zones, each characterized by its functionality, natural or artificial light levels, and spatial layout.

    Seamless Integration of Spaces

    This segmentation aims at imbuing a unique character into every space, highlighted through greenery, texture, and colour. A seamless connection between the interior spaces and the private terrace garden has been prioritised through strategic spatial reconfiguration to promote opportunities for communion with nature and enhance well-being. 

    As the living room has a limited source of natural light, it has been transformed into an inviting, den-like area. The study-cum-puja room adjoining it is designed to be flexible, accommodating multiple uses while remaining spacious and inviting.

    Master Bedroom

    The master bedroom, overlooking the private terrace, focuses on a well-delineated flow from inside to outside, emphasising both vantage points and circulation. Each space transitions seamlessly into the other, creating a harmonious and inviting atmosphere throughout the apartment.

    The centre stage showcases local, naturally sourced materials and traditional building crafts, detailed uniquely throughout. We embraced tropical modernism with a Madras twist by employing muted yet rich tones, textures, and patterns.

    retirement house

    The entrance porch to the apartment is punctuated with traditional red oxide accents and a decorative mural. It is inspired by the handcrafted traditional cement tiles of Athangudi. Within the apartment, natural accents are in the spotlight.

    retirement house

    The grey cement oxide feature wall spanning the living and dining area acts as a focal point and anchor for the entire apartment, as well as a backdrop for the vibrant traditional Indian art.

    Material Choices

    Natural white Banswara marble features in the form of a console and coffee table with purple specks act as a counterpoint to the existing brown and white-veined Italian marble flooring. Brass and teak screens and frames add a South Indian touch to transition spaces, and oak veneer and birch ply storage bring in an element of fusion with an international aesthetic. 

    When it comes to sourcing, we worked with small design houses and craftsmen who make unique pieces. In the living room, armchairs upholstered with custom-designed “Bandar log” fabric from Toile Indigene complement a beautiful custom-made fawn leather Chesterfield sofa and a red carpet from Samarkand. Discreet brass accents in the form of sleek, minimalist cabinetry handles by Studio Made, a Chennai-based design studio, enhance the South Indian touches. A recycled silk carpet from Mishcatco creates a fitting backdrop for the view of the private terrace.

    Private Terrace

    Moving to the private terrace, the exterior paving is finished with blocks of locally sourced rough-hewn kadappa stone. At the centre of which rises a Corten steel planter with a rust-red patina filled with natural grass waving in the breeze and built-in grey cement oxide planters-cum-benches. The landscape design, led by Sorrel Nursery, uses temple flowers and naturalised grasses, offering a diverse array of textures and colours while perfectly screening the private terrace

    The use of wood, stone, and brass—all natural materials—is a deliberate choice, reflecting a dedication to handcrafted elements and authenticity. Every aspect of the project, down to the very details, is designed to be enduring and coherent with the client needs. A decade later, the design aims to surpass its current visual appeal by embracing the idea of weathering and patina as a natural process that adds character.

    At its core, this project breaks away from mere aesthetic considerations and successfully amalgamates the client’s vision of a home. Offering a perfect backdrop for contemporary living, it is a space that is not only visually captivating but also deeply connected to its surroundings.

    Fact File

    Designed by: Shreya Krishnan Design Studio (SKDO)

    Project Type: Residential Interior Design

    Project Name: Apartment at Plutus / Hygge

    Location: Chennai   

    Year Built: 2023          

    Built-Up Area: 2500 Sq.ft

    Principal Architect: Shreya Krishnan

    Team Design Credits: Bindhu Manohar, Aishwarya Venkatesh & Lavanya Murugaiyan              

    Name of Client: Lalitha and Gopal Swaminathan

    Photograph Courtesy: Yash Jain

    Firm’s Website Link: Shreya Krishnan Design Studio (SKDO)

    Firm’s Instagram Link: Shreya Krishnan Design Studio (SKDO)

    For Similar Project>>> Barkat House Is A Reflection Of Modern Contemporary Design Blended With Timeless Elegance

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