Monday, June 20, 2011

Our House: Buena Vista ( Beautiful View)

Our house was conceived with lot of love.  Ananth always loved Spanish architecture, and always used to tell me that if he ever built a house he would go for the Spanish style. We just left it at that for neither did we have a plot to built a house nor were we looking for one for everything had gone beyond our means.
Then one day, one of his very close friend said there was a beautifully located plot in Whitefield and that it was owned two friends jointly and they wanted to sell it off as they had no use for it.
  They were somewhere in Bombay. He said we should grab this opportunity and just buy it as an investment. This place Whitefield was quite far from the city, it was not well connected by bus or any such thing. Only retired army people and some Anglo Indians lived there in old palatial bungalows.
However the plot was huge and the area though not developed was quite good, peaceful and quiet. There were just a Niligiris shop  selling  some bare essentials. Since it was affordable we bought it, and forgot everything about the plot.
Then as years passed by we found living in Indira Nagar on the 100th feet Road was becoming impossible, with all the noise, and pollution, and random constructions everywhere- all the beautiful houses were being demolished to be built into apartments, the traffic had also increased tremendously, it had totally become a commercial place- literally a concrete jungle.
Our children too were growing up, and living in the cramped apartment and with my husband's office too in it was becoming very tough.
We then decided, that it was time we built our own house, and moved away from all the chaos.
But there was a catch Whitefield was still not developed, it still lacked  all the facilities. Our son who was in 9th at that time would have no proper bus to reach his school, our daughter would have to drive for 1 hour in the peak hours to reach her college. And as for me I would not be able to go out as often as I wished to, because of the  same problems.
Anyway, finally we decided to just go ahead and make plans for building the house and later on worry about the various problems.

It was very exciting, we went through various books to see what type of Spanish house we wanted, and finally Ananth came up with the basic design, which we gave it to our neighbour and close friend Jyoti Dhingra who is an Architect/ Interior Designer, to work on it.
Then another business friend was given the Contractor's job, and so on,  till we had all our close friends working at some level or other on our house project.

Then we bought a very good book which was going for half price in some book shop- we were lucky, we immediately grabbed it, and from that day it was like a Bible for us.
The book was: Casa California  Spanish Style by Barbara Clemente.
Back then, we didn't have proper access to internet, like today. We had to do lot of research, it was tough running around finding things, and when we could not afford some of them,  doing it all by ourselves, was the only option, or finding an alternative, without losing sight of the main theme, for, everything had to look and feel Spanish.
Although it was difficult, it was not  impossible, for in India too there are  many things available,   only one has to patiently look for them and place them/ use them properly.

We wanted to use wooden rafters for the ceiling, but wood was very expensive, so we thought and thought and, finally, our Architect Jyoti got a brilliant idea, Bamboo- she said we could use that instead of wood, which turned out to be cheap, yet beautiful and very innovative and also suited the theme of our house. Our contractor had a Bamboo farm, and he selected the right size for our use. Then came flooring, we decided to go  in for terracotta tiles for both inside and the outside. Wow! again we not only saved lots of money, we also got a beautiful and highly durable,totally natural flooring for house. The color terracotta simply looks lovely and it gives such an earthy feeling. It not only keeps us warm in winter but also keeps us cool in summer, what more can one ask?
The same tile fellow agreed to design our roof tiles also for us, because we wanted it to look like  Spanish tiles, which has a slightly rounded cylindrical look, like the old tiles you might have seen in Indian villages, but of slightly good quality.

This is our reproduction of the antique door you see  in the book.

We found a very good cane boutique shop, just by chance, which designed cane furniture, so we selected our entire cane furniture from the various books that she had. We had our front door, a copy of an antique door we found in our Spanish book, done by our own carpenter, who not only made the door, but also all the doors/ windows and the staircase.
The stained glass panels too was done by a dear friend of ours. 
Stained glass panel in the ktchen

A modern bedroom with aloft with steel rafters
The open kitchen,dining living room layout. The hand painted tiles on the arch
Rock / pebble Garden
The terracotta Murals
 The Spanish Bell

 The Alamenda Creeper

 The arches

 Since we had lots of space, we decided to go a for a standard size swimming pool. And I had my own Aerobics Hall too, where I could conduct my classes.

Then another business friend of Ananth was handed over the landscaping of the garden, we liked the Moorish style garden, and Shakeeb our landscape architect came up with a very simple yet beautiful  Moorish garden for us. We also requested him to give us a perennial garden so that, there is never any need to change plants, and also plants that would not need much maintenance or need a lot of water.

Now comes the decorative tiles which is must in every Spanish house, which is what gives it a charm not to be found anywhere else. When we found the designer handmade tiles very expensive,  we made beautiful tiles ourselves. Our daughter and son pitched in here. We went and bought a good tile design book, and once they got the hang of it there seemed to be no stopping, for they came up with beautifully painted tiles in a jiffy. We had them put everywhere in our house.

We had a dream to build a beautiful, comfortable airy cottage, with a budget in our mind, and, I must say we managed to stay more or less within our budget, without straying too much from  it. And believe me, we had not even been to Spain, when we built this house, we visited Spain only after 6/ 7 years after it was built. It took us about 1 year to built this house. Isn't it amazing, that if one is focused to accomplish something, it can be accomplished?

 Oh, I forgot we even have a proper bell-- a huge brass bell which we have hung in our terrace, making a special arch for it to hang.

Well,  there are so many little little details, it would take me ages to go into each and everyone of them.
To cut short an already long story, I would like to end this with a comment made by an Architect from California, James Madson of Madson Design:

Hi Rama,
I think your home is beautiful, and a wonderful example of architecture gracefully informed by different traditions.  It's a great fusion of California Spanish Colonial with Indian motifs and materials.  The gable overhang at the front of your house is particularly notable, in that you captured the character of Spanish Colonial, with their heavy exposed purlins and corbels, but used slender bamboo beams and knee braces instead-- this manages to be loyal to both traditions simultaneously.

Just click on the pictures of our house displayed on the right side of my blog: Photoset from flickr, Our Spanish Villa In Bangalore India.

Did you enjoy the tour of our house, which part of the house did you like the most?


  1. Rama, I can't tell you the number of times I have gone to your Flickr account to look at your home. What a beautiful place, and every corner showcases your personal touch. Both the inside and out are gorgeous. I can't wait to come to Bangalore and visit you:):)

  2. I don't have words to tell you how amazingly beautiful your home is .Beautiful architecture ,nice interiors and a great garden .I think i will keep on coming back to see the pictures.Thanks for sharing.

  3. wOooooow!! I loved each and every part of your home and also the knick knacks you've arranged.

    It also reminds me of the materials we sourced for our home (apartment) we made 5 years ago.

    Now whitefield has become the pulse of bangalore with techpark.

  4. I loved this post, the whole house is so beautiful
    can't pick a favorite part but i especially loved the garden

  5. awesome..when r u going to invite us?

  6. its quite a deal to be able to build the Dream home! beautiful is too tiny a word to describe ur space... :)

  7. Rama, I have said this so many times....your house is just so beautiful, like a sanctuary.
    Loved the whole story behind building this must have been such a great experience...and to live that experience, in your dream house....must be an awesome feeling!

  8. You have a beautiful Home.. thanks for sharing with us. And I wil lsecond R.Ramesh 's question :)


  9. To Kala, Kavita, Asha, Suchita, Ramesh, Sudha, Aad Neha: Thanks a lot.
    I just wanted to highlight that, we built a simple house, with none of the designer, expensive things, and yet it has come out as if we have spent loads and loads of money.
    It is a house that is very livable and comfortable.
    Ramesh you are welcome anytime.

  10. Which part did I enjoy the most?
    Now that is a tough question......
    Take the last picture first...... those greatly slanting roofs are not to be seen anywhere now a days.(except in ancient homes)
    Those curved tiles...... saw them last maybe 50 years ago, but then it was in Bombay where we were staying in my Dad's qrts(and obviuosly made by the British)
    Bamboo rafters..... what a wonderful idea.
    I always used to wonder why do designers not make more use of Bamboo..... such a cost effective alternative.
    Maybe one day we will drop in for tea :-)

  11. I liked the story of how you built this sweet home.Loved every part of your home.

  12. Hi Rama...just am,amazing! This is the first time i am looking at your house and the glimpse is just stunning, i must say! Such tasteful and artistic couple you are:)

  13. Beautiful, Rama! One step at a time, brick upon brick and anything can get done!

  14. Hi Rama!
    Beautiful pics of your stunning home as always! Just loved everything about your Spanish tasteful :)


  15. Awesomeness Rama! What a beautiful space, there are just too many things I liked to put them down here. A tasteful and warm house!

  16. Beautiful! Rama, you have painstaking put together a home which looks gorgeous and yet has such a cozy and warm feel to it. I love the greenery the most. Just one question, why are there light bulbs in some pictures? Was it decoration for some festival?

  17. Rama , thanks so much for leaving me a note , that's how I discovered you and this wonderul home and eventually this simply awesome blog ! :)I love Tuscan design.This year on a visit to grand canyon as we were passing thru , I saw some Spanish style villas to die for.your house looks just like that......beautiful , beautiful and simply beautiful.A labor of love :) I have so many interesting reads ahead .My time will be well spend reading your blog:) I am signing up to follow you:)

  18. Sudha, Thank you,I wrote this blog just for you.
    Neha, Bikram, SM, SV, Cloud nine, Sanghmitra, Ambika,and Sarmista: Thanks for your lovely comments.
    Jerry you are right, one step at a time that is how we did it.
    Yes Haddock, Bamboo is cheap and so beautiful, more and more designers should encourage people to use it instead of wasting hard earned money on wood, where it can be avoided. I am so glad it took you back to the good old days of Bombay.
    Rachna those lights were used for decorating the house for the diwali last year. Actually we wanted to put some lights only for the outside, but the light fellow got so excited, that, he insisted that we allow him to light the inside also, for no extra cost. In fact it didn't cost much at all. I think we were lighting up our house after 10 years.
    You must have seen some of these pictures in my Diwali blog.
    Thanks a lot everybody.

  19. Fabulous indeed.It reveals the meticulous care for details and aesthetics.Must be most satisfying experience to live in such a beautiful home.It is difficult to single out any one for praise when each one is inviting your appreciation.

  20. Beautiful home Rama....Your garden is something that I would love to see again and any number of posts... !!! Loved the Home Tour... Congrats on the feature in Design Enthusiasist.. !!! Have a great week ahead !!

  21. KP, and Emreen, Thanks.
    Emreen, saw your comment there too, thanks a lot.

  22. Rama, left a comment on the design enthusiast as well.. Forgot to add that I enjoyed your garden very much

  23. Wooooooow. Beautiful. Awesome. Excellent house.

    Designing is one aspect and then decorating is another. Both done tastefully. Very very nice. I will show the pictures to my wife tonight. She loves to see decorated beautiful houses.

  24. Your home is gorgeous.. and so are you!!! I simply cant get enough of seeing images of your home.. Its wow!! wow!! :-)

  25. wow !every time I see your house it is wowerful!:)This time seeing and imagining the efforts you have put for every fine details of your house,I appreciate it even more.I am not much aware of the spanish style,but I can say tht ur house is really elegant .

  26. Your house is gorgeous.....loved the 1st, 2nd & the mirror pic and the bell...actually all are them are beautiful but since u asked us to choose, so...:-)

  27. beautiful house you got there!!!! looks very relaxing!

  28. thank you so much for sharing this with us. its truly inspiring. Makes me believe I can make my dream home come true, someday.
    Loved all the pics, and the way you have written about it. a lot of love has gone into the house, and lives in it too now. that is what makes it all the more special.
    Which is my favorite? I have seen your garden before in some pics, and thought nothing could beat that. but your hall is so inviting. And those bedrooms!! enticing. And I keep thinking of that bell on the terrace. lovely!

  29. your indian hacienda looks amazingly beautiful - is there any land by your property? want to buy some now!!!!

  30. Oh My God! Your home is like heaven. Simply gorgeous and so tastefully done! :)

    ♡ from ©

  31. Thank you everybody for stopping by and posting such lovely comments. Like everyone else even I can't choose the best part, for I love everyone of them, as also each part of our house has some interesting story behind it.
    Now Serving: there are no lands for sale in our enclave although a few of them are empty, but they belong to NRIs. Welcome to my blog.
    Tanvi: Thanks for you lovely comment. Welcome to my blog.
    I am really glad to see 3 new faces in my blog.

  32. what a beautiful home you everything about it. home tour at pattys blog is awesome, and u write so good too. it is nice to see the beautiful house behind which there is love, labor and passion.

  33. Dear Rama: I wish I could see your home and meet you. I wish you could see my home and meet me. If we met, I bet we would become dear friends. Your home is such an extension of yourself, an expression of yourself, and it is truly unique and beautiful, like you. My home is different from yours. It has a lot of Japanese Style, and yet it is in North Carolina, in the US. My husband and I are very interested in architecture, and have taken our simple ranch house to a whole new level. It also is an extension or expression of our uniqueness and our tastes. We are your American counterparts. I am the dreamer and he is the doer. I design, he builds. We are middle class people with big dreams and lots of character and talents. BTW: I have a great deal of interest in China, have studied Chinese and taught writing at a university in China. I lived in China as a young woman and in middle age. I have Chinese art all through my house. The garden in the back is Japanese, and we intend to build a Chinese garden in the front. This spring, I hosted a tour of our Japanese Garden, and it was wonderful to see how surprised visitors were to find this in Raleigh, NC. Please write back to me. You can find me at I need to do a lot more blogging about my home, like you did.

  34. Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.
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