The sensational home of ace interior designers and principals of Essentia Environments Hardesh and Monica Chawla is in a plush area of Gurgaon, measuring some 20,000 square feet of indoor space and 3,500 in outdoor areas. The distinctly contemporary house with clean lines includes a basement level and three floors above it. As one of India’s leading interior designers, Monica is the creative genius behind some of the most spectacular celebrity homes in the country. Her innate design sensibilities backed by sheer talent bring any space alive.
Along with her husband, she runs her preeminent design and build firm, which has worked on a variety of projects: apartments in Aralias and Mangolias; car showrooms for Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen; Techno Gym; and farmhouses and bungalows in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Raipur, Meerut, Dubai and other places overseas. The couple live in this larger-than-life bungalow with their sons Hridhik and Mahin, and Hardesh’s father H.S. Chawla.
Though the overall theme is minimalistic, the stark brutalism has been softened by the use of a number of elements including earthy tones of mocha and coffee, textured stones, laser-cut metal panels in more traditional styles, and an abundance of art. “The home is a clutter-free zone that is very kid-friendly with versatile areas to entertain, making it an easy and enjoyable home to maintain,” says Monica.
The basement and ground floor are both designated as living and entertainment areas, and fitted with a multi-level gym, office and an extremely comfortable home theatre. The other two floors have four bedrooms each, but the most striking feature of the house is the 40-foot high entry foyer with a central courtyard, built around a lifelike tree.
The couple call their home “a quintessential traditional thought interpreted and brought to life in an unapologetic, modern way”. Absolutely grand in aesthetics and comforting in feel, the home features white Italian marble and natural wooden flooring throughout. Most of the furniture is straight-line, with emphasis on a clean look and ease of maintenance. The couches are all finished in leather, and the palette is neutral, but splashes of colour are present as cushions, art and accessories.
You will find some of the most striking and unique paintings and other pieces of art in the Chawla residence. The works of Gujral, Gurjala, Irrana, Chintan, Bhadra and Mrinmoy Barua, as well as a few established and up-and-coming artists from all over the world have been taken from the couple’s personal selection collected over time.
Monica tells us that the collection of accessories, furnishings, bed and bath linens, candles, and flowers and arrangements was something they enjoyed most during the process of building their home. They also enjoy rearranging these things throughout the house on a regular basis, in order to bring a sense of change and added joy.
Though conscious efforts were made to procure most of the building material locally, lots of items had to be sourced from around the world. The bathrooms carry Gessi and Villeroy & Bosch fitting, the kitchen is equipped with a Bertazzoni cooking range, and the lights are Flos and Foscarini from Italy. The indoor and outdoor furniture have been designed and produced both in-house as well as procured from overseas.
The large living room in the basement has ample seating with sleek furniture and clean lines. The highlight here is a metallic bar that hangs from the ceiling, adding to the glamour quotient of the space while being practical to use and clean. Tasteful, polished and austere are the words that come to mind when one enters this area.
The chairs are all clad in fine leather, while the tables are a mixture of stone, veneer and leather. As the setting has been deliberately kept Spartan, particular focus has been given to quality. Each of the art pieces and accessories has been cleverly selected to elevate the room to its dizzying heights. The chandelier further adds to the charm.
The children’s rooms on the first floor were designed keeping in mind the requirements of two growing boys. The large, stone-clad study table that extends from one room to the other provides them both with ample space for their afterschool activities. The art selection is funky and sporty to complement the young theme.
The dining room, again, is Spartan with its large, veneer dining table featuring 12 exquisite chairs clad in leather. The emphasis here is the huge 7x5’ art piece. Going to the rest of the bedrooms (modern in look and feel), they are fitted with enormous walk-in closets. Spacious, private and very practical both for the homeowners as well as their guests, they all overlook the lush gardens and are flush with natural light at all times.
Monica says, “A lot of effort was devoted to space planning and to get the functionality of the house right. Once that was taken care of, the rest was easy.” The couple wanted the house to be a reflection of their own sensibilities, and so they went with whatever appealed to them. However, the painstaking process of extremely detailed working drawings and the time of more than a couple of months spent in the design and detailing process seems to have been worth it.