Ethnic Indian Home: Kaveri Chinnappa’s Coorg inspired home in Bangalore
We brought you Kaveri’s home as a part of the stylish home contest, a while ago. Here, we share her story on designing and decorating her home in Bangalore— inspired by the beauty of Coorg.
As you will see, she has created a wonderful home with much love and care. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did !
I was born and brought up in a hill station (Madikeri/Mercara) in the picturesque district of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka and hailing from the warrior clan of Kodavas, I am totally aware and proud of my unique identity. Education, work and marriage took me away from my home-town and I shifted to Bengaluru 28 years ago- a place I have made home and have grown to love it for its cool and bright environs. Today, I live in Bangalore with my husband (a retired high court judge) two strapping young sons, a daughter-in-law and an adorable grandson.
My sensibilities have been influenced by and are a confluence of my traditional upbringing in the Coorg- countryside, my modern education, a lifetime of memories and travels. the holidays in the Coorg countryside. Professionally, I have worn many hats as a teacher, banker, and lawyer. all rolled into one. I am in the best phase of my life enjoying my leisure and doing things I really enjoy like taking care of my home and garden, cooking and baking for my family, painting, travelling etc.
I have always enjoyed exploring my creative side doing things with my hands be it needle work, making candles or painting. Designing and decorating my home and maintaining my garden is my passion. I have dabbled in various types of painting but it is the tanjore style that has me hooked. All the tanjore paintings in my home are my own creations. I have painted many for my friends and relatives whenever they have expressed their desire to own my creations.
When my husband was allotted a plot measuring adjacent to a mangrove of the agriculture university, my dream home was born in my mind. I wanted to give my two sons, a slice of Kodagu and make them breathe the air I had grown up in. This was the only way our family could stay connected to our roots and stay true to our unique ‘Coorg’ identity.
My home has no architectural pretentions regarding design or façade and is a 3300 sq. ft. four bedroom house on two floors. I took no professional help in designing the layout plan of the rooms. I wanted the sun, the breeze, the greenery, the birds and the atmosphere I had grown up in. What I wanted to achieve was total privacy for every room in the house with optimum usage of space. There are no passages or corridors at all. We did not have the luxury of unlimited resources to build our home as my husband was a government servant. With whatever resources we had, I wanted to create a warm inviting place, cheerful and relaxing for all of us. Today, I have a total sense of achievement when my children oppose my plans to remove any tree or plant to facilitate expansion of the house, when my grandson prefers our home to host his birthday parties and when my Bangalore born and bred daughter-in-law takes so much pride in our home.
My home is a melting pot of various cultures and a fusion of all kinds of artistic influence. I like elegant traditional and ethnic décor which is totally Indian and that is the theme of our house. Having said that, the attempt was to have visually appealing aesthetic furniture without compromising on utility or comfort.
When I look around, I find my home, colourful, vibrant, warm, functional and totally Indian!
In your “Stylish home” contest posts under my entry, someone aptly asked whether it is a home in a garden or a garden in a home. Both are inseparable and extensions of each other. To me plants are like children. If you nourish them with love and care, they grow up beautifully. I have selected plants that normally grow in Kodagu. The best thing about Bengaluru is that everything that grows in Kodagu grows here.
The garden provides a respite from the city’s pollution and crowds with its, green lawn, shady trees and colourful bright flowering plants.
Our home is surrounded by flowering and ornamental plants and fruit bearing trees. The front compound wall is covered with bright bougainvillea in varied hues and the other three walls have green ivy growing on them.
All around the house, we have coconut trees, coffee bushes, a pepper vine that gives us a years’ supply of pepper, a betel leaf vine,a drumstick tree, curry leaves, an all spice plant, cinnamon, clove and sandalwood trees. Our garden is also home to tasty fruit bearing trees like lichi jackfruit, mango, chikkoo, guava, passion fruit and butter fruit
There are roses in every colour and about 15 varieties of anthurium plants in umpteen number of pots. I have geraniums, ixoras, lillies and orchids as well. We have a gazebo to relax in the garden that is surrounded by climbers and flowering plants. I have also created a small patch of kitchen garden at the back where I grow strawberries, tomatoes, chillies and greens. I can proudly claim today that everything grown in our garden is pure and organic.
The bamboo grove has its pride of place in the north east corner of our home. As bamboo stands for longevity and Kodagu has extensive bamboo groves, I decided to grow one in my home. I picked up the yellow bamboo with green vertical lines from a bamboo plantation and resort called Nisarga Dhama on the banks of river Kaveri in Kushalnagar in Kodagu.The yellow shoots stand out against the evergreen leaves and I have anthuriums, ferns and cacti growing happily in their midst. Many evenings are spent sitting under the bamboo grove with family!!
The entrance lobby is small and therefore, I have furnished it with small low jute chairs from Gujarat and an octagonal painted side table from Rajasthan which showcases shells and other knick knacks picked up during my travels in India and abroad. My Tanjore paintings adorn the wall . Lord Ganapathy, being vigneshwara (remover of all obstacles) has his benign place facing the front door and below him on a brass oval stool the “happy man/laughing buddha” in three forms are placed to attract positive energy.
The drawing room has Shekhavati carved sofas from Rajasthan with lots of accessories in brass and wrought iron. I like brass for the richness it lends to interiors and wrought iron for its timeless look, durability and versatility.. I have a traditional kodava lakshmi lamp hanging in front of a picture of Talacauvery with bells hanging behind and you can see our traditional dagger “Odikathi” being displayed in the background. This is where the whole family gathers on all festivals to offer prayers together.
I chose maroon red as the basic theme colour as it gives the room a richness and warmth and blends with my brass and wood artefacts. As I had picked up many artefacts in wrought iron, I designed the settees in wrought iron to go with them and got them custom made and matched the upholstery with that of the wooden chaise lounge. I picked up the urn like centre table from one of the interior exhibitions as it was reminiscent of the urns used by Kodavas in the olden days to store rice. I have replicated some furniture from interior design magazines and bought some locally. The dining table has a latticed top covered with glass and is locally bought.
The carved cots in my son’s room are also from Rajasthan and have storage space beneath. It appeals to my aesthetic sense while retaining its utility value.
The library home office of my husband is a place where the entire family ‘hangs out’ especially during weekends. It has a pool table imported from America which is a convertible and it doubles up as a conference table when my husband conducts his arbitration proceedings or when he meets his clients thus serving two purposes.
We have a large balcony and sit-out opening from the family room in the first floor and this is where everyone loves to sit and enjoy the breeze in the evenings or coffee in the mornings and men enjoy their occasional drink. It has a bamboo swing bought at the Dasthakar Hathi exhibition and rattan furniture locally bought.
Painting is my opium. It is my stress buster, my passion. Helps me look within and beyond and create. I have dabbled in various types of painting but it is the Tanjore style that has me hooked. All the Tanjore paintings in my home are my own creations. They add a sense of grandeur and royalty to my home and blend very well with our traditional and ethnic decor.
Our home is 13 years old and when someone commented whether this is the only green patch left in Bengaluru considering the number of trees being felled to enable widening of roads, I proudly say I have done my bit to save the environment.