Manish Kumat Design Cell gives this 2,350 sq. ft. farmhouse set in 4.5 acres of greenery a complete overhaul. The design theme is a blend of traditional and rustic design elements with use of natural materials and an indoor-outdoor connection.

Fact File

Name of Project: Ekatvam
Location: Indore
Typology: Farmhouse
Built-up area: 2,350 sq. ft.
Year of completion: 2022
Photos: Tejash Shah Photography

traditional and rustic design elements

The original farmhouse built some 30 years ago as a single-story courtyard house, set in sprawling grounds, and home to many trees. It had a simple layout of a square, open-to-sky, inner courtyard edged by a broad verandah (in parts) and bedrooms that opened into the common passage connected to the courtyard.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of renovating the family farmhouse located on the outskirts of Indore. And like the old days, I worked at the site without drawings, simply allowing the work to flow and the spaces to evolve. The house underwent a complete change to emerge as a lovely farmhouse, familiar yet new, informal and inviting. It seemed as if only the plinth was old, and the rest of the home new! It was like an old body with a new soul!”

Ar Manish Kumat - Founder & Chief Designer, MKDC

Over the years, the elements of nature and time had taken a toll on the structure. The plaster was peeling, the plumbing and wiring had worn out, and the roof angled towards the courtyard, resulting in rainwater flowing there. The courtyard itself was completely paved which led to water accumulation. The home had a relatively low ceiling and low lintels of seven feet, which created a closed-in feeling.

traditional and rustic design elements
Ar. Kumat decided to repair and renovate it so that the family could have a lovely getaway within a short driving distance from their city home. After the renovation commenced, over the months, different aspects of the farmhouse were worked on in a very organic way. The renovation work commenced with the roofing as it was fundamental for the look and functionality of the structure. The original roof, of colour coated galvanised iron sheet, was replaced by terracotta tiles sourced from Kerala and fixed on a metal frame.

Terracotta tiles have traditionally been affixed on a wooden frame – a system that is extremely effective in keeping the interiors cool and ventilated. Plus, a terracotta roof offer more aesthetics and functionality when affixed on a metal frame that is sturdy and long-lasting. The direction and angle of the roof was changed to slope down towards the external wall of the house. This simple move changed the look of the home, giving it a gentler form and made it more functional as well.

The kitchen was shifted to create space for an attached bathroom; the walls of the structure were raised as were the lintels (from seven to eight feet) so that the roof could be well supported; large openings were made for windows so the inner spaces could enjoy views of the greenery outside, and the kitchen was altered. Work on plumbing, electrical wiring and fixtures, the water-softening system and air-conditioning was carried out. The old tiles in the courtyard were removed and the courtyard was paved with Agra stone tiles with grooves to allow rainwater to seep into the soil.

traditional and rustic design elements

In keeping with the ethos of using traditional materials, different local stones were sourced to give the home a natural look. This is most apparent in the bathrooms where along with the modern amenities and fittings, they are done in Kota stone, with the slab of the sink counter fluidly descending to become a long bench. The walls of the farmhouse were done without putty in a simple white colour; one wall was surfaced with a lovely lippan mud design embedded with small mirrors.

traditional and rustic design elements

Sheesham wood was sourced from Rajasthan to design the beds and side tables. Two wooden jharokas were handmade at site; the wall of the facade was broken and they were set on either side of the main door to function as traditional projecting windows (as seen in traditional architecture of Rajasthan and Gujarat), and to give a vintage touch to the farmhouse. Forged iron from Nagpur was beaten into surface design elements to stud the wooden entrance door, and an old door from Rajasthan was turned into the dining table. A decorative wooden trim was affixed to the edge of the roof, and the doors painted blue - reminiscent of the blues seen in traditional homes of Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

traditional and rustic design elements

While the home took on a warm, earthy ambience within, it also forged an indoor-outdoor connect. The large picture windows, large entrance door, open-to-sky courtyard, and the alignment of the entrance door with the rear entrance (creating a visual passage through the home) and seamlessly bonded the built space with elements of nature and the space around it.

traditional and rustic design elements

The grounds of the farmhouse were cleared of shrubs and replaced by lawns; a cobbled path laid out from main entrance to the entrance of the home; platforms created at the base of some of old trees for informal seating; and an antique bullock cart from Rajasthan was placed in one of the lawns - creating an image of a countryside homestead. To offer privacy to the quarters of the domestic staff, an accent wall with niches for lights was built along the path. In sync with colours of the earth, it was surfaced with red laterite aggregate and edged with lush plants, making it like wall art while functioning as a partition wall.

traditional and rustic design elements

Respecting the natural ecosystem of the land, the outdoor space was not formally landscaped except for a small nature-inspired rockery with a waterfall that flows into a water body. The color palette of the structure is simple, with white walls and touches of blue. Materials like terracotta tiles, Kota stone, and Sheesham wood lend their natural and traditional appeal, and the exterior color is inspired by the color of the desert sand.