Since the maximum footprint allowed by the zoning authorities is quite restrictive, permission was sought for two bungalows. The required distance of 25 feet between them led to the creation of the gazebo in the garden, accessible by a path between the two structures.
In each room, the volumes are expansive. The first floor living room has spectacular 360-degree views, while most rooms in the home have 180-degree views that stretch to the horizon. The bungalow itself has a glass facade on three sides. The fourth side contains the premises for the staff. All plumbing is run on that side.
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The kitchen is like nothing else, mimicking a dining room. A crystal washbasin from Murano has a small gap between the base and the counter below. When the skylight is on, it casts an attractive pattern on the table and adds a touch of sophistication not usual in hard-working spaces like kitchens.
The stairs are simple. “Anything comprehensive would have used 5 percent more floor space, which I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice,” says Reddy. Overhead tanks were also rejected as they would have affected the appearance of the elevation. An underground sump with pressure pumps supplies water to the bathrooms and kitchen. Solar panels on top of the service areas generate enough power for the home to be off.
“The weather in Coonoor is known to be capricious … it can change with little or no warning. One minute it’s sunny and the next it can be overcast with heavy rain. The wind speed causes a loud whistle so it was essential to have heavy double-glazed windows with a vacuum between the panes,” says Reddy. During the design of the house, the intention was to enable a communion with nature, whether sitting out in the garden or inside. All the full-height windows open onto either a balcony , porch, patio, deck or the garden itself. Slender railings offer minimal obstruction to the view of rolling hills in the distance and sky with woolly clouds that seem almost within reach. Inside, fans are used only to circulate air, where air conditioning is completely unnecessary . “In rooms with 17-foot ceilings, I have used tower fans, as the long rods needed to suspend the ceiling fans would have looked quite unsightly.”