Sona Reddy Studio creates a family’s sanctuary in the heart of Hyderabad while straddling old-world charm and modern design nuances. ‘Clay’ recalibrates understated luxury in a home that allows the indoors and outdoors to converse uninhibitedly.
Burrowed in the plush residential neighbourhood of Jubilee Hills, Clay is a three-levelled private residence that was a result of an extensive gut renovation from the ground up. The scope of design required the architectural studio to restore the former structure, revitalising the blueprint with essential services and additions while stringing together a newfound design identity.
“The façade has been reinterpreted as a monolithic structure that is consciously interspersed with fenestrations of breeze blocks on the southern and western facades, lending the structure an artisanal gravitas,” explains Sona. Introducing these porous segments allows the built form to almost respire in real-time, aspiring to the ideals of creating a climate-responsive structure. The interplay of light and shadows don a playful character as the sun percolates this melange of solids and voids.
The surrounding landscape dotting the premises sets an ethereal backdrop to the residence. An adjacent plot by the front was incorporated into the larger master plan of Clay, allowing its surface to be utilised as a vast landscape. The level below the said landscape functions as a burrowed outhouse. The stepped-seating spot for the family situated on the abutting plot enables them to convene amidst nature, to use as an alfresco dining zone, or just as an oasis to unwind — the devised landscape becomes an extension of the spaces at Clay, wherein the long stretches of granite floors meld into the green lawns.
The 10-foot-wide entrance wooden doors welcome one into the interior volume of the abode. The formal living room on this level retains the original grey granite flooring, creating a cohesive visual canvas. Selected pieces of older furniture were refurbished, endowing them with a new lease of life, and a sumptuous dose of curated art was woven into the home. The statement bookshelf earmarks a pivotal corner of the living space, where a collage of large wood-bodied amorphous forms creates the structure. Hues of emerald grace the room in coalition with the bright aqua and yellow tones of the focal art. Morphing shadows from the adjoining balcony with patterned natural stone flooring travel into the living space, creating a tactile play of light.
Lofty glass fenestrations draw in the verdant views of the outdoors, carrying them into the communal dining space. The refurbished round marble-topped dining table and a medley of cane-back Mid-Century Modern chairs ground the double-height volume, which is punctuated by colossal vintage chandeliers. A bespoke bone inlay cabinet makes a debut, reiterating the regal persona of the space. “The Channapatna avian figurines speckle the double-height wall, creating an installation that pays homage to the penchant for Indian craftsmanship harboured at Clay,” adds Reddy.
The guest bedroom on this floor is a collage between a play of monochromes and shades of bright ochres and yellows. A minimalistic yet charactered narrative presides over this resting area. The accent wall in the room has been swathed in a solid ebony tone and has been layered with artwork to create visual drama in the pared-down space.
Assuming a sculptural presence and connecting the various levels of the home, the staircase at Clay was reimagined in a new light to perform efficiently both structurally and aesthetically. The older structure was extruded at an angle to eliminate the penetration of harsh southern sunlight. An additional substructure was introduced under the beams at the landing levels to conceal the labyrinth of crossbeams inconspicuously. A solid wood balustrade lines the perimeter of the staircase as a railing upon which a sleeker brass handrail has been superimposed; all along the stairwell, artworks pepper the volume, adding distinct visual focal points.
On the second level, the puja room assumes the nucleus of the layout while being encased in a suave curved wooden partition that is composed of panelled surfaces. The chequered brass railing bordering the puja space is yet another crafted detail adding flair to the nook. The bedroom on this level engages in a two-tonal play of hues, creating an inviting milieu. The blush and ivory walls frame the rustic wood and cane bed, flanked on either end by mirror-faced classic nightstands and wooden-beaded pendants.
The top-most level houses the private spaces for the clients, a scheme of areas conceptualised to allow the end-users to rejuvenate. The capacious living cum television room is dovetailed by an adept pantry with boundless views of the surrounding greens brought in via the peripheral balcony. The furniture has been painstakingly pieced together to create an environment of comfort entwined with understated opulence. A reconditioned coffee table ties the conversation area together, while a wooden bench runs across the edge of the living space to create numerous spots for the inhabitants to unwind, read or decompress in. The adjoining open pantry hosts a rose quartz-top workbench, and the overhead chimney has been ingeniously covered in a brass-strip sheathing which contrasts compellingly with the green-hued finishes of the cabinetry.
The basement den’s area creates an enormous grotto-like sequestered space meant for the family to entertain and relish each other’s company within, establishing a tangible distinction between the intimate dwelling areas and the gathering spaces at Clay.
The overarching Art Deco inspiration pervades the light-suffused colossal volume that poses as a retreat, housing a study, lounge, dining area, bar, pantry, and indoor pool. The lofty coffered ceiling is washed over in a deep sepia tone, contrasting the cool whites and greys of the space in the form of traditional lime plaster. The bar is customised gracefully, inlaid with semi-precious stones. Art becomes the silent muse within the space, having been curated across different genres, traversing modern and traditional eras and styles.
Grounded materiality reigns over the space’s homogeneous entirety, creating a plush space that dabbles in exploring natural stones manifesting predominantly as the structured staircase, gilded accents, and unassuming monotones. Spatial thresholds visually dissolve, allowing the punctured arches to frame views of the pool and green-dotted outdoors that create a juxtaposition between gentle curved forms and linearity.
“Clay’s fluidic blueprint has been chiselled to life with keen attention to detail. The home narrates a saga of the past and the future while effortlessly meshing design nuances across diverse styles. With each space within its walls, Clay attempts to redefine familial warmth and a rooted design ethos,” concludes the Architect.