Casa Memoria

Year – 2022

Category – Residential

Location – Gurugram, India

Area1900 sq.ft.

Located in the heart of Gurugram, the design of the Choudhary residence illustrates multiple stories that are embedded in the niches and nooks of the home. Weaved amid precious family heirlooms, artworks collected from numerous trips, and antique furniture pieces that go back to generations, the interiors curate an intricate tale of the family’s life over the years. With trips to exotic locations such as Mexico, Thailand, Australia and India, multiple decor items and artefacts have made their way into the home. Hence, the design became an exercise in curating spaces that would preserve the value associated with these souvenirs and their memories. 


The client aspired to create a home that resonated with their values of sustainable and simple living. As a response, the design intent focused on upcycling old decor items and furniture with an attempt to curate a space that retains the spirit of their past. Inventing ways to refurbish generations-old belongings without discarding them made the execution process low-waste and sustainable. 


The residence has spacious living and dining spaces, a snug family lounge and three bedrooms with an extra room to be used as servants’ quarters. An elongated entrance lobby leads visitors into the living room. With Mexican art on the right wall and Indian art on the left, the lobby is like a time capsule that takes viewers to these exciting places. Designed in the Bohemian style, the interiors are an eclectic mix of colours and patterns, tying objects from a bygone era to a contemporary context. The living room has earthy, pastel furnishings with an antique, intricately carved centre table and seating coated with a rich wooden polish. An old wooden flour miller (atta chakki) sits in a corner as a side table, quietly retaining a generation-old story of grinding grains in a newly-independent India. Polished in dark brown and adorned with a glass top, it is now a spot for a wooden statue of the sleeping Mexican. 

The influence of the family’s trip to Mexico is seen in the dining area, where hanging wall decor reflects the country’s tropical landscapes. Bathed in pleasant daylight with plenty of indoor plants, the room has a spacious dining table that has been in the family for over a generation. The wood used for the table and chairs is retrieved from discarded sleeper battens of old railway tracks. A figment of the past, these sleeper battens were acquired by the client’s grandfather when he was an employee at the Indian railway office. Rather than replacing the old, wobbly table and chairs completely, the architects refurbished them by filling in chipped wood, strengthening them with metal joints and finally coating them in wood polish. They laid the worn tabletop with printed tiles and a wood veneer, giving it a new lease of life. Similarly, the family’s old cabinets are also upcycled and painted in a deep pastel blue and placed behind the dining table. Together with the new textures and decor composed with vintage furniture, the design has a sense of free-flowing energy, enabling different time periods to be connected over the years.

Several such pieces of furniture are restored and strengthened to the family’s current needs. An old bookshelf, re-painted white and upcycled in a Victorian style, is placed along the passage leading to the bedrooms. Lined with potted plants and sombrero hats, this passage opens into one of the cosiest places in the house- the family lounge. An intimate den for the family to watch TV and relax, the lounge is designed in shades of maroon and beige, with a bright yellow wooden screen. The screen, another anchor in the family’s collective memory, is a souvenir from a trip to Thailand. Fitted with wheels, it is a semi-open, movable partition for the lounge and the study area. A relic from the past, a coffee table, previously owned by the client’s grandfather, is placed in the centre of the lounge. An ornate wooden desk, also belonging to the client’s grandfather, occupies the study, along with an old TV unit repurposed as a bookshelf and painted in pastel blue. With a sensitive and thoughtful approach, the interior design narrates the tales of the family’s history and relationships as an inherent part of the spatial experience.

The master bedroom has minimal interventions, with a deep bay window forming a cosy seating nook with plenty of daylight. Evocative and playful, multiple family photo frames adorn the wall in front of the master bed. A rich coral ceiling in this simple, white room adds a sense of zest and vibrancy. This approach of combining thoughtful design with simplicity to create an intimate space is echoed in all bedrooms. In the son’s bedroom, a plain wardrobe, the bed and a study table aligning the chamfered window are the only furniture. Minimal and clean, the bedrooms are designed as the reflection of their inhabitants. 

In a context where sustainability in design is of utmost relevance, the interior design is a testament to how alternative ways of preserving and recycling can be environment-friendly as well as meaningful. The architects allow the people and their experiences to inform the design, rather than designing a whole new, non-contextual space for them to live in. As a result, intimate aspects of life like personal memories, attachment to family, and values passed down from generations make their way into the everyday experience of being in the home. 

``A Home that is a Palimpsest of memories Passed Down for Generations``