Sculptor S. Nandagopal's house in Cholamandal Artist's Village strikes a wonderful balance between outdoor and indoor, with its artistic interiors and lush exteriors

Location: Cholamandal Artists' Village, ECR

Design: K.C.S. Paniker; additions by S. Nandagopal

The first thing you notice about the house of famous sculptor and secretary of the Cholamandal Artists' Village, S. Nandagopal, is its entrance. It's not in-your-face, near the gate. Rather, you get to walk down a slightly curvy path, make a turn to the left and walk up a flight of steps to enter a vast, open portico. Step inside, and the first thing that greets you is K.C.S. Paniker's (S. Nandagopal's father and creator of the Cholamandal Artists' Village) final painting, completed just before his death in 1976.

Other rare works of art such as a 10{+t}{+h} Century Tibetan Ashtadathu Brahma, carved panels from ancient temple chariots, terracotta heads and the like, collected by Paniker, grace this room.

As for the furniture, the pride of place goes to the rosewood three-seaters that Nandagopal's wife Kala designed from antique cots salvaged from her ancestral home in Kerala. Then there are chairs with Chinese-style legs designed by the legendary D.P. Roy Chowdhury himself.

“I love the art work around the house. Many friends tell me that our house feels like a museum, though,” laughs Nandagopal, while Kala chips in, saying: “The house is a great balance of the outdoors and the indoors. You can't get this feeling in the city.” That's true. Their home lies in an unassuming corner of a sprawling, 15-ground property!

The nice thing about Nandagopal's non-manicured garden is that it plays host to old friends growing a little wild, such as the 50-year-old tamarind tree, the huge neem and banyan trees, the many coconut trees, and, of course, the Maramalli or Indian cork tree, whose fragrant, white flowers carpet the ground every winter.

Stone benches have been placed under the trees, and that's where Nandagopal likes to have his coffee.

The white, painted terracotta figures in the garden complement the white façade of the house, even while clashing merrily with the maroon-tinged compound walls and the ancillary structures on the ground.

So much Nature, and no birds? “The birdlife here is amazing. Once, we woke up to see the entire tree canopy looking snowed under — there were white egrets all over; it looked eerie,” reminisces Nandagopal.

USP: A heady combination of art and Nature