It has been a dream of architect Praveen Rao's to have a home of his own on the East Coast Road (ECR). A number of years ago, he had to use the very same road every day, while studying at The Government College of Architecture and Sculpture in Mamallapuram, and he often thought about the home he would build for himself. Two years ago, that dream was achieved. On a ten- ground plot on ECR he designed and built a 6000 sq. ft home, which is surrounded by greenery and water bodies.

The house is spacious and allows for a lot of light and ventilation, it has been built in accordance to the principles of Vastu Shastra, a subject that was focussed on during his architectural studies.

Eucalyptus and pine woods have been used in constructing the home and straw, made from grass growing near river beds, has been used for the roofs. Bird baths, a Lily pond, a fish pond and a swimming pool surround the house.

The house itself consists of three main bedrooms, two guest bedrooms (which have a private entrance), a large family room and an open kitchen.

A wooden deck surrounds the house.

The bathrooms are interesting, as the ones attached to the guest bedrooms are sunken. Praveen did not want to cut any trees during the building of the house, and so you have a palm tree growing right through the middle of one of the bathrooms.

Praveen has a great love for art and antiques, something he inherited from his father, the architect P. S Govind Rao, and the home is filled with paintings, collectibles, tribal art and knick-knacks. He has even turned a huge hall into a gallery of sorts. The Kamala gallery, named after his mother, is where Praveen showcases his own paintings. He also lets it out as a space where fellow artists can hold exhibitions.

The home is an escape from the fast-paced city life. But Praveen and his family love sharing their green and secluded space with others and often rent out the two guest bedrooms as a home-stay.

Suvasini Sridharan