This Kochi Residence Artfully Blends Design Classics in a Modern Context

From European period furniture to reclaimed vintage Indian artefacts, Temple Town maintains a fine balance in this elegant mix of distinct styles

The console in the living room

Location: Kochi
Size: 5,000 square feet
Number of bedrooms: 3
Principal Architect: Meera Pyarelal, Temple Town
Photography by: Justin Sebastian

The 22nd floor penthouse residence of Elsa Joy Alukkas, designed by Meera Pyarelal, founder & interior designer of Temple Town, is an elegant montage of global and traditional influences, with studied touches of colonial and reclaimed vintage objets d’art. It was serendipitous that the design sensibilities of client and executor matched; a home showcasing Kerala traditions while using sustainable options via recycled wood and antique pieces, combined with an appreciation for all things vintage, was a perfect match for both.

Temple Town was entrusted with creating a 5,000-square-foot home that would not only feel cosy for its occupants but would also be large enough to comfortably entertain their extended family and friends. The client was keen on using responsibly sourced wood and loved the idea of using repurposed pieces and antiques.

Meera started by “conceiving schemes that not only fulfilled the brief but also evoked different moods from room to room.”

The entrance to the drawing room sees a repurposed old haveli door from Jaipur, flanked by two Regency chairs upholstered in white and gold silk, reminiscent of the quintessential Kerala textile.

An antique door flanked by 19th century era English-style furniture

The foyer

The drawing room is striking in its use of jewel colours and a unique mix of furniture styles. A Chesterfield in green velvet is balanced on either side by a colonial Dutch divan with silk cushions and a traditional south Indian oonjal or swing. Meera says, “I love throwing in that element of the unexpected that takes an interior from being predictable to interesting and unique”. This approach also shows in the artwork above the divan, made in charcoal on silk by award-winning artist, Suneesh, from Kerala, that depicts a lotus plant arising from the mud and blooming under the most difficult of circumstances symbolising strength and resilience. The artwork is of special significance because it was customised as a metaphor for the achievements of Joy Alukkas – a brand that has its roots in a small town in Kerala.

Colonial Dutch divan in the living room

Brass coffee tables by Temple Town

In the dining room, timeless design elements intertwine with playful accents. The Lewis & Wood wallpaper lends a refreshing contrast to the classic Louis XVI furniture. A stand-out piece is the gold banana leaf pendant over the dining table, evoking an imagery of children sheltering under large banana leaves during Kerala’s torrential monsoons.

Floral patterned fabric wallpaper looks over the 10-seater dining table, styled using beautiful crockery from the Rosabagh series from Good Earth and brass cutlery

The signature mix of unexpected colours, bold patterns and furnishings continue into the bedrooms. Temple Town undertook to re-imagine timeless classics for modern living, such as, European-inspired plaster mouldings and a colonial-style bed in teak and cane in the master bedroom.

Palm-patterned linen by Good Earth; rattan-finish bladed fan from Fanzart’s tropical collection

Inside, a cool blue bedroom, has been designed with subdued hues, tropical materials like cane and wood mixed with English tones with the backdrop of monochromatic wallpaper.

Wallpaper by kalakaarihaath

In the guest bedroom, an antique wooden panel has been re-purposed as a head rest, while layered textiles bring colour and texture to the space.

Differing furniture styles, Indian antique and colonial, are juxtaposed with each other.

The kitchen is in a pastel green with a satuario marble backsplash and brass fittings that lend the new kitchen a timeless quality. Cane lights and bar stools in Ajrakh print silk fabric are a nod to traditional design in this contemporary kitchen.

The kitchen features a satuario marble backsplash

The sage green makes for a soothing sight first thing in the morning; the breakfast island offers a good amount of storage with perfectly scaled panels for doors.

The consistent use of cane and wood is symbolic of the tropical flavour that permeates the home

The main balcony boasts of a wall clad with a tapestry of potted plants, while the plantation chair and traditional pickle jar evoke a note of nostalgia

“Everything in this lofty apartment is inspiring, from the abundance of natural light to the evocative furnishings. The essence of the design was to bring a sense of appreciation to all things vintage, antique, and global and to allow that to seep into the consciousness of the space,” says Pyarelal.

Floor plan of the residence

Story by Vinita Kunnath, photography by 
Justin Sebastian.