House Tour: Rajiv's Bangalore Wabi Sabi

House Tour: Rajiv's Bangalore Wabi Sabi

Gregory Han
Jan 16, 2009

Name: Rajiv Majumdar, Architect, Praxis
Location: Bangalore, India 
Size: 500 sq. ft 
Years lived in: 4 months

We're very happy to present our first house tour from India, compliments of architect, Rajiv Majumdar, whose modest sized 500 sq. ft. apartment is an amalgam of styles, components, textures and colours. Budget solutions like a near-free steel bucket sink compliment a nearby steel pipe framed bed, blending an industrial chic veneer with modernist solutions: sliding bathroom wall and a flush-mounted LCD television invisibly set within a large mirror wall. Despite the small space, Rajiv has managed to even incorporate a miniature art gallery with intention of letting elements of it to rust! Check out his fascinating small space below...

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AT Survey:

My/Our style: No particular style. It's a number of small ideas/projects housed in a small space. I purposely stayed away from a distinct style. It's cerebral, silly and serious all at once.

Inspiration: Wabi Sabi. Milo Baughman. The 1950s.

Favorite Element: The closet in the balcony has a glass back and has it's back to the window. It is flooded with light when I open it in the morning. I really like that.

Biggest Challenge: Dealing with neighbours when the contractors were demolishing ALL the walls. Needless to say there were a lot of fruit baskets flying around.

What Friends Say: The guys love it. The woman vote is divided. One woman pal commented that she hated it because "it doesn't allow or consider space for another human being. Its all you you you!" Guilty.

Biggest Embarrassment: One of the bathroom walls slides out. It was tough getting people to use the toilet!

Proudest DIY: I didn't do anything apart from hooking up the speakers. I owe it all to the contractors, M/S Dreamworks, Bangalore, India.

Biggest Indulgence: The Eames lounger.

Best advice: An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth by Bruce Mau. I'm abivalent towards his work, but this document is fantastic.

Dream source: Antique furniture exporters in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Mind numbing variety and quantities of old furniture and building material in different states of disrepair. The isles in one store total upto a few kilometers in length!

Projects in the house:
The Television - The television is actually an old LCD monitor I had lying around. I stuck it behind a mirror and then de-mirrored around the face. I had it placed above the fridge in the kitchen (which is also my living room) right besides the hob. The TV is connected to my DVD player, which plays a recipe cd of screen captures from my favourite cookery websites (epicurious, opensourcefood, etc). So it's really a recipe display screen, which also doubles up as a TV when my sports mad pals drop in with beer. Needless to say, I don't watch much television.

The sliding bathroom wall - This was suggested by my business partner Ajit and I was quite opposed to it initially. But I've grown to love the idea now, especially since all my clothes are spread out over the bed when I'm in the shower. This wall also locks off the bedroom and study area when open.

The light over the dining table - The only light fixture on a 'wall' has a metal router cut sheet which throws up a pattern onto the ceiling. Unfortunately the plate is a bit too thick and is throwing up a moire` pattern instead. I have been meaning to fix this sometime this millennium!

Glass backed closet - This one's my favourite element in the house. I hate dark cupboards, so I placed the wardrobe against the window and gave it a glass back. Later I had to give it a linen backing (to stop the rather harsh sun from decolouring my clothes) but the quality of light inside is still great in the mornings.

Steel bucket sink - Well, I was too cheap to buy a ceramic sink. 4$ baby! Plus it's nice and deep and dosen't splash.

Plumbing pipes bed - I saw this on a DIY website (http://www.instructables.com/). I love this site; lots of cool stuff. Unfortunately half the connectors mentioned on the website are not available locally. So we improvised a bit. Concrete retrofitted floor - Retrofitting is a process that refinishes old cement/concrete floors. I broke up the floor into managable squares in a Mondrian pattern using brass inlays.

The wabi sabi gallery wall backdrop - I used weld mesh and tacked it all over one wall. I'm hoping that it will rust soon (I used a water-based paint over it) and the rust will show through in bits and help age the space.

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Resources:

Appliances:

  • TV - Old 17" LCD computer monitor with a TV card and mounted behind a mirror.
  • Hob - Siemens
  • Chimney - Siemens
  • Refridgerator - Old LG fridge hidden behind a mirrored door below the TV.
  • Speakers - Tannoy Reveal 5

Hardware:

  • Handles - locally made brass recessed handles, profiled aluminium extrusions in the kitchen.
  • Hardware - All sliding and moving stuff Haffele/Blum

Furniture:

  • Bench - Inspired by a Milo Baughman bench with a higher back. Made by contractor.
  • Eames lounger - //www.casamodern.com/
  • Sofa - Own design, made by contractor.
  • Credenza - Inspired by Baughman. Made by contractor.
  • Center table - MS base powdercoated with 'antique' finished granite top, own design.
  • Dining table - Top inspired by old 1950s table, with SS mirror polished legs.
  • Dining chairs - Memories from childhood.

Accessories: Mostly gifts.

Lighting: I believe that home lighting should be through lamps. I have stayed away from using any wall mounted fixtures. All lamps are on dimmers. Lamps all bought locally and hand-painted afterwards.

Rugs and Carpets: Own design. Plaunge, Bangalore, India

Tiles and Stone: Sri Lankan tiles in bathroom and kitchen. Sai Galleria, Bangalore, India

Window Treatments: Handmade bamboo blinds.

Beds: Made of plumbing pipes by contractor.

Paint: Acrylic emulsion paints on all walls.

Flooring: Cement floor retroplated by JB Associates, New Delhi, India.

(Thanks, Rajiv!)

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