Alpavi & Utpal’s Mix of Old and New
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Name: Alpavi and Utpal Patel
Location: Ahmedabad, India
Size: 6750 square feet
Years lived in: 25 years; Owned
Our stories are never our own; they are a mix of the people who came before us and of those who will come after. Alpavi and Utpal’s home is a perfect example of this threshold: a space between the past and the future, an intensely personal journey of bridging the two—with love.
“I have always loved the traditional homes of this region,” Alpavi says, “but I knew that my heart also belonged to the open, contemporary spaces my father used to design. And so I began to create a place that would highlight some of the beautiful antique heirlooms we have, as well as bring in the outside, no matter what room you’re standing in.”
Alpavi worked to open up the house on both sides, giving it an open-floor feel, restoring and refurbishing what was at hand. Huge stone vessels became planters, splintered sculptures became vases. A grass-less backyard became a verdant garden with a beautiful waterfall. “There’s nothing random, here, nothing ‘by the way.’ Everything has a story: some stories are older than us, some, written by us, and the others, waiting to be told.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: A mix! Not too contemporary, not too traditional.
Inspiration: Our fathers. My father was an architect, and I [Alpavi] have inherited my sense of space and balance from him. Utpal’s father collected beautiful sculptures/curios and we’ve had a chance to make the best use of them.
Favorite Element: The prayer-room. I can see it from every corner of the living room; it’s almost as if it’s omnipresent, quite like God himself.
Biggest Challenge: The ground floor of the house. This was an old, traditional-style house that we’ve changed/opened up. For instance, the patio off the dining room was actually a closed space used like a dump yard.
What Friends Say: Our friends and family love coming over, because they say, they feel “at home!”
Proudest DIY: Restoring heirlooms and using them in unexpected ways.
Best Advice: Your home should center you. Follow your inner voice: bring out what you like. A house should be a home—not a gallery where you display every single thing you’ve ever picked up. And the most important thing is to build a home that you can always keep clean.
Dream Sources: Udaipur is a great city if you’re looking to shop for sculptures, stone artifacts and paintings. Local craft fairs are another great source of knickknacks. For contemporary stuff, Apartment 9 is a good choice. Yamini is ideal for tapestry that works for the hot and humid weather in India. I also love shopping in Bangkok!
- Roof: made from reclaimed wood from a traditional pol house
- Sculptures: heirlooms
- Colonial-style furniture: collected by Utpal’s father, restored by Alpavi
- Wood panels: restored by Alpavi
- Art: Pichwai painting
- Wooden door: antique, restored by Alpavi
- Icons: heirlooms
- Sculptures: heirlooms
- Hanging lamps, flowers: Good Earth
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