Old World Charm

Kavita & Pankaj Wadhavkar


The 3,400 square feet house in Mumbai, designed by Kavita Pankaj Associates, resembles a quaint villa, rather than just another urban apartment.


Space and textures constantly intermingle in this 3,400 sq. ft. apartment, located in the prime locality of the swanky Napean Sea Road, in south Mumbai. A certain old-world charm permeates every corner of the space, which has been restored and designed by architect couple Kavita and Pankaj Wadhavkar, of Kavita Pankaj Associates.



“The house can be described as a villa, rather than an apartment,” says Kavita. “Where do you get such space and height to work with in Mumbai? We had to maintain the dignity of the space, and it called for doing things on a grand level.” The house, almost in disrepair when it was taken up for restoration and re-designing, has load-bearing walls that are one-and-a-half feet thick. “Because of the load bearing structure, changes were restricted,” contends Kavita. The architect duo has experimented with different materials, textures, colours and furniture styles, even as they have tried hard not to over-embellish the space. The wooden entrance door of the home opens into a long passage, which leads into the expansive living room.



Right next to the entrance, they have carved out a small niche, which serves as the ‘puja ghar’. “Very little light permeated this passage, it was the darkest space in the entire house,” reveals Kavita. “There were windows that opened to the ugly service ducts of the building.” They have retained the existing ventilation, added transparent glass to the windows, which allows light in, and placed planters to block the view of the unsightly ducts.



Two handi-like lamps, fabricated from metal and glass, are suspended from the ceiling, and provide subtle light in the passage. One of its walls sports a huge portrait of Lord Srinathji. On the other side of the passage is the formal wash area with a copper basin, surrounded by a counter made from ‘Greek Thasos’ marble. The long mirror is engraved on all four sides with hand painted tiles. A green textured wall, gives the space a very warm feeling.



The wash-zone forms an intermediate area between the passage and the kitchen-cum-storage space, which is cut off from the rest of the house by a stained glass door. This space encompasses the kitchen, utility room, a servant’s room and a bathroom.



In the kitchen, several different materials form a stunning kaleidoscope. The flooring made of vitrified tiles; a wall embossed with hand-made blue and green tiles crafted by Pundit ‘potter’; cabinets created out of steam beech wood and blue-white Formica.