House in Nature: We all look at Nature too much, And live with her too little. Oscar Wilde

Features Issue 72 Jul, 2010
Text by Shrijana Singh Yonjan / Photo: Kishor Kayastha

The house conceptualized and built at Buddhanilkantha by the  husband and wife duo, Ritu and Suraj Vaidya, seems to be inspired by Oscar Wilde’s sentiment.

Covering 4,800 sq. ft., the Vaidya’s house is built on five ropanies of land with beautifully landscaped gardens and ample green space to lounge around, with an amphitheater style sit-out space especially for formal get togethers. An outdoors bar and kitchen for barbeques are additional facilities of the outdoor entertainment area.

From the moment you walk down to the house from the main gate, you cannot but wonder at the harmonious blend of nature and architecture. A clay walkway adds depth to the house and builds up the mystery as you approach. Beautifully carved traditional wooden pillars give you a hint of what to
expect. A bridge connects the walkway with the house over a picturesque pond layered with white pebbles and set off with brass pots.

A majestic wood and brass door, embellished with traditional Nepalese brass handles opens out, welcoming you into the home carefully and lovingly decorated by the couple. The light shades, curtains, upholstery and decorative items, even the carpets strewn about on the floor, were collected from their travels abroad.

Two classic ‘Orissa art’ statues greet you as you enter the house into an open and spacious lobby done up in beige and gold. Ritu describes having spent many hours with the painter over the golden leaves, until he delivered the effect she desired.

One thing is for sure, you will be overwhelmed by the view form the Vaidya’s living room. The view and the fresh air make you easily forget that Kathmandu is just 20-30 minutes drive away.

The main living room is done up in neutral shades of cream and beige with royal blue drapes on the windows. The lamp shades have been especially chosen to match the drapes. A grand wood and leather high-back chair catches your eye as soon as you walk into the room. As Ritu puts it, “This is one piece in the house that I am so attached to”. You’ll understand why once you look at it closely.

Two adjacent sections join the main living room, the inner one boasting a bar connected to a balcony to enjoy the scenic view, or to soak up the sun during warm winter days.

Another aspect of this one-of-a-kind house is that, whichever room you enter, you are always close to nature. Ritu and Suraj believe that nature is important for nourishing the soul. Based on this belief, a small meditation room is located strategically in the middle of the house.

As you mount the spiral staircase that leads to the study area, you will glimpse the courtyard done in traditional Newari style. The courtyard can also be accessed from one of the bedrooms.

All bedrooms in the house have been tastefully done up with bed linen and cushion covers to match. They were especially chosen with a lot of thought put into it. The large bedroom windows ensure that you wake up to a beautiful sight every morning, accompanied by the chirping of birds.

The bedrooms all have attached baths with walls and tiles ranging from hand painted flowers to ceramic and colored glass work. The wash basins are unique special designer ware chosen to match the color scheme of the bedrooms. The shower cubicles and sunken tubs add to the relaxed atmosphere.

According to Ritu, “All items in the house have been painstakingly chosen and hand carried back”. This is evident when you go on a tour of the house. Even the wardrobe knobs match the theme and color scheme of the room.

Coming back to the entertainment area, a view of the setting sun from the formal dining hall appears almost ethereal and can be mistaken for a painting that beckons you to come outdoors again.

A focal point of the house is a wooden tree trunk dating over 2,000 years. The couple found it lying abandoned on the roadside during one of their trips to Lumbini, and brought it back with them. Its roots are wrapped around bricks that date back to that era.

The aura of the house and its surroundings definitely offer you the best of both worlds.