Heirloom furniture and classic Tanjore painting grace this South Indian home

A traditional cottage in the hills of Ooty gets a space planning and decor refresh.

Designed and decorated by its owner, Navaneetha, it is a fine balance of modern architecture and traditional aesthetically appealing decor in its new avatar.

When I saw this image of solid wood chairs, the glistening Tanjore painting in the  backdrop on the dark-hued staircase landing, the ornamental staircase balustrade, and a treasure trove of brass finery on a carved wooden chest, I knew that dil would maange more.

I was aching to see the rest of the home, and Navaneetha threw open the doors to her lovely home in the hills of Ooty – what was once a cottage.

The Thiyagus’ Home in the Hills

Who lives here: Navaneetha, her husband Thiyagu, daughter Poorvi and mother-in-law. 

Location: Ooty

Size: 1,800 sq.ft

Type: Owned, independent house

Years lived in: Since 2006

Design aesthetic: a balance of traditional and modern design

Having a  home in the hills or by the beach side is what we all dream of to retreat to when we hang up our boots. So, to actually see one in reality, upped the thrill quotient for me.

The house spanning 1800 sq.ft is spread over two floors.  Navaneetha is an interior designer, decorating and styling consultant, while her husband Thiyagu is into tea plantation and vegetable cultivation.

 Navaneetha says:
We have been living in this house since 12 years. This present house was a small cottage earlier when we bought it in the year 2006 and then renovated it . The first floor has been newly constructed.

I love traditional style of decorating with a hint of modern touch, that’s what I am and my home reflects my personality. My husband has an equal hand in decorating the home. Both of us are very like minded.

The ground floor of the house comprises of a living room, dining, kitchen, pooja room and a bedroom. It has traditional furniture and furnishings. The first floor has a sitting area / TV room, a master bedroom , a guest room and a balcony or a sun room.
The Kerala mural painting is from an artist from Guruvayur. Navaneetha had seen his work in Bangalore. He came all the way to Ooty to understand what she wanted. All she wanted was for him to draw a happy sequence and this was the outcome.

Gallery Wall of Mirrors

A traditional south Indian home with modern touches

I always wanted a wall of frames in my home. Initially the idea was to frame the pictures of the family members at different age and occasions etc. But we couldn’t get the quality pictures and the sizes thus the idea was ruled out.
Then I came across these frames which were trending on social media and it caught my eye. But those were all empty frames. I always want some reflection so I added mirrors to them. This is the story of the wall of mirrors :) . And it did go very well with our sofa.”

Side garden with lush real grass

A side garden with easy to maintain grass

When I saw a picture of her side garden, it reminded me of our own for its similarity in size, structure and layout.
The grass is not artificial. It is very much real and is called kikuyu grass.
This variety grown locally all over in Ooty needs a lot of maintenance. She attributes the manicured lawn’s looks to her family and herself.  All of them are blessed with green fingers and partake in the efforts to maintain the lawn. They use an electric lawn mover to trim the grass every week and have someone come in weekly to trim the edge of the lawn.

Decorating Style

A traditional south Indian home in Ooty with antique furniture

Sun room in a Ooty home built in the traditional style

Navaneetha is not an advocate of fast fashion when it comes to decorating. As in, not buy things that are trendy today to fill the walls.  She explains that she is a collector and takes her time to fall in love with a piece before deciding to bring it home.
She says,” I have lot of empty walls which are waiting for the lovely pieces I am yet to fall in love.”
Now, I call that a sustainable way of life. These are pieces synonymous to those that adorned the walls of our forefathers and were good enough to be passed as heirloom for generations to come.

Art & Furniture
A traditional South Indian home with ethnic decor

Master bedroom in pastel tones from a traditional South Indian home
The wall art above the bed in the master bedroom is from a local furniture store. She fell in love with it the moment she walked into the store and decided it would go up on the wall in the bedroom as it is very calming and yet romantic.
The couple have collected furniture over the years. Some are antique pieces that they have bought from different antique dealers. One such piece is an old foldable cards table.
The Tanjore painting, an old restored piece, is a gift from her husband from an artefact store in Ooty. She confesses she had been eyeing it for a while.
Image courtesy: Navaneetha Thiyagu. You can follow her on Instagram.


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