Son Gifts His Elderly Parents This 800-Square Foot Apartment With Traditional Touches“Your home should tell the story of what you are and be a collection of what you have”.

This 1-BHK apartment in Surat is a living example of this. The compact, functional and no-frills home with subtle hints of the Tamizh culture has been designed by Grishma Desai of Align Design Studio for Mr. Rammnaath’s parents.

He wanted his elderly parents, in their mid-70s now, to be closer to him and this house is a result of that.

About the project

Who lives here: a retired elderly Tamil couple in their mid-70s who relocated from Chennai

Location: Bhatar , Surat , Gujarat

Year built:  2017

Size: 800 sq.ft

Type: 1 BHK apartment

Designed by:  Ar, Grishma Siddharth Desai of Align Design Studio

Photograph courtesy for the images: Ar. Dipen Tandel

Art work & hand painted door work :  Rogan by  Ar. Vaibhavi Shah

The apartment i s located in Bhatar, a busy neighbourhood of Surat. The main door directly opens up into the living room. There is no foyer. The commendable part of this small apartment is that it has  a balcony. To the right is a small passage with bedroom on its left, bathroom on the right and kitchen with a utility straight ahead.

Wooden panelled main door
The main door is made of real wooden planks that the owner already had. There is a small patch of green between the plants to breathe life in to the entrance. The name plate is shaped as a banana leaf, a subtle touch indicative of the family’s roots.
A gallery representing their slice of life in Chennai.
This balcony with a green screen separating the living room is an extension of the house. The balcony is covered with a sliding door to protect the house from dust outside.
The blue sliding door creates a sense of privacy between the living area and the rest of the home.

The most interesting feature of the house is the turquoise blue sliding door with cut work of sikku kolam in real copper sheet. For the uninitiated, sikku kolam is a type of intertwined lines kolam that is drawn in front of the homes in Tamil Nadu.
The passage area has stone cladding on one side. It is equipped with a rustic laminate, copper finish basin. The bathroom door is camouflaged as it is hand painted in yellow by an artist.
Gallery wall of family pictures on one wall in the bedroom. Wallpaper with bird art work frames the walls behind the bed.
No leather sofa will be as comforting for this elderly gentleman to read The Hindu or a nap after morning meal as that easy chair.

Son Gifts His Elderly Parents This 800-Square Foot Apartment With Traditional Touches

Relocating to a different city in your late retirement years, even if your immediate family is in close proximity to you,  can be a daunting task.  Mr. Rammnaath’s  facilitated the relocation of his parents – father, a retired government employee, and mother, a homemaker -from Chennai to Surat with this tastefully decorated apartment.

It requires a different mindset to leave behind your familial surroundings; the grocery store you’ve shopped at for years, the familiar face of the lady who brings  pooja flowers to your home every morning, the prompt milkman,  the annoying vegetable lady who insists you buy vegetables even when you tell her you have everything today (with loving righteousness that you stop minding anymore), the forgetful iron man who forgets to come and pick up clothes no matter how many times you remind, waking up to the soothing music of MS’ Suprabhatham from a temple nearby, or comparing your kolams with others in the street in Margazhi  — that’s an ecosystem you’ve built for yourself for years. A void that can never be filled when you leave the city. Only memories remain.

Why am I saying this? Because in this case, in stead of an impersonal 1 -BHK, there has been an earnest effort, to imbibe a few traditional elements in decor (if not in reality) that are symbolic and an inherent part of a family’s life from Chennai.

Like the banana leaf name plate on the door, the blue screen with sikku kolam  or the easy chair in the living room.

Not a flamboyant or luxurious apartment but one that tugs at the heartstrings for the thought behind it.

Product Sources

Lights: Decorative lights – Sunshine Enterprise , Surat

Paints: Asian paint

Furnishings: Blue Orange by Leena Shah , Surat

 Sofas & dining: bought from one person who has a very nice collection of  an antique and traditional things. (credit – Client himself)

Flooring tiles: Action Tesa from Telesia , Surat


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