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An inbuilt shoe rack in the concrete alcove at the entrance of the studio apartment.
An inbuilt shoe rack in the concrete alcove at the entrance of the studio apartment.

This home made me heady; made me want to do a few things: take a physical tour of the space, study architecture, rip down the walls of my own home, and instilled the fear of writing for what if the words didn’t do justice to its beauty. So, I have to sheepishly admit that I sat admiring the frames of this rustic modern one bedroom apartment in Ahmedabad of architect Malay Doshi, than give shape to words. There are few homes that have this kind of an impact on me.

Many of you asked to feature small homes. This is a perfect example of how to maximize space in a small 725 sq.ft home. Of course, it may not be be practical for families not to have an open floor plan living + bedroom + kitchen layout. I love this apartment for two reasons: the organic use of natural materials (concrete + wood), and the architect’s love for craft that comes across in the design.

Originally a two bedroom apartment, it has been converted into a studio.

About the home:

Who lives here: The designer himself , Malay Doshi

Location: Ahmedabad

Year built: 2019

Size: sq feet : 725 sq.ft

Type: an open plan apartment comprising 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom

Designed by: Malay Doshi, Arihant Bajaj, Tejashree Karande of Saransh Arhcitects

Photograph courtesy for the images: Ishita Sitwala

Budget: 25 lac

Malay, a son of two architects, has grown up seeing good design. This apartment, located centrally in Ahmedabad, has been designed to meet his specific requirements. since it is designed for one person, the open plan layout works better. The design took cognizance of everything from where he could read to something as small as where his phone would charge were personalized. Yes, the devil is truly in the details.

Close up details of the open shoe rack with the concrete bench at the entryway.
Close up details of the open shoe rack with the concrete bench at the entryway.

Open Floor Plan for Living + Dining + Kitchen

On entering the apartment, the entire house is visible – the only door in the house is to the toilet, that too of fluted glass which ensures ample daylight in the north facing apartment. The living space flows into the dining area, with a floor seating dining table and an open kitchen making the house appear larger which further connects to a reading and entertainment den.

Stripping the space bare was the first stage of design. This meant removing all the partition walls, existing toilets, the kitchen and even the flooring. There was a conscious decision of making a space that was minimal and at the same time, tactile.

The entire house uses polished concrete flooring with different inlays, like wood, stone, cement tiles and brass.
The entire houses uses polished concrete flooring with different inlays, like wood, stone, cement tiles and brass.
Floor level dining that opens up into the kitchen.
Floor level dining that opens up into the kitchen.
Open plan kitchen with the colour scheme of gray as the rest of the house. Shutters in wood.
Open plan kitchen with the colour scheme of gray as the rest of the house. Shutters in wood.
The bedroom is visible through the archway from the dining space / wooden den.
The bedroom is visible through the archway from the dining space / wooden den.

Sustainable & Environment Friendly Design

The project is an exploration of materiality and juxtaposition of textures. The design keeps in mind the climactic conditions of the city to minimize the energy footprint; the walls have a pigmented lime plaster finish which not only keeps the house cool in the hot weather of Ahmedabad. This also gives a timelessness to the space.

Similarly, the wood used, is reclaimed 60-80 year old Valsad Teak from the ‘Pols’ of Ahmedabad. Not only is it more sustainable, the aged wood has an inherent rich texture.

The entire flooring is polished concrete with different inlays, like wood, stone, cement tiles and brass. The polished concrete is filleted onto the wall up to the sill level, to give a sense of being inside concrete rather than being on it.

Different greys explored to go along with the concrete include a grey polished marble and three types of grey fabrics used in the soft furnishings. The only coloured accents used in the project in shades of indigo and turquoise, is in the ceramics, cushions or shear curtains.

The zen-like dining space with its floor level seating. The back rest in the chairs is an ergonomic and modern twist to the floor seating; it makes it comfortable to sit for a stretched periods
The zen-like dining space with its floor level seating. The back rest in the chairs is an ergonomic and modern twist to the floor seating; it makes it comfortable to sit for a stretched periods

When I asked Malay what his most favorite part of the house was, he was quick to answer:

The most loved feature of the home has definitely turned out to be the wooden den. Whether it be reading a novel, listening to some music, doing some sketching or watching something online, it all happens here. It has become the most lived in part of the home. Especially with its cozy volume and warm undertone, the space becomes the most inviting in the home for me to just relax.

The wooden den with a window on one end and a library on another is the perfect place to retreat to. It’s more like the space to hang out.
View of the open kitchen in the far end and the adjoining dining.

Bedroom

The minimal bedroom with an archway leading to the walk in closet.
Bharat flooring tiles in Indigo in all their glory.
The mirror shape mimics the archway to give an illusion of space and add homogeneity.
The mirror shape mimics the archway to give an illusion of space and add homogeneity.
A closer look at the concrete finish which essentially adds to the rusticity of the apartment.
The cris cross wiring on the ceiling lights up the pendant in one corner for a faint glow in the evening.
Center table details.

On a closing note, the only thought that comes is an article a notable architect shared recently that painted a gloomy picture of the architecture industry and education in the country. It highlighted the threat from illegal professionals without educational qualification trying to attract customers at very low prices.

The design of this home proves how the pedigree of education + experience leads to thoughtful design.

Product sources:

Lights: Flos

Furnishings: TDW

Sofas: Custom

Dining table: Custom

Flooring tiles: Bharat Flooring and Tiles

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