Kerala House by ‘Humming Tree’ retains splendor of crafts over the pleasant land

Inspired by the verdant landscapes and unmistakable craftsmanship of the God’s own country, Humming Tree Studio infuses the traditional touch in the decor with local materials like stone, mud, terracotta, reclaimed wood and artifacts throughout the house.

Dubai based homeowners desired a drafty holiday home that hinged on the aesthetics of tropical modernism, as per Mohammed Afnan, Principal Designer. Based on this, the architects designed a house that complements the natural landscape and climate of Kerala.

The Humming Tree team focused on vernacular architecture, with colonnaded verandahs, courtyards, high ceilings, sloped terracotta roof and breezy folding doors – features which makes the home and its residents live coolly under humid environs of the region.

Upon entering the home, antique accents such as the teak doors add charm and character to the double-height foyer ushers in a feel of grandeur and expense. The doors and artefacts were purchased by the homeowner from an old manor house near Mattancheri, the art hub of Kerala.

The living room is half lit by the indirect light through the verandah which has a vintage slatted wooden daybed at the centre serving as a cosy reading nook. An indoor tree, a painting by a local artist and a rug create an inviting space.  A wooden diwan, flanked by a pair of tall three-legged stools, faces the coffee table: a polished, brass-bound wooden chest that evokes generations past.

According to Arun Shekar, co-founders and principal designer, “High ceilings and courtyards ease cross-ventilation. We used natural stones and terracotta roof tiles to give a cooling effect, We decorated the space with a Wabi-Sabi style rustic pot, an acid-finish glass vase and a vintage Mughal painting. The cement flooring ties the look cohesively.”

Local and traditional elements are dotted throughout the house and add to an old-world charm. A restored custom chair, ceramic preserving jars and recycled vintage fabric art accentuate the ambience.

In the dining area the hanging clay pendants designed in-house add a romantic air  hovering above the table. These are paired with a bench and three-legged chairs, which are also sourced from Mattancheri. Contemporary earthenware displayed on the dining table complements the hanging pendant lamps.

Like the rest of the house, the master bedroom with high ceilings and interplay of patterns exudes the same aesthetic charm as the rest of the house. Vintage four-poster and bedside tables are sure to spur the imagination of a seeker.

Photographs by Justin Sebastian

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