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A home in Goa firmly rooted in its surroundings

  • Ideas & Inspiration
May 31, 2024
Simple living room furniture design – Beautiful Homes

Kavita and Manoj left their corporate lives in Mumbai for a more harmonious one in Goa. Designer Shonan Trehan brought their vision to life with a space that seamlessly incorporates the Goan way of life

There are homes that your dream up, the ones you picture in your head when you are 38 and in middle management working hard to save for an early retirement. It will be on a big piece of land, you think, with nothing in view except paddy fields and a blue sky. The home will have all the modern amenities but with traditional touches that make you nostalgic, like hand-carved wooden windows and a water well. The home will have a library, outdoor dining, there will be colour and fabulous art. For the kids there will be a swing and a pool. Also, a garden to grow food and flowers where perhaps a peacock or two will swing by every evening. And maybe, because it’s a dream and you can push it, there will be space to set up an art or pottery studio. For many, especially in Mumbai, Goa is the land of this dream. Ex-Vodafone Chief Digital Transformation Officer Kavita Nair and ex-HDFC Deputy General Manager Manoj Nair realised theirs in 2018.

After leaving their corporate jobs, Kavita and Manoj Nair built their home with Shonan Trehan and the team of Labwerk.

Today Goa is bursting with new villas, restaurants, stores and Anjuna is at the centre of this “development”, but the Nairs got lucky and found their piece of land in this village about a decade ago. Taking a left from the most popular gelato store in Anjuna, that’s next to one of the most iconic restaurants here, as you enter their property you are transported to the Goa of 2012. Everything goes quiet and all you see is their home, coconut tree, a paddy field and the big blue sky.


Covid slowdown was the final push the Nairs needed to move here but the home was ready before that. Both Kavita and Manoj left their corporate lives in Mumbai for a shot at a more creative and harmonious one in Goa. “I think I fell in love with Goa because it is the first flight that I took when I was 23 years old. I still remember coming from the airport and thinking ‘My God, this feels like Kerala’. I felt that it was a great mix of a village life, yet people are cosmopolitan. It was something I always come back to,” says Kavita.

From the beginning they were sure that they would assimilate into their surroundings instead of bringing their big city quirks with them. But apparently their neighbours were sceptical. “Our contractor tells us that because we did not chop any trees, including the jungle trees, the neighbours thought that whoever is building are ‘okay people’. We had to just fell a few coconut trees, which we have replanted. There was a well on the property and we wanted to keep it. These were some of the tenets before we even started to build,” says Kavita.

Kavita, Manoj and Devki’s home – Beautiful Homes

The Nair family.

Helping them through their building journey was Shonan Trehan and the team of Labwerk. “As we were seeing the land, finalising the papers, getting permissions and all, Kavita sat back and wrote a 12-page brief on how she wants her house to be. Shonan, who's a brilliant architect and such a wonderful person, too, said this is what we expect from most of our clients,” says Manoj.


In that perfect kind of collaboration, Shonan built on and fine-tuned Kavita’s vision to create this home, named Parijat. “This was one of their first projects and we wanted them for interior design too. Shonan knew Goa, she had gotten married here so that was a huge plus. They put their heart and soul to bring this vision to life,” adds Kavita.

Vintage living room design – Beautiful Homes

The glorious height brought to life with a roofing structure at different levels. Myriad of colours yet harmonious.

Small dining table design with chairs – Beautiful Homes

The love of niches with memories of travels ensconced within them.

The Outside

If you are moving from Mumbai to a coastal village, you know you want as much access to the outdoors as possible. The Nairs wanted an open courtyard house. “Everyone nowadays wants an “inside outside home”. I think it's become a very cliched word, but it is a great testament to what Shonan and her team created for us because it’s all in the details. We have a fluid, seamless space because inside outside is how we move in the space and how we live,” says Kavita.


But yet some old city ways die hard, and there was a disagreement about the outdoor dining table. Kavita and Manoj were worried about the rain and sun, the lack of an AC. But Shonan got her way. And today the gorgeous spot has become the centre of their home. “Our friends call it the danger table of constant consumption,” she laughs.


The house came with a well which they wanted to keep and use. It became the fulcrum on which the house is constructed. It feeds the house by feeding the gardens and when it rains, the water flows down from the roof down into it. 

Stylish duplex house design – Beautiful Homes

The U-shaped structure peeking between the foliage. The Kerala boat like roofing & a couple of centuries old windows of the master bedroom with the tilting palms around them.

Simple outdoor seating design – Beautiful Homes

The outdoor dining table fondly called ‘The Danger table of constant consumption’.

The Inside

The home uses the tropical Indian coastal architecture as the base and has a mix of Goa and Kerala in its design. The interiors are bright and eclectic, artifacts collected from their travels–from Italy and South Africa to Jaipur and Kerala–dot the space. Kavita loves colour, and Shonan’s team brought in 35 different kinds of patterns with just tiles into the home. Her love for ceramics is also quite evident. “It is not about what fits into the aesthetic of the home. A piece could have been bought for a specific reason–because we loved that place, or we loved that artist, or we love that person who was selling something on the street. And hence, it will always have a place in our house,” says Kavita.

Green full wall shelf design for your space – Beautiful Homes

Together in the studio, Manoj’s favourite spot in the house.

When Manoj is not busy trying and failing to shoo off the peacocks from destroying the Thai brinjals in their garden, his favourite thing is to spend time in the TV room which also houses part of their huge book collection. “And I tell most people that it's a very strategic place because I can keep an eye on the people coming in and going out of the house,” he laughs. Since she created the pottery studio on her property a year ago, Kavita now spends most of her time there. It’s a beautiful space with lots of natural light that harbours her creativity through objects set on her kiln.

There is another occupant of the home, their eight-year-old daughter Devki, who gets to grow up amongst birds, trees and flowers and learn first-hand how hard growing food can be. “She told us we cannot shoo the peacocks away from our garden because if we want food we can go to the supermarket, but the peacock has nowhere else to go. We are all learning to live with the environment around us in small and big ways,” smiles Manoj.


All images by Fabian Franco

Vintage white house design – Beautiful Homes
The external façade of the home.
Small house with wood finishes – Beautiful Homes
The guest house that is also given on rent for short stays.
Wooden chair design for outdoor – Beautiful Homes
The facade of the guest house which is a perfect jigsaw of the old windows & doors rummaged from Crafters in Kochi.
Simple living room furniture design – Beautiful Homes
A riot of colours which is the living room yet so comfortable and truly lived outside inside always.
Minimal wall design to enhance your space – Beautiful Homes
The entrance of the home.
Kavita, the homeowner in her pottery studio – Beautiful Homes
Kavita’s potter studio.
Muted tone bedroom design for your space – Beautiful Homes
The master bedroom.
Minimal bedroom interior for your space – Beautiful Homes
Their daughter Devki’s room.
Brown tile bathroom design – Beautiful Homes
Each bathroom is unique & tells a story. Quirky yet functional, a space where one can spend a day reading if one wants to.

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