A Timeless Beauty

by Greca M Durant | Photography by Sanka Sammana

When Amali and Buddhika Kariyawasan contracted Archt K B Menaka Mangalanatha, Amali clearly outlined what she wanted for a house: airy, sunlit, with a very big white hall. She also wanted to see different colours whenever she moved around the house, and to give her lots of flexibility, since she liked changing the colours of her soft furnishings and ornaments according to her moods. The couple loves to travel abroad, and brings home interesting objects to match what they already have at home or in storage.

Archt Mangalanatha magically built the house in a record-breaking nine months! The Kariyawasan’s second child was born soon after the family moved in and another big project was about to commence which needed meticulous attention: the family’s very own shopping mall, to be built next to their residence.

The site, abutting a busy dusty road, was a rectangle plot that offered absolutely no views to the surroundings. The house thus had to be designed as inward looking to extract any sensuality that the site had to offer. It has a usable area of 5,250 sq ft, and exudes a contemporary compatibility. The interlocking pairs of stone-finished blocks used in the front yard and the elegant-looking re-used Kabok bricked-periphery walls serve to highlight the house block.

From the main door looking inwards, your eyes travel as far as the wall of the kitchen, like peering through a tunnel. The corridor, with its red cherry walls, leads to the main door. Buddhika’s home office is cleverly positioned in a way so nothing punctuates the peace inside the house, especially with young children around.

The two wings of the house are wrapped around the pool making it a central feature in the house. All the bedrooms on the upper levels face the pool. Huge nadun timber and glass doors open out to the contemporary version of the ‘meda-midula,’ the open courtyard that borders the swimming pool, with everything connected to it. Corresponding to the time of day, a dramatic performance of shadow and light and varying temperatures can be experienced in the courtyard, and its reflections carried through to the rest of the house. This arrangement works well with the wind patterns: the wind touches the pool surface and is cooled before it enters the house.

The living room stretches toward the main dining room. The royal gold nadun and steel bar staircase takes visitors to the family area, furnished with antique furniture. The pantry is fashioned from pinewood. This area opens out to a small back garden that also serves as a delivery access alley. Also found on the ground level is the kingfisher-blue-walled corridor that leads to the visitor’s room, which is attractively attired in bright indigo.

Up in the family area, floor tiles are in antique red, to match the period setting. On this level you also find the audio-visual room, with state-of-the-art facilities, and soft green walls; a corridor draped in different gradations of red; a baby-pink bedroom; a purple bedroom, and a very large master bedroom, with an equally large bed and walls done in sunset yellow.

The house responds well to the climate of the tropics. Even with the tall blind wall as one boundary along the house, through-ventilation happens throughout the house due to the strategic placing of the double height void. The architect’s philosophy is to create interesting and meaningful spaces out of various planes: whether a wall, a pool, an existing tree on site, a level drop, or even a shadow cast by the moving sun on the floor or a wall.

Architect: Menaka Mangalanatha

Contractor: Thilakma Developers Pvt Ltd

Clients:  Buddhika Kariyawasan & Amali Kariyawasan

Project duration: 9 months

Total Area: 5,250 sq ft

Site extent: 30 perches