Villa 14 located on 80 perches of land in the secluded interior of Ruskin Island was designed by Architect Waruna Gomis initially as a family home for his client. Subsequently, the house was converted into an idyllic Guest Villa, providing a convenient hideaway from the hubbub of city life. 

By Imara De Chickera | Photography Waruna Gomis

The understated entrance of Villa 14 belies its distinctive features but what is most remarkable is how the architect has interwoven the scenic view into the structural design. At the doorway your eyes are drawn across the entrance passage, past the paved square courtyard to the grand, rectangular, contemporary living area, dramatically framing an ice-blue pool and the lotus flower encrusted Bolgoda Lake, set against the backdrop of an endless blue sky.

The entrance pathway is flanked on the right by an interesting alfresco dining piazza and a compact kitchenette with a service area. Situated on the left, alongside an extended pond, stands a detached, two-bedroomed unit on two levels. Concrete strips have been cantilevered to beams so that they create a walkway over the pond to the bedroom, while fish swim underfoot. The inner sliding doors of the bedroom open to a private patio with trees and a cement sitting area.The theme of bringing in the outdoors is continued in the cut-cement finished bathroom which is partly covered while the rest is open-to-sky.

The grey ceiling of the bedroom and the smooth cement floors perfectly accentuate the green surroundings and highlight the warm tones of the timber doors and furniture. The stone feature wall at the head of the bed gives the room a cozy and rustic appeal. Noteworthy features of the villa are its tall doorframes which lend a spacious feel to the rooms while the doors have been created out of horizontal strips of Kumbuk, Mahogany, Teak and Jack giving an interesting dimension to the rooms.

Another unique feature, the ‘service tower’ situated in the large courtyard leads to the second level of the building. This spiral stairway enclosed in a black iron framework is concealed behind bamboo blinds and leads you to a large bedroom with the trademark grey ceilings, and timber bed, with a view of the of green fields and trees. The bedroom opens to a small passageway with an attached cut-cement finished bathroom, which leads to a TV lounge area.

The trees in the compound were selected for their ability to adapt to the humid climate as well as their aesthetic appeal. An avenue of Karanda trees in the courtyard leads to an open, living/entertainment area; the open-plan space, blends into a cool blue pool and provides a seamless view of the Bolgoda Lake through the 11 foot tall, series of sliding doors which comprise most of the single wall surface. A free-flowing breeze courses through making the space surprisingly cool.

At the corner of this entertainment area, set against the large stone feature wall is a bar area finished with white cement and frosted glass which is lit up at night. The 12-seater dining table of white cement and timber is located at the centre. The lounge area is inviting with a unique teak wood settee with soothing taupe upholstery.

A quaint pier formed out of railway sleepers runs over the lake to an intimate sitting area on stilts, facing the Lake, blanketed in lotus leaves and flowers and a wide variety of multi-hued birds dotting the trees, the sky and the water. The blissful silence is broken only by their melodious chatter.

Once inside, a wide cement stairway on the right with frosted square light fittings leads to the two main bedrooms. The balcony overhang acts as the passageway which leads to the large bedrooms which enjoy the breathtaking view of the lake. The bedrooms with off-white feature walls have a secluded dressing area with built-in closets and dressing tables. The building has a mildly slanting steel roof and what creates its light airy ambience is also due to the fact that the Architect has not anchored the roof to the walls but made them rest on a clearstory of glass, cleverly creating instant light and space.

Villa 14 is intended for a perfect weekend get-away and an ideal setting for any occasion that requires a beautiful and breathtaking space to detox your system.


Architectural Firm: I W Associates

Principle Architect: Waruna Gomis

Structural Engineer: Ranjith Wijegunasekera

Quantity Surveyor: A N Jayadeva – Cost Management Services

Landscape & Interior: I W Associates

Square area of the Site: Half an Acre

Square area of the project: 5000 sqft

Date of Completion: July 2012

Project Period: 18 Months


Client: Fiona Mendis