I'll admit, after living in Miami and going through Hurricane Katrina where we lost our roof and all our fencing, not to mentions power surges when the power went out that ruined our refrigerator and our air conditioner, I wasn't keen on the idea of a home called Monsoon Retreat.
But it sure is purty.
The living room was conceived as an “outdoor space” with abundant light and natural ventilation via windows that open onto decks and gardens on either side. A continuous wall serves as a textured backdrop to the living room and continues onto the deck, lending it a rustic feel. Bathed in light, a cantilevered wood and steel staircase connects the two floors and is set against imposing double height windows. The indoor courtyard pathway continues from the staircase area towards the garden. Showers of light are suspended from the ceiling creating a serene ambiance.
This open floor plan makes the Living–Dining–Swimming Pool and Deck areas feel like an expansive lounge.
The Dining Room is suspended over the private pool, giving the room an island-like feel; a tree in the dining area adds an element of surprise and this "Dining Island" becomes an exotic outdoor space where one can enjoy the breeze, the water and the greenery.
There are three bedrooms on the first floor, with the master bedroom separated from the other two bedrooms via a bridge that spans across the double height living room. The Master Bedroom is a complete suite by itself, with a large bedroom, private terrace, a master bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe. Wooden rafters span the entire ceiling giving it an earthy, airy feeling; the wooden flooring brings in beauty and warmth.
Monsoon Retreat was designed in response to site conditions. Sloping roofs were designed to withstand the extreme monsoons, but allow the house to experience nature. The indoor/outdoor boundaries disappear as every room opens up to a private outdoor terrace or garden. The outdoor decks and landscaped gardens serve as expansive entertaining areas with artful illumination and mood lighting.
Indoor courtyards, skylights, double height sliding-folding windows add to the outdoor feel. Light and shadow add warmth & texture. The carefully chosen, limited palette of materials ensures consistency in design, minimises maintenance and encourages sustainability.
Monsoon Retreat was also designed with sustainability in mind, by using “green” materials such as natural sandstone & engineered wooden flooring; the large sliding and operable double–glazed windows cut down on solar radiation and air conditioning load, and also allow for uninterrupted views and access to landscaped areas; automation & LED lights reduce electrical consumption.
The Villa showcases five bedrooms, one of which is an optional Media Room, all with attached baths and balconies. In addition there is a Staff Room, a Kitchen and a Powder Room.
Landscape and lighting design play an essential role in the project: outdoor areas and even indoor courtyards, namely the staircase and dining courtyards abound with greenery. Earth was mounded up, boulders & exotic plants were added to create an interesting entrance. The parking area was paved using green paver blocks which allow grass to grow.