Mumbai, the steamy metropolis merged of seven islands on the Arabian Sea is one of the sub-continents most historic ports. The old city, at its southerly most tip, is a fascinating mosaic of 19th century buildings hung with shady verandahs and surrounded by grand seafront avenues. Across the bay from the famous Gateway to India and Taj Mahal Hotel, a short boat trip arrives to a slower pace, the coastal playground of Alibaug.
The Ray, a recently completed private retreat designed by local firm, Architecture Brio, perches on a green hillside with spectacular views to an arc of sandy beaches and blue sea. Timothy Oulton Studio were engaged to design and supply the interior furnishings of the house, with the support of our local partners, Tarun Vadehra.
The brief was to create a paired back but comfortable holiday home that would focus the guest’s experience of the seasonal landscape, a contrast of verdant monsoon and dry season. A soft palette of colours and textures, simple handmade furniture and natural fabrics are set against the neutral tones of the limestone and concrete to create the essence of ‘humble luxury’.
Visitors arrive from the hilltop steps to a lushly planted garden designed by renowned Indian landscape architect Kunal Maniar & Associates. A stone gabled porch on the upper hillside forms an entrance vestibule, inside large tree root benches flank the space, with a string of illuminated Calcite drops drawing the gaze to the breathtaking views beyond the open living area below. Underfoot, an intricately inlayed mosaic assembled from translucent fragments of Calcite crystal and brass form a silhouetted stingray, the talisman of the house.
A staircase spirals into the double height Living room, glazed on three sides to take in views of the lushly landscaped lower courtyard, pool and the bay beyond. This indoor-outdoor room features a sumptuous Nest sectional sofa in crisp white linen configured below 28 handmade pendants of iridescent glass. A 4 metre long reclaimed coffee table and rattan arm chairs are teamed with various side tables of honed stone and raw timber.
The covered outdoor area connects through large sliding doors with a curved stone table sliced from a natural boulder encircled by handmade rattan and leather chairs next to the pool.
Behind these main areas, a kitchen, dining and bar spaces have been cut into the hillside and re-covered with earth and landscaped terraces. Inside these stone clad caverns are a bespoke calcite and timber dining table, handmade rattan chairs and fitted bar cabinets faced with reclaimed timber slats and illuminated mirror stainless steel interiors. Indigo linen cushions are piled on benches formed by exposed natural rock ledges, behind a pair of raw root bar tables and stools.
The organic shapes of the hillside feature heavily throughout the intimate entertaining areas.
Arched stone columns look out to the courtyard, pool, and landscape beyond.
The eastern wing of the house contains the main bedrooms, a master suite with sweeping views of the water features a bespoke island bed and desk in curved rattan with hand blown hanging glass side lights. Reclaimed timber vanity units and mirrors with hand formed copper lighting have been used in the large bathroom adjacent to a private meditation room. Behind, a second bedroom, furnished with a natural indigo stained four post bed and wardrobes, also connects to a private bathroom.
Underneath this wing a TV room with Indigo linen Nest sofas teamed with a group of solid carved tables create a cosy retreat from the main living areas. Adjoining is an outdoor games space and a spacious guest bedroom, fitted with a rattan bedhead, root tables, woven cane recliners and a private bathroom and landscaped courtyard all overlooking the sea.
A separate guest house contains two further suites with timber and cane furnishings, stone tables and incredible views. A collection of handmade objects and natural curiosities have been curated throughout the house to create a tranquil environment for the ultimate connection to the unique landscape.