Vacations aren’t meant to be boring, so why should you make boring choices when on holiday? And a vacation to a place like Goa should be one of your most interesting ones. Nothing about this town is boring or conventional. Goa is a phenomenon that must be experienced fully, and nothing says Goa better than a restored Portuguese villa a short walk away from the beach.
Given the serenity of the place, you would think it’s quite isolated, but this Portuguese villa is quite strategically located – far enough from the main road to drown out all sounds of traffic but close enough for you to be in the thick of things in a matter of minutes.Look what I found! Why live in a hotel when you can live in a grand Portuguese villa? This is going to be so awesome! Click To Tweet
If you go left from this house, you will hit the main Calangute road, the hub for some of the best eateries in Goa. If you go right, and walk for a few minutes, you will be at the beach, ready to take in the sun with the sand in your toes and the calming sound of the waves.
That is, of course, if you ever leave this magnificent villa.
The house is truly a representation of old school Goa. Built in 1934, this grand structure has always been the epitome of Portuguese architecture. The house was built by the owner’s grandfather and had been the family home for decades.
As you step into the large front yard, you will see the Portuguese influence in this home becoming more and more obvious. The lounging chairs in the balcony, the coloured glass doors, and the bathroom outside is straight out of a typical Portuguese home. Before you even step inside, you will find yourself making plans to spend your days in the front yard, watching the world go by while sipping on a beer.
I know I would love to come here with my school and college friends, who are now in different cities and countries, and have an epic reunion.
The yard also has a bar which can be put to good use when planning a house party with your friends. The pathway is lined with green bottles to add to the greenery which surrounds this house.
In a typical Portuguese home, the living style is open and communal. It’s the same in this heritage villa. The bedrooms don’t have doors but the beds have been placed in such a manner that privacy is not completely lost.
“The home’s design was driven by the openness of the space,” our designer who worked on this house, Saumya, says. “At any point in time, eight people can stay comfortably here. Every room offers cross communication, I did not want to close the space. The beds face the porch so that people can enjoy the inside and outside space together.”
It’s the perfect set-up for friends who want to gossip all night while lying in bed and giggle till they fall asleep.
“The point of this home is to get people together in one space without being cramped and where everyone has their own corners,” Saumya says. “I know I would love to come here with my school and college friends, who are now in different cities and countries, and have an epic reunion.”
As soon as you enter the house, you will see bedrooms on both sides. On one side, you will see a small piece of history waiting for you. A heritage Portuguese double bed, which belonged to the owner of the house, has been restored in all its glory to be used again.
On the other side, you will get to experience contemporary design. Single beds with pull-outs were made for this room which makes it ideal for four people to share.
“The pull-out beds on wheels can be moved around the house for people to enjoy various parts of the house,” Saumya says. “Even the sofa set in the living room is modular in nature. It can be shifted around to suit a group’s needs.”
But no matter how far apart the two bedrooms may look in terms of design, there’s a noticeable commonality here in terms of the design origin. “Almost all old Portuguese homes in Goa have Portuguese furniture but I wanted this one to be different,” Saumya says. “I know I wanted the beds to have curtains like all Portuguese beds but I wanted straight line designs. I wanted to keep the design clean, fresh and simple.”
The curtains also have fairy lights on them which make for cozy lighting at night. You can fall asleep looking at these twinkling stars just above your bed and feel their warm glow all around.
Going past the bedrooms and stepping into the living room, you will feel the openness of this villa even more. The high ceilings, mirror decor on the wall, and the blue accents of the living room are a reminder of the Portuguese influence in Goa.
“The shades of blue were inspired by the fact that the beach is just a 5-minute walk away from this house,” Saumya says. “The blues of the beach and brown of the sand grains felt like an organic fit for this home.”
Apart from the colours of the beach, the decor of this house has been inspired by several elements that are quintessentially Goan in nature.
“The artwork in the home and the mirror work has been inspired by the home itself,” Saumya says. “As you walk into the home, you will see geometrical shapes and diamond patterns which were part of the home earlier as well. The umbrella lights on the ceiling are inspired by the fact that it rains like crazy in Goa and I wanted an element of that in the home.”
While it sounds easy to install umbrella lights on the ceiling, that wasn’t the case in this house.
“Getting the umbrella lights in place was a crazy experience,” Saumya recalls. “The electrician had to get on the roof because we couldn’t do this from the inside. The roofing had to be opened up for the lights to come into place.”
The villa, which is meant for eight people, has enough seating in the living room for all your friends to sprawl out. Whether it’s playing a board game, cards, watch a movie or TV show, or just gossipping to your heart’s content, this living room will become your favourite spot. For the more creatively-inclined, this is also a great place to get your thoughts together and find your inspiration. The colourful decor, the openness of windows, and lack of doors add to the breezy, light feeling of the living room.
The living room also has a working station where you can plug in your laptop and work if you must. But even here, the decor is so typical of a laidback holiday that it will prompt you to switch off your laptop and head to the beach.
Next to the living room is a private bedroom, for those who need a little more privacy or for the couples in your group. This is the only bedroom in the house with a door. With a blue double bed and matching drapes around it, this bedroom is perfect for a romantic night in. The fairy lights on the drapes are the ideal lighting for a few quiet moments together, away from the rest of the world. The side tables are lit by bulbs hanging down from the wall which adds to the quirky decor of the rest of the house.
In typical Portuguese homes, the bedrooms don’t have attached bathrooms and are in a separate area of the house. Staying true to the Portuguese style here as well, the bathrooms are in another area of the house, away from the bedrooms. This area has separate sections for bathing and the washroom, so that more than one person can use it at a time. Privacy is not a problem as these sections have doors.
As expected, such unconventional bathrooms are a design challenge.
“In all Portuguese homes, the bathrooms were always outside the home,” Saumya says. “In today’s time, people just break and bring them in. But, in our case, breaking was not an option. So we worked with what we had to make it as functional as possible. Unlike a traditional bath space, one person doesn’t block the whole bathroom for the rest of the occupants which works well in communal living.”
Staying true to the spirit of communal living, the dining area is inside the kitchen. This way, no one, including the chef of the day, is excluded from any conversations. The blue and white decor, and the slanting ceiling, make the kitchen feel airy and open even though it’s in the rear of the house.
The tall white table has stools around it to make for a unique dining experience, and the bistro-style dining will make you feel like you’re eating breakfast in Europe.
There is more than just the decor to this place. It lies in the heart of north Goa but the surroundings are so calm that you never hear the noise.
“There is a beautiful quietness to this house which is awe-inspiring,” Saumya says. “It’s so close to the beach and to the main road which should make for noisy living, but this house maintains a beautiful calm.”
If you ever want to leave this paradise, the Calangute beach is only a few minutes away. Spend a relaxing day sunbathing at the beach or avoid the afternoon sun and watch the beautiful Goan sunset in the evening.
The Fort Aguada road, which is buzzing with restaurants and pubs late into the night, is only 2 kilometres away. There are a number of great bars and restaurants here which cater to all tastes and fancies late into the night.
So gather your friends, book this villa, and clear your calendars for the best Goan holiday ever.
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