A house becomes a home because of your loved ones and the memories the space evokes. Like shopping for artefacts with your mother, a 60-year-old radio in working condition, souvenirs that trace your travels, or striking pieces that remind you of India’s freedom struggle… The story of SaffronStays Sanvina Farm, our 3-bedroom private villa in Karjat, is just as rich with memories. Rustic with modern comforts, here, you can go stargazing, ride an ATV, and lose your way in the large organic farms.
A Testimony Of Preserving Memories
When homeowners Navina and Sandeep Bhargava started scouting for a piece of land, mountain views, a stream by the home, and space to have their own farm were all part of the ‘must-have’ list. It took them nearly two years to find the perfect match post where they could build a cute cottage.
In the February of 2019, sadly, Sandeep lost his mother, someone who was extremely fond of the retiring vibe of the farm. On his father’s advice, Sandeep decided to build a bigger home – something his mother always wished for.
The construction for the home took a year during which Sandeep and Navina gathered all their collectibles, furniture, decor pieces and utensils from Ahmedabad, Ajmer, and Mumbai, which they had collected over time. Lovers of artefacts and antiques, this farmhouse with modern comforts near Mumbai reflects the homeowners’ personality to the T even while retaining its rusticness. They added glass windows to let nature in, used a waterproof shingled roof to combat rough monsoons very common in the region, and used colours that don’t betray the environs.
And so, you have white walls with dark brown furniture that stands out, and upholstery that adds a dash of brightness with its eccentric colours that lend it the discerning warmth required to call it a family home.
To call this modern farmhouse in Karjat a mini version of the Amdavadi havelis won’t be wrong given that the origin of many decor pieces can be traced back to this Gujarati city.
Little things make this farmhouse a farm‘home’ with every artefact whispering a story.
The striking main door dates back to a 120-year-old haveli in Ahmedabad. The moment you walk in, each piece of decor demands equal attention. However, there must be some karmic connection with girls and swings, and that’s exactly what catches my attention, too. A green-coloured jhula with heavy brass chains. “Each chain weighs up to 20+ kgs,” Sandeep informs us, adding, “They’re in their original form and shape and are 85-90 years old, if not more.”
The 2 sturdy decorative pillars in the home – both 100+ years old and the wrought iron jaalis on the mezzanine floor, are some other items salvaged from decrepit havelis in Ahmedabad. Another swing in the living room that has been converted to a sofa, the cabinet in the dining area and the TV cabinet, among several other furniture items have been thoughtfully hand-picked from Ahmedabad. Sandeep fondly reminisces about shopping for all of this with his mother during their time in the colourful city.
Standing out amidst all of this are sparkling bright vintage brass utensils on the center table. Dating back to the homeowners’ grandparents’ era, there are fascinating pieces such as a brass water heater, hookah, lota and pots of varying sizes ideal for potpourri.
The more intimate corners in the home – the bedrooms – have a glorious past, too. Take the Phillips radio set, for instance. A gift to Sandeep’s parents from their wedding some 60 years ago, is still in working condition.
The homeowners’ bedroom, with a view of the greenery around, is where one finds a bunch of six paintings bought from an auction in South Africa. “British colonial designs, those paintings are roughly 80-85 years old. There are other memoirs in the room, which were gifted to my maternal grandfather, a Chief Justice at the Allahabad High Court who had gone for some official work to the Nicobar Islands in the early 50s,” shares Sandeep. He goes on to tell us how he was a freedom fighter and was serving at the court when Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jawaharlal Nehru were practicing advocates at the High Court.
The second room on the ground level has two rocking chairs inherited from Navina’s grandfather along with the side tables crafted out of 100-year-old wood. Interesting clay masks, almost 35-years-old, and statues from the homeowners’ visit to South Africa, Zimbabwe and New York among others, adorn several spaces in the home.
For the kind of cutesy stuff it has, the mezzanine floor is my favourite spot. Cool posters picked up from the streets of New York, a bookshelf with autobiographies, books on spirituality, and other general interest reads, and a rocking chair – the perfect hideaway. The rocking chair was Navina’s grandfather’s first office chair when he returned from Germany and started the first security printing press in India.
Outdoors Are ‘In’
The day I visited the home, the earthy, pungent aroma of kilos of turmeric put to dry welcomed me. And that is exactly the beauty of Sanvina Farm. Flanked by shades of greens on all sides, the outdoors here are in abundance; 10 acres, to be precise. This private villa in Karjat is home to over 2,500 plantations. The highlight of my visit most certainly was visiting the farms – spotting lemons the size of oranges, chikoos just about to ripen, the cool breeze making the walk even more pleasant, and tasting the fresh peppermint. Depending on the season, one can find a variety of grains, fruits and veggies growing at this veg-only villa near Mumbai – right from rice, toor dal, rajma, chana, to turmeric, mango, cucumbers, chillies, spinach, coriander, and bottle gourd among others.
The home is a piece of art during the monsoons. “On a good rainy day, you see 35-40 waterfalls, no exaggeration,” says Navina. In season, there’s a gushing river right next to the home, which looks much like a natural jacuzzi. Oh and imagine an evening chai & pakoda spread in the stream…
While you’re here, you are bound to make some friends for sure. Be it our cheerful caretaker, Ganesh, the three-and-a-half-year-old Great Dane, Simba, the playful rabbit duo of Cheeku-Meeku, or the animated ducks – Changu, Mangu, Bhangu and their 2 ducklings.
Meant for discerning travellers, this home’s perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. And so, soon, guests will be able to enjoy curated treks to nearby points, ATV bike rides, cycling, and losing themselves to the skies while stargazing.
Bookmark SaffronStays Sanvina Farm, a home-with-a-heart for your next getaway.