Country roads take me home
A double-storeyed house stands pretty on the eightacre Akoi farm. Driving through the inner lanes of the Delhi- Mehrauli road, it is hard to imagine how disconnected from the city hustle-bustle one would be in a matter of minutes.
It is a truly gorgeous view that Pia Pauro, owner and designer of Rock-a- Bella, wakes up to every weekend – tall palms and pines, a sprawling wellmanicured lawn, a fresh-blue swimming pool and a strong cuppa coffee! “My father has great aesthetic sense, so together we wanted to create a county home. The focus of the house is really the fabulous flora around it and we wanted to do the interiors to complement that,” says Pia, as she takes us through her home.
The rustic living room on the first floor, which she fondly calls the ‘den’, transports you to a different era altogether. An alder wooden flooring and tables in chestnut and oak strike you immediately – the blend of similar hues in different textures of wood speak volumes about the attention that went into creating them.
Distressed leather couches in brown, imported from the US, further enhance the room’s warmth. Add to that threesided glass walls overlooking the greenery outside and a bunch of fresh yellow lilies on the marble table and you have a perfectly divine set-up. “You want your living to be inside yet outside. So, I’ve used a lot of glass to bring the outside inside,” Pia says.
Sipping on a cup of hot coffee here makes for a cosy winter afternoon; it is tempting to imagine what summers might have in store. With a powercontrolled sheet drawn across the roof, far cooler, we expected. Amidst all this, there are neutral-coloured heirloom carpets placed in every room, perfectly complementing all the simple yet smart furniture, upholstery and accessories.
As we move to the other section of the room, Pia says, “I hate TV, which is why I have a projector on and have a screen roll-up right above the blinds.” These Roman blinds are a white-and-blue print and were chosen on one of her many trips. “I don’t look out. It’s what catches my eye and what I am drawn to,” she says about her
choices. Cushions adorning the seating areas of the house are a collection from Jim Thomson’s elephant range and are seen in various colour schemes. Pia confesses, “I love Jim Thomson. Their prints are fantastic and really add an element of old Thai, colonial style.” There’s a collection of ashtrays, most of them porcelain with a sketch in the centre, a few of them vibrant orange and scarlet red, some crystal ones cut in different shapes and styles, and a few with leather exteriors in shades of brown and tan.
There is no distinct theme running through the house – the seating is neutral and pops of colour only come through the paintings, the family photographs, coffee table books and fresh flowers. “I don’t have a favourite colour, it depends on my mood and the ambience I want to create,” she says.
As we walk around, every space in the house looks well-utilised. “Apart from the quality of workmanship, the swimming pool had to be beautiful, as I spend a lot of time in it during the summer months,” she adds.
Plenty of seating corners and niches have been created to bring out different moods. There’s a photograph of a leopard, a gift by wildlife photographer, Graham Springer – it has been placed over the fireplace, alongside two vintage brown leather with animal-print cushions to further enhance the wild feel. Organic furnishings like hemp and cane are also seen in certain areas of the house; their portability and earthy look blending in perfectly with the wooden feel of the house.
Despite it being a home away from home, “it’s important to add a cosy feel with personal touches such as family photographs in your country home”, stresses Pia. This shows in the silver photo frames that display her many memories and moments.