Sanctuary in the Rain - A Bespoke Farmhouse in Pusad, Maharashtra


When the Bajaj family dreamed of creating a soulful sanctuary amidst the rain-soaked landscapes of Pusad, Maharashtra, they knew the path from vision to reality would require a partner up for the journey. With a 1 acre canvas of semi-vegetated land, the desire for a one-of-a-kind 1 1-bedroom suite plus gathering hall for 30, and the region's incessant downpours - the project necessitated an architect's creative ingenuity and technical expertise.

The family found their ideal partner in Ongrid Designs - led by talented architect Ms. Seema. Together, they embarked on an intensive 4-month collaboration to conceive, design, and deliver a bespoke farmhouse masterpiece tailored to the family's needs and the site's unique challenges.

The Clients' Vision

For the Bajaj family - two brothers and their father, Mr. Bajaj - the farmhouse would be a retreat from urban life and a legacy for generations to enjoy. Though the home needed to accommodate personal gatherings of up to 30 people, the clients envisioned maintaining an intimate, cosy feel perfect for solo respites or quality family time.

The family wanted to craft a sanctum tailored to their needs while seamlessly blending with the surrounding rainforest. "We desired a home that would honour the land's natural splendour" shares Mr. Bajaj. "A nurturing sanctuary for our family that we could one day pass down to our children and grandchildren."

To achieve this vision, the 1,800 sq ft farmhouse would need to be strategically designed for both social gatherings and solitary repose. With Pusad receiving over 300 cm of rain annually, the structure required durable and water-resistant construction to withstand the climate. The Bajajs prioritised sustainable practices to preserve the site's biodiversity and beauty for generations.

The Challenging Canvas

The natural canvas presented as many gifts as challenges. Situated on 1 acre of partially wooded land adjacent to protected forest, the site offered serenity and seclusion. However, the waterlogged soil and tropical setting demanded careful environmental planning.

Constructing an elevated living space would provide necessary protection from the heavy rains. Building on stilts 5 feet above the forest floor would also minimise the structure's footprint and impact on the land. The onsite flora had to be carefully navigated, with existing trees intelligently incorporated into the design.

The site's remote location, 3 hours from the nearest metro area, posed constraints for transporting materials and workers. OnGrid would need to source most construction supplies locally and optimize onsite coordination for the tight 4-month timeline.

Designing in Synergy

Over 8 weeks of consultation and planning, OnGrid and the Bajaj family brought their shared vision into alignment. The collaborative design process involved ongoing virtual meetings and opportunities for client feedback at each milestone.

Phase 1: Conceptual Design

OnGrid developed two initial architectural concepts centred around indoor-outdoor synergy. The open-plan layouts oriented living spaces to embrace breezes and frame views of the surrounding wilderness. Ms. Seema incorporated Vastu principles and regional aesthetics to craft spaces resonant with the local spirit.

The Bajajs felt an immediate emotional connection to the second concept, praising its tranquillity and seamless flow between interior and exterior. After providing input to fine-tune the layout, they entrusted OnGrid with advancing concept #2.

Phase 2: Floor Plan Adaptations

Tailoring the floor plan to the family's needs required balancing privacy and community. To enable both intimate personal time and large gatherings, OnGrid strategically zoned the layout into public and private wings.

The 1 Bedroom Suite and cosy sit-out niche were positioned in one wing, carefully buffered from the expansive multipurpose hall on the other side. The two zones seamlessly flow together via the open-plan living and dining space in between. Adaptive furniture like folding screens and stackable seating provide flexibility for different occasions.

OnGrid leveraged 3D modelling to finesse the layout, ensuring optimal sizes and seamless circulation throughout the home for up to 30 occupants. Ms. Seema artfully incorporated existing trees, with windows and terraces framed around the surrounding foliage.

Phase 3: Exterior Design

The 3D exterior concepts envisioned the home as an extension of its wooded surroundings. OnGrid aimed to complement the indigenous flora through the creative use of local Khaprail stone, timbers, and traditional finishes.

The elevated base of the structure complements the shapes and height of nearby tree canopies. Generous terraces and cantilevers allow greenery to fluidly coexist with the architecture. Louvred facades provide natural ventilation while limiting direct sun exposure.

During design reviews, the Bajaj family provided feedback on balancing aesthetics and practicality. OnGrid finessed the 3D model to achieve harmony between form and function given the heavy rains. Elements like gently sloped roofs, extended eaves, and drainage channels were subtly integrated to protect the home without disrupting visual harmony.

Realisation - Constructing the Bespoke Sanctuary

With the design aligned with site conditions and client needs, OnGrid focused its technical drawings and services planning on executability. Ms. Seema's expertise in sustainable construction guided material selection and sourcing.

Thoughtful foundation design leveraged stilts and retaining walls to securely elevate the home above wet earth and tree roots. The stone plinth protects the base while blending with nearby boulders.

For the weatherproof facade, OnGrid sourced durable local Khaprail stone complemented by regionally harvested teakwood accents. The combination of trusted materials provides both beauty and resilience.

Flooring choices balance durability, comfort, and biophilia. Handmade rustic tiles line the kitchen and hallways, while reclaimed timber brings warmth to the bedrooms and dining. The team hand-selected stones and wood from demolished village homes to preserve heritage.

The Bespoke Sanctuary Revealed

When the cratered country road leads visitors to the secluded cluster of stone and timber rising organically from the jungle canopy, it's clear this is no ordinary home. The Bajaj family farmhouse masterfully blends with its surroundings while providing a soulful sanctuary for those within.

The 1,800 sq ft haven offers intimate respite alongside expansive gathering spaces. The great room's 20-foot exposed timber roof and stone hearth form the social nucleus, with hand-carved Jali work filtering moody forest light. The airy multipurpose hall accommodates yoga, ceremonies, and cosy family meals around the rustic timber table.

For solitary rejuvenation, one can escape to the bedroom suite with its stilted sit-out terrace surrounded by rainforest. Skylights create pockets of ever-changing illumination, from dappled morning rays to moonlit glow. The sustainable materials withstand monsoons while melding with the setting.

The bespoke farmhouse flawlessly delivered the Bajaj family's vision. When asked what the project meant to him, Mr. Bajaj replied, "This home is a gift we will treasure for generations. A testament to what can be created when one finds the right partner - with the patience, creativity, and passion to bring dreams to life."

OnGrid's personalized approach and tireless communication ensured Mr. Bajaj and his sons remained actively engaged as collaborators throughout the entire design and construction. Meeting an ambitious deadline without ever compromising on quality, sustainability, or design integrity - the farmhouse stands as a testament to OnGrid's commitment to client-centred custom architecture.

The Results

  • A one-of-a-kind 1,800 sq ft farmhouse hand-crafted for the Bajaj family over 4 months
  • An elevated structure resilient to heavy rains yet harmonious with the forest setting
  • Flexible layout hosting both intimate spaces and gatherings for 30
  • Sustainable materials and practices preserving the land's biodiversity
  • Bespoke details honouring family heritage and regional artisanship
  • A profoundly meaningful legacy home to be cherished for generations

For the Bajajs, OnGrid brought a long-held dream to fruition. More than just a beautiful home, this farmhouse represents a shared journey - through carefully cultivated synergy and perseverance, a vision evolved into a sanctuary for body, mind and soul.

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