Bangalore’s Greenest Homes: Go retro in Ashok Kamath’s residence

A wardrobe made of 100 years old wood, a bed that has been standing strong since 75 years and book shelves made from ancient wooden pieces; every corner of the Ashok Kamath house gives you a retro feel.

A wardrobe made of 100 years old wood, a bed that has been standing strong since 75 years and book shelves made from ancient wooden pieces, every corner of the house gives you a retro feel.

The curtains made out of sarees go by the antique wood collection of the house.

Have you ever wondered what would it feel like to travel time and witness the golden era of ancient architecture and design? Ashok Kamath’s house house would take you in a different time zone, with their excellent antique collection.

“I was just crossing a road and saw this gate at the corner of the street, I knew I could do something good with it and I bought it just for Rs. 800,” says Kamath admiring the gate which stands proudly in his garden.

The Kamath family moved into the huge house of 8,000 sq feet in 1997 and later in 2003 they constructed the office space in the same site in 2003.

The wood that counts

One of the striking features of Kamath residence is their unique collection of wooden items. The couple has an eye for antique products and they keep adding to their collection.

The wardrobe in the bedroom is repurposed and made out of a 75-year old wooden cabinet. A saree has been sandwiched between the glasses to give it a different look.

Kamath has a beautiful wine rack made of mango tree wood. “The rack was already repurposed by someone, and we were lucky to find it in the local market,” said Kamath, Various book shelves made out of  old beautifully carved wooden windows in the office instantly catch your attention.

As you move to the first floor of the office you find a 70-year-old wooden pillar from a temple standing tall. Another room at the office space has table stands made out of a wooden cot which is used to keep the speakers. Also, a planter has been beautifully placed upside down at the centre of the office with a heavy stone piece that adds to the aesthetics of the place.

“There are many things in my house that I am really proud of, initially we started with using the ancient wooden items and re-purposing them for our use, later on this became a passion and we keep collecting antiques wherever we see one,” said Kamath.

As you take a tour of the house, you would notice the minute details that add to the theme of the house. Book shelf made out of a Kaawadi which he picked up from a highway in Rajasthan-Delhi, a 100 year old sofa he bought from Russel market lies with poise in the living room.

“We wanted a single sofa to go with the big one so we asked our wood guy to make a similar piece, now we have a whole set,” said Kamath.

The love for antiques

Apart from the unique wood work, the family has also experimented with the curtains. The windows are covered with beautiful zari sarees, that give a distinctive look to the house.

Clothes horse has been repurposed as a partition which lies beautifully in dining area.

The house has has also used paraffin lamps at various places in the house. “We just look around and get things which we think would go with our house. All these items are locally sourced from places like Bamboo bazaar, Shivaji market and Russel market,” said Kamath,

A huge collection of books, the self made paintings by Kamath’s wife Nandini that hang on the walls, the show pieces that add to the little details of the house, the small mirror that gives you a feel of your grandparent’ house and the  clothe horse that has been used interestingly in the dining area as a partition, everything helps the house to be what it is.

Managing waste, water and energy

“We haven’t disposed off our waste in several years,” said Kamath. The family has an open pit in their backyard where they use all their waste to prepare compost. Also, they grow some of their own vegetales which includes Kadi Patta, drumsticks etc.

Kamath family harvests the rain water falling on their roof in a unique way. They have a sloping roof and they have tied a chain which falls down to the ground in a container. 50 percent of the water comes around the chain and gets stored direcly in the container rather than falling all over the place.

The beautiful flowers cover the porch of the house.

The family also has a water storage tank which can store upto 8,000 litres of water, “In a good rain, the whole tank gets full in an hour. I have actually seen it on my own,” said Kamath. They family now wants to work with grey water recycling and is aiming to be 100 percent self sufficient when it comes to water.

The ground floor of the house runs on solar that has capacity of around 1 kw. “The solar takes care of load of light, fan and tv on entire ground floor,” said Kamath. Going solar cost them around Rs.65,000 to Rs.70,000. The lights that are placed on pavements in their garden also run on solar.

“All these items were being left unused, we have just re-purposed them to match our taste. Now our friends also know that we collect these items, so they keep suggesting us things as well. I feel proud as I see each item as I know we have selected each one of it with passion,” said Kamath.

You can contact Ashok Kamath at-

Kamath’s residence is located at Yelahanka New town.

Bangalore’s greenest homes is a series on beautiful homes that have been built on strong sustainability principles – from natural building materials to efficient light and space design, water harvesting, off-the-grid energy energy, eco-friendly decor and furniture. And a lifestyle for the residents where less has meant a lot more. 

This series on Bangalore’s greenest homes has been done with the support of ZED Habitats – the largest green  residential developer in India today, and a leader in pioneering building technologies and management systems.

Shreya Pareek is a development journalist who is passionate about grassroot change and sustainable living. Follow her on twitter @shreya08 more


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Shreya Pareek is a development journalist who is passionate about grassroot change and sustainable living. Follow her on twitter @shreya08 more

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