The Journey From Derelict to Divine
An Architectural and Interior Design Case Study
Images relating to this article can be found in our Project Page: Hayley House.
Built within the fortification of Galle Fort in Sri Lanka (now a UNESCO world Heritage Site), Hayley House has been described as one of the most accomplished and spectacular properties within the Galle Fort. The property reflects an exotic fantasy enriched with gold-foiled walls and saffron coloured verandas. Creative eccentricity oozes from every corner with art and artefacts adorning walls and floors. Hayley House became an irresistable architecutral design project for a client widely travelled who clearly enjoys beautiful objects.
Love at First Sight
Despite the semi-derelict state, the purchaser fell in love with the undeniable air of elegance the house exuded combined with more than a hint of colonial Englishness. An interior designer's dream, the project - which required a total architecutral re-design process -was a complete sleeping beauty, simply waiting to be re-awakened in all of its new found glory.
Presently filled with eighteenth and nineteenth century antiques, the house undeniably boasts both incredible eclectic taste and superb classical proportions. Unusual fabrics and custom designed paint colours have transformed the property - a metamorphosis which belies the enormous architectural obstacles that had to be overcome to achieve such a complex scheme.
To learn more about the journey of this amazing property, we spoke to the interior designer about the inspiration behind his interior designs and his inspiration for the architectural design which brings an exciting mix of contemporary and old world charm to the tropics. Living in Sri Lanka at the time, Sahran Abeysundara, now lead designer at The Silkroad UK, has had the privilege of getting involved with a vast array of projects from commercial hotel design through to home designs.
"The Brief was Challenging, Determined and Very Clear"
The owner wanted to create a stage on which to entertain family and friends, a folly in which to play, and a space which truly reflected his own creative and artistic personality - nothing about the design should look contrived. The home was to be a retreat - a place of escapism away from the stresses of every day life. He wanted to create a truly magnificent and magical place. However, the canvass was completely blank and there would be no further input.
A Lack of Design Guidance
It was vital to ensure that the architectural design respected the integrity of the building, given its heritage and history, must not be compromised, but on the other hand the client was very specific about the extensive use of colour throughout which can, if mis-managed, simply create a hotch-potch, disorganised mess. Perhaps even more importantly he wanted the finished result to look as though no designer had been involved. He wanted the house to appear to have evolved around existing art collections and special pieces of objet d'art that currently didn't exist.
Celebrating The Silkroad - A Melting Pot of Culture
The inspiration behind the interior and architectural design was sought from the famous Silk Route. Sri Lanka, and in particular the Galle Fort, was an important trading post and stop off point for merchants travelling from Europe to the Middle East, India and the Orient along the great sea route of trade. Galle naturally became a melting pot of ideas, culture and design.
The exterior and interior design of this home was to be filled entirely with furniture, accessories and artefacts discovered and purchased along this historic route.
With pillars from India, paintings from England, rugs from Persia, and a plethora of accessories sourced from Colombo to Orient. Not one single item was sourced off this route creating a mood that is truly global.
Creating a Balance
The prolific use of colour and pattern was a bold decision. In addition to the vibrant silk cushions, blood red dining room walls and blue bedrooms, the designer has also used moody charcoals. The use of these colours could be construed as 'out of place' in the warmer climates of the Tropics where cooler colours are more popular, however, it is an effective and simple way to add atmosphere and bring a different feel to a room.
Go for Bold
This home is a true example of comfort, theatre and a nod to the unconventional taste
of its owner. The design scheme has been carefully constructed to read as a collection that has been built up over the years, adding flavour, depth and personality.
Sahran concludes Projects like this which combine architectural and interior design are extremely rare and this one really made an impact. When I first started working on it I sought inspiration from the outside world. Once I had finished, the property itself became my inspiration"
Speak directly to our designers if you need inspiration for your home.