Wrinkles mean you laughed, grey hairs mean you cared, and scars mean you lived. A life well lived deserves a resting place that’s equal to it – calm, restful, and tranquil. This is something that JC Kathrani strongly believed in, which is why he envisaged The GRANDNEST, a luxurious old-age home located outside Vadodara. Situated 22 kms from Gujarat’s cultural capital, this project was a dream dreamt jointly by the Kathranis.

Project Name: GRANDNEST
Architect & Interior Design Firm: stARCH design spectrum
Client: GRANDNEST – Mr J C Kathrani
Location: JAROD, Vadodara, GUJARAT
Project Time Line: February 2016 till January 2018
Design Team: Ms Trusha, Mr Danish, Mr Jay & Ms Diksha
Concept Designer: Ar Sonali Desai
Principal Designer: Ar Tanuj Desai
Text: Ms Teja Lele Desai
Photography: Mr Tejas Shah

©Mr Tejas Shah

And architects Tanuj Desai and Sonali Desai helped them convert the dream into a reality. Mr Kathrani was introduced to the design consultancy by Shri Tapasvi Desai, Tanuj’s father. “My father visited a school for disabled children, which is run by Kathraniji. He took his friend who had come from Surat for his son’s admission,” Tanuj says. That is when the two got talking and the idea of the old-age home came up. The GRANDNEST would be a home where seniors could “rewind life”, a place where they would spend their days with like-minded people who would provide them with social and emotional support necessary at that stage of life. The concept was initiated in 2014 by Mallikarjun Mahadev Charitable Trust, and it was decided that the home would come up in the same compound where the ISO-certified Anmol Residential School for the Mentally Challenged is located.

“The client brief was succinct: they wanted a luxurious, care-free and comfortable living environment for all the senior citizens who chose to make their home with them,” Tanuj says. ”We were very keen to help convert this noble dream into a reality, and ideated hard on the new detail plans,” he adds. “Our clients were thrilled when we presented them with seven alternate ideas that kept in mind all the minute requirements that had been listed down,” says Sonali, Tanuj’s partner.

The clients – JC Kathrani & Mrs Hansa J Kathrani – immediately shortlisted the layout and ideas they liked, and got the designing duo to tweak them to suitably fit the plot that spanned 1 lakh square feet. Work kicked off in earnest in the first quarter of 2016. With all the requirements in mind, the total plinth area came up to 28,000 square feet, with the superstructure coming up in one year flat – by the beginning of 2017.

©Mr Tejas Shah

“By then, the client had new requirements; they wanted us to add four staff quarters to accommodate people who would be stationed on the site 24X7 and would take care of all the amenities while providing support,” Sonali details. The structure includes living areas such as furnished deluxe and standard rooms, and also has a series of amenities that bring together the people who live here. These recreational facilities include a recreation room where people can engage in indoor games such as chess, cards, carom and darts, and a library that’s well stocked with appropriate books and invites readers to peruse and sink into the comfort much-loved author’s offer. Interestingly, the library is large enough to accommodate all residents of the home simultaneously. The  facility also has an audio-visual hall where seniors can consume their quota of entertainment when the mood takes them and a badminton court to stay active and ensure a healthy camaraderie with other residents. A gymnasium, massage room, and physiotherapy room make up the rest of the common areas.

“The GRANDNESTD offers ten Deluxe rooms and two standard rooms. We, as designers, were clear that we wanted them to bond together, and not be isolated. That’s why we decided on a common audio-visual areaas opposed to a TV set in every room, which is the norm these days,” Tanuj says.

Sonali agrees, stating that the intent was always to promote camaraderie among people who were staying away from their families, to ensure that they became a family. “We have a huge Dining room, which is common and accessible to all the people. Prayer and meditation rooms are also designed into the premises,” she says. The state-of-the-art kitchen is where all the meals and snacks are prepared; they are served in the adjoining dining room. “The kitchen can, apart from the residents, also cater to their family and friends.

©Mr Tejas Shah

The main courtyard – with the badminton court on one side and the sit out on the other – offers ample open space for them to spend time in the open,” Tanuj says. Apart from the sit out in the courtyard, there are also three other courtyards and a small sit out carved out for each room (facing the main courtyard). “The seasonal trees span the gamut – summer, autumn, and winter – and create the perfect outdoor space that invites people to spend time in the open,” Sonali says.

Care has been taken to ensure that the design and execution are senior-friendly. The building only has a ground floor, ruling out the necessity to take stairs. Every square inch of the floor area is anti-skid; there are plenty of grab bars, and adequate ramps to take care of wheelchair movement.

“There’s a doctor’s room with examination facilities to ensure that medical help is always at hand,” the designers say, adding that they were given a free hand by the client, be it for the design elements, the selection, the processes or the finishes. “We had total freedom,” Tanuj says

©Mr Tejas Shah

During the design-and-construction process, Tanuj’s father passed away in 2017, making this project even dearer to the designer couple. The duo put in their all, keen to make The Grand Nest a place that was memorable and much-loved by the people who chose to live here. The project was completed in 2018, and Tanuj and Sonali are glad that they could – through their design skills – turn an empty space into a welcoming home for the people in the sunset of their life.

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