The Chettinad style of home decor is very distinct, because of the deep-rooted history behind the entire region. The Chettinad region of the state of Tamil Nadu in the south of India is oftentimes acclaimed for its amazing and brilliantly styled mansions which were once owned by families in the region who were very much into agricultural and mercantile activities. They had called themselves Chettiar and sometimes also Chetti.
One of the best factors with this style of interior decor is that they are widely acclaimed to be planned according to Vaastu, and constructed with local materials, crafts and builders used techniques of construction that were in line with the local climate of the region. Chettiar-styled buildings are also famous for their scale, which is luxurious, and the usage of robust colors, intricate wood carvings and even the usage of imported materials from a lot of regions in the world. Some of these materials include the Teak of Burma, Marbles of Italian origin, Belgian Glass, and even more!
Recently however, this type of design has lost its initial big popularity with the constant advent of new, modern and contemporary designs. But, for every new design that comes along, there is definitely some sort of inspiration that these old designs provide them.
Read on to know more about some of the common design elements of Chettinad-style interior decor, and architecture that you can use to adapt this beautiful style into your own home!
Sporting Multiple Piazza’s
Chettinad homes in the past were usually planned to sport multiple courtyards that were quite extensive in size! Most Chettiar homes had at least two courtyards, and deeply shadowed verandahs that led people into rooms and other spaces that were quite functional. Such was the planning of this type of design that these areas enabled an excellent inside/outside correlation that allowed ample natural light to fall into the homes! This also allowed for beautiful ventilation which helped a lot of the open spaces inside the home cool against the scorching summer heat! The courtyards were also specially created and designed for accommodating guests, and culminating the family together during a lot of festivities and ceremonies!
Entrances to the House
The entry-point into the house is also a distinct factor of this style of architecture! The entrances or the foyer at the entry of any Chettiar mansion was known as Mugappu previously and is also a colloquial term these days. These entrances were extensively detailed and decorated with handicrafts of wooden origin, sculptures and fine plasters. A lot of these bungalows, the triangular portions created by the intertwining of slanting roofs or the gable had detailed portions with motifs in wood. The roof usually gets fused into the red clay that are common factors associated with Mangalore tiles.
Intricately Carved Wooden Doors
The doors of many of these Chettinad Mansions were carved intricately, with beautiful designs. These doors sported the usage of Burma Teak that evocated warmth and a sense of ultimate grandeur to these entrances. These panels, frame, and mouldings were heavily decorated with scenes incorporated from mythical scenes, and some of them also included the carving of many Hindu Deities from these marvellous epics!
These entrance doors are ornamental in nature, and hence adds a good touch of artistry and simply looks absolutely glamorous in a rustic setting. It also adds an excellent style statement.
Incorporation of Special Tiles
These houses also tended to have tiles which go by the name of ‘Athangudi’. The Athangudi village in the Chettinad region is very much famous for its patterned athangudi tiles! These types of tiles are made by hand by extremely skilled craftsmen with clay that is generally locally available clay, which is burnt and then glazed. They are generally available in extremely bright colors and designs and these characteristics have an interesting type of sheen that is neither too shiny or too dull. Bright and bold patterned Athangudi tiles separate the living room from the dining area and this creates a beautiful fusion that go so well along with the decor of the rest of the house.
Pillars that are Carved
A typically styled Chettiar home usually had beautifully carved pillars which were made either in wood, stone or granite to support roofs that slope, a common factor around the courtyards. The design of these pillars was given a lot of importance by these people and as a result, the top and bottom portions of the pillars were so minutely detailed! The craftsmen of those times really were patient! These designed pillars elegantly springs out to attention and has the ability to grab the sight of anybody!
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