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August - September 2008

Dream Homes

L’affaire in Love Lane

by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur

‘Our Dream Home’ is a series of articles which India Link started a few years ago. In each article a dwelling is featured. The article illustrates different ways and styles that families use in their home to meet their individual needs and diverse taste.

'The Orchard' - mansion with double height portico

It is a pleasant experience to have and avail the opportunity to get built from scratch ones own house. For Shanu and Jasbir Chadha building a dream home was not less than a love affair which began some five years ago. They bought a compact family house, known as ‘The Orchard’ in Buckinghamshire from the Ministry of Defence.The inspiring journey to rebuild their home through various phases of planning, development and construction has come to virtual completion. The family can now enjoy the fruits and benefits of the hardwork of their architect, builder and more so their own.

Man made safari – models of wild animals

The site is located in the Green Belt which means that there aremany restrictions and controls toensure that the new development is in keeping with its environment. There is an orchard, a paddock, grasslands and woodlands within the cartilage of the site which provide a beautiful setting to the new mansion. In the paddock horses still graze and the variety of flora and fauna including many mature trees and natural habitat grace the cartilage of the house.The approach to the house is rerouted and the access road now meanders through the open green fields.

Dining area


Upper sitting area – in the gallery at the first floor

L:Invitation to rest – chair making a design statement; R: Sitting pretty – another stylish chair

The imposing house has a double height portico. The front doors open into a very large room which houses an attractive open-plan lounge, fully furnished and well stocked bar , a cosy dining area and a grand open staircase. On one side of this space is a formal large drawing room, whilst kitchen, pantry and family room occupies the other end. In the centre of the main lounging area there is an exquisite water feature in the form of a square pillar rising from the floor to the ceiling with coloured lights. The water cascades down over mirrored surface to a lily pool. The stairs lead up to a wide gallery on the first floor which is used for informal seating area and also gives access to all four bedrooms. Another set of steps lead to two other bedrooms in the loft.

L: Crystal – a dancing couple; R: A statue in front of the mansion inviting guests

For formal entertainment and large social gatherings a separate single storey building is constructed adjoining the house. In addition, a permanent pavilion is erected for barbeque parties. Other buildings in the grounds provide accommodation for guests and offices.

Inner view of the recreation room

The house is beautifully decorated and furnished resulting in a fusion of traditional elegance and contemporary style. The hard and soft furnishings including sculptures and artefacts in the house and garden tell the tale of the taste and likings of the family . Undoubtedly , theChadha family have personalised and stamped their own identity on to each and every part of the house garden and grounds. In fact they havemanaged to fulfil their love of building the house successfully .

L to R: Gina(Gurpreet), Shanu (Gursharan) Chadha,
Jasbir Chadha & Vivek Chadha

Krishan Ralleigh adds: Shanu (Gursharan) and Jasbir Chadha, the proud owners of ‘The Orchard’ in Love Lane lead a simple life where family values are given highest priority. Their two children, Vivek and Gina (Gurpreet) had their early education at the Lawrence School, Sanawar. Gina graduated in Economics from Brunel University and Vivek is studying Civil Engineering at University College, London

Shanu Chadha runs a high-volume business in windows and shop shutters from Southall, employing over 35 people. He also owns commercial properties in various parts of England.

I asked Shanu what was the inspiration behind buying such a large property and then demolishing it. Shanu, a modest person, attributed the decision of buying the property to his wife Jasbir and the son Vivek. But to demolish and build again was his decision.

Shanu comes from a family of illustrious builders and civil engineers from Chandigarh India. It shows in the way he decided to demolish the old country house and with the help of an architect from India built ‘The Orchard’ in a unique style blending Indian and British traditions of home- loving. Like the British it reflects ‘My home is my castle’. Like Indian traditional ‘haveli’, it is open to guests and friends at all times. It accommodates large barbecue parties as well as religious congregations. The young son Vivek hopes to keep the family tradition after completing his degree in civil engineering.

More Dream Homes

More articles by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur

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