Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 2, Tuesday, June 29, 2004





MONSOON is here, and rain is a constant visitor, dropping in on us at any time, any moment without warning. A calm midnight, the midst of a busy morning, or a bright, or even a clear evening is transformed by swirling dark clouds, the rhythmic sound of falling rain, and the cool breezes that come as a respite from the hot summer sun. This is what the rainy season is all about. The different seasons that come and go all have their special colours, and the colour for monsoon is definitely a bright green.

So how does the interior or exterior design of a house help make monsoon an enjoyable season for us? Greens and plants, used in an innovative manner, can easily create an atmosphere that is vital, welcoming, and eco-friendly at the same time.

Dhaka is a busy city, with a mantle of concrete hiding her green beauty. Sometimes, we all long for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, to be able to sit together with friends and just enjoy breathing fresh air. Sometimes the soul longs for solitude; a quiet rainy afternoon spent reading or listening to music.

Our friend, the light designer Nasirul Haque Khokon's has a house in Shawra para, a very busy place of Dhaka City. The house is built on a huge plot of land, almost ten kathas.

The beautiful garden at the entrance makes the house a little different from other newer houses. It is a refreshing change, and a welcome one. Even a month ago, the plants there were dry and sunburnt. With the arrival of monsoon however, comes a radical change as the leaves regain their lost green lustre, and in reviving their own health, gives us a breath of fresh air as well, in more ways than one.

The plants in this garden have been planted in a planned way, to avoid clutter. The bigger plants frame the area, and at the centre are Ficus plants. The effect is such that it makes us stop at the entrance just to look at the soothing greenery.

Khokon's rooms are located on the top floor of the house. There are two rooms - a bedroom and a reading room. The rest of the place is an open rooftop. There is a veranda in front of those rooms, which is our focal point. This is an ideal place to enjoy nature. The veranda is covered by local red terracotta tiles, which become covered by a greenish moss at the beginning of every monsoon.

Interior work does not always have to be expensive. One can easily use local and easily available goods to create something that is comfortable, functional, and good to look at. For today's featured veranda, an antique chowki-khat was placed at the centre, in the seating area. A mattress was provided for comfort, which was then covered with a bright bedcover for a dramatic effect. Flower pots were arranged, and covered with colourful dupattas. A watercolour painting by artist Shafin, depicting a cloudy riverside scene, was placed behind the khat. Another easy-sofa was arranged for relaxation.

Clay ghoras were placed beside the sofa. Ferns were placed on top of the ghoras, and vases of money-plants were arranged around the sofas. A table-lamp, made from a tabla was placed beside the bed, on top of a beautiful round table. A glass rack was also placed for books and other items. This makes it a nice place to sit and read, or enjoy music. Rakib plays the guitar very nicely, and the kids, Dibbo and Wasee enjoy sitting there, eating seasonal fruits.

The open roof is a wide area, surrounded by a railing, for safety. Lots of creepers grow over these railings, and clay tubs are arranged along the railing wall. These tubs contain cycus, aralia, Dracaena, palm and ferns. These were carefully rearranged. The pictures show two pots with the parul creeper, draped with the duppatta. Lover tears are hanging side by side.

Two round tables with umbrellas and white plastic chairs were placed on the roof. These are comfortable, and easy to maintain.

With such a romantic setting, all that one requires is rain, so that candlelight, the dark grey skies, and the eucalyptus background can take us far, far away from the harsh realities of life, to a place where we can just sit and enjoy a good time.

By Nazneen Haque Mimi
Interior Consultant,
For further details, contact e-mail: journeym@citechco.net
Photo Credit: Nasirul Haque Khokon



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