A century-old colonial mansion turned into a boutique stay in Matheran

Do It Up Design has given this British era mansion a facelift by restoring its dilapidated sections and converting it into a beautiful five-room stay in Matheran
stay in Matheran

Nestled inside one of Maharashtra’s most popular hill stations, Matheran, lies a 100-year-old mansion that has been recently revamped to make way for a boutique hotel. Taral Jadhav, architect and founder of Do It Up Design, was tasked with this project by the clients who had this stay in Matheran in their family since 1993, but was lying unused and in a dilapidated state for a decade. 

Vintage chandeliers complement the wooden doors in the passageway.

“When the clients who also own the Alexander Heritage and Rainforest Resort that houses this mansion approached us, they wanted to create a luxury experience for guests that preferred a more sheltered experience than their camping tents, one that was filled with old-world charm. Our goal was to maintain the vintage architecture of the heritage bungalow that was constructed more than a hundred years ago by the British, but give it a modern, eclectic touch,” says Jadhav.

After site inspections, the duo came to an agreement of restoring the mansion in phases. “Phase one of this renovation included the front facade, staircase leading to the five front bedrooms and the verandah. With a tight deadline to capitalise on the Matheran monsoons, we had limited time to turn the property around to be able to open its doors for guests by June 2022,” she reveals.

The verandah retains the original window frames from the century-old mansion.

Renovation challenges

As with any heritage property, there are restrictions as well as challenges that come along the way, and this boutique stay in Matheran was no different. Peeling paint, crumbling walls, broken window panes, sunken flooring are just some of them that the design team had to tackle. “Because this was a family home, not all rooms were en suite so we had to add bathrooms in each for converting it into a boutique hotel. The entire plumbing had to be redone for this purpose. We also had to do the rewiring to add more electrical points. But we ensured that the old structure was uplifted and not torn down with these refurbishing,” adds Jadhav.

Each room features a statement armchair in a corner.

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Something old, something new

Keeping the colonial vibe alive in the architecture, the facade of the mansion was coated with fresh white paint, with original doors and window frames kept intact after a minor polishing job. After levelling up the flooring and adding a railing to the staircase, the heritage mansion’s verandah was revived by placing custom-designed tiles, vintage chandeliers and benches. Photographs showcasing the original structure and its interiors grace the walls of the verandah. The five rooms are adjacent to each other, with the corner-most ones featuring a slanting ceiling. The elegant, muted facade conceals the vibrant interiors that await you in each room.

A cosy nook created for casual lounging and night time reading.

Uniquely-designed rooms

“The best part about working on a boutique stay like this was we could give each room its own signature style. Apart from a few common elements that tie up the design story together, all five rooms are uniquely designed without straying away from the vintage-eclectic theme,” she says.

The royal suite features arches and a high ceiling. 

A royal retreat

The central room is the royal suite that is defined by arches and its high ceiling. The grand, luxe feel is further accentuated with the addition of a large-sized mirror that is aptly placed to give you the entire room’s view. A custom-made four-poster bed is placed in the centre flanked by an ottoman seating ahead, while the other nooks are reserved for more seating and wardrobe on either side. The wallpaper too is custom-designed in-house by the team and consists of peacock motifs in an ash-grey tone. “For this room, we chose oakwood flooring and hues of white, mustard and grey for the overall interior design,” says the architect.

Some rooms have a slanted roof due to the original ceiling design.

In the scarlet chamber, the wainscoting is a pop of deep red, with a panelled floral wallpaper added on the central wall. A dressing console with a stool is reminiscent of vintage movies, adding a hint of old-world glamour. As you move to the Lincoln chamber, the red is replaced by a bold emerald green that washes over the accent wall. Here, the wallpaper is subtle with a leaf motif, and the honey oakwood flooring gives it a rustic look.

Also read: Explore the architectural wonders of The Leela Palace in Jaipur 

The scarlet room follows a red and white colour palette on the walls complemented by an oakwood bed and flooring.

The rooms on both ends are drenched in blue, again in signature wallpaper with dark and walnut brown flooring. Each of the five rooms also feature a statement armchair in different prints, and soft furnishings picked from homegrown brands. “While the structure and windows resemble English architecture, we blended Indian textiles, furniture designs and artefacts within the same space to amalgamate both cultures together,” concludes Jadhav.

The vintage dressing console adds an old-world charm.

The design team has given this heritage mansion a new lease of life by infusing it with vintage-eclectic interiors and retaining its old-world charm.