Shruti and Mahesh Katragadda extend a warm welcome to HELLO! in their Hyderabad home, sharing the transformation of this impressive structure into a cosy family abode.
Shruti and Mahesh Katragadda are your quintessential millennials. Well-travelled, cultivated in the finer aspects of life and always up for a good time. Parents to a boy and a girl, the couple moved into their home, Sireniti, a few years back after waiting almost two years for its construction to be completed.
Mahesh, from the prominent Meenakshi Constructions family in Hyderabad, is actively involved in his real estate development firm, while Shruti wears several hats – playing the perfect hostess, a dedicated mother and a budding entrepreneur all at once. The two represent a thriving Hyderabad, one that is aware of its rich heritage but is rapidly evolving into a 21st century metropolis where IT, infrastructure and biotech spearhead the city’s stratospheric rise.
They exude oodles of style, something that is abundantly clear when one enters their minimalist, contemporary casa… pop art adorns the exposed walls, Murakami prints grace one corner, while a giant carbon fibre gorilla lounges at the end of their pool, surrounded by lush trees from their garden. Space seems to flow fluidly here, there really aren’t separate rooms and demarcated areas. The foyer leads organically to a sitting area, which opens up to a verdant green garden.
Next to it, there’s an out-house styled bar; at the other end of the grassy expanse lies a pool, overlooked by yet another lounge. Movable glass screens fold up to allow people to seamlessly move from one area to another, all while maintaining an open view. Upstairs, the couple has their bedrooms, complete with spacious walk-in closets and all the other amenities that are often taken for granted in a home of this size.
HELLO! met the Katragaddas on a cloudy day when, for a brief moment, the sun came out to bestow its blessings upon Sireniti, a contemporary play on the word ‘serene’, which seemed in abundance as we chatted with the couple about this beautiful space.
HELLO!: Mahesh, Shruti, tell us what was the inspiration behind your home?
Mahesh: “Tadao Ando, the legendary Japanese concrete architect whose work I have always followed, was definitely a source of inspiration when I was giving our architect Kanan Modi the brief of how I would like the house to eventually look.
Concrete, which played a central role in bringing my vision to life, posed its own set of challenges, such as getting the design mix just right to maintain an even shade of concrete throughout the house. There was a lot of experimenting and waiting to see how the process would unfold. Ultimately, through trial and error, we achieved the desired outcome.”
Shruti: “I didn’t have many requirements. Actually, the only thing I asked for was the swimming pool!” (Laughs).
H!: Mahesh, given that you are into the real estate development business, how important was it to make sure that your own home was built as a testament to the work your company can do?
MK: “As a director at the Meenakshi group, I’m currently involved in several major projects, including Meenakshi Eco Park, a 6.2 million sqft office campus next to a 60-acre lake. This project features restaurants, bars, and a necessity-retail area spanning over approximately 200,000sqft. Additionally, we have two upcoming residential projects in Abids and Puppalaguda, which I’m excited to launch soon.
As is evident, my work revolves around construction and various architectural decisions on a daily basis. So honestly, it’s years of building up the idea of how I would like my ideal house to be constructed that has become a reality. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process! I am also proud of the fact that I was able to move into my house within one year and seven months of construction, from start to finish.
For me, the quality of finish had to be just right, it matters the most. Presence at the site gives you a better control of it.”
H!: Why did you choose the name Sireniti? What’s the story behind the nouvelle spelling?
SK: “Mahesh actually chose the name for the house, for its literal meaning. We thought our home too gave out the feeling of being serene, it brings about a state of calmness to the mind. As for spelling it ‘Sireniti’, coming from a design background, I wanted it to look clean and minimal when someone reads it or looks at it.”
H!: Shruti, tell us a bit about the design firm that you run?
SK: “I co-founded our design brands alongside my sister-in-law, Meenakshi Katragadda, driven by our shared passion for merging aesthetics with functionality to create unforgettable experiences. Currently, we operate two distinct ventures ‘Paper Date Co.,’ an exclusive online platform for fully custom invitation designs, and ‘Mesh Designs,’ a bespoke design studio specialising in luxurious invitations and gifting.”
H!: Have you observed a transition towards more contemporary and minimalist design in Hyderabad, as compared to the homes of previous generations?
SK: “Design trends in Hyderabad have evolved over time. There has been a noticeable shift towards contemporary and minimalist design styles. I feel like nowadays you see a lot more homes that are modern/contemporary and minimalistic, when the earlier generations preferred more classic homes.”
H!: What’s your favourite space in the house?
SK: “My daily dining area. The feeling I get when I walk in there to have a meal, to watch TV or to even play with the kids, is incredible. It provides the best view of the entire house and I can open all the doors for fresh air. It literally feels like I am sitting outside in the garden when I am there.”
MK: “My bar!”
SK: “Our kids love playing in their room, riding their cycles, etc., in the basement and not to mention running up and down the corridor on the first floor. We don’t have a lot of stuff crowding up the spaces and there is a lot of free area for the kids to play.”
H!: How important is selecting the right art for your home and can you tell us a bit about the artworks currently on display?
MK: “Art is very important to both my wife and my sister, Meenakshi. In fact, it was Meenakshi who designed the art in my living room. She utilised the entire concrete wall as her canvas, aiming to create an interactive piece for my children to engage with. She spent over 250 hours installing and painting the piece.”
H!: How crucial was it to create the perfect entertaining spaces?
SK: “In our previous home, we entertained every weekend, so we knew exactly what layout and ambiance we wanted in this house. We made sure that we have spaces for both small groups and large gatherings.”
H!: The house is characterised by an abundance of natural light and greenery. Could you elaborate on the lighting design within the house and the project’s landscaping and design?
SK: “Our architect, Kanan Modi, was quite intent on maximising the use of natural light wherever possible. Even our basement doesn’t really seem like one because of the amount of natural light that comes in, thanks to a few designing tricks.
I am not a fan of flowers; my brief to our landscaper Kunal Maniar was more greenery and a natural, less manicured look. I firmly believe that having a lawn and lush green plants is so important, not only for enhancing the look of the house but also for the calmness it brings.”
H!: If you could, would you change anything about the house now?
MK: “I absolutely love our home the way it is. When Shruti and I finalised the plans, we were confident that it aligned perfectly with our vision of building our dream home. So, to answer your question, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.”
Profile Photos: Pratima Reddy; Interior Photos: Ishita Sitwala
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s October 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here.