Two decades ago, when Anu Mehta first set eyes on the verdant property she now calls home, it wasnothing more than a 35,000 square feet coconutgrove. “I fell instantly in love,” she recalls. Her husband Pawan echoes the sentiment.
“There were 40 coconut trees on the plot and I told Anu that we would build a house without cutting a single one. The entire footprint has been designed to uphold this concept,” he says, revealing that eventually, a few trees had to be replanted from one location to another within the outdoor arena.
How They Found Their Perfect Home
The Mehtas are among the early residents of Epsilon Residential Villas in Yemalur, a prestigious property located on the outskirts of Bengaluru. This exclusive enclave, home to the city’s affluent elite, is often referred to as the ‘Beverly Hills of Bangalore’.
Pawan, who sold his software business in the US and relocated the family to India in 2001, found the lush greenery reminiscent of the charm of California. “We moved back because I wanted to raise my children in an Indian environment. We chose Bengaluru even though we had no family here,” says Anu. After acquiring the property, the couple dedicated all their efforts to crafting their dream home.
“We aimed to have a view of the outdoors from every vantage point,” Pawan says, while Anu reveals what a challenging experience it was building their first home from scratch. “We initially contacted a prominent architect but were not happy with the plan. We then reached out to Srinath Advani from Advani & Associates who tweaked the plan for us,” she shares.
The Mehtas invested in numerous properties and villas in Epsilon and built homes on all of them within just a year-and-a-half. “Looking back, it’s astonishing to think about how we accomplished this feat,” says Anu.
Bringing The Outdoors Inside
The Mehta home transports you back to the jungles of Bali. The vibe is very tropical with lots of greenery, an inviting pool, a thatched bar and a poker room that all harmonise with the natural surroundings, creating an instantly relaxing environment for visitors.
“The entire concept was to bring the outdoors in. This way, you can catch a glimpse of the outside from any room within the house,” Pawan explains.
Large, beautiful urns sourced from Makaan in Jaipur adorn the garden. “These pieces are originally from Afghanistan and are apparently over 100 years old,” Anu reveals. The inner sanctum combines muted tones with a splash of vibrant colour and the radiant glow of lights from The White Teak Company, a luxury lighting and home decor company the couple founded in 2017.
“I sold my software company at 35 and then took a 15-year break from work. You could say I was retired,” Pawan says, jokingly. It was when he turned 50 that he came to the realisation that this couldn’t be his legacy. “I realised that there was a need to organise the Indian lighting market and that’s how The White Teak Company was born,” says Pawan, who is CEO and chief product officer of the company he founded in 2017.
In 2022, Asian Paints invested in The White Teak Company, and this year, it acquired an additional share, now owning 60%.
A Place For Family
Despite the challenges of building a business and with their sons Jay and Rahul residing overseas (Jay works with Google in San Francisco, while Rahul is an undergraduate student at Santa Clara University), the Mehtas continue to maintain a close-knit family bond.
“When the boys are home, you’ll find us spending time in our family room. It’s designed as a more private space, separate from the living areas, yet it offers a beautiful view of the expansive green surroundings outside,” says Pawan.
Having spent many years in the US, the Mehtas have developed a simple, understated and comfortable sense of style. Anu has a strong emotional attachment to the Ralph Lauren dining table and cabinet they brought back with them from the US, which they treasure dearly as it has been a part of their lives since Rahul was born 22 years ago.
“I made a promise to Pawan that if we purchased this table, we wouldn’t buy another table ever again,” Anu says with a laugh. A crocodile leather chair, also from Ralph Lauren, has a similar story. Besides these items, they periodically refresh their furniture.
“The flooring, which is a Spanish stone that I bought when we built this house, still looks good,” she adds.
With both their sons based in the US, the Mehtas are constantly travelling. However, no matter where they go, Anu says, “We love coming back to our home in Bengaluru. Our heart lies here.”
Interview: Nayare Ali; Photos: Shamnath Patel
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s December 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!