Holiday Home Times

Property Clinic: When Less Should Be More – Part 1

Sometimes, when you’re looking for a place to stay in a city, all the stars line up. You find a property in a great location, close to the city centre, yet on the lakeside. Great views and a lovely lawn lead up to a well-designed house. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect place, you see the interiors. And you realise that careless photography and sloppy attention to detail can undo everything else.

This week’s property is Lago Villa – Shamla Hills – Bhopal, a three-bedroom villa in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal is a growing tourist and business destination, so homestays are in demand.

Lago Villa, Shamla Hills, Bhopal

Lago Villa, Shamla Hills, Bhopal

The listing on Tripvillas

First, let’s give credit where it’s due: the listing on tripvillas.com is comprehensive. The key features of the property – location, views, decor theme, proximity to city centre and landmarks – all are covered, though certain rhetorical flourishes (“smug like a lion’s den”) do give the reader a slight pause. The list of things to do – very useful information for a homestay guest – is comprehensive, and I like the fact that the owner leads with an unusual landmark – the 250-year-old Hammam. A quick tip though: do fact check anything that you publish, such as the claim that DB Mall is the largest in Western India. A quick check on Wikipedia shows at least 12 malls that are larger.

Photography

The photographs of the property on tripvillas.com is the first impression you give a potential guest. Would you like the guest to think your property is cluttered and not cleaned regularly? If so, why would you put up pictures that have bags, clothes, toys, plastic shopping bags, used cups and the like in your public pictures? Just as one would dress up for a posed portrait, one’s property needs to be dressed up for photographs.

Garden

Garden and Views

Garden and Views

As you reach the property, the spectacular view of the lake fringed by hedges leads to a well-designed and maintained lawn. The lawn with lush grass and a rose garden transitions into the planter-fenced portico. The wood-paneled double leaf door, so rare in new constructions these days, sets a tone of spacious luxury, building up expectations very high for the interiors.

Interiors

The one thing that strikes me about this property is the spaces. All the rooms are big. The property opens into a large vestibule, which leads on into a massive double-living area. All this space, however, is not used well, to its maximum potential. Such large spaces should be emphasised, and instead, the cluttered interior fills it up and makes it seem smaller.

Next week, we’ll look at the spaces in detail, and see how some decluttering and application of basic interior design principles will transform this property.