The interior of this large, cedar-sided house has the tranquil feel of a spa retreat in a tropical place. It’s open and airy, with green plants and dark African walnut floors. A statue of Buddha greets you.
Above, a catwalk spans the main living area, connecting the adult wing with a loft for the owner’s two children. You feel calm, centered, at ease. Welcome to a rarity in Westchester: a home designed and decorated according to the principles of Vastu, an ancient Vedic science from India.
“Vastu is an extension of yoga,” says Kathleen Cox, an Ohio-based Vastu expert and author who consulted on the project. “You do yoga poses to enhance your well-being. Vastu has the same goal, but we use the home instead of the body.”
The pillars of Vastu design—sun, nature, and health—are evident in colors, the orientation of rooms, even the placement of furniture. A six-panel skylight in the foyer lets in ample amounts of healing sunlight from the northeast—the “most sacred quadrant”—and allows for “a dramatic interplay of light and shadow.” The plants and organic materials reinforce a connection to nature. While the upstairs children’s loft area is more colorful, downstairs, the primary color pop is a green rug under the dining table and green glass shades on the light fixtures over the kitchen island. A tall, dramatic fireplace occupies the southwest corner, the earth quadrant. The owner’s upstairs bedroom is also in the southwest. “He needs all his strength in this area,” explains Cox. Furniture is placed off-center (“We are asymmetrical creatures,” she says).
Decorator Karine Amalric selected the home’s furnishings and accessories, which seem culled from a global bazaar. The French native met the owner in India, where she was working as a photographer, and he invited her to work with Cox on the house (among the design elements in the home are her stunning images of India). “Aside from a few pieces in the children’s loft, there is no plastic anywhere,” she says. “It is natural, organic, simple.” Downstairs, a hangout area, a home theater, and an indoor pool complete the resort atmosphere (as does a massage table on the first floor), while high-end European appliances and CaesarStone countertops give the galley kitchen gourmet status. Cox calls it “a standard Vastu kitchen. At noon, the sun is in the southeast, and the heat collects in one area. Nothing in this house is chance. It’s all very intentional.”
Designer: Karine Amalric
Vastu Consultant: Kathleen Cox
Architect: Mark Mancuso