My visit to Madri Haveli in Udaipur, was one such revelation of my innate interest in architectural heritage. As I walked through the narrow bylanes of old Udaipur, my enthusiasm only got evident when I met a heavy antique door opening into a huge light-filled courtyard of the haveli. The engrailed arches, carved brackets, polished wooden doors and finely inlaid rugged stone floors. It was like rolling back time, centuries behind.

“I have tried to retain the old architecture to the extent possible” says Cesar Chuffart, French Investor, who bought the haveli from the last King of Madri. Finding the right methodology to repair cracks in 300-year-old walls, locating the right workers to modernize with minimal impact and artisans to recreate the old plaster was one part of the renovation adventure. To cut a long and painstaking story short, it took six years of effort, perseverance, and of course, some fair bit of financial heft to recreate a historical evocation, all thanks to Cesar’s love for Indian heritage.

Well, we all agree that it is next to impossible for most of us to achieve what Cesar did, however dreaming of to design a home that exudes old world charm, is not unachievable! Yes, taking inspiration from the Madri Haveli I am penning down 3 simple ideas that you can use to make your home look like a vintage masterpiece, without burning a hole in your pocket!

  • Recreate Antique Doors: When you want to add the elegance of your favorite era – an antique door will give you that chance. If you cannot afford a real antique piece, recreate it using less expensive materials. For example, use Mango Wood instead of Rose or Teak wood.
  • Arches: Casting stone arches around doors, windows and shelves are a great way to give regal look to any space. You get immediately transformed to a royal era.
  • Go All-White Walls: Using flat white colors in-large, will make rest of the elements stand out. This will help to create vintage atmosphere using minimal antique elements. Here I must appreciate Mr. Cesar’s patience, because, however difficult he did not compromise on the old construction techniques. For example – the walls have a unique satin finish, which is basically achieved by lime plastering using Coconut and Aloe Vera. Now that’s a lot of work, you may not be able to follow the same technique, but what we can definitely do is – pick up the design inspiration, fix your budget and work around the materials you use.

All you need to work is, a right design, and walk-through of Madri Haveli will definitely leave you with much-needed ideas and inspiration! Madri Haveli is part of a long history of more than 300 years, which now stands as a beautiful boutique hotel. It is a must add heritage experience to your bucket list. To contact visit

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