The House Of Champions – Karun Chandhok

One would image the home of a Formula 1 driver to be as flambouyant as his lifestyle. Yet Chennai boy Karun Chandhok’s home is the epitome of class and sophistication with not a hint of glitz or bling in sight. We tour the speedster’s beautifully decorated home in Kotturpuram.

His home is his haven and rightly so, for Karun Chandhok usually spends a better part of the year in hotel rooms – albeit plush ones – when he’s racing. Located in one of the quiet tree-lined avenues of Kotturpuram, his house is hard to miss. The very first impression that we get as we walk through the pretty trellis covered with verdant climbers is the warmth and feeling of welcome that the house radiates.

It is classy, understated and elegance personified, with the living room being done in deep purples, lending a royal yet graceful feel to the space. The dull yellow lighting used through the room accentuates the unusual colour and heightens the sense of mystery that goes perfectly with the theme and decor of the space. Karun’s mother, Chitra says, “This is the room we have the best memories in. Whether it’s with family or friends, everyone always has a good time so the idea behind it was to make it inviting and homely because we do want all our guests to feel at home when they come over.”

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It’s a large open plan living room that spills over into an opulent dining and bar space. The idea was to integrate the spaces, tells his mother, so that guests could mill around through each room and not feel confined or claustrophobic at any time. Being an artist of much repute ChitraChandhok’s work is seen on most available surfaces of the home. There are several works by noted Chennai artist Usha Devi as well, whom Chitra happens to know very well. Her love for art and beautiful things is reflected in the well manicured garden as well, where she has several sculptures by DimpiMenon, another noted Bengaluru-based artist and a close friend of the family.

The entire lower level of the house that encompasses the living and dining spaces and the garden and bar are used for entertaining purposes as the Chandhoks love having people over and often entertain big groups of guests.

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The upper level of the house is their more personal space and is decorated with a large number of family portraits and scores and scores of Karun’s medals and trophies. “As Karun’s interest in cars started at a young age, there are cupboards of showpiece cars that he has been collecting for years now. But over the years as he started racing the trophies started coming in we needed more space. So we have them displayed all over the house now – it’s what happens when you are a proud parent,” she smiles.

The temple in the home is of huge relevance to the family. There is an idol of Lord Ganesha that is more than 100 years old and occupies a place of pride there. This idol has been with ChitraChandhok’s grandfather for years and has been passed down to each generation at the opportune time.

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The entire home is a reflection of the family’s closeness and bonding. It’s also a museum of Karun and his brother Suhail’s achievements – one with his interest in racing and the other in cricket. With walls dedicated to trophies, the huge number of sporting paraphernalia lying around and pictures that chronicle their various victories there is no doubt that this is the house of champion sportsmen.