Standing on a quiet corner of Perry Road, down Turner Road in Bandra (W), Peace Haven was built in 1930 as a wedding gift. “My father Valentine was working in the UK and, when he got married he moved back to Mumbai and built the house for my mother, Isabel,” adds Betty Clifford, the proud owner of this Grade IIB heritage house. The house wasn’t listed on the first heritage list made in 1995, but was added later. “I was happy with that,” adds Clifford, “the builders stopped harassing us. I am glad to keep the house as a heritage structure.”
The house, a typical English-style villa, was built, according to patterns available in the books of the times. It still retains its original Italian marble flooring, Burma teak finishes and even its original colour — blue. “That was my mother’s favourite colour. So, everything in the house is blue,” she smiles.
Even the interiors of the house are more British than any other house I have listed until now. There’s a balcony that runs around the house and the main door opens into a large living room that is separated from a dining hall with a wooden screen. Both floors on the ground-plus-one structure are identical.
Each floor has three bedrooms, a kitchen, a pantry and a store room. The bathrooms for the family are built right next to the bedrooms — unlike what’s seen in houses based on Indian principles.
Pointing to the pillars made in Italian marble, Clifford says, the house also used to have Grecian vases, which broke when she and her siblings played around the house.
A spiral staircase in the rear gives access to the service areas of the two floors. The house also has a small terrace, which once had a water tank. However, later a water tower was built in the 922.20 sq metre compound. Clifford adds, “We have our own compost pit. And we use the manure from here for our garden.”
While it’s great to live in a heritage house, Clifford says expenses are a mounting problem. “Just restoring the roof or the rafters — the wooden beams on the ceiling costs a small fortune. Since it’s a heritage house, all the material has to be true to the original. Burma teak has to replace Burma teak and that doesn’t come cheap,” she adds.