NICE AND COSY: BALANCING THE TRADITION AND THE MODERN
This may not be true, but this is what I have gathered from every pass-by Iʼve done from every art store that have souvenir landscape paintings on display. They often show a mountain peak, a rolling hill, and a adobe or brick house for visual interest. Never have I ever seen a modern looking architecture or a skyscraper in the foreground of such paintings here in Nepal. And since these shops are generally in areas that attract a lot of tourists, I am under the impression that these traditional abodes are what signify the Nepalese style of living, and thus an authentic experience.
So perhaps traditional houses is something we should turn to when we promise our foreign guests a home away from home. And one such name that has been pioneering this idea is Cosy Nepal.
Cosy describes themselves as “a bunch of friends, enthralled by Nepalese culture, passionate about heritage conservation, and willing to share both via a true sense of hospitality.” Which is rightfully so. What they have been striving to do is to take a typical home, renovate it, furnish it with modern amenities, yet be mindful to not take away the essential traditional aspects, the very things that made it a typical home in the first place.
“A bunch of friends, enthralled by Nepalese culture, passionate about heritage conservation, and willing to share both via a true sense of hospitality.”
Obviously, this is where they truly shine. They have been able to take these humble spaces, eliminate the inconveniences of low ceilings and relic amenities, and morph them into something that’s visually pleasing, aesthetically comprehensive, open, warm, and in every essence, cosy. However, crediting them for just renovation of these stuck-in-time accommodations would be blasphemy. This is but just one of the things they do.
As of recent, they have undertaken a project aptly named the Emerald House. Contrary to what they have been doing, this is completely a modern habitat. Perhaps it was the notion to break out of the mold they’ve been put in by everyone, or just that they wanted to try something different, but what they have achieved in this project is a true marvel. The architect house is located in Jwagal, close to the UN Park, in a green and peaceful surrounding. It’s just a stone’s throw away to all the attractions in the ancient city of Patan and those across the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. It is a building that’s earthquake resistant, houses a roof top simplex with a bedroom, a living room, and a rooftop for panoramas, and a duplex apartment that consists of 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a toilet, a study space, a wide open kitchen with an island and a 6 seater dining table, and all other facilities one would crave for. And get this, in addition to it all, they even have a wood stove in that duplex for the colder months and starting conversations.
Most of the furnishings in the Emerald House have been crafted by Metalwood so that top notch quality and feel is guaranteed. We’ve featured them in the past so we too can vouch for that. But regardless, what they have done is to make the space feel like a home by unifying all of the elements. From the floors to the counter top, from the lights to the chairs, everything feels like pieces of a puzzle that’s been divinely assembled. There is nothing for the mind to work out, everything is simplified and placed beautifully.
With that being said and explored, I still feel that it’s hard to unplug Cosy from the reputation they’ve made for themselves. As mentioned, they were the ones who established the market for renovating old houses, namely those of Newari architecture, and turning them into boutique hotels. And when a market is set, followers are bound to follow suit. That can be exhibited by a mushrooming number of such hotels in the valley.
“palBoutiques are often left out for rent by the owners and used as passive income. On the surface, it’s a good way to get some cash, but at the end of the day, regardless of how grand the place is, it will lack that notion of family.”
Now, one can argue that it’s a good thing. After all, they invite a lot of tourists and thus contribute towards the overall increase of our national GDP. However, the problem lies within not what is being done, but how it’s being done. More often than none, these boutiques are often left out for rent by the owners and used as passive income. On the surface, it’s a good way to get some cash, but at the end of the day, regardless of how grand the place is, it will lack that notion of family. And in this regard, it loses the essence of culture and tradition the place claims to portray.
Realizing this and being advocates against this, Cosy never takes the ownership of the houses they work on. They leave it out for the actual owners of the property and work within a partnership with them. This way, a beautiful structure is put up and that family touch any good host would want their guests to experience is maintained.
And that’s how it should be.
WORDS BY Nirveek PPJ Shah