By Aradhna Sharma
Balraj Mann and Jasbir Mann opened their home to Aaarzu Magazine and shared
their heartfelt joy about their home with us.
The sprawling home is built on the three acres of land surrounded by seven acres of farmland. Located on the 16th Avenue and 242 street in Langley, the house stands out on the horizon. Balraj and Jasbir met in 1982 and got married in 1988. They both have always liked California style homes, also known as the Mediterranean style, and therefore built their home in the same architectural style.
Mediterranean building style is a derivative of the western way of American living where wide-open connected spaces following the Mediterranean floor plan promote informal living style. Just like in the Mediterranean style, this house has the clay roof and stucco exteriors, and the spacious outdoors.
As you pass the gate, the driveway opens and leads to a huge solid wood main door. On our arrival Balraj welcomed us; we stepped into the open and bright spacious room with high ceiling. Sunlight from behind the clouds reflected upon the furniture through the big windows overlooking the tree-lined yard. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and we were invited into the family room, this room too has lots of windows. It has coffered ceiling with clear western cedar finish, and the same style is seen in some other rooms; it is exquisite. The family room opens into the back patio which has an outdoor kitchen and creates a seamless transition between the inside and the outside. The house is one of the best examples of harmony between indoor-outdoor living spaces and makes it fit for hosting large crowds almost up to 400.
A unique thing about the house is all the windows are south facing, so there is lots of light in both summers and winters. Balraj says, “We build custom and spec. homes and apartments. Our mission is to build efficient spaces which have light, openness and feel like a place to raise your family, and we have applied the same concept to our home.” He says, “My hobby was to collect house plans, and then the hobby turned into a profession. I made my first blueprint when I was 17. Earlier, we used to live in Surrey as a joint family, but then as the family grew and children grew older, we needed more space, so we started building this house and moved here in 2012.”
Balraj adds, “In India, I had grown up on a farm and have an affinity for open green spaces, and this place reminds me of that. I have my office here as this is close to Seattle, it easy for me to work.”
Balraj and Jasbir have three children, Michelle, Deepika and Milan. They also live here along with Balraj’s 91-year-old mother. Talking about the livability of the house and how it is designed to be comfortable for everyone in the family regardless of the age, Balraj says, ”Back in 1994 when my dad suffered a stroke, we had to deal with mobility issues, and at that time, I decided that when I make my home, it will have easy accessibility and mobility for all generations.”
The way the home is designed, it has all the key areas on the ground level. To access the second level, you have the option of the elevator if you don’t want to take stairs. Jasbir says, “I use elevator all the time when moving household stuff from one floor to another.”
Everyone has their own space, yet it is a compact, efficient design that radiates peace and togetherness. Balraj says, “Although we all have our own spaces, but Jasbir and I made a rule, we all eat together. For us it is important to have our meals together.” Jasbir further adds, “Yes, we have meals together and after that, everyone is free to do their own thing, Balraj and I like to hang out in the family room and watch TV. He is a big fan of Bollywood movies.”
The master bedroom is spacious, and it has similar ceiling as the family room. Jasbir says, “I like simple open spaces. Bedroom is also very functional; the mini bar, the coffee maker, and the connected outdoor pool make it an ideal place to relax and unwind after a long day.” Children have their rooms upstairs; it gives them privacy and independence they want. The theatre room is also on the second floor and has a popcorn bar! Each room reflects the personality of the children. The blue trunk in Michelle’s room, the painting in Deepika’s room, drawn by her, the Kobe poster in Milan’s room showcase the unique personalities of all three; but one thing is common all the rooms, they are functional. The children have for sure inherited the simplicity of their parents. They are grounded, hardworking, and do not take the luxury lifestyle for granted. They are involved in community work, and even have a non-profit called ‘We The Team’.
The color scheme of the home is traditional softer cream shade of paint; it is easy to maintain and does not impact the overall décor. The house is not overly cluttered with décor pieces. Each piece of décor has a story behind it, like the boat at the end of the living room hallway, which Balraj brought from his trip from Cuba where he got stuck in a hurricane or the drink shooters Jasbir collects as souvenirs on all her trips.
Jasbir has her kitchen garden where she grows potatoes, onions, zucchini, blueberry, and many other fruits and veggies. There is a volleyball court, a basketball court, and a tennis court on the premises. The home has an office, a guest house, and a well-equipped gym. Balraj says, “We have designed the home in a way that in many years down the line when we have grand kids, they too can enjoy here. Spend time with us and experience the pleasant life we have here in this house.”
Away from city pollution, one can see bright stars in the summer nights while relaxing in the outdoor pool. The nearest neighbor has been living in the area for almost a century. Home of Balraj Singh Mann and Jasbir Mann truly reflects their personality. The self-made power couple have raised a beautiful family together in this beautiful home. It is not a show home; it is a vibrant, cozy place where three generations are living together, where friends and family are entertained on festivals and special occasions. It is indeed a comfortable and luxurious house.