The increasingly ethno-religious focus of public institutions was not mirrored in the domestic architecture of the independence era (1930s-1950s). Colombo’s residents, affected by the economic constraints of the World War years, were ambivalent in their personal politics. As the colonial public sphere became available for indigenization in the 1930s and ’40s, cultural forces within the private sphere closed ranks. Homes, rather than public institutions, became sites of secular identity. However, what appears to be an inversion of the public and private post-colonial self is deceptive. The supposed secularism of colonial public culture was ﬁ ltered through Anglo-Saxon, Judeo-Christian values. The new indigenous institutions were similarly biased towards a Sinhala-Buddhist worldview. In contrast, residential architecture resisted ethno-nationalist symbolism.