A home is more than just a monetary asset. It has emotional meaning, it holds memories, which is why moving houses is often so difficult. Aside from the stress of packing and the disruption to routine, moving a house is a departure from the familiar, the safe and for some, a parting from their childhood. And while moving houses is never easy, it is often necessary.
At work we encounter clients who are usually moving to or from another country. These are people that seeking to re-establish their worlds of comfort as quickly as they can. We help by turning their houses into homes, a process that starts by understanding their unique stories and translating these narratives into a home that is meaningful and comforting.
The home featured here is of a client in Gurgaon. She was moving houses within a city. After decades of living in the same home in New Delhi, she was now for the first time, shifting to an apartment in Gurgaon, Haryana. The move was stressful for the family, but it was the hope of a freshly decorated home with their collection of beautiful furnishings and the proximity to relatives in Gurgaon that made the process easier.
The apartment itself was different from the usual cookie cutter apartments that have sprouted today all across the suburban Delhi landscape. It was large and airy ground floor apartment with french windows that overlooked a common garden. This, and the client’s vast collection of exquisite furniture, books, art and fabric made the project inspiring to work on. She had an eye for detail. Every piece was curated carefully and the entire collection, some of which we couldn’t fit into the design, was breathtaking! We helped refurbish some pieces and bought others. We arranged the space to accommodate most of what we could and finally tied the look together with appropriate colour and style. You can see images of the space before we began our work on Instagram.
The apartment consisted of a large joint drawing and dining room, a hallway, two bedrooms and a study. The challenge for us lay in accommodating the clients large collection of classic furniture and textiles into a modern flat with UPVC windows, vitrified flooring, cove lighting and clean lines. We did this by creating faux niches, arches and softening the edges of columns by rounding them. We introduced teak pelmets over the tall windows to replace stainless steel curtain rods, flat painted walls were softened by distressing walls in colours from nature that would form an easy backdrop to many coloured and textured furnishings. We layered rugs and carpets and also choose multiple shades of white for each room based on the sunlight they received. These are pictures from the project, which was an early one. The photos were shot without a tripod, as I was using them then only to document our work for the view of future clients and not for display. Each image describes briefly the process of the project for you.
The dining room. The dining room walls were distressed by our painter and provide a a soft backdrop to the vintage furniture and furnishings. The yellow-green colour was chosen to go with the stained glass on the side board, the heirloom carpet and the scheme of the living room.
A collection of the client’s crockery. This is first picture I took at site when work was over.
We created the table lamp here from an old metal pot and placed it alongside many of the clients heirloom artefacts on the dining room sideboard. The wall lights were sourced from Khan Market, New Delhi.
The Passage. This is a passage that connects all the rooms in the apartment. It was a challenge then to design this part of the house because of its placement and also because I was still learning — this was one of the first projects I’d worked on. Not only did the colours and the style need to blend with the open living and dining room that faced it, but the furniture had to be slim enough not to obstruct movement. We achieved this with a slim bench and kept the upholstery neutral.
This corner lies near the dining room and would have ordinarily been left alone, if we hadn’t spotted this side table in a flea market. It’s was the perfect size and style for the space.
We created many corners such as his one to accommodate odds and ends of furniture. The chair was upholstered in two different pieces of silk that went well together.
A detail on a cabinet in the dining room
We divided the drawing from the dining room by use of an intricately hand carved screen. It served as the perfect divider between the two areas, providing beauty as well as practicality. This is perhaps my favourite part of the house because you catch glimpses of the beauty of each room from the other which are only fully revealed when you cross the screen.
The living room. We created the arches here and had lights embedded in them which looked particularly lovely in the evening. We embedded the Tree Of Life Pichwai into the wall. The settee was sourced locally and upholstered in silk from Bihar.
A corner that was deigned to be cozy. The upholstery on the chairs was a thick rough cotton whose tone and texture went beautifully with the silks we’d used on the drapes and settee.
Another detail. The client had many such interesting boxes, each better than the last. We displayed this one, open and placed on a low hand made stool in her living room.
This is a detail from a bookcase that I was arranging for the shoot
The pelmets above the drapes were an addition by us, designed at site. They lent themselves very well to the developing style of the space. The wall was a purposely distressed warm yellow. The tones of the dining and living room walls merged well with all the shades of textile in the clients collection and the whites we’d chosen for the other walls and the ceiling
The client had a small batch of handmade tiles with her that we used to make a mobil charging ‘station’ with.
This is a corner in the entry to the bedroom that we divided by a half curtain in handloom fabric
The master bedroom was kept neutral and the light fittings from the client’s older house were repurposed for use here
Few clients nowadays want dressing tables. This beautiful piece was part of the clients collection and we used it in the bedroom.