Vaishnavi Nayel Talawadekar is an internationally published architecture, design and art journalist.

Vaishnavi runs a sunny content studio called Mangomonk where she writes for publications big and small.

Latest Articles

This Bengaluru home is a postcard from the Amalfi Coast

First came COVID, then a silver lining. At least that was how it went for Megha Gupta and Ankit Agarwal. As Delhi natives who had spent much of their working life in Mumbai, a move to Bengaluru four years ago at last prompted in them a desire to put down roots. The timing was serendipitous: the country was under lockdown, the housing market had slumped and prices were in their favour. Surely, there was no better time to buy. And so, after searching high and low for the perfect property, the coup

Palazzo Luce: A Dazzling Hotel-cum-Gallery in Lecce by Anna Maria Enselmi.

Two Renaissance-style portals, emblazoned with the numbers 2 and 4, are the first indications that Palazzo Luce isn’t just another hotel. The internal courtyards confirm this suspicion, with excavated columns from a long-ago Roman theatre standing sentinel to the side, like stately guards awaiting their summons. The once-upon-a-time palace, situated in the Puglian town of Lecce, was constructed in the thirteenth century for the Counts of Lecce, but today it’s a rather different kind of majestic.

This Bengaluru apartment is a one-way ticket to Tulum

In one Bengaluru apartment in Indiranagar is a mottled green bedroom with nothing more than a Henri Rousseau artwork in the way of decor. At some angles, the room is reminiscent of Tulum; at others still, it inspires the nature-rich landscape of Southern California. Yet, everywhere in equal measure, its spirit is decidedly Indian—a masterstroke by interior designer Vinithra Amarnathan in keeping the space firmly rooted in its homeland. “Their love of clean, warm spaces and natural, earthy materials set the stage for the palette,” says Amarnathan of the homeowners, a California-returned couple with one young daughter. In a bid to highlight their present while honouring their past, she conceived a design scheme layered with modern and minimal influences from places the couple held dear.

A $210,000 Home Library Renovation Over a Decade in the Making

When he bought his Akron, Ohio, lakefront home for $450,000 in 2006, the homeowner, a real-estate investor, now in his early 60s, intended to use it as a weekend getaway. Wary of spending too much on an occasional-use property, he decided to put off making any changes. It was a decision he stood by until 2019, when the fading interior coupled with a desire for a primary residence prompted him to reconsider a design refresh.

An old Kochi warehouse is reborn as an ethereal fabric store

In downtown Kochi, where old houses and new shops sit shoulder to shoulder and cafes glitter on every street corner, there's something to be said about the storefronts that reserve the view for the inside. Home furnishings and fabric store Instyle is a compelling case in point. Once a storage and display store for a cladding manufacturer and trader, the 2,000-square-foot showroom features a myriad of textures and colours that allude to a past life. “It was a matter of practicality to keep them,”

This peaceful Bengaluru bungalow magically silences its surroundings

Most mornings in one Bengaluru neighbourhood, the tootle of auto rickshaws and chorus of passing vegetable vendors can arouse even the most reluctant risers. For the Sanjeev family, building a home here meant needing to silence the surroundings and summoning a sense of tranquillity—no easy feat in a city always on the go. Some searching led them to Sahana Jagannath, founder and principal architect of Studio Aakaar, who had the expertise they were seeking to create a quiet oasis in the suburban neighbourhood. “I think the first question I pondered was: how can function equal form? I soon realised the answer lay in approaching the design inside-out, wherein the experience of space was experienced back-to-front,” says Sahana.

[Print] California: Candy-Coloured Oasis

In California’s Yucca Valley, where dry deserts lord over the land, colour can be hard to come by. For anyone but Leah Ring. “My personality is very bright and I love bold colours,” says the designer and principal of Los Angeles-based interior design studio Another Human. Her 1000-square-foot desert home, designed as a pied-à-terre for herself and her husband, artist Adam de Boer, is proof. An eye-popping kaleidoscope of colour, there are no two rooms alike.

In This Philadelphia Home, the Bathrooms are the Shining Stars

For Philadelphia natives Mark and Courtney Owens, the pandemic had a silver lining—or two. For one, they became parents. Then, they moved back to Pennsylvania after a decade of living out of state. “We’d spent the last 10 years living across Seattle, New York City, and Chicago, but now felt a calling to be closer to our families,” says Courtney, an HR leader at Google. She and Mark began searching for homes, ultimately landing on a 1920s Colonial Revival home in Penn Valley. “The previous owner had lived there for over 50 years, so the style was definitely dated,” shares Mark, a management consulting professional at Grant Thorton. It wasn’t just the style that the couple disfavored. There was something about the place that just felt heavy (think flashy doses of color, circus stripes in the bathrooms, and mismatched patterns)—a feeling they knew they could shake only with a redesign. An online search led them to Brittany Hakimfar of Philadelphia-based Far Studio, whom they enlisted soon after.

Decoding Trends with Dulux Colour and Communications Manager Andrea Lucena-Orr

Launched in 1999, the annual Dulux Colour Forecast is widely regarded as the de facto colour handbook for designers and stylists. Dulux Colour and Communications Manager, Andrea Lucena-Orr describes how the 2024 edition sets forth a cornucopia of mid-tone colours that evoke sentiments of warmth, nostalgia and self-expression, reflecting a sensitivity among Australians to personalise their homes through colour. The Dulux Colour Forecast did not start out as a colour guide. It began as an annual d

In This Songwriter’s Midcentury Laurel Canyon Home, No Two Rooms Are Alike

The first time they met, interior designer Victoria Holly had an unusual ask for her client, 30-something songwriter Michael Matosic. “He had a very large, very modern navy sectional scheduled for delivery. Within 10 minutes of meeting him, I said, ‘Please don’t kill me, but you have to cancel that order.’ And he did,” says Victoria. Luckily, the request didn’t throw Michael, who was happy to have her lend a helping hand in figuring out a style for his midcentury Laurel Canyon home. “Funnily eno

Umberto121: A 14th-century Holiday Home in Tuscany by Montsant Moreno.

In the Tuscan hinterland, atop a knoll near Crete Senesi, lies the historic village of Montisi, one of five municipalities in Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village’s history is writ large across the dwellings that inhabit it, as evidenced by one particular home dating back to the 1300s. Exhibiting hallmarks of each century it’s survived, Umberto121 is a mediaeval curiosity that summons you into a world where time stands still.

When the present owners, a Barcelona-based couple w

[Print] New Delhi: Quiet Getaway

As I make my way up the Bahls’ garden path, past the lake and staff quarters and a trail of tiny ducks, a previously unseen tower slides into view, complete with a 200-year-old front door engraved with falcons that seem poised to spring to life. “It channels a brick kiln. It’s a little hat-tip to the once-upon-a-time pottery site that existed here,” says Samiir Wheaton, founder of Jaipur-based Wheaton Design, referencing the newly built tower, which evidently acts as the home’s axis. We’re seated at the bar counter, seven feet below ground level, where floor-to-ceiling glass windows frame the glistening garden beyond. And yet my attention is drawn inwards, to the massive volume before me.

In Bengaluru, earthy tones take the spotlight in a cabin home by Taliesyn

Most weekends when they’re there, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Parinita Narain can be found on the katte (Kannada for ‘bench’) in the courtyard, sometimes with a friendly neighbour, always with some piping hot filter coffee. For the couple, such weekend sojourns are a regular occurrence — the happy result of a long-ago manifesto to escape the city more often, albeit on their own terms. “A weekend home was the obvious solution,” says Shalini Chandrashekar, Principal and Director of Bengaluru-based a

A 100-Year-Old Long Island Home Got a Bright Kitchen Glow-Up

The cost of day care must be less than or equal to the monthly rent, according to the the fail-safe formula most parents swear by—and Genevieve and Amin Tehrani were no exception. But when the Manhattan-based couple had their second child a few years ago, they found that formula fast failing. They took it as a sign to move, and the suburbs seemed like the next best alternative. “We fell in love with this house pretty quickly,” says Amin of their current home in Rockville Centre, Long Island. “It

This Manhattan apartment sings to the sparkling streetscape

Short or tall, old or new, streetside or secluded, the buildings in Manhattan’s Upper East Side tend to leave a lasting first impression—or tenth. Interior designer Ruchi Agrawal Mohan would know. When tasked with designing a Manhattan apartment for a corporate professional in her mid-30s, the characterful surroundings were enough to charge her imagination and fill her creative cup. “Every time I would walk towards the site, the hustle and bustle and the glittering streetscape would instantly ex

Dulux Launches Its 2024 Colour Forecast

Over the years, interior colours have experienced a golden renaissance, with designers and design aficionados embracing warmer, more experimental palettes. As a global leader in colour forecasting, Dulux has been instrumental in steering this shift, with trend forecasts that have served as a foreshadowing of succeeding design sentiment. The highly anticipated Dulux Colour Forecast for 2024 – the company’s 25th annual edition – presents three novel colour palettes that inspire positivity and upli

Artful Abode in New Delhi by Mathew & Ghosh Architects and Rajiv Saini + Associates.

In one residential enclave in southeast Delhi is a home that has contracted and expanded several times over the years, mirroring the size and evolution of the family that inhabits it. When it was constructed in 1977, it was designed for a multigenerational household. But by 2016, much had changed: children had flown the nest and grandchildren had been welcomed, and the once-joint-family dynamic had naturally evolved into separate generational units. It seemed like the next natural step, then, wa

Czech Mate: An Apartment in Warsaw by Colombe.

In Pilsen, Czech Republic, are four apartments, open to the public, that hold a mirror to celebrated late architect Adolf Loos’s storied modernist style. A fifth hides in Warsaw. But unlike the original four, this one isn’t open to the public, nor is it a work of Loos. Designed by modernist architect Stanisław Rotberg in 1936, the 60-square-metre space, located in the southern part of Warsaw’s Powiśle district, acquired its Loos-esque sheen fairly recently, thanks to a revitalisation by Marta Ch

This Bengaluru home is a kaleidoscope of gems old and new

For Nruthya Kesavan and Ishwar Sridharan, the vision for their Bengaluru home was divided right down the middle. “Our requirements presented a bit of a conundrum for the design team,” recalls Kesavan, a technology professional. “While I wanted a colonial touch reminiscent of my grandparents’ home where I grew up, Ishwar was keen on a South Indian aesthetic that wasn’t overly traditional. It was a divided brief that Gayathri and Shreya somehow made good on.” The Gayathri and Shreya in question we
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AD Visits: Diipa Büller-Khosla's canal house in Amsterdam is a postcard from 1614

Even from 6,000 kilometres away, Diipa Büller-Khosla’s energy is palpable through the screen. It’s morning where she is, and she and her husband and business partner, Dutch former diplomat, Oleg Büller-Khosla (the couple legally adopted each other's last names when they married in 2018) are perched in the kitchen of their Amsterdam home, in the company of their pet pooches, Kubii and Bimbo.

By their own admission, it’s a scene that just a few years ago, was a figment of their imagination. “We'd

AD Visits: Ishaan Khatter’s Mumbai apartment is a sunset sanctuary

When he isn't busy filming or promoting or air-dashing off to exotic locales, Ishaan Khatter likes to appreciate the little things in life. “On Sunday mornings, when time permits, I slip off for a bike ride. In the evenings, I like to watch the sunset with some music and coffee,” says the actor, who was last seen in supernatural comedy Phone Bhoot, alongside Katrina Kaif and Siddhant Chaturvedi. So when he moved in a three-bedroom apartment along the Bandra sea face, naturally, his first priorit

AD Visits: Actor Aahana Kumra’s Mumbai apartment is a pretty-in-pink princess pad

In a building full of identical brown doors, Aahana Kumra's entrance is the only non-brown curiosity. "I absolutely love pink. It's my all-time favourite colour—that's why it's right at the front," she laughs, holding open the candyfloss-coloured opuscule as she ushers me inside. For Kumra, the home is a manifestation twenty years in the making, and one that nods equally to her Lucknowi roots and her life in Mumbai. "There are whiffs of Kashmir, London and Delhi too. It's a collection of all my

AD Visits: Actor Aparshakti Khurana’s Mumbai home displays drama in the details

Even before they had finalised their house, or decided who would design it, actor Aparshakti Khurana and his wife, events entrepreneur Aakriti Ahuja, had a chandelier picked out and stowed away in storage. "I had spotted it some years ago in Delhi and just knew I had to buy it," laughs Aakriti, and Aparshakti chimes in, "We had no idea what our future house would look like. Nothing was set in stone, except this big, blue bhaisahab." The bhaisahab in question now occupies a corner of their living

AD Visits: Singer Armaan Malik’s Mumbai home is halfway between London and Los Angeles

At 10 AM on a Sunday, the last thing you'd expect is for Armaan Malik to be crisping the edges of a frittata. And yet, that's exactly the sight that greets me as I step into his kitchen, a California-cool bolthole with a London-esque edge. "I love making breakfast and treating myself to a good spread," he says, drizzling butter on bruschettas. Dressed in a casual button-up and chinos, he looks like a laid-back version of his on-screen alter ego, who, as fans of The Voice (on which Armaan appears

AD Visits: Actors Aditya Seal and Anushka Ranjan’s newlywed nest is a storybook come to life

At the door of actors (and newlyweds) Aditya Seal and Anushka Ranjan Seal's new Mumbai duplex, the nameplate is conspicuous by its absence. What is not is the cheery (LED) baby seal that takes its place, animating the wall and nodding to its namesake owners. “It's fun to watch people guess," says Anushka. "Those who get it, get it. And it makes for a great conversation-starter." But the unlikely sea creature isn’t the only thing setting the entryway apart—because if the peach-toned front door (a