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

Vaishnavi works out of a sunny studio called Mangomonk where she writes for publications big and small.

Latest Articles

We Thought We’d Seen It All With Hidden Kitchen Storage, Then We Spotted This Sneaky Backsplash

Denver-based interior designer Kate Bendewald has a thing for hidden storage. So when she came across a photo of a secret spice cabinet somewhere on the Internet, the idea was burned into her memory. “Once I see something, it gets embedded in my cerebral hard drive,” says Bendewald, whose total recall came in handy during the recent redesign of an 1880s bungalow kitchen. Her clients, Tracy Talbot and Meghan King, loved the idea as much as she did. “All we had to do was figure out how to build th

This arts hub in the Rajasthan desert may look AI-generated but it’s very real—and useful

Occupying a built-up area of just 9,000 square feet, the space spirals like a swirling sand dune, a hat-tip to the surrounding desert, offering incremental square footage at each elevation and five times more usable space in all. It includes a 27,000-square-foot open auditorium and inclined rooftop gardens from where panoramas of the desert unfold in every possible direction. “The project exemplifies how thoughtful architecture can create expansive community spaces without a large footprint,” sa

This 1950s Los Angeles Home Is a Sanctuary for All Seasons

More often than not the best things in life happen when you least expect them. Or as one Los Angeles couple puts it: “when you’re out of town with zero cell phone reception.” Their current home, a two-story 1950s abode in the heart of sunny Brentwood, was a lucky find. “We never even visited. One of our parents went and saw the place for us and walked us through it via a spotty FaceTime. Lo and behold, we placed an offer the same day,” says the wife.

[Print] Brass Tacks: Vikram Goyal

Vikram Goyal never meant to pursue design, much less make a career out of it. “In a way, design found me,” says the celebrated New Delhi-based product designer, who has, in the past two decades, emerged as an éminence grise in the Indian design firmament. His oeuvre of brass works has found particular resonance on the world stage, speaking to a global audience while echoing, even amplifying, India's rich artisanal legacy.

They Didn’t Feel Connected to Their Virginia Home. A $165,000 Great Room Changed Everything.

As connoisseurs of fashion and art, one Virginia couple wanted their home to showcase their interests. When they bought their bungalow in Great Falls for $4.2 million in 2021, “it just didn’t feel like us,” says the wife, a professional photographer, 42. She and her husband, a retired engineer in his mid-40s, imagined something modern, with goth contrasts, rich materials and a Spanish Revival slant.

They worked with interior designer Ann Gottlieb, and tapped construction company Luxor Improveme

This Couple’s Colorful, Pattern-Rich San Francisco Home Is Designed to Last Forever

The thing about living in an old property with great (if worn-out) bones is deciding when and how to give it a new lease on life. For one writer-photographer couple in San Francisco, the tipping point was the near death of their kitchen, which, as interior designer Christine Lin puts it, was, “shall we say, nonresponsive.” The Shingle-style house dates to 1906 and the couple, empty nesters with adult children, have lived in one of its three flats for years. “They really love the place and it is

[Print] One Prospect Park West in Brooklyn by Workstead

The precinct of New York’s Grand Army Plaza is considered the bastion of prewar Brooklyn. The history-rich, heritage-stamped neighbourhood is, after all, home to the triumphal Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch and a number of other prewar relics, each with a past more storied than the last. One example is the circa-1925 residential building One Prospect Park West. Originally commissioned by the Knights of Columbus as a clubhouse for society elites, it changed hands several times before assuming its present avatar. Now restored and reimagined by Surface Design Group and Workstead as a 64-residence, 22-storey condominium complex spread across 169,000 square feet, the edifice borrows from the past while staying true to the present.

[Print] Mount Alexander College in Flemington by Kosloff Architecture

Mount Alexander College, Flemington, has had many lives. Founded in 1858 as Flemington National School and since rechristened twice, the secondary school has been reimagined once again by Kosloff Architecture in response to a surge in enrolments. The new building, spread across five levels and 5,150 square metres, interacts with the surroundings through learning environments that keep nature close.

Straight Out of a Storybook: A 1900s Home in Amsterdam by Barde vanVoltt.

There’s a house in Haarlem—the one in Amsterdam with two As, not the one in New York with one—that looks like it could belong in a Disney movie. It’s got perfectly pointed angles, shiny-as-wax windows and a storybook facade, and though it was built in the 1900s, its historic charm has somehow only grown over the decades, though not merely by chance. As designers Bart van Seggelen and Valérie Boerma of Amsterdam-based interior design studio Barde vanVoltt would tell you, it took a tiny bit of eff

This sprawling Mumbai apartment brings the ‘Dark Academia’ aesthetic to life

Peeling walls and fading floor tiles aren’t exactly the sort of thing that would excite anyone, but there was something about the tumbledown Mumbai apartment that would become interior designer Shraddha Shah’s next canvas that charmed her almost immediately. “The apartment had remained untouched for years, so there was this beautiful rusticity that shone through,” says Shah, the founder and principal of Mumbai-based interior design practice Olive Roof. So many, and so great, were the imperfections, that Shah decided to keep them, at least in spirit, to create an aesthetic lexicon informed by unfinished finishes, live edge wood panels and deliberately exposed brick. Nothing here would be perfect, nor did it need to be.

Abraham & Thakore's new office in Noida embodies their signature sartorial sensibility

There’s something about Abraham & Thakore’s newly renovated Noida office that feels like they have conceived it in the same breath, and by the same sleight of hand, as one of their collections. It shares the same non-conforming bent, the same relaxed spirit, and a local sensitivity that balances a global sensibility. It is evident that the designers behind the space are no different from the designers behind the apparel. But as David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, co-founders of the namesake label, point out, that is all subterfuge.

This Interior Designer’s LA Bungalow Perfectly Embodies Her Maximalist Spirit

Francesca Grace is a city girl, but the kind that owns chickens, rides horses, and spends her free time scouting out the next swimmable lake. “I’m a grandma at heart,” says the interior designer, who also double-hats as a home stager under her eponymous brand Francesca Grace Home. One look inside her 1920s-inspired Silver Lake, Los Angeles, bungalow, and you know she isn’t wrong. “My last home was an actual 1920s build, but I was forced to say goodbye because the floorboards were falling apart,”

An Artist Couple Transformed Their Century-Old LA Home Into a Colorful Work of Art

If history is anything to go by, Devon Oder and Adam Miller redecorate best under pressure. The year 2015 was when the LA-based artist couple first put the theory to the test. As newly expectant parents and newly minted homeowners of a circa-1932 home in LA’s Eagle Rock neighborhood, they were determined to renovate and move in before the birth of their baby. But their son, River, had other plans. He arrived early, and Adam moved in by the skin of his teeth while his wife and son recouped in hos

A 100-year-old outhouse in Goa is reborn as a rustic bar

As Santimano tells it, her first site visit with clients Kartik Vasudeva and Agrini Satyarthi presented a bit of a predicament. Because it held two structures—an outhouse on the lower level and a firewood storage room above—blending the two with not just each other, but also with the large tree-laden courtyard out front, was something of a conundrum. Not that Santimano minded. She saw it as an opportunity to reimagine the three, although she admits it took her a while to figure out just how. She

Sunlit Sanctuary: A Ranch-style Home in Santa Barbara by Corinne Mathern.

Corinne Mathern remembers feeling a psychic gravitational pull the first time she visited the Los Olivos, California property that would become her next canvas. “When I drove the hour up to the valley to visit the place and meet the clients, it was a breath of fresh air,” says the Santa Barbara-based interior designer, whose admission, evidently, doesn’t only allude to the abundant countryside oxygen.

The home, a 1980s ranch-style estate with a rambling ranch-style layout, was nestled deep insi

This California Kitchen Is Like a Quaint Postcard From Italy

Though the whole home was in need of some TLC, it was clear that the kitchen needed it the most. The layout was cramped and closed it off from the living and dining areas. “We didn’t have the space or setting to host people here,” Ashley shares. The solution was clear—the walls had to go. And so they did, thanks to architect Steve Souder and interior designer Leah Vitrano, who stepped in to help the couple overhaul the space. “I remember one evening, while sitting in our previous kitchen, Steve

This Alibag holiday home is a Wunderkammer of eclectic objects

Trust Farah Ahmed Mathias and Dhaval Shellugar to pull a rabbit out of the hat when attempting something new. Or multiple at once, if their latest masterstroke, a 21,000-square-foot Alibag holiday home, is anything to go by. Unencumbered by a specific style or aesthetic, it isn’t, as Mathias puts it, “confined by a concept.” And, as one quick sweep of the casa proves, it isn’t bedevilled by it either. When it came to designing the larger-than-life estate for a joint family of restaurateurs, Mathias and Shellugar, the co-founders and principals of Bengaluru-based multidisciplinary collective FADD Studio, were mindful of optimising the striving envelope, executed by Vandana and Ranjit Sinh of Mumbai-based Ranjit Sinh Associates, both by scale and signature. They resorted to using a layered approach, mining objects from across the length and breadth of the country, and some from far beyond. So much so, that the pair agrees that the resultant aesthetic lexicon “needs to be experienced to be felt,” and, in what some may dismiss as hyperbole, but the pair clarifies is patently not, that “the volume needs to be heard, the air tasted, the colours touched, and the space seen, for it all to make sense.”

[Print] Mumbai: Three of a Kind

Few interior designers can walk into a home and arrive at a vision by the time they walk out. But then again, few interior designers are Iram Sultan. The NCR-based design doyen demonstrated a particular kind of sorcery for a project in the capital a few years ago, when she was commissioned by a multigenerational family — comprising two sets of brothers, their respective wives and children, and their parents — to redesign their two-storey, 21,000 sq ft bungalow. “When I met them, I came to a firm conclusion. These were all fascinating individuals with distinct identities, but they were bound together like yarn,” recalls the principal and founder of her eponymous Gurugram-headquartered interior design studio. It was a discovery that led her to an instinctual point of departure, reflecting an aesthetic lexicon that has, in recent years, been galvanised by a magpie-like second sight for spotting the beauty in things long before others. Evidently, this home was no exception.

[Print] Mumbai: World of Pos-sea-bilities

There are few places in Mumbai that look quintessentially un-Mumbai, and AVN Interiors’s latest work of art, a seafront Juhu apartment, is one of them. “I remember stepping inside for the first time and just standing there, taking in the view. Gone was the hustle and bustle of the city. Instead, all I could see was the sea rolling into the horizon. And I thought, how can we even match that picture postcard view?” says Aditi Vora Nair, founder and principal of the Mumbai-based interior design studio.

[Print] The Dwaar Collection by Ashiesh Shah

In his 20-something years as a designer, Ashiesh Shah has time and again found inspiration in historic objects, but never enough to incorporate them fully into his designs. That is, until last year, when he decided to rewrite his own rulebook. His latest collection, Dwaar, unveiled at the 2024 India Art Fair, comprises 16 objects. Each, save for two, is tailored around one prized artefact, or ensemble of artefacts, mined from his own personal treasure trove.

[Print] Outfitted to the Nines: Abraham & Thakore's New Noida Store

There’s something about legacy design label Abraham & Thakore’s newly renovated Noida office that feels like it could have been conceived in the same breath, and by the same sleight of hand, as one of its collections. It shares with them the same non-conforming bent, the same relaxed spirit, and a local sensitivity that balances, even belies, a global sensibility. So much so, that it might seem that the designers behind the space are no different from the designers behind the apparel. But as David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, co-founders of the eponymous label, point out, that is all subterfuge.
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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