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

This Minnesota home tips its hat to its owners’ colourful past in India

Enlightened are those who can blind-touch a material and immediately know its worth. “It's a serious talent,” deadpans interior designer Heather Peterson, founder and principal of her namesake Minnesota-based interior design studio, whose last clients, a couple in their forties, were, shall we say, particularly enlightened. “The husband was the ‘Princess and the Pea’ kind who could feel if something was badly made,” she continues. “He was also very drawn to soft materials, so part of our process

This 1960s Atlanta Kitchen Keeps the Sunshine Close

There are two kinds of people in the world—those that love a turnkey home, and those that don’t. Ryan Abrams is a faithful member of the latter club. So much so that when he was hunting for a home in east Atlanta a few years ago, his main condition was finding one that was completely untouched. “I saw a lot of renovations that felt like easy flips, with poor paint and tile choices, and unfortunate layouts. When I saw this house, I immediately saw possibilities. It was nice to be able to make it

Lighter than Light: A Country Villa by Grain Designoffice.

If there’s one thing that defines—and unites—spaces by Grain Designoffice, it’s an enduring sense of weightlessness. Walls the colour of sunlight. Furniture in amorphous shapes. Rooms that flow into each other like slow, meandering rivers. No different is the Belgian design studio’s latest project, a country villa in Antwerp, which goes check, check, check on all the aforementioned criteria.

A couple of years ago, however, this description wouldn’t have been quite so accurate. “The interior was

Design duo Baker Street Boys on how rust is the new gold

Tomasz Danielec, half of Polish design duo Baker Street Boys and star of CBS show Europe ByDesign, talks to Effect about finding beauty in ’unloved’ materials

In 2015, after a decade-long career as a successful architect working with industry greats like Robin Partington and Rafael Viñoly, Tomasz Danielec decided it was time to take a step back. “I reached a point where doing big projects didn’t satisfy me anymore,” he tells Effect. “I then started product design and fell in love with objects I

This 100-Year-Old Brooklyn Town House Gets a Luminous New Kitchen

While other parts of the home were in great shape, the kitchen was a disaster. Situated inside a dingy shed-like addition between the living room and backyard, it was the exact opposite of what the couple had in mind. But, adding access to more sunlight would mean losing walls. So to help them build something better, the couple reached out to architect Alexandra Burr of AlexAllen Studio, whom they’d met through a mutual friend.

The end results is a light box—330 square feet of kitchen and dinin

Inside a Whimsically Renovated English Apartment That’s Probably Not Haunted

Interior designer Sophie van Winden lives alone in her apartment in Margate, England, but she might not be the only soul that inhabits the place. “This area has many mediaeval crypts. The plumbers had to spend a fair bit of time under the floorboards sorting out all the pipes. One day they found a Victorian children’s pram, all rusted and bent. They were terrified!” she shares, insisting that despite the discovery, she is fairly (but not completely) certain that the home isn’t haunted.

Not that

Inside a Hyderabad home with traditional art and nostalgic heirlooms

As architects Nikhil Dev & Kaushik Abhinav recall, there was no brief to begin with, for this Hyderabad home. “It was pretty open-ended,” recalls Dev, one half of Hyderabad-based architecture studio Dev & Kaushik Architects, about the firm’s latest project, an India Modern duplex in the City of Pearls. The carte blanche was rooted in good reason. After all, the clients, a couple with two grown daughters, didn't really know what they wanted their home to look like, but they did know what they wan

The “Stars Aligned” in This Family’s Dream LA Canyon Retreat

For furniture designer Reza Feiz and his wife, television producer Sheila Griffiths, moving to a bigger house had been in the cards for over a decade: “As the kids grew, their friends grew, their collection of instruments grew, we realized we needed a place where we could spread out a bit,” says Feiz, the founder of Phase Design, a Los Angeles–based studio that specializes in artisan-crafted furniture and objects. Mind you, the couple wasn’t keen on shifting just anywhere. They specifically had

Le Marais: A Luminous Apartment in Paris by Studio Haddou-DuFourcq.

‘Le marais’, in French, literally translates to ‘swamp’, but there’s nothing remotely swamp-like about Le Marais, an apartment in Paris recently redesigned by Studio Haddou-DuFourcq. Mind you, the same can’t be said about its state a few years ago. “Everything was dark,” recalls Kim Haddou, one half of the Paris-based interior design practice. “It looked like a dilapidated dollhouse.”

There was one small pink room, one small green room, one small brown room, and a small blue kitchen. Nothing, i

Let There Be Light: Domingo in Barcelona by Aramé Studio.

In the Catelonian capital of Barcelona, sunshine follows you everywhere. Indoors and outdoors. Through summer and winter. From daybreak to dusk. Sometimes, even beyond. But as architects Andrea Arriola Fiol and Adrián Mellado Muñoz of Aramé Studio can confirm, that’s not always the case.

Their latest project, a residence in Barcelona’s Eixample district, used to be in the unlikely list of exceptions. “Gloomy, that’s what it was,” says Andrea of the property, which was as starved of light as of

The White Cashew: A Rooftop Restaurant in Hyderabad by NaaV Studio.

In the leafy neighbourhood of Sainikpuri, in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, is a restaurant that stays true to its name. Shaped like an inverted cashew and steeped in soft, buttery hues, The White Cashew looks no different than it sounds. Inevitable, really, when the inspiration, as Varsha Reddy, one half of Hyderabad-based architecture firm NaaV Studio, puts it, was “slightly nuts.” Her admission isn’t without reason. The 418-square-metre rooftop joint, which specialises in fusion India

This Swedish Island Cottage Grows Out of the Woodland

This is a Stockholm story about the island of Torö, to be precise, although it begins on the mainland where one family—a couple and their kids, aged five and one, and one partner’s mother—is based. Tired of the city and desperate for a mid-pandemic respite, they set their sights on creating a year-round vacation home someplace slower, but in a sustainable, ecological, and cost-effective way. They found their answer in a 1970s two-bedroom cottage situated at the highest point in Torö, an isle on

India’s Hampi Art Labs is a piece of architecture at one with its content and context

When viewed from a distance, Hampi Art Labs could pass for a spectacular riverbank – if a riverbank did such a thing as levitate. Located in southern India near the Unesco World Heritage Site of Hampi, the structure is a sleight of hand by leading Indian architect Sameep Padora (behind numerous Indian houses, such as Lattice House, as well as Wallpaper* Design Awards Best Public Building 2021 Temple of Steps). Hampi Art Labs undulates with the landscape, echoing the nearby Tungabhadra River and

Mumbai: Swiss modernism and Japanese minimalism meet in this seafront apartment

When it came to organising the interior, Rangwala and Pirani, and their team—which included architects Shikha Mehta, Sakina Kothawala and Hussain Mukadam—worked backwards, assessing the spaces available and retrofitting them with special moments. Exhibit A: the living room, which seemingly rings with euphony, thanks to the grand piano that inhabits one corner. Most evenings, it is summoned to life by father or daughter, both equally adept at the clavichord, and when it isn't, it affords interlud

A historic warehouse in Goa is reborn as a zen Japanese restaurant

Restoration architect Rochelle Santimano gave the tumbledown structure a second life with thoughtful interventions that honour its heritage

Goa-based architect Rochelle Santimano believes in reincarnation, but the kind that involves places, not people. “There’s something about bringing beautiful Goan structures back to life; it’s like unlocking a piece of forgotten history,” says Santimano, who runs Studio Praia, an architecture firm that specialises in heritage restoration in the coastal India

Turning Back Time: Bar Nouveau in Paris by Atelier Alma.

On Paris’s Rue des Haudriettes is a bar with a floor intact from the 1970s. Or so a first look would have you believe. In reality, the floor wasn’t laid then, but it was made then. “One of the most remarkable features of this project is the restoration of the original opus incertum flooring,” says Aleksandr Kravtsov, associate architect at Atelier Alma, who, together with fellow architect Lana Kurova, helped bring back the seventies with authentic ceramic tiles sourced from a retailer specialisi

This 800-Square-Foot West Village Apartment Is a Colorful, Shapeshifting Space

Interior designer Juan Carretero isn’t one to settle, least of all in matters regarding his home. So when he came out of a nearly 20-year-old relationship and moved out of the home he shared with his ex-partner, finding a rental in Manhattan he could use as a pièd-a-terre (he had already established a primary residence in upstate New York) was top priority. It was an exercise easier said than done, and the more apartments he visited, the more disillusioned he became. “I toured dozens of dismembe

His Decision to Go Remote Called for a $180,000 Library Remodel

The year 2022 was one of many firsts for 59-year-old entrepreneur and hedge-fund manager Mohnish Pabrai. It was the year he celebrated one year of his company’s relocation from California to Austin, moved into his new home in Austin’s West Lake Hills, and made the decision to work exclusively from home. “During Covid, I was forced to work remotely and I found that I was actually more productive. That carried through when we moved to Austin,” says Pabrai, who purchased the Austin property in 2021

Inside a rustic Hyderabad restaurant designed to evoke a wistful nostalgia

The memories of a grandmother's kitchen linger long after the aromas that inspire them. Pillowy idlis in jackfruit leaf baskets. Ghee in a delicious shade of golden. Gunpowder chutney, freshly made, in empty Bournvita bottles since stripped of their plastic labels. At Telugu Medium, many of these memories, or at least the sentiment behind them, find expression in unexpected moments, evoking a nostalgia that, even mid-bite, eludes your acute consciousness. The authentic Andhra restaurant, located

A Designer Turned a Former Mill Into a Personal Sanctuary

The allure of a property is always that much more when it’s been home to somebody significant. Even if that somebody was a nondescript pig named Hamilton. “He did serve as the mascot for the local NHL team, you know,” chuckles interior designer Robert MacNeill, who insists neither Hamilton nor any of his predecessors had any influence on his and husband Paul Ingram’s decision to purchase said home in Raleigh, North Carolina’s Caraleigh Mills neighborhood.

“We came to find this unit in a roundab

This 1950s Austin Bungalow Is a Sophisticated Slant on Pink

When Taylor took up the design reins, she already had a starting point. The homeowner had worked with stylist Leaia Felder to envisage an initial aesthetic—one that was light and airy, with a decidedly refined femininity. “Together, they had made some preliminary selections that really set the tone for the project,” Taylor shares. But there was still much to be contemplated. Designer and client were keen on achieving a soft, hyper-feminine aesthetic, but with a sophisticated slant. Which meant,

AD100 Shonan Purie Trehan builds a lakeside home in Kamshet where nature never ends

Dance practitioner and educator Avantika Bahl and her husband, consultant Avinash Goyal, knew early on that the parcel of lakeside land they'd purchased in the ghats of Maharashtra's Kamshet was anything but ordinary. For one, it sat by a large lake and was covered with dancing grasses, but equally, and perhaps more importantly, it piqued Bahl's sensory and somatic perception as an artist. It was wild and wuthering, yes, but also somehow the exact antithesis of her life, and so too Goyal's, in M

A California Couple Poured $118,000 Into Creating the Speakeasy of Their Dreams

As people who like their coffee strong and their cocktails stronger, one California couple had a home with a speakeasy on their wish list. That is why the couple, a commercial real-estate broker and a professional organizer, both 42, say they felt like it was fate when a 1930s Spanish Revival with a speakeasy in Redwood City, Calif., came on the market in the winter of 2020.

“We wanted a place where our friends and family could gather to unwind and celebrate. It wasn’t just about the drinks, wh
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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