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

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

Latest Articles

A Drab Tulsa Basement Got a Double Role as a Half-Bedroom, Half-Office

Most mornings, Katie Carpenter and her husband, Justin, take turns calling dibs on their basement office. “It’s always a race for who gets there first,” laughs Katie, cofounder of Strat House, a boutique public relations firm catering to interior designers in Oklahoma. As an extension of the primary bedroom, the office is ideal for manifesting some early morning inspiration or some late evening energy. Or for hunkering down for some quiet, away from the background score that presides over the rest of the house (the couple shares two spirited little girls).

Time Capsule: A Haussmannian Apartment in Paris by Sandra Benhamou.

Sandra Benhamou has a distinct signature: muted colours, natural materials and sharp contrasts. No two rooms are the same, and no idea is ever repeated—for good reason. As a keen connoisseur of art, her curations are a curious mix of flea market finds, pieces acquired from auction houses, and contemporary ceramics from specialist galleries. This is none more evident than in her latest project—a fifth-floor Haussmannian apartment just around the corner from Paris‘s Place de l’Étoile—where retro-c

This Bright and Bohemian Bronx Apartment Was Born from a Paint Job Gone Wrong

Takeesha White and Alex Marcelo had no intention of hiring an interior designer—not until a bad paint job left their walls looking like the pale inside of a banana peel. Knowing that they needed a do-over—and fast—they turned to the only person whom they knew they could trust to bring the place back to life: Alex’s sister, interior designer Abigail Marcelo Horace.

“I had warned them that the original paint colors wouldn’t do much to change the interior, but they didn’t listen at the time. In th

New Delhi: AMPM's accessories boutique is an object lesson in ‘less is more’

“The site used to carry a tiny stationery shop. It was cramped and cluttered—the quintessential nightmare scenario,” recalls Priyanka Modi, co-founder and creative director of New Delhi-based fashion label AMPM. “Every time I went there to try and imagine the experience we could create, I’d go blank.”

It was only when she got possession of the store and had it brought down to its bare shell that she began to see hope—thanks, in part, to the confidence lent by interior designer Jaisika Jabbal, f

Lonavala: This weekend home overlooking the Pawna lake is Mykonos come to life

Just a stone’s throw from Lonavala’s Pawna Lake, sits a home that channels Santorini. And Mykonos. And all the islands in between. And yet, even with all that Greekness, there’s something about it that’s inexplicably local. “It was imagined as a weekend retreat that would transport the homeowners to the Greek islands, but it’s also deeply rooted in the elements, and has a minimalist style that celebrates slow living,” says interior designer Dhruti Hamlai, who was tapped by said homeowners, Aneri and Nirmit Shah, to give their newly built property—conceived by architect Shabbir Unwala of Design Workshop—a cool Cycladic spin.

This European aesthetic-inspired apartment in Mumbai has one foot in the past

In one of Mumbai's oldest Parsi colonies is a half-old, half-new jewel box inspired by the English countryside. “It’s a little snow globe of their travels,” says Disha Bhavsar—co-founder and principal of Quirk Studio—of the homeowners, a couple in their 60s, and their family. Of course, for Bhavsar and her co-founder and fellow principal Shivani Ajmera, distilling the experiences of a family so well travelled, into a cohesive design language, was a marked exercise in self-restraint. “We had to t

A European-style Café near Seoul by Design by 83.

When the pandemic hit and international travel became a no-go, people all over the world resorted to alternatives. Some lived vicariously through Instagram. Some binged K-dramas on Netflix. And yet others, as in the case of those inhabiting the old town of Yangnyeongsi in Daeguz (near Seoul), went out to get some coffee.

To clarify, this wasn’t just any coffee. It was the specialty kind served at Sted café, where each freshly brewed beverage was paired with a freshly crafted dessert and served

The Curated Finishes Collection by Phoenix

The range highlights eight distinctive finishes – the recently-launched Matte White and Brushed Carbon alongside the established Brushed Gold, Brushed Nickel, Chrome, Gun Metal, Matte Black and Stainless Steel. All eight finishes feature across the brand’s tapware, showers and accessories, offering unparalleled cohesion paired with Phoenix’s signature quality and longevity. The collection seeks to embolden design visions, considering tapware, mixers, shower heads and accessories such as towel ra

[Print] Cover Story, Mar '23 // Kolkata: Where Magic Dwells

On a tree-lined avenue in one Kolkata suburb, is an apartment that could well have tumbled out of an art gallery. Or a haveli. Or a postcard from an alternate realm. And yet, when Pooja Bihani dreamed up the design for the home, she was inspired by none of these places. "Instead, I was inspired by the number five, because it symbolises the number of members in the family," muses the founder and principal of Kolkata-based interior design firm Spaces and Design. Of course, the inspiration was also the response to a very specific brief: to design a space that would hold an enduring novelty for the homeowners and their three kids. For Pooja, then, the priority was conjuring that permanent sense of magic.

[Print] Mumbai: Through the Looking Glass

In one Mumbai living room, in the suburb of Prabhadevi, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link appears like a postcard magicked to life. Only, unlike in a postcard, this scene isn’t permanent. It changes by the hour, or the blink, depending on the day. The only thing that doesn’t change is the 20-foot-long window through which it is viewed. “It was this constant ebb and flow from sunrise to sunset that inspired the story of the home,” says Anjali Mody, creative director of Goa-based design practice JOSMO, who was tapped by the homeowners, Shael and Samiksha Oswal, to design their newly acquired home in Prabhadevi.

This apartment in Kolkata is a modern-day Aladdin’s cave

Alok and Tripti Goyal’s home in Kolkata isn’t a cave, but it could be. With undulating walls, fairy-chimney-like alcoves, and ceilings that curve up and down (and up again), nothing about it alludes to its urban coordinates. “The idea was to create a space where one would feel warm and cosy and comfortable,” say Pooja Bihani and Nitin Barchha—the respective founders of Spaces and Design and Studio Humus—who teamed up for the unusual project. As business owners who deal in the manufacture of stee

Papa Don’t Preach’s flagship store at Kala Ghoda is a Hobbiton-inspired wonderland

In Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda, amidst heritage landmarks like Dhanraj Mahal and Rajabhai Clock Tower, sits a 900-square-foot boutique that could have tumbled out of Hobbiton. A hat-tip to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the interior of Papa Don't Preach channels a Shire, with otherworldly curiosities peeking through the windows, summoning passersby to enter a realm far removed from reality.

“All my life, I’ve always found an escape through books. Even in my work and in how I design, I consider myself

This content creator’s nine-bedroom Airbnb in Manali is inspired by his travels

Somewhere in the mountains in the north of India, the mist rolls back just enough to reveal an Airbnb in Manali that feels like Finland. Or Bali. But also very much like India. “I drew inspiration from everywhere, from the glass houses of the Finnish Lapland to the chic boho vibe of Ubud, to the community hostel culture of Europe. Each corner tells a story,” says Anunay Sood. He should know. As a travel content creator who lives out of a backpack (and occasionally a suitcase), his adventures hav

[Print] Mumbai: Matters of the Art/Ali Baldiwala

On the twenty-third floor of a Worli highrise sits a 3,700 sq ft home that channels Back to the Future—if Back to the Future took a detour from the past. The part-trad, part-tony aesthetic is no small coincidence. "Far from it," smiles Ali Baldiwala, Interior Designer and Partner at Mumbai-based Baldiwala Edge, who was tasked with facelifting the home’s living room, dining room, kitchen, den and four bedrooms. "With three generations under one roof, the main challenge was honouring each member's tastes and preferences,” he suggests of the family, composed of a 50-something couple, their grown-up children and the husband’s mother. So much so, that the brief he received wasn’t a brief at all, but rather individual memos from each member, describing what they wanted for their respective space. Despite their aesthetic differences though, the family was united about one thing: that their art and collectibles be given pride of place. “It’s the very first thing they mentioned to me, so I knew we had to plan the house in a way that let their collections shine,” he shares.

Tour a Midcentury Pasadena Ranch House That Dials Up 1950s Style

Even from across the street, Andrea Voth and Michael Santioni’s hillside post-and-beam Pasadena home is difficult to miss. Passersby are almost always treated to a strain or two of Sinatra or a whiff or more of Santioni’s signature bolognese (a recipe passed down by his grandmother). “It’s like a restaurant without the people,” laughs Voth, a creative operations professional. And while the couple is happy taking credit for the good food, the warm mood was kindled only recently, thanks to interio

Hardie™ Oblique™ Cladding - Collection Feature

Hardie™ Oblique™ Cladding sets a precedent as James Hardie’s maiden exterior cladding product with a slanted groove edge. The design adds dimension to a façade by delivering a dynamic dance of sunlight and shadow, projecting the illusion of a light-shifting exterior, and can be tailored to achieve a particular aesthetic. When installed vertically, Hardie™ Oblique Cladding can be arranged to inspire a range of styles, including Scandi barn, contemporary and modern farmhouse. Aesthetic considerati

Drab to Delightful: An Apartment in Madrid by Febrero Studio.

When Mercedes González Ballesteros and Jesús Díaz Osuna of Madrid-based Febrero Studio first set eyes on the apartment in Madrid’s Chamberi neighbourhood, they knew they’d need to knock it all down. After all, the structure was misaligned, the layout was skewed, and the potential was minimal. After several discussions and one green light from the homeowners later, the structure was demolished almost entirely, and the only vestiges of the apartment’s past life were the concrete pillars that remai

Dancer Shakti Mohan’s Mumbai apartment is a calming antidote to set life

For all the high-octane energy she delivers on set, Shakti Mohan delivers none in her Mumbai apartment. "The first brief I gave Aayush was to create something zen, where I could just restore and energise. I envisioned something modern and minimalist, but almost riffing on boho-chic," says the dancer, choreographer and television personality, who became an overnight sensation in 2010, after clinching the top spot on Dance India Dance, Season 2.

This would be Aayush Bagzai, founder and principal

Lasvit Designs A Crystalline Corridor for Cartier's Geneva Flagship

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While Cartier has long been synonymous with sparkle, its European flagship just got a whole lot sparklier. The French jewellery brand recently tapped Czech glassmaker Lasvit to design a nearly 55-square-metre “ice corridor” that leads from the main area of its Geneva boutique to an exclusive department dedicated to rare

This Mumbai apartment on the 50th floor is a Balinese-inspired haven

In Mumbai’s Lower Parel, where glittering skyrises and colossal office complexes sit shoulder to shoulder, is a terrace that could have been born in Bali. With woven canopy seats, over 20 species of plants, and unhindered vistas of the sea and the skyline, it’s so far removed from the city that it exists in a realm of its own—one where the only visitors that come knocking, if at all, are the kites, the clouds and the morning breeze. And yet, there’s more to the home that sets it apart from its neighbours.
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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