Elle Decor

[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: Heights of Curiosity

For architect Rooshad Shroff, there are few things greater than a blank canvas. So was the case a few years ago, when he took on the design reins for a new project in Mumbai’s Worli — a 3,500 sq ft seafront apartment, created by combining three neighbouring sea-facing flats. Except, unlike his other projects, this one posed a conundrum or three. “Originally built as a hotel, the building had a very strange layout, terribly low ceilings and ceiling beams that zigzagged across the interior,” shares Rooshad, the founder and principal of his namesake Mumbai-based multidisciplinary firm, whose team also included architect Shonit Kotian. Downsizing from seven bedrooms to two produced another predicament for the architect, who additionally conceived the blueprint to include formal and informal living rooms, a dining room, a study, a gym and a den. The incongruent ceiling beams weren’t just a cosmetic curiosity, they were also a tad too low for their rather tall owner, a gentleman for whom the home was emblematic of a new beginning.

[Print] New Delhi: Postcard from Paradise

In New Delhi’s Chhatarpur, where verdant lanes and fortress-like facades are par for the course, there’s a 12,000-square-foot weekend home that gives little away. As an urban farm turned weekend retreat, its fine details and natural materials exude a warm and earthy quality reminiscent of the landscape. And yet, its identity is entirely its own, with geometric shapes and organic forms that at once complement and contrast one another, conjuring the illusion of a larger-than-life sculpture. When designer Preeti Kaur, founder and principal of her Delhi-based design firm Studio Prefix, was enlisted to create the retreat for a family of three, the focus was on conjuring up a sanctum that echoed the natural environment. Courtesy of the original builder, two of the home’s three storeys were already in place when she took on the design reins. Her role was adding another and weaving the home into a cohesive whole.

[Print] Once Upon a Fort: Kumar and Yehali Sangakkara's Peaceful Galle Hideaway

When retired Sri Lankan cricketing legend Kumar Sangakkara and his wife, Yehali, purchased a villa in the island precinct of Galle Fort a few years ago, its state of disrepair was the last thing on their mind (the home was originally built as a residence in the fort and fortified by the Portuguese in the late 1500s, then subsequently captured by the Dutch in the 17th century). The first, was getting on board an interior designer who would match their sensibilities—a cinch, considering they already knew whom they wanted. Having worked with her on their Colombo home sixteen years prior, they were keen to rekindle a working relationship with Annika Fernando, founder and principal of Colombo-based multidisciplinary practice Annika Fernando Design. And so they did, trusting her to combine their vision with her own.

[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

[Print] Goa: Seas the Day

Moments before the jungle dissolves into the ocean in east Goa, is a home that crowns the cliffside. With the tide on one side and tropical undergrowth on the other, it serves as an interlude between the earth and the deep, tipping its hat to the sunshine and the shoreline in equal measure. Of course, its light and breezy air hasn't always been so. When Meetu Akali, founder and principal architect of Goa-based Studio Momo, first took up its (re)design reins, the charm of the 4,000-square-foot property — designed by veteran architect Dean D'Cruz in 2006 — had long faded. And its Bengaluru-based owners, who had purchased it as a holiday villa many years prior, couldn’t quite fathom its future.

[Print] Mumbai: The House of Pink Marble

When Mahek Lalan first stepped inside the 1,500 sq ft duplex apartment that was to be his next project, he was enchanted by its double-height volumes, semi-hexagonal bedroom balconies and abundance of sunlight. "It almost didn't feel real," recalls the founder and principal of Mumbai-based SML Architects about the top-floor apartment with three bedrooms in Navi Mumbai’s Belapur. Its architecture, executed in the late 1990s, was a departure from the Maximum City's matchbox-sized spaces. And for the architect, it was an opportunity to rewrite the (design) rulebook.

[Print] Bangalore: The Window Seat

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 Bangalore-based architecture and design practice Taliesyn (co-founded with architect Mahaboob Basha in 2007), who was tapped by the couple to breathe life into their recently acquired 3,800-square-foot plot in Bengaluru.

[Print] Cover Story // New Delhi: Sunshine on Her Shoulders

In New Delhi's Friends Colony, is a home that unfolds in phases. Each angle presents a different view, beckoning you to venture ever closer to uncover what lies within. And contrary to the ease with which this home navigates various vistas, its kaleidoscopic avatar is hardly happenstance. With interior designer Vaishali Kamdar at the helm, a volume with multiple vignettes was always a certainty. What was not was the sheer magic behind each. “I’ve always been fascinated by what you see when you’re looking at a home from the outside. I wanted glimmers of art, light and furniture to peep through and evoke moments of curiosity,” says Vaishali who is Founder and Principal of her eponymous Gurugram-based design studio. She was tapped by the homeowners, a couple with two teenage boys, to transform their newly built 6,500 sq ft New Delhi residence into an elegant, understated and inviting home.

[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.

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