The Kumar residence in Mumbai re-imagines the family’s old home with smart strokes of simplicity – it is peppered with sublime art pieces, organic wooden furniture and beautiful sunlit patches.
‘Simple’ would be a good word to describe this residence. ‘Simple’, as opposed to ‘minimalist’ which has become an all-pervasive adjective to describe restraint in interior design. Mumbai-based Puran Kumar Architects’ strength is designing corporate office buildings, but when it comes to residences, the firm believes in sticking to the basics. The apartment in Mumbai is actually principal architect Puran Kumar’s residence, so there is a palpable sense of personalisation in the detailing.
Kumar keeps the feel of the place warm and approachable by sticking to clean, straight lines in the design and layout, and wisely staying away from infusing any jarring colours in the major part of the house. Valuable art pieces and artefacts, all in soothing colours again, blend into the interiors effortlessly. Indeed, the keen selection of wall-art frames, and a determined two-tone tenor of the walls and furniture are the strongest facets of this house.
This is a 1,000 square feet, 2-bedroom apartment, which stands testimony to the fact that a homely space needs intelligent use of available floor area, and not bling. What the house has become today is a competent revamp of the Kumars’ decade-old home. Kumar wanted to redesign the place with more contemporary contours, but has carefully ensured that the “organic” charm of the previous abode could continue to stay. “There is not a piece of marble in the whole house; there is no aluminium. It is all stone flooring. The core of the house had to be who we are,” says Kumar of the vision behind the house.
To retain the deep personal tone of the house, Kumar squeezed in many of his inspirations into the furniture pieces. The main door, earlier a heavily worked-upon teakwood piece from Rajasthan, was transformed into a Grecian tribute with the help of a lick of white polish and some exposed steel detailing. This inspiration came straight from Milan, which Kumar visited once and where he was struck by the abundant use of “soft colours”.
All the definitive lines of the house are wooden, be they on the floor or part of the furniture. The blinds in the house facilitate the almost-romantic sweeps of light into the living room, creating a cosy light-and-shadow effect. The neutral-hued cushions on the couches are non-intrusive, letting a huge S.H. Raza painting dominate the room.
The central table lies easy on a small fluffy carpet, making the living room amply capable of morphing into a reading room, tea room, and what-have-you. A small piano stands beside the couch, awaiting get-togethers, while a framed version of Picasso’s famed ‘Child with a Dove’ overlooks a settee opposite the main couch.
Adjacent to the living room is the small dining room, with an unassuming table for four chaperoned by another huge frame. All the aroma of the food will waft out to this corner from the kitchen that stands right beside. Again, the temptation to deck up the cooking space with decorative stone or tiles has been ignored, with the exception of the granite top. The rest of the space is wood and white, with more art and sunken lights adorning the walls.
The architect has always believed that having a wardrobe in the bedroom is an unwanted waste of space. He kept that in mind while designing the walk-in wardrobe in this house, which then leads up to the bathroom. “This way the wardrobe is a part of the room, without being a part of the room,” says Kumar.
The element of white walls is maintained in the rooms to a large degree and gets a good flush of light streaming in from the windows. The bathroom, earlier a dedication to sandstone, has now been resuscitated with tile. In the famously homely feel of the place, the jute-textured blinds, and low seating wooden furniture and pouffes, add a quaint cottage-like charm.
Kumar is driven by the need to retain the “sanctity” of personal spaces while designing any residential project. Not a surprise then that he keeps up this ethos close to heart while designing his own home. “I think if one decides to underplay a space, one should balance it with rugs, or accent walls, or art. I feel one’s home should be the extension of one’s personality,” says Kumar. This philosophy has indeed found a good home.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Vilas Kalgutker