In space-challenged Mumbai, an apartment receives the blessing of light and the luxury of open rooms. The designers at Flamingo Interiors have succeeded in creating an elegant home with a liberal dose of European charm
In the heart of Mumbai at Kemps Corner, a residential apartment spanning two floors received a distinctive makeover. The clients were the Bhojnagarwala sisters, Puja and Payal. Both are artists and founders of ‘Small Brown Box’, a company that promotes open-ended learning among children through art and craft activities.
When the sisters moved from Ahmedabad to their new home in Mumbai, they wanted to recreate their experience of spacious living. Homes in Mumbai are not known for their expansiveness, so this was a challenge for designers Esha Pandya Choksi and Aashni Pandya of Flamingo Interiors, a Mumbai-based interior design firm.
The apartment was spread over the second and third floor of a building in Kemps Corner, an affluent neighbourhood in South Mumbai. To bring in a more luxurious look, the designers deconstructed the interiors. This meant taking down some walls, increasing the number of windows and maintaining an environment that was earthy, yet minimalistic. European influences are evident in the simple, calming decor. The designers call this the ‘Rustic Modern’ concept.
Throughout the living areas, the large windows are offset by neutral flowing drapes. Sunlight streams in, brightening most corners of the home naturally. The designers used the same materials throughout the apartment bringing a sense of continuity and cohesion. The bedrooms, though, have touches of individual quirks to set them apart.
Esha explains their strategy: “The home was dominated by the use four materials. Primarily, handcrafted cement tiles were used on the floor. The other three materials were teak wood, cane and flamed granite. It was a conscious decision to use a select number of materials in repetition to create a rhythmic experience for the viewer.”
Indeed, the blue and white (Bharat) tiles in a vintage design provide an interesting grounding to the otherwise neutral design scheme and are reminiscent of older homes and a bygone era.
In the kitchen, the unusual triangular shape of the floor plan presented a challenge. “It actually provided us scope for experimentation,” says Esha. The designers worked around this awkward space by introducing “an old school approach” of open cabinets and shelving, which complemented the vintage tile pattern on the walls and floor. The quaint pivoted windows add further charm and a chalkboard wall adds a hint of trendiness and functionality to the space.
Throughout the house, the furniture has been kept simple and elegant. Touches of cane work embellish the teak furniture, while artwork and area rugs add colour. “Much of the furniture was modelled on the style seen in the forgotten lanes of Byculla and set against the stage of the ornate flooring. Due to the flooring’s prevalent colour, the home was uplifted with dark blue and augmented further with pops of fiery red,” says Esha.
For a Mumbai-house, this apartment is overflowing with light and space. The designers have effectively balanced comfort with clutter-free style and pared-back elegance. For creative minds, a quiet calm at home can be restorative and contradictorily, energising. And this home has all of this – calm, beauty and a refreshing liveliness – all in abundance.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Architect