A charming ground floor apartment in Mumbai has been designed by Design Office to the specifications of its design savvy owners; its quiet calm defies the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
It was every property owner’s nightmare. The hardwood flooring running through this apartment was heavily infested with termites. As everyone knows, the only fool proof solution is to rip everything open, treat the infestation and start all over again. With this as a beginning, Rushda Hakim and Rishita Das of Design Office rebuilt everything, literally from the ground up.
Located on the ground floor and surrounded by greenery, the ambience that the apartment enjoys is that of a holiday home. With the garden visible from every window, Rushda and Rishita were clear that they wanted the home to reflect the laidback feel of the outdoors.
“Moreover, the owners work in the creative fields of graphic art and film making, so they were quite sure of the look they wanted their home to have,” says Rushda. Their aesthetic prescribed a rough sandstone flooring – not an ideal finish for a primary home, Rushda and Rishita are both quick to confess. “We’d be more likely to use it in a farmhouse,” says Rishita. But the warmth and colour which the stone brought to the space compensated for its other inadequacies.
“We cut the slabs randomly in different sizes for different areas. Since this stone has a natural colour variation, we were careful to sieve the lot to minimise differences in shade. The floor dominated most of the colour palette in the house and served as the starting point of our design,” says Rushda. All windows are constructed with solid wood and all surfaces polished with linseed oil.
The living room has a casual and formal zone. The formal seating near the television has an L-shaped couch in a neutral colour, the space is personalised by the collectibles which the couple has accumulated during their travels. Assorted cushions in botanical motifs reinforce the ever present greenery outside. In the informal zone, a leather Barcalounger is casually juxtaposed with one with printed upholstery.
“The bar is located in a niche with olive green walls, forming a pocket of visual interest which is emphasised by the rattan shutters of the storage cabinet at the rear,” says Rushda. The couple often entertains in this area facing the garden, truly a luxury in Mumbai. The dining chairs around the glass topped dining table are oriented towards the window, which wraps around a corner of the room, maximising the view. The moulded chairs add an informal vibe to the space.
The master bedroom has IPS on the walls finished in an olive green colour, in keeping with the idea of being close to nature. “It was possible to use a dark colour like this only because of the windows enveloping the room and the natural light flooding in,” says Rushda. The wardrobe is in polished bison board, with the unfinished surface being retained. The bathroom too has IPS treated walls to complement the predominantly white backdrop.
Both children study in boarding schools, but have rooms which they can look forward to returning to in the vacations. In the son’s room, the height of the ceiling has been fully exploited by creating a loft above the bathroom, to house the bed. Since this bath didn’t exist earlier, the idea of a second level was a corollary.
This fun space has an exposed brick wall which declares the comfortable back-to-basics ambience, shorn of gloss. “The bathroom door was constructed in a sliding barn door fashion, with a window of mottled glass allowing light to filter in,” says Rishita.
The daughter’s room has tiled flooring with a vintage feel. “The cheerful blue patterned cement tile is from Bharat Flooring. A delicate custom made wrought iron four poster highlights the height which the apartment enjoys. Juxtaposed with graphic art and flowers, this room is an airy sanctuary,” says Rushda. This en suite bath has rough anti-skid stone finish tiles in a beige colour. The vanity wall is accentuated by a stone highlighter and brass lamps. The Venetian mirror lends a feminine touch to an otherwise earthy space.
“We sourced the old nautical elements in the apartment from Chor Bazar, whereas the graphic posters belonged to the client,” says Rishita. Many of the posters stand on ledges, backs of sofas, or even on the floor, rather than being hung formally on the walls. “This is not an ostentatious space,” adds Rushda.
The dominating sensibility is earthy, warm, laidback, incorporating elements that reinforce its identity. The balance between simplicity and sophistication calms frazzled nerves and rejuvenates with the ambience of peace and calm.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs Kunal Bhatia