Explore the city’s best designed celebrity homes with SIMPLY PUNE
Neelam Seolekar, who runs Oxford Properties, has designed her sprawling mansion putting her interior design knowledge to full use. As you wind your way through narrow lanes and travel deep into a leafy housing society, you are struck by the imposing mansion which is the Seolekar family home.
Inspired by a Victorian- Grecian architectural style, this house blends contemporary with heritage elements. There is a a cowshed, a well and a stable for their retiring race horse in the deliberately untrimmed garden area, a charming nod to quaint old world living.
Step inside, and a world of expensive artifacts, artworks and sparkling silverware greets you as does a dazzling Swarovski chandelier hanging from the painted dome- like ceiling. As you walk past the lobby into the living area, artifacts of various vintage collected from the world over stand along walls and are displayed on shelves.
One glance around the house and you know that the Seolekars love art. Paintings by MF Husain and other Indian masters share space with younger artists on the walls. “We all have our own take on art, so we have varied artists up on our walls,” she says. The look of the home is regal, and Neelam’s extensive collection of silverware and crockery is proudly displayed in the living areas. But the the family’s two favourite spaces are the basement where the home the- atre is and the verandah where the family meets for their evening tea. “Our cellphones don’t work too well in the basement and that is what makes it the best place to unwind,” says Seolekar.
MYSTYLE “We wanted to bring the outdoors inside so the glass doors of the verandah reflect my garden, and we have painted images of the trees that we have in the lawn on the verandah walls.”
DWELLING IN THE WOODS
Its name, Sukoon that translates as calm, describes fashion entrepreneur Rasika Wakalkar’s bungalow aptly. It is here that Wakalkar spends long hours watching the clouds build patterns in
the sky or spends full moon Kojagiri nights hosting classical musical performances at the garden amphitheatre. Nestled in a wooded expanse just outside the city, the two- storeyed bungalow sits atopa slope and is awarded with a breathtaking view of the hills. The main house is Mediterranean in its look and feel with pristine white walls and an blue wash on the roof, which, she adds, is her educationist husband Chetan’s contribution to the home decor. Rasika says the house is a labour of love and recalls how she was at the site, supervising the constructions from the first excavation at the plot.
“I put a lot of thought into the smallest aspects, from the design and the colour of the grills to the brick wall near the bar,” says the fashion entrepreneur. The Mediterranean touch continues into the interiors as well. The balcony grills have a distinct French café look with paisley designs and a dull green- gold finish. A fireplace in the living room adds a touch of warmth to the décor, which is simple, highlighted by bright curtains and souvenirs collected by the family during their holidays. Wakalkar says she loves the uncluttered style of her home interiors since the “charm of the house is in the outdoors.”
The sloping gardens and the pool have the most spectacular view of the surrounding hills and valley. A walk around the garden brings in view the eclectic artifacts that the Wakalkars have collected over the years. Here, you find chairs that retain the original tree bark- finish and animal figurines made of stone scattered around the lush lawns. A wooden beer casket from Thailand now serves as a wine chiller. The tiny patio is the Wakalkars favourite place to unwind in the evenings, with a cup of steaming tea.
TOPTIP “I converetd parts of a bullock cart into a centre table. it’s a traditional Indian piece but I’ve blended it with the very European look of the house.”
THE ARTIST’S ABODE
Italy- born Painter and Sculptor
A big, clay Ganesha greets you at painter and sculptor Shola Carletti’s cozy Koregaon Park row house. Her two dogs, Fiffy and Scooby follow suspiciously as you explore the house that gradually unfolds it treasure trove of paintings, artifacts and sculptures collected from artists across the world. Carletti is known for her gold textured works and these add warmth to the décor. Carletti can recount the story behind every artifact in her home. There is a painting by an Italian artist and a stone figurine which she got from a street artist in Chennai. Music playing all day in the background is a staple in the artist’s home for its “positive energies”. “I need a home that is comfortable and warm since I work from my house,” says Carletti, who first came to India in 1995 to study meditation. A narrow staircase leads
NEELAM SEOLEKAR IN
HER LIVING ROOM