HOUSE OF WON­DERS

IN AC­ITY BOUND BY DIVER­SITY, IT’S HARD TO STAND OUT AND CRE­ATE YOUR OWN SPACE. SIM­PLY MUM­BAI TELLS YOU HOW YOU CAN DO THIS BY PER­SON­AL­IS­ING YOUR HOME. GO OFF­BEAT, WEAVE IN MEM­O­RIES AND BE AD­VEN­TUR­OUS.

India Today - - SIMPLY MUMBAI COVER STORY -

MAKE ROOM

If you live in Mum­bai, your first prob­lem, only sec­ond to the traf­fic, is space. Keep­ing this in mind, in­te­rior de­sign­ers to­day are com­ing up with stylish, yet ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions. “We have to work on the height as­pect rather than the length and width of the room,” says Ni­har Me­hta, owner and CEO, Tribal Route, a life­style store that sells out-of-the-box ware.

Floor to ceil­ing wardrobes in the bed­room, and mod­u­lar shelves go­ing as high as they pos­si­bly can in the kitchen for lesser and more rarely used stuff, will cre­ate a lot of space and also neatly hide the clut­ter. Another use­ful tip is to pick up mul­ti­pur­pose fur­ni­ture. “I once turned a har­mo­nium as a base for a low cof­fee ta­ble as there was no place to store it,” says Shee­tal Bathija, in­te­rior de­signer and pro­pri­etor of Threads and Homez (Ghar), an ex­ten­sion of the fash­ion brand Threads N Homez, which deals

with in­no­va­tive dé­cor and home fur­nish­ings. Also, us­ing an an­tique em­bel­lished chest as a cen­tre or side ta­ble would give your liv­ing room a rus­tic yet con­tem­po­rary ap­peal. Opt for col­lapsi­ble shoe stands and so­facum-beds with stor­age where you can tuck away your spar­ingly used linen.

Bathija also works on a con­cept of lay­er­ing stor­age cab­i­nets (cab­i­nets hid­den be­hind cab­i­nets). She says a sim­ple and pocket friendly op­tion is to in­dulge in a quick au­tumn clean­ing. “When things are grouped to­gether in an or­gan­ised man­ner, space just gets cre­ated! You can use vin­tage boxes, or make your own with old shoe boxes,” adds Sand­hya Gor­thi of Sanc­tum, a store where one can browse through uniquely crafted fur­ni­ture us­ing ex­per­i­men­tal com­bi­na­tions of tex­tures, ma­te­rial and colours.

NAT­U­RALLY YOURS

While com­plain­ing about Mum­bai’s in­fra­struc­ture, clogged drains and pol­lu­tion makes for a con­ver­sa­tion starter over drinks, it is time choose our fur­ni­ture and furnin­sh­ings keep­ing in mind the en­vi­ron­ment. Eco-friendly ideas are easy on the wal­let and can also be cus­tomised to suit one’s per­son­al­ity.

Buy a wicker or cane sofa set for your liv­ing room and get it pol­ished to the colour of your choice. You could spruce th­ese up with quirky cush­ions and colour­ful up­hol­stery—jute or cot­ton, if you feel par­tic­u­larly af­fec­tion­ate to­wards our en­vi­ron­ment. Th­ese are nearly half the price of reg­u­lar liv­ing room fur­ni­ture and can be made to yet look edgy, ca­sual and op­u­lent, de­pend­ing on how you go about the fur­nish­ings.

Head over to Sanc­tum, where Gor­thi uses re­cy­cled wood for fur­ni­ture. “Old win­dows be­come the doors of a cup­board, mis­matched strips of wood from ship decks make a ro­bust and quirky cof­fee ta­ble or bench,” she

says. Be a true green cru­sader and choose cane or sabai mats in­stead of ex­trav­a­gant car­pets. Th­ese could add char­ac­ter to any room. Fi­nally, and most ob­vi­ously, dot your home with plants. Ask your friends to gift you saplings in­stead of flow­ers and your home will in­stantly feel cooler, greener, and—if you use in­ter­est­ing bot­tles as planters—far more unique.

While you do up your home with new and stylish fur­nish­ings, be sure to trans­form your life­style into a more en­vi­ron­ment friendly one as well. Buy elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances that con­sume less power, re­cy­cle old cans and bins cre­atively for some off-beat dé­cor and steer clear of plas­tic as far as pos­si­ble.

BE YOUR OWN CRAFTS­MAN

No one knows your home bet­ter than you. Take time some­day and chan­nelise your cre­ative en­ergy to trans­form a space to suit your per­son­al­ity that re­flects your life­style. This will also prove to be an af­ford­able op­tion.

If you are ex­per­i­ment­ing with wood and tex­ture, Me­hta of Tribal Route says mango wood is more eco-friendly than oth­ers; it is also lighter and can be stained to the colour of your choice. He also rec­om­mends us­ing rub­ber wood as an al­ter­na­tive to ply­wood. “It is de­rived from the non­pro­duc­tive rub­ber tress that have been felled to give way to new trees,” he says. Another thing that is now glam­ourised in films and pop cul­ture is paint­ing your own walls. Get to­gether with some friends and ex­per­i­ment with colours and pat­terns. Pick a wall and use the brush in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions to cre­ate tex­tures, or pick up a sten­cil and ac­cent an al­ready painted wall with gold or sil­ver mo­tifs.

“You could also use a wardrobe door as your can­vas,” sug­gests Bathija. Themed de­coupage like black and white or sepia would work well. Throw up a col­lage of your fam­ily mem­bers or friends or chil­dren on chests of draw­ers or lit­tle boxes that store knick knacks. If you like, cov­er­ing a cen­tre ta­ble with a col­lage of your favourite film posters and record cov­ers un­der a glass top adds a lot of char­ac­ter to a space and makes

a bold state­ment.

Don’t hold back when you are sure an idea would work, be­cause Gor­thi ex­plains there are no rights or wrongs in the DIY space. Ev­ery­thing adds an aes­thetic ap­peal to any room, if done well. “You could even cre­ate in­no­va­tive lamp shades and bases with pa­per craft, old bot­tles and sieves,” she says.

For other light­ing ideas, pick up strings of fairy lights and braid lights of dif­fer­ent colours to line your win­dows and cut out pa­per to wrap the tinted lights in your home to throw in­ter­est­ing pat­terns on your walls.

OLD IS IN

Vin­tage is the new con­tem­po­rary. Tak­ing your granny’s old fur­ni­ture or uten­sils and re­pol­ish­ing or re­paint­ing them can in­stantly up your hip­ster cred and even add a glim­mer of old world so­phis­ti­ca­tion and charm to any space. Take old brass urns and use them as vases, or used wine bot­tles and painted grain bins to im­per­son­ate planters. How­ever, if you are the re­bel­lious sort, Gor­thi rec­om­mends call­ing your lo­cal tai­lor to cut up old cur­tains and morph them into eclec­tic cush­ion cov­ers. While this leaves you with the prob­lem of ex­posed win­dows, Me­hta sug­gests you use old saris as re­place­ments for cur­tains. Th­ese add

a splash of eth­nic to your room and can also be used as run­ners or throws. Use dis­carded ply or wooden slabs to make bay win­dows or a cre­denza (a side­board or low wooden cab­i­net). You could get th­ese pol­ished and painted to suit the tone of your room, and em­bel­lish them with planters, or pen stands cre­ated from sten­ciled steel glasses you can use as study ta­ble. This is a good space saver and more ef­fec­tive if it can be folded away into the wall once you’re done with it.

WHACKYJOBS

This is for those who are par­tic­u­larly ex­per­i­men­tal and bored of con­ven­tional de­signs. Your home should be some­thing to talk about, lit­tle knick- knacks that visi­tors take home and re­mem­ber about each room. Keep­ing it sim­ple is key, so you don’t go over­board—you don’t want your home to look like a yup­pie ad for bumper stick­ers.

Cush­ion cov­ers with lyrics of your favourite song im­printed on them are the cur­rent trend. Another rage is vin­tage posters and paint­ings of old time hero­ines. You could find th­ese online on Quirk Box or pop over to Bliss and buy your­self a set. Another way to make your space stand out is by us­ing un­usual wall dé­cor. “Take a col­lec­tion of old plates, empty wall frames, or coast­ers as a col­lage on any wall of your home,” says Gor­thi.

Your bath­room rug and even the wel­come mat can be made by braid­ing to­gether cut up strips of old Tshirts. Pick a colour pal­let and clothes you don’t wear, and get a tai­lor to help you out if you want a neater look.

And why should your pets be de­prived of all the fun? Gor­thi rec­om­mends cre­at­ing a bed for your pet with an old suit­case adorn­ing it with a bed cover that is cut up and stitched as a slip cover. Go crazy with colours and pat­terns for your pets as well.

At the end of a long and tir­ing day, home is where you re­turn for some much needed quiet and peace. Let the hues and the knick knacks cre­ate the din for you in a clut­ter-free spa­cious, en­vi­ron­ment friendly, per­son­alised and quirky cor­ner.

BY AS­MITA BAK­SHI

A MIN­I­MAL­IST, SMART BOOK­SHELF IS A GREAT SPACE

SAV­ING OP­TION

BE A GREEN CRU­SADER AND BUY WICKER OR

CANE SO­FAS

SEAT­ING OP­TIONS LIKE THIS CAN BE EAS­ILY

KEPT IN ANY COR­NER OF THE ROOM

COVER YOUR FUR­NI­TURE WITH FILM POSTERS TO ADD CHAR­AC­TER AND LIFE TO YOUR ROOM

KEEP THE KIDS ROOM PERKY AND UP­BEAT BY EX­PER­I­MENT­ING

WITH WALL PAINT AND DÉ­COR

BRIGHTEN UP THE LIV­ING ROOM BY OPT­ING FOR BOLD HUES

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