AN ODE TO TEXTILES
The Noida penthouse of Mandeep Nagi and David Housego, the duo behind textile label Shades of India, celebrates furnishings in all shapes, sizes and materials.
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Creativity comes in many shades, sizes and textures. It is the dance of light through a sheer curtain, the sheen of a raw silk sofa, the colour profusion of an intricately embroidered cushion or the woven story that an antique carpet whispers. For the dynamic duo behind the two-decade-old home textiles brand, Shades of India, it is as natural as breathing. The brand is led by David Housego, a former journalist with the Financial Times and Mandeep Nagi, who is the design director. If god is in the details then their stores are temples of good design; as swatches of fine fabrics in vibrant hues with intricate detailing line the shelves. So, when they moved into a penthouse in a high rise in Noida many eyebrows were raised. As most don’t equate builder-made flats with creativity and ingenuity. However, at the three-bedroom apartment, art and textiles blend seamlessly with colour and craft. This is clearly a home where creativity lives, breathes and makes its presence felt.
FIRST, THE WALLS CAME DOWN
“We wanted to be closer to our office and lead a quieter and pollution-free life, so Noida was the obvious choice,” says Nagi. She along with Housego and their daughter Meher moved in to this house a little over three years ago. “We did the flooring ourselves using terrazzo tiles for most of the living spaces, and used wood in the bedrooms. Flooring done, we broke down the walls to create more light and space,”
says Nagi. It was a four-bedroom plan; the guest bedroom was torn down and merged with the drawing to create a larger room bathed in natural light from the balcony. “It is now David’s reading corner, his favourite space in the home,” she says. Next, they opened up the family lounge. The wall it shared with the living room was broken down and replaced with folding glass and wood panels, the other wall facing the staircase was substituted with a floor-to-ceiling glass panel and door. The master bedroom was given two bathrooms instead of one. “It’s the secret to a happy marriage,” explains Nagi, who decided to extend the room and bring in the bathroom attached to the second guest bedroom. “David has a bathroom to himself while I share mine with the guests since it has two doors, one in my room, the other hidden behind a sliding mirror panel in the guest bedroom,” she says. THE NEW LAYOUT
As you enter through the corridor the dining is to the right and the living room to the left. This opens into the family lounge. The staircase that takes you up to the terrace which has a swimming pool and alfresco dining cum entertainment area, is opposite the family lounge. This lounge opens into a corridor flanked by three rooms, the guest bedroom, nineyear-old Meher’s room, and the master bedroom. They have about 3,000 sq ft of living space and the terrace is about 1,500 sq ft. “Storage was a priority for me so every room has enough space to accom-
modate the essentials. The second was to create light to highlight the various textiles and art,” says Nagi.
FABRICS TAKE CENTRESTAGE
Textiles are the showstopper in this home. Not many know that Housego spent a lot of time browsing through alleys, bazaars and hidden streets in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in search of furnishings, textiles, rugs and carpets. His personal collection has a large number of textiles in the shape of wall hangings, carpets, saddle bags, kilims and lengths of cloth. These are rotated as art throughout the home. Consider the family room and the space outside it. The grey cement wall in both these areas highlight the textiles hung on it. The family room has a lehnga with intricate work on it while the space right outside it has an antique textile, a vertical striped, silk bagh from Punjab. “The women started making them when their daughters were born, as a gift for their wedding day,” says Nagi. Even the living room has two beautiful rugs one of which is a 100-year-old Suzani from central Asia. “The walls have purposely been kept white in most areas so that the textiles and art pop out,” she adds. The basic upholstery is solid colour and not printed so as to highlight other textiles. However, one or two pieces such as the ajrak on mashru or the old embroidered silk chair in the living room are used to break the monotony.
CAREFULLY CURATED SPACES
From the antique teak bench and modern sofa cum bed, to contemporary, bright yellow chairs from architect Kohelika Kohli’s K2 and an old Kerala bed fashioned into a coffee table—furniture has been selected with care. The home is also filled with interesting odds and ends. Ostrich eggs, a souvenir from South Africa, head gear from Nagaland, tribal brooms, dried flowers and grass and insects in all shapes and forms are scattered across the rooms. “I love collecting items shaped like insects, I have a hand embroidered one from Vietnam, some are French. The idea is to let the guests discover something unexpected,” says Nagi. As for art, Tanjores, French paintings, photographs and artwork by Jack Milroy, KG Subramanyan and other contemporary Indian artists jostle for space. “It’s an eclectic, comfortable and welcoming home,” says Nagi; we couldn’t agree more.
LIVING IT UP Colourful upholstery and cushions create a lively drawing room, while the traditional lehnga hung on the wall adds character to the family room