De­vel­oper meets the de­signer

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - ESTATES - Nam­rata Kohli let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com n

What is a dream home? Not the best lo­ca­tion in town and the big­gest floor plates on of­fer. But a dream home is one that helps user cre­ate a space as stylishly as pos­si­ble with­out hav­ing to in­vest too much time.

At least for this genre of “time poor money rich” in­di­vid­u­als who “want to have the cake and eat it too,” as a spokesper­son from DLF puts it, “Of course at an added cost. What the cus­tomer gets is a fully fur­nished unit with furnishing, fur­ni­ture, fit outs, lights, giz­mos and gad­gets and home dé­cor and the works. The home­buyer can just move in with clothes and start liv­ing.”

So far, de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects were roped in to do up the façade, com­mon ar­eas, and the build­ing ex­te­rior leav­ing aside the task of de­sign­ing home in­te­ri­ors to in­di­vid­u­als. How­ever to­day de­vel­op­ers are pro­vid­ing the cus­tomer with an op­tion of de­sign­ing in­te­ri­ors of in­di­vid­ual units. De­vel­op­ers are ty­ing up with well-known names in in­te­rior de­sign in­dus­try who fill in the gap be­tween a raw apart­ment and a live­able one, be­sides lend­ing their stamp of ‘aun­then­ti­cated’ de­sign­ing.

Take the case of DLF Crest by DLF5 at Park Drive, Gu­ru­gram, which has three and four bed­room apart­ments, with pri­vate decks.

The high­light of the project is the four tem­plates of de­sign they have in dif­fer­ent styles by four de­sign­ers. There are four styles of apart­ments by de­sign­ers namely Sarita Handa, Elle Decor, Apart­ment9 run by Mayank and Anuja and Iqrup and Ritz.

In a Sarita Handa de­signed apart­ment, ev­ery room comes in a dif­fer­ent theme - the sa­fari in den, botan­i­cals in guest bed­room, French in master bed­room, Moroc­can in the third bed­room et al. She says while de­sign­ing the unit, she was aspir­ing to cre­ate spa­ces that are open and invit­ing, spa­cious and airy and es­sen­tially, a vis­ual treat. There are over-scaled wall mir­ror, “worn” leather fur­ni­ture, fine em­broi­dered de­tails on the high­lighted dec­o­ra­tive ac­ces­sories like pil­lows, cur­tains, oc­ca­sional chairs!

Talk about what cus­tomers want to­day, Handa says it’s most im­por­tant to un­der­stand how peo­ple live to­day- “Life is very busy and fast tracked; peo­ple are on the move and have ac­cess to world-wide trends. The home needs to re­flect this in com­bi­na­tion with easy com­fort and beau­ti­ful, use­ful de­sign. The com­mon spa­ces of the home like liv­ing room, din­ing room, out­door bal- conies/ter­races tran­si­tion into each other as op­posed to be­ing sep­a­rate en­ti­ties. We have kept this vibe in mind and the cus­tomers love that!”

How much of a pre­mium are they charg­ing the cus­tomer? The DLF Spokesper­son says that de­pend­ing upon the de­sign tem­plate that the cus­tomer chooses, it can range any­where from ₹60 lakhs to ₹1 crore.

The spokesper­son says their tar­get au­di­ence is var­ied. It’s not just about the NRIs any­more. The In­dian cus­tomers are well trav­elled and well aware of what they want their spa­ces to look like. With lives get­ting busier and peo­ple be­ing more aware of what the trends are and what their or­di­nal favourites are, we be­lieve that our cus­tomer to­day is some­one who is in con­nect with their aes­thet­ics and is look­ing to chan­nel the same in their space.”

Other de­vel­op­ers are also bring­ing on board de­sign­ers for do­ing in­te­ri­ors of apart­ments. “We have com­mit­ted about 10% of the to­tal res­i­dences to brand Ver­sace Home and for the rest, we are ty­ing up with lead­ing names in the In­dian de­sign in­dus­try for do­ing the in­te­ri­ors.”

How open is the In­dian cus­tomer to such con­cepts and what has been the ex­pe­ri­ence in the past?

An in­dus­try in­sider re­veals how the projects launched by AIPL which roped in lead­ing names from de­sign in­dus­try or even FTV homes went flat.

Real estate con­sul­tant Ramesh Menon who does trans­ac­tions in hi end homes es­pe­cially farm­houses, shares an anec­dote where a top de­signer was en­rolled for a farm­house project by a de­vel­oper and he quoted a fee of Rs 2 crore only to find no tak­ers. Menon says – “I am not sure if the In­dian cus­tomer finds value in the huge pre­mium?”

So­cial sci­en­tist Anushka Chad­dha says– “Home is a space ruled by dik­tat of the lady and she gen­er­ally does not take any­one else’ dik­tat. The man has broad ideas about what this space should look like, but it’s the woman who is the mi­croplan­ner and the macro-ex­ecu­tor. How­ever, it may not mat­ter that much to a man, whose task is re­stricted to mainly is­su­ing the cheque, and whether it’s in the name of wife or de­signer, its in­con­se­quen­tial. Al­beit if it makes too big a hole in the pocket, it mat­ters to him as well.”

DE­PEND­ING ON THE TEM­PLATE CHO­SEN BY THE CUS­TOMER, SUCH HOUSES CAN RANGE FROM ₹60 LAKHS TO ₹1 CRORE

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