Original and modern features quietly co-exist in this humble abode in the financial capital of Mumbai. Shonali Mahajan, founder of Studio Wodehouse has made a host of subtle new interventions to a modest 1900 sq ft apartment situated in the affluent neighbourhood of Mumbai. Designed to suit the freedom and expression of the clients—a young couple with children, the space exudes modern appeal with a charming raw magnetism. The colour and material palette are purposefully pared-down to create a harmonious and soothing environment that focuses on space and light to bring the property to life. Dominated by concrete, greys and a monochrome palette, bought to life with subtle hues of green.
The inspiration for dwelling came from popular Indian architect, Rajiv Saini’s design for fabric house Atmosphere in Mumbai replete with pine, white, black and bits of grey.
The builders had already provided a warm shell, so the designer had to work within the limits and parameters of existing material and space constraints. “The biggest challenge was making the experience seamless but also managing to provide as much storage as the client required. We needed the small poky apartment with matchbox rooms and low ceilings to feel larger than it actually was and more expansive,” she says. We notice clean, stark lines in various spaces in the home with clean definitions and transitions between environments and clear demarcations. “I feel like walls and surfaces need to be more abstract, more fluid. Let the material speak for itself,” points out Shonali as we discern—an abstract sense of seamlessness in the apartment, leaving the architectural details uninterrupted—with raw textures such as marble-laden walls and flooring, brass accent pieces and even primitive sculptures that adorn the various spaces in the home. “I'm a big fan of raw, textured, earthy, natural materials. I find them extremely sensuous and real and there’s something very eternal about them,” adds the designer.
As you enter the living room, painterly marble slabs that deft neatly onto the walls replace conventional wall art pieces. A sculpture from Essajees and contemporary lamp from Arjun Rathi ties the whole room together. The dining area holds a rustic exuberance and features Phillips antiques resting against the wall, along with antique portrait busts on the counter that seems like it’s straight out of the Common Era. Arranged in a disciplined alignment, they add a much-needed drama to the otherwise muted space. Tread a few steps into the master bedroom— an extension of the house, which brings back the exotic marble wall as a backdrop to a frameless metal bookshelf which was customised for the room. Traces of blue and green hues run in most areas of the space.