Inside Ashiesh Shah’s eclectic mini duplex in Mumbai
Working for myself is the easiest job: I’m not demanding, I’m not indecisive, and I always agree with me. There are no expectations of time and aesthetics. I’m allowed to think freely and I’m not answerable to anyone. I personally don’t need to have a perfect space. What I do care about is light, art and textures. I think a designer’s home should have a raw quality – if the house is too polished, you’re cheating yourself.
Sometimes it is not what you buy but the things you find that ultimately give you the most pleasure. I frequently pocket a rock or a piece of wood for its colour and composition. The secret to keeping your eyes open is to keep your life open to adventure. I love exploring the unexpected; turning an old leopard coat into a big sofa pillow, cutting up a serape from a trip to Mexico, an old sari or an intricately patterned Japanese obi....
Here are 6 strokes to help you create your own masterpiece.
1. Use colours that dissolve into the background. I find white to be the most interesting, it erases boundaries, expanding space. Walls disappear and you are left with what is most important – people and furnishings. The energy goes to the centre of the room.
2. Mirrors enlarge space and create mystery. Angling a large one on a blank wall is a great way to create visual maximisation.
3. I rarely pick printed fabrics as they define the area, visually reducing it, and distract you from the shape of furniture. Patterns isolate individual pieces whereas solids allow them to merge into the surroundings.
4. Cushions are a wonderful way to bring a blast of hues or motifs into a neutral room. Varying sizes generate interest.
5. Gather everyday objects over touristy souvenirs on your travels to get a quirky collection going. Display them together to make a stronger statement than dispersing them around a room. When you arrange things in different ways, you see them afresh.
6. My rule of thumb is to hang or rest pictures three inches above a table or sofa, but tweaking this rule and experimenting adds drama. Sometimes I prop them against the wall so they can be moved around easily.