Fadd Studio’s Farah Ahmed crafts a colourful sanctuary filled with memories and nostalgia for her home in Bengaluru

AUG 2, 2021 | By Sharayu Shinde
Simple grey Pandamo walls flank the main suite of the house. A striking green headboard, upholstered by Warick is the statement element. The bench, upholstered in The Pure Concept Home furnishings enhance the hand stained, iridescent wardrobe mirrors; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam
Vicky Venkatesh paints an elegant, watercolour inspired mural on the wall. Planter from Beruru enhances the viridescence of the space. A carved bark from Hybiscus Naturesspace and souvenir shell necklaces from Bali, sprinkle rustic touches and diversifies the material palette; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam
A splendid floral wallpaper from the Designer’s Guild directs the colour palette of the kids’ playroom. The room, which will eventually be the young daughter’s abode, is a colourful extravaganza with blush pink, pista green and dove grey adorning the walls; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

“I am my worst client,” declares Farah Ahmed Mathias, who is the principal designer at FADD Studio that she spearheads with Dhaval Shellugar as co-founders. The EDIDA India Interior Designers of the Year 2019, have been instrumental in shaping the course of decor in India. Yet, for Ahmed, designing her own home was an immense challenge. “I am a perfectionist. Every inch matters to me. Designing my home was an interesting process as the space is designed around our habits as additions and changes transpired gradually, after moving in,” says Ahmed.

Born out of the designer’s fervent dedication to craft a perfect family home, this 7000 sq ft Bengaluru apartment is quaint, seeped in old school charm and peppered with contemporary sensibilities. The passion project was a two year long, intuitive process that has been driven by Ahmed’ and her husband Torun Mathias. 

The design follows no particular theme, rather is a melting pot of memories and nostalgia. The designer began work on the house while pregnant with her second child. She now cherishes the many anecdotes and memorabilia that came of the process. 

White ceiling with cornices and white marble floor perfectly frame the blue walls with lush chairs from Magari on either side of the painting done by a Spanish street artist. The lighting track is tailor made by The Purple Turtles to eliminate wall lights; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

Ahmed, a native Bengaluru resident, acknowledges the city’s eccentric influence on the design direction. “I grew up in this city and a lot of things that I chose were predispositions in my mind; there were a lot of subliminal choices bringing in the nostalgia. The theme revolves around my favourite things and there is an undeniable element of tradition to it all.”

Indian marble sourced from HMG Stones is used to craft the dining table—the jewel of the uncluttered dining room against the backdrop of the stunning artwork by Prasanna as a chandelier by The Purple Turtle bedecks the area; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

“There are no white walls in the house!” exclaims the proud designer. Perfected after a  venturesome 36 samples of trying multiple shades in daylight, white light, yellow light and so on; the exquisite colour palette is indeed a work of art. Pastels weave magic into the earthy neutrals, all bound together with artful sprinkles of white and gold. 

The kitchen exudes vintage allure with a Designers Guild wallpaper in place of dado tiles. Accents like brass handles and large brass lights unify the space with the rest of the house; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

Characterised by a subtle colour block, the living room’s serene blue is offset by a preppy blush pink. A brass band demarcates the deeper shades on the low end of the walls. The structural nooks of the space are tactfully modelled into functional zones. Warm undertones of brown and a delicate peach set apart these crevices. The earthy tones break the monotony while also enhancing the depth of the surrounding blue.

Tucked away in a nook, the New York inspired bar is drenched in a sumptuous shade of brass. The barstools from Sunri Lifestyle are repurposed from metal buckets that also accommodate storage space within. Mini Sculptures from Sotohaus, Goa complete the fun and functional corner; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

Hand painted by native artist Vicky Venkatesh, the floral mural is the undisputed star of the main bedroom.The white marble floors and exposed plaster walls create a seamless canvas. The emerald headboard pops against the wall and the rustic wooden details highlight the mid century modern influences.   

A table from The Purple Turtles, rug from Carpet Kingdom, Sofa from Forazza and chairs from Good Earth ensure a comfortable seating cluster under the white pergola. The emerald green light from Arjun Rathi and the locally sourced pendant light illuminate the indoor-outdoor space; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

The kids’ rooms are pragmatic, dynamic spaces that intend to grow with the toddlers. A testament to the designer’s daring colour choices, all the walls in the daughter’s room are painted in soft hues of pink, green and grey; picked from the opulent wallpaper. A medley of greys and blues, distinct to only the most discerning eyes, spreads a whimsical charm in the son’s room. 

“The light above was acquired after several failed attempts at finding the original German stained pink lantern,” says Farah. A curation of textured stone from HMG Stones and a hand carved sculpture from Bali grace the wall; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

One of the designer’s favourite spaces, the 3500 sq. ft palatial outdoor deck and garden, allows the family to get the best of the pleasant Bengaluru weather. Ideal for children’s playtime, hosting parties and quiet afternoons, the garden benefits from multiple planters that double as seating. An additional seating cluster under the white pergola is flanked by lush tropical greens. A rich, earthy pink inspired by the city of Jaipur, graces the outdoor walls. The intricate lattice and graceful floral print on the outdoor upholstery embrace the royal influence.

An ever evolving collection of the family’s quirky artifacts and gifts hangs atop a bone inlay console from Chairs and Company; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

Ahmed concludes that designing their home has been a journey, not a destination. New ideas and fun innovations are always welcome. Sans the looming pressure of upsetting a client, it is her playground to undertake daring experiments, make mistakes and have fun. “As a designer I like everything, I have no favourite styles. So it is really hard for me to say that this is what I want, and this is what I want for the next ten years. Our home is an evolving design that will eventually grow with us,” concludes Ahmed.

Scroll to see more images from Farah Ahmed Mathia’s residence

Bold and Baroque, the entrance to the apartment is a flamed brass finish by Wismaya. The slate on either side and a glass-work finish on the frame highlight the rich shades of the door; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


An old temple door, sourced from Sunri Lifestyle, is repurposed as the tabletop, paired with carefully designed, shabby chic chairs by Wismaya; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


The capacious outdoor decks are surrounded by lush tropical flora and are the family’s go to for a laid back family dinner; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


Engulfed in fresh green vines and shrubs, the outdoor pergolas feature table from The Purple Turtle, a coffee tables from Charis and Company and chairs from Good Earth; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


At the far end is a kids play area. One side is planted with grass and the other has the old pink tiles; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


With a century old tree in the central planter, the L-shaped garden benefits from many utilitarian, multilevel structures; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


A soft colour blocked blue transitions into a textured grey in the main bedroom; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


Iridescent, hand stained mirrors on the wardrobe shutters visually open the space. An interesting play of textures is reflected in the varied material selection; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


White bench by Magari coupled with a chair by Cane Boutique makes a functional study.
Curtains from Pure Concept Home offsets the the colours of the wall mural; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


The white bed, tailor made by Magari, and the dreamcatcher by SpokeWoven complement the blue walls of the son’s room; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


Blush pink wardrobe adorns the nursery. Handles from IndianShelf match the deep blue in the bathroom; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


A beautiful montage of glazed tiles, sourced from Ram Ceramics bring the funk and flair to the nursery bathroom; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


The study of the kids’ room, an online school essential, doubles as the occasional changing table. Open storage is a fun addition that displays the toys and quirks; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


A 20 year old Prussian wrought iron bed imparts a vintage edge to the blush pink room, that occasionally functions as a guest room; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam


Pastel pink basin from Cielo is a vibrant statement maker in the powder room. A taupe and grey colour blocking in the cement finishes continues the colour blocking theme of the house; Photographs by Gokul Rao Kadam

If the evocative pastels tugged the strings of your heart, get ready to fall in love with The Grey House designed by (de)CoDe architecture