In their Mumbai home, Kayzad Shroff and María León of SHROFFLEóN find common ground between life and design

DEC 25, 2023 | By Namrata Dewanjee
Kayzad and María in the dining area. In the niches behind are antique wooden door brackets from the couple's first trip to Rajasthan; Photography by Suleiman Merchant 
In the east-facing living space that floods with daylight, are two plush sofas from Natuzzi and Muuto over a silk carpet from Jaipur Rugs. The brass coffee tables are from De Castelli, the armchair from COEDITION, the decorative lights from Flos and the vase by Rooshad Shroff. Above the piano is a fabric sculpture by Gurjeet Singh; Photography by Pankaj Anand
In the living room, the light is from Foscarini, the sofa from Natuzzi, prints by Suleiman Merchant, the side table from COEDITION, the metal sculpture by Priya Gupta, the table lamp from Flos and the plates by Rooshad Shroff; Photography by Suleiman Merchant 
María in the dining area with the wall featuring the two antique Rajasthani door brackets behind her; Photography by Suleiman Merchant 
A glance from the living to the dining area reveals the wooden dining table from Natuzzi and dining chairs from AJSD, beyond which is a terrace overlooking the city. In the foreground shines the side table by Rooshad Shroff, the plush sofa from Natuzzi and the dramatic mild steel shelf with curios including candle stands from KOYStore, basalt sculpture by Hariram Baburao Phad and the sculpture of a head by Vibha Sauma; Photography by Pankaj Anand

Where does design end and life begin for an architect? We asked Kayzad Shroff and María Isabel Jiménez León, principal architects and co-founders of SHROFFLEóN for whom the act of designing the 1,350 sq ft Mumbai apartment was an exercise in creating a space that wraps around their lifestyle while still experimenting with the new. The resulting abode is articulated with a keen understanding of the life that is lived between the lines on a blueprint.

Kayzad and María in their Mumbai home; Photography by Suleiman Merchant

Carving out nuestra casa

“The apartment was previously owned by a company that had transformed it into an executive guest house. We had to pull all walls down, start from scratch and carve out new spaces that fitted our requirements,” María and Kayzad explain. On the tabula rasa overlooking what they describe as the “madness of Lower Parel”, the designers have crafted an oasis for themselves.

Kayzad Shroff in the living area. The sofa is from Muuto, the artwork by Tanya Goel and the light from Flos; Photography by Suleiman Merchant

Stepping through the main door, with the kitchen to your left, a passage separated by a ribbed-glass sliding door takes you into the living and dining space. Next to the violin and the piano in the living area, is a charming Christmas tree. Seville-born María says with visible elation that all she can think about is spending the holidays with her family in Spain. Directly opposite the festive decoration is the East facing terrace bringing in the warm and humid Bombay air (a far cry from any European white Christmas). 

María in the living area; Photography by Suleiman Merchant

A “spartan” palette, almost

The home is created with layers of natural material palette in a “palimpsest”, with a multiplicity of materials, colours and textures bringing dimension to what was once a flat surface. Choosing three materials, wooden floorings, black mild steel shelving units and a matte-polished heavy-grained marble, the designers create numerous permutations, juxtaposing them with lime-plaster walls and brass accents. The master bedroom follow the same austere language but on a more intimate scale.

However, the neutrals take a break when it comes to their 11-year-old son’s room. Accessed through an alcove, the colourful space has a bespoke bed and storage for his toys, books and video games.

Earthy tones permeate the home interjected by colours from the decor and works of art; Photography by Suleiman Merchant


In the son’s bedroom, the dhurrie rug from Jaipur Rugs and the decorative light from Aromas del Campo lend the space a playful appeal; Photography by Suleiman Merchant


Surrounded by toys, books and video games, the 11-year-old’s bedroom also sports a dhurrie rug from Jaipur Rugs and the decorative light is from Aromas del Campo; Photography by Suleiman Merchant

Intricacies in the Details

Throughout the home, the designers use materials to convey a hierarchy of space. For the master bathroom, they wanted to create a monolithic chamber where everything from the floor to the cabinet shutters was to be made of the same material. Apart from the architects studying the grain meticulously, they note that the help of the karigars here was indispensable. 

In the powder room where the space was constrained, they used Lassa White on the floor and walls letting the marble wash basin be the focus.

In the monolithic master bathroom, the sanitary ware is from Dornbracht and the Hardware is from SHROFFLEóN; Photography by Suleiman Merchant


The powder bathroom where the marble washbasin is the feature; Photography by Suleiman Merchant

Every object in its place

From the careful shadow between the horizontal and vertical planes of the home to the thoughtful curation of art, the architects wield a masterful attention to detail. The first piece of art you see when you enter is the playful sculptural head by Gurjeet Singh atop the piano. On the next wall, arranged on the geometric shelf, is a bronze breastplate along with other objets d’art.

The narrative thread running through the home is an interplay of contrasts, lush plants and straight lines, marble and mild steel, solids and voids. On the wall adjoining the dining area, this attribute is most visible. Here, a pair of antique wooden door brackets from the couple’s first trip to Rajasthan is placed in two niches carved between structural columns, dressed again in marble and mild steel. 

Above the metal sculptures by Priya Gupta on the side table from COEDITION hangs a light from Foscarini. On the wall are prints by Suleiman Merchant; Photography by Suleiman Merchant

However, sitting between beautiful family photographs and half-empty espresso cups placed on striking bronze coffee tables, you can’t help but wonder if the sign of mindful design is where it accommodates life. Or do the two meet at the threshold of inhabitation, where the mundane is made beautiful?

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