A regal reverie: Celebrity interior designer Shabnam Gupta transforms a Hyderabad bungalow into Peacock Life’s flagship store

DEC 20, 2023 | By Virender Singh
Two six-feet colourful elephants, terracotta planters and stone urlis flank the entranceway to the store; Photography by Ricken Desai
The entire store is lit up in warm white tones to ensure that the products remain the centre of attraction; Photography by Ricken Desai
The store design is key in bringing alive the narrative of craft and culture; Photography by Ricken Desai
The entire store is lit up in warm white tones to ensure that the products remain the centre of attraction; Photography by Ricken Desai
The deliberate preservation of the bungalow's structural charm, coupled with the meticulous curation of thematic rooms, ensures a shopping experience that transcends the conventional; Photography by Ricken Desai
The Blue Room has a cornice with vignettes of the natural world done up in breathtaking refulgence; Photography by Ricken Desai

Homegrown décor boutiques seem to have rediscovered cultural context. From avant-garde, antique galleries set in decade-old bungalows to colonial furniture emporiums inhabiting heritage edifices, the retail ecosystem has witnessed a substantial metamorphosis in the way design and retail cross over each other. These stores embrace the narrative potential of vernacular architecture, a home-like setting and period-specific accents to help consumers visualise how the merchandise might look like in their own living spaces.

Celebrity interior designer Shabnam Gupta with her dog in Peacock Life’s flagship Hyderabad store; Photography by Ricken Desai

Reviving a vintage bungalow

Steeped in the heritage of nizams and old-world opulence, interior designer Shabnam Gupta’s Peacock Life recently acquired a 6,000 sq ft bungalow in Hyderabad, where her bespoke curios feel at ease to radiate the legendary artisanship that our country is known for. “We actually retained most of the structure,” Gupta notes. “Except for opening up big windows to bring in a lot of light.”

Sprawled across two storeys, this flagship atelier incorporates warm white tones and textured grey on most of its walls, ensuring their statement pieces command undivided attention. Tumbling out from the forgotten vaults of history, Gupta’s upcycled chiffoniers, cabinets and murals exude artistic sensibilities that remain quintessentially Indian.

A cluster of chandeliers further complements the Grand Staircase with hand-painted walls in dull gold and silver; Photography by Ricken Desai


The arrangement of the store is done in the form of a home to help customers visualise the whimsical world of Peacock Life in their homes; Photography by Ricken Desai

Echoes of nature’s bounty

Gatekeeping the entryway, two six-feet tall carved elephants from Jaipur, terracotta planters and stone urlis escort the unsuspecting visitor indoors. A richly foliated wooden ceiling — harkening back to Buddhist temples in Myanmar — looms overhead as one takes in the embroidered sofas, trunk coffee tables and sleeper wood consoles. The tour de force, however, is the Grand Staircase that visually unifies the lobby. It achieves this effect through a cluster of chandeliers and a golden-leaf decal in the backdrop, emanating a sense of restrained splendour.

Two tapering terraces situated on the first level underwent expansion, culminating in a grand Georgian glass door. This addition melds the indoor and outdoor spaces, enhancing the overall spatial continuity. The backyard thrums with vibrancy, its bucolic wilderness blooming upon the wallpaper in several rooms of the studio. Chevron motifs adorn mounted panels, drenched in vibrant hues reminiscent of parrots and peacocks, paying homage to the Pochampally Ikat legacy.

You can simply transport any part of the living room, foyer or bar to your home seamlessly; Photography by Ricken Desai


The entire ambience is created with unique one-off pieces, embroidered sofas and geometric wall panels; Photography by Ricken Desai

Each room a new chapter

“We’ve treated each room differently,” Gupta elaborates. “but the Red Room was the most difficult to curate because the original structure itself came with this traditional conical roof design.” Subverting functionality, a Kutchi banjara ghagra (skirt) was hung as a billowy art installation, pirouetting above an assortment of seating choices from sturdy Chesterfields to solitary make bouclé chairs. An exploratory layout that beckons visitors to engage with conceptual chambers — each showcasing a diverse assemblage of “eccentric, world travelled crazy designs” — is what distinguishes Peacock Life from the other studios of its ilk.

The studio sustains a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary designs while closely working with Indian artisans; Photography by Ricken Desai


Photography by Ricken Desai

The Blue Room, endearingly known as Shabnam Blue, carries on the tropical imagery with panthers loping along the cornice in life-affirming vignettes. The Textile Room, draped in taupe mulmul fabric, showcases the elegance of form with a colossal chandelier asserting its presence with magisterial authority.

By such means, a free-standing bungalow enables the composition of thematic episodes, drawing from wellsprings of the city’s former grandeur.

Photography by Ricken Desai


Delve into the stories embedded in these tropical-inspired patterns, creating an engaging dialogue between the interior and the exterior; Photography by Ricken Desai

Soaring new heights

This eclectic haven attests to the enduring allure of Indian aesthetics, spreading its talons in this new abode to reconnoitre a world where design has become an immersive journey. As for what’s next, Shabnam Gupta has an exciting lineup: two international projects, a restaurant in Manali and an imperial 13-storey private residence in Pali Hill, showcasing the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of Peacock Life.

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