SML Architects hits the right balance between functional and minimalism in this Mumbai home

JUN 13, 2022 | By Sneha Gandhi
The living room is characterised by an upholstered Pierre Jeanneret sofa, CH25 lounge chair by Hans Wegner, solid teak wood centre table and ply base side table with lapotra- finish black granite top built in-house by SML Architects, custom made jute rug by Akara Rugs, cushions and curtains by Saphed and artwork by Ravi Patro; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi
The tactile palette of the kitchen area includes built-in white marble-topped storage credenza that curves along the entrance column, polished plywood carpentry, open teak shelves, grey-veined white marble backsplash, black granite countertops, a fluted glass and teak pocket door hiding the pantry and brass ceiling spotlights; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

Hustle bustle, a term that aptly describes Mumbai and lost in this fast-paced crowd are couples from equally demanding professions craving a touch of hush and calma perpetual escape. 

When one such dynamic duo approached Mahek Lalan, Principal Architect at SML Architects, they desired nothing more than a simple, sensible home rooted in the sense of belonging. The resultant 900 sq ft New Cuffe Parade apartment, dubbed the Terracotta Earth House emerged as a sensory haven relishing solitude and reflection. 

“With the Terracotta Earth House, the endeavour has been to explore a perception of grounding both metaphorically and visually,” explains Mahek.

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An upholstered Pierre Jeanneret sofa governs the living room setup accompanied by solid teak wood centre table and ply base side table with lapotra- finish black granite tops built in-house by SML Architects, custom made jute rug by Akara Rugs, cushions by Saphed and artwork by Ravi Patro; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

Retreating from trendy fleeting designs, the home fosters an understated symmetry with clean lines and uncluttered spaces. Handpicked furniture with defined silhouettes and a rhythmic flow of materials create the illusion of a larger footprint.

Owing to the creative background of the family, the apartment experiments with functional minimalism immersed in an earthy palette. To balance the warmth of terracotta, a homogeneous grey hue ascends the wall. 


Channelling deliberate pauses in design, the entrance foyer does not immediately extend into the living room. Instead, one enters into the living following the marble-top credenza as it curves along the entrance column. Enveloped in a white and muted tone palette, the living room, dining area and kitchen embrace an open floor layout. 

The kitchen plays with a host of details such as the polished plywood carpentry, grey-veined white marble backsplash, a fluted glass and teak pocket door hiding the pantry; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

Reminiscent of the lady of the house’s time in Chandigarh, the renowned Jeanneret ‘Chandigarh Sofa’ takes centre stage in the living. The selection is vital, as Mahek reveals, “The dwelling’s minimalist demeanour celebrates pieces of furniture steeped in history, making an impactful debut”.

The jute rug with its rhythmic flow of patterns elevates the tactile appeal of the space. The minimal abstract art resonates with the hues of its surrounding while the lime green plants breathe live into the sun-kissed space. 

Brass ceiling lights illuminate the breakfast counter; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

Derived from a place of nostalgia, the kitchen wall is punctured to initiate interesting interactions via a breakfast table. While the open corner allows a sequential path of circulation, the pebble-esque bar stools function as both dining chairs and additional seats for immersive conversations in the living. 

Polished plywood in the carpentry, open teak shelves, grey-veined white marble, and black granite lining the countertops complete the textural oasis of the kitchen. To enunciate the unobstructed openness of the layout, a great deal of the kitchen storage is tucked away in the pantry section. 

SML Architects
The dining area houses a custom teak wood table by SML Architects matt polished black and white marble top, 108 chair set by Finn Juhl, Agra stone wall murals by the artist Rutva Joshi and pendant lights by Olie Living Lighting; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

A fluted, openable overhead unit cleverly hides the air conditioning unit. The teak and black metal shelves promptly display the family’s collection of curios, crockery and plants. The brass ceiling lights exemplify a sleek, utilitarian design. 

Decorated with a pair of woven cane pendant lights, the dining room serves as a quiet, homely niche. Taking cues from the Brutalist Architectural elements of a few of Chandigarh’s influential landmarks, a bespoke collage of rust-hued Agra stone wall murals adorn the dining wall.

SML Architects
Built in-house teak wood bed, and headboard by SML Architects paired with bedding from Saphed and artwork from Late Zarina Hashmi adorn the primary bedroom; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

Pursuing optimum comfort, the primary bedroom is illuminated by a soft light caressing a gentle aura. Set against a structural column, the woven cane and teak frame bed becomes the focal point of the room. Teasing a playful contrast to the stark rigidity of the column is an overarching wall lamp. 

SML Architects
Metal base with terrazzo top side top custom made and designed for the project by SML Architects along with an overarching lamp create a sleek look in the primary bedroom; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi


The guest room harbours a covertible bed and polished ply base table with white marble top built in-house by SML Architects and Pierre Jeanneret armchair along with cushions and curtains by Saphed and artwork by Siddharth Kerkar; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

The guest bedroom is both a lively lounge and a moment of quiet. Accentuated in tones of warm ochre, its summery white walls gradually transcend into matching greys. Polished teakwood triad shelves anchor themselves into the wall forging an ergonomic workspace. Mahek incorporates peripheral outdoor decks to keep out the harsh north-western light. 

SML Architects
Pierre Jeanneret armchair complements the workspace area; Photographs by Yadnyesh Joshi

SML Architects revive a romance between sentimentality and architecture-driven design to curate this inherently safe and snug home that instils intentional moments of stillness.

Loved the rooted philosophy of this home? Now check out this Pune home by Mind Manifestation Design flaunts curvy silhouettes and vernacular musings