Straight outta Sweden—Ankush Sharma plays a gracious host in the lush green garden of his century old home
DEC 5, 2023 | By Kashish Kaushal
If life isn’t a garden, what is it anyway? For Ankush Sharma, a native of Chandigarh, this massive 44,000 sq ft garden offered him the perfect setting to host garden parties.
With a background in corporate finance and stints with American Express and IKEA, Sharma overhauled the garden cottage within the house, meant solely to be used in summers and entertain his guests.
It all began when Sharma bought the house and you all would be surprised to know the cottage was previously used as a dump.
Even more surprising is that Sharma took upon himself to clean and paint it and he also scrubbed the floor for two months to get it ready for the housewarming party.
Revealing the initial ideas he had in mind for the outdoor space, Sharma divulges, “Nature should be the owner of the garden and I believe in guiding and not in manicuring.
For 100 years the house and the garden have lived in harmony. What I enjoy here is the charm of an older garden—replenished with full grown oak trees, apple, plums and pear trees.”
For his first party, he invited 70 people from across the world. “We had drinks and amuse-bouches in the sunny front garden where people could mingle.
For dinner, we followed the sun as we moved to the back garden. It was a day that I will always cherish as this was the first time I used the cottage where the buffet was presented,” adds Sharma.
A row of Jasmine bushes greets you at the entrance of the front garden which is landscaped to perfection. Meet the enormous 7 oval-shaped buxus right in the middle of the well-manicured garden. The focus point is this old tree that blooms every summer with pink flowers in abundance. The rear garden is more organic. This is where the wooden cottage lies in all its old Swedish charm. It is overlooked by a canopy of 100-year old oak trees that will live for another 100 years!
The cottage is divided into different sections, as one enters there are two rooms that have their own distinct purposes. The first room can be used as a lobby while the second room is where you can have some coffee or appetisers. Moving a level up, the main room is decorated like two sides of the same coin—masculine and feminine and they keep flipping. Sharma has tried his best to maintain the authenticity of an old Swedish cottage.
“I haven’t really disturbed the core elements and have kept them intact to create the environment it used to be in old times. So if you see any furniture, you know it’s very old, authentic and Swedish style,” he reveals.
The front garden was used for appetisers and the back garden was used for dinner at the housewarming party. Sharma put in weeks to prepare the food and cooked all of it himself while keeping control on other details as well.
“I typed the whole menu and the invitation cards were also hand painted by myself,” Sharma shares and also adds, “For me, a party is where food and table art come together. Indian spices and food sparkle on white porcelain! I love to experiment with how to serve on objects other than the serving plates. A good party for me is a where the food, the garden and people all blend into one.”
Since guests poured in from all over the world, Sharma wanted to treat all of them to authentic Indian cuisine, without compromising on spices or the flavours of the food. From food to decor, Sharma also drafted a contingency plan in case the weather decides to be unpredictable.
Highlighting decor elements from his garden party, the blue and white antique porcelain dining table was specially bought and he started buying silver cutleries two months in advance. Sharma wanted to stick to the T and abide by the vision he had in his head.
“Alongside preparing the menus, the food, the invitation cards, I started connecting all the dots as the cottage was the perfect melting pot for all things old, vintage and Victorian. Just like the dining table, everything I bought for that party was blue and white,” he further elaborates. Under the canopy of the flourishing trees, a close setup, lip smacking food topped with a stunning landscape view is food for the soul, quite literally.