Take a tour of this New Delhi home designed by Shivani Dogra that shows you how to work the colours of the season in your decor
For those wondering how to pair this season’s on-trend colours – aqua and teal with soft furnishings, would do well to take cues from Patricia and Samuel Mathai’s New Delhi residence designed by Shivani Dogra. With a basic palette consisting of teal and aqua blue, the interiors reflect an instinctive understanding of how colours can transform an interior space, open it up and give it the illusion of space. The result is a home that reflects what the homeowners wanted from the start of the design process – adapting a more contemporary style to their home, while keeping a safe distance from traditional Indian décor.
The homeowners are a well-travelled couple with two children; Samuel is a successful businessman while Patricia is an NID graduate from one of the first batches. Between the two of them, each was particular about what they wanted in their decor. Finding a mid-way solution was key to the final design.
“Patricia wanted a space that was colourful. She was unafraid to use bright colour. Her husband however, wanted things more sober. We chose the middle path with a 45 percent tilt towards Patricia’s choice of colour,” says Shivani.
The furnishings were largely sourced from Good Earth. Shivani had a colour palette in mind when she started, consisting mainly of aqua, teal, magenta, grey, peacock green and hues that went with these main colour choices.
As the project got underway, the architecture of the house and the dining room posed major constraints. The dining room was in the middle of the house with no natural light. It was surrounded by the living room and the bedrooms and a room that was visible to anyone visiting the space. It had to be done right, despite there being little that could be done to structurally alter the space for more light.
“We couldn’t structurally alter this room to let in more light since it was surrounded by other private rooms and a shaft. We set about by first changing the flooring and the walls to white which automatically opened up the space. To this we added bright pops of colour and carefully chosen artefacts, soft furnishings and flowers which were cheerful and made the room more welcoming,” recalls Shivani.
There were a number of structural elements that were modified to suit the new design. The flooring was changed from brown to white. The windows of the home were changed to a simpler style, to readjust the air conditioners which were a bit of an eyesore in their initial positions. The main drawing room window and door was changed to let in more light and to simplify a previously complex arrangement. Mirrors were added to areas that seemed cramped on space, to give an illusion of space. An older, unnecessarily carved POP cornice was removed; an open kitchen was changed into an enclosed one and the bathrooms were re-done. The doors were repolished, hardware changed, stripped of previous mouldings and some of them even painted.
The family wanted a desk and seating arrangement in every bedroom and a living room that could accommodate up to 10 guests. The bedrooms were designed keeping in mind the preferences of their occupants. Their daughter Stephanie wanted a simple bedroom in a blue palette, with no pictures. Gingham curtains and an old desk were additions to this scheme.
Patricia and Samuel had very different views on the colour for the master bedroom – while the former wanted yellow and a lot of bright hues, Samuel wanted a neutral toned space. The final decision was made to stick to a minimal use of yellow. “The colours of this room ranged from teal to mustard and aqua – colours that were similar in tone to the rest of the house, yet completely the room’s own. We turned an old double bed into a four-poster and also created areas for seating and a desk,” says Shivani. The cupboard was given a coat of teal to change it from it’s original brown. The chairs were reupholstered to suit the new palette.
A gallery wall was employed in the master bedroom with prints that evoked nature, music or the outdoors, “Something happy to wake up to every morning,” exclaims Shivani.
The bedroom and the living room are Patricia’s favourite spaces, while her husband loves the dining area which is where he does his reading and writing.
For Shivani, this has been a project that’s been challenging and satisfying at the same time. “Interior design is not instantly gratifying; it takes months before you see your vision come to life and a day to enjoy it,” she smiles. With a happy client by her side though, this labour of love has been well worth the effort.