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It would be a fair assumption that, for anyone whose profession requires them to pretend to be someone else for a large part of their workday, home is a touchstone of reality, normalcy and authenticity. For actor Tamannaah Bhatia, nothing could be more real, or welcome than taking off the professional actor persona along with the make-up and just being herself; her home allows her to do just that. The actor who counts in her portfolio, the record-creating Baahubali, contemporary cinema’s success of mythic proportions, is a homebody. “The moment I enter my home I am just the daughter of the house, where I feel I can just let go and be,” she says of her home, a space her family moved into about eight years ago. “This home has been made entirely by my dad; he’s bought things from different places and put it together in a very contemporary, timeless way.” Which, she says, is a contradiction to her own preference for colour. “I am someone who loves colour, like adding some in by painting your doors differently, or doing up a wall.”
With muted colours, textured walls and floors, Tamannaah Bhatia’s home is an epitome of beauty and simplicity. The worn-out furniture adds character and warmth to her resting nest, the artistic canvas on the wall adds colour to break the monotony and the mirrors add depth to the cosy corners. But, her family is what turns it from a house into a home.
While the minimalism is a profound presence in this home design, Bhatia’s personal bedroom, and the dressing area outside it, are in entirely to her taste and style. But apart from the walls and the sofas and the sleek palette, the heart of this home is centred on the modern, pristine white kitchen where the family typically congregates. “I love sitting here with my mom and dad.” And that's an exceptionally normal thing to do, given that in most households, life, work, downtime, family time all orbits around the kitchen. Kitchens, clearly, are important, the beating hearts of families. And designing it to be contemporary while retaining its warm, familiar vibe is something everyone wants. It’s also easier to achieve than you think!
PLAN YOUR SPACE WELL
The first must-not for a kitchen is clutter. It’s anathema in kitchens with a contemporary aesthetic. And while you may disbelievingly wonder how to do so in a constantly used space when nearly all the world’s population has been locked down at home, it isn’t that difficult. The easiest way to minimise clutter—at least the kind you can control—is shelving units. In smaller kitchens, they are ideal space savers. Go high and go low when figuring out shelving room—under the counter, stacked on the wall are go-to options. Keep your counters free as far as possible. Open shelves too are a good option but if you do choose to have some, place smaller on such shelves.
MAKE SPACE FOR SEATING
De-cluttering space can also ensure that that counter you cleared could be a nice spot to hang around for a quick cup of coffee with a family member. Better yet, if you have some space or if you have an open-plan kitchen, then adding a little island with a couple of stools is a great way to cosy it up for quick chats and pre-meal family stopovers. Bhatia’s kitchen had a small dining table for four, which is frequently used. (If you have an enclosed kitchen, then a clutter-free counter will go a long way in allowing room for that quick coffee.)
ADD SOME COLOUR TO THE SPACE
Contemporary kitchens bring to mind sleek, clean lines, shades of white or other muted tones, a good amount of stainless steel too
Any kind of soft lighting in the form of decorative lights, to accompany the functional recessed lights will help add a design element to the utilitarian nature of the space.
or matte finishes to offset the neutrality. It’s the best way to get a modern look but layer in some warmth too to prevent it from looking impersonal. That’s easily done: Bhatia’s kitchen had a colourful floral padded stool to offset the bright white, as well as a well-placed vase of flowers on a non-work countertop. Other easily doable options are a backsplash of tiles in a warm tone—mustard yellows, earthy reds, leafy greens. A warm wooden flooring, tiles in abstract patterns or stone flooring also add character to modern kitchens.
Another option would be indoor plants or flowering plants placed on the windowsill. The advantage to that is twofold—it’s a pretty dressing up of the kitchen and if you plant herbs, then it serves a useful purpose in your cooking as well.
USE THE LIGHT WELL
There really is no equal to natural light, so if you have a good-sized window in your kitchen, then nothing like it. Having said that, lighting up your kitchen well cannot be overstated. While recessed lighting over the worktops will serve their functional purpose, the right kind of light can certainly serve a significant aesthetic role as well. Pendant lights over a counter or wall sconces (not too big, if you don’t have the space for it) providing a soft glow on quiet evenings are efficient mood creators.
PERSONALISE THE SPACE
A kitchen is meant to serve a specific function, of course, but you can own the space and make it personal. Customising it to your tastes can happen any way you wish it to. The Bhatias added a quirky little signboard designating their kitchen as ‘Mom’s Café’. You could shelve your well-worn, often-used and much-thumbed recipe book to the space. Or decorate your fridge with quirky magnets or your kid’s drawings too. A favourite print or painting on hanging unobtrusively on a wall is another idea to consider.
Actor Tamannaah Bhatia in front of a large artwork that lends a spot of colour to an other muted, neutral palette.
The artwork was painted by Bhatia's sister-in-law and works as a colourful accent in the dining space.
The living room with its all-white contemporary palette has a comfortable sectional sofa that is a favourite place for Bhatia to lounge around when she's at home.
Keeping your counters free of unnecessary items may not be the easiest thing to do but control the things you can. Shelve away all the crockery when not in use, put away those recipe books once you are done, don’t leave glasses on the counter. Clutter-free and cosy can co-exist in peace.
Your contemporary kitchen can be rescued from being too cold and too impersonal by adding splashes of colour—through plants, a warm or bright backsplash or through colourful crockery sitting on open shelving units.
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