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Designing a home for your own family members is an intuitive process which comes with some amount of trepidation, finds architect Jasem Pirani from MuseLAB

Jasem Pirani’s family home in Mumbai was a detailed design project that took well over 14 to 15 months to complete and involved design details that were significantly ambitious in thought and scale. The residence that the family had lived in for many years was going in for redevelopment. The new home had to accommodate the family of seven. When the client is someone you know so intimately, designing a space for them becomes relatively intuitive, feels Jasem. 

“I knew each of their individual needs as far as storage went,” recalls Jasem. The brief was simple – create a simple, tasteful family home with five bedrooms from a flat which originally had only four. The original layout had a large powder room attached to the living room that Jasem converted into the fifth bedroom.

The living room in the new Pirani residence was large and was meant to be the heart of this large family home – offering a space where everyone could come together over a warm meal and hearty conversations. 

“We took it upon ourselves to create a look and feel that was laid-back, carefree, devoid of strict rules and free-spirited,” says Jasem.

The focal point in the large hall was the Corian clad living-dining unit. “The living-dining unit in the centre of the approximate 900 sq ft living room is an informal space organiser – defining the dining area, TV lounge and the living area for entertaining. Every piece of fixed and loose furniture has been customised. From the wardrobe artwork to the dining chairs all have been consciously detailed and various construction techniques employed,” he says. The amount of time and effort that went into the customised woodwork in each of the rooms was a lesson in understanding the implications of obsessing over details, shares Jasem. “I was able to experiment and bring my ideas to life with my family home but at the end of it, I did have a more realistic view of the things that I should not have attempted. It was a great learning.”

Most of the furniture was customised. A signature bench was created by laminating logs of wood together; a credenza unit was formed by routing the front facia of the drawers; wardrobe shutters with veneer on veneer inlay were handcrafted on site. 

The space, says Jasem, is characterised by a layered environment with textures, prints, patterns and colours. It is what he calls a happy mishmash of opposites: ethnic with modern; neutrals with vibrant colours; textured with smooth.

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