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A home in Mumbai close to the airport, large enough to accommodate individual personalities and distinct interests and with that inescapable sense of home. For a couple always on the move—Joseph Radhik and Devika Narain found the ideal apartment to embark on their journey together as newlyweds
When Joseph Radhik and Devika Narain were looking for their first home together, there was no large-scale search involved for the perfect apartment in the Maximum City. “Joe drew a circle around the airport and said you can pick any place in this area,” says Narain. Radhik is arguably one of the busiest wedding photographers in the country: from Anushka Sharma to Priyanka Chopra, his company Stories in Motion is behind some of the most stunning celebrity (and non-celebrity) wedding photos. Narain runs her own high-profile wedding design company (Devika Narain and Company) and as fate would have it, the two met during a wedding they were working on together. “Between the two of us, we took over 100 flights last year, so living close to the airport makes a huge difference,” Radhik says about his decision to find a house that would make travel easy. As a result, they are now about 300 metres from the airport and can literally see the runway from their apartment window.
Every morning, Radhik wakes up and comes first thing to the entertainment room designed specifically to his tastes. Narain is against having a TV in the living room. Furnished with the desk he got from his previous home, this space is also where Radhik works.
Mix and Match
Since much of their time is spent living out of suitcases, Radhik and Narain wanted a nice happy space to come back to. “There is nothing in this house that we don’t have a story or memory about,” Narain says. Post their own low-key wedding in 2017, the couple moved into this house after years of living alone as creative professionals. “We both had our own stuff that we had to bring into our new home together,” says Narain. And, as such things typically tend to be, their own stuff was vastly different from the other’s.
Joseph Radhik and Devika Narain found the ideal apartment to embark on their journey together as newlyweds
Sift the evidence: The rosewood desk that Narain works from every day is 35 years old. That’s a lot younger that the antique camphor chest that forms the centre table in the living room, which is about 108 years old. But the speakers in this room are state-of-the-art.
Narain loves Indian weaves like ikat and bright pops of colour. According to the couple, their home reflects the last two vacations they went on—Copenhagen and Mexico. This year they are planning the Northeast and Norway.
The lamp too is WiFi-enabled and has a hidden Bluetooth speaker. “I love vintage finds,” Narain says and for Radhik, it’s “anything modern and tech driven. That’s a big joy I have in life.”
So, in the best kind of compromise, in the limited area that are typical of Mumbai apartments, the two have managed to find their own separate spaces done exactly to their tastes. His love for the high tech is contained in the entertainment room, which is entirely his domain. It is planned down to the last inch to fit Radhik’s tech buys and includes his work desk. “I always knew that I would need a dedicated theatre room. We have people coming in for movie marathons, the football world cup, things like that,” Radhik elaborates.
Narain, on the other hand, got her say in designing the bedroom just the way she wanted. The colours here are calm and serene—a white cupboard and two metal trunks hold her clothes, and a four-poster bed that she was “obsessed with” lords over the room. “I don’t know why we have so many pillows though. At night, they all magically seem to disappear,” laughs Radhik.
Narain loves fresh flowers and has filled the house with them. She also loves baking, so the dining table inevitably has some sort of dessert. The couple bought the chandelier from a market in the suburb of Santacruz in Mumbai.
Narain likes the kitchen to be as bright and cheerful as the rest of the house. The kitchen is stocked to entertain family and friends who visit frequently.
The couple collects fridge magnets from the destinations they visit on their travels, as well as accessories with the initials of their names. The rack in the kitchen that now holds the microwave, among other things, used to be a shoe rack in Radhik’s old home.
Light and Bright
While it is not surprising that pops of rani pink dot a wedding designer’s house, one thing they both agree on is their love for colour. While the walls are neutral, there is colour to be found everywhere through art, furniture, flowers and accessories. “We have always been fixated on the idea that our home should have a lot of light. And the white walls help with that. But we wanted to create a cheerful happy space,” says Narain. Having grown up in house that was full of browns and beiges, she is excited for the first time, to live in a space with yellows, blues, rani pink and even black, which, incidentally, is one of the most interesting things in their home. “I love Scandinavian homes and have wanted black walls since childhood. My mom didn’t allow me to do that. The day I got my own house I painted one wall black. Everyone thinks it’s tough to maintain or will make the room look smaller, but I love the character it adds to the space,” says Narain.
According to Radhik, their home is changing and evolving with them. “You will notice our home will have influences from the last two holidays we went to—Copenhagen and Mexico,” Narain adds. But the most important thing for the couple is that the house always represents who they are.
The bookshelf was from Narain’s earlier house; it is the only thing that the wedding planner is allowed to have in the entertainment room, which is the domain claimed by Radhik. Accessories and memorabilia from various weddings that she has designed are above the shelf.
Radhik says while there is a part of Devika Narain, the wedding designer in the house, there is no sign of Joseph Radhik the photographer. None of his work is displayed in the house. “I have sold large prints to clients, and even worked with interior designers to get my photos in their home but I have never done that for my home. I would like to do it now,” he says.
The third room in the three-bedroom apartment mainly works as their storage space and turns into a guest room when required. The room is also the space they use for packing when they travel, which is very often because of the nature of their work.
Joseph Radhik and Devika Narain share their ideas for a beautiful home
Design philosophy: “Our home is all about our travels, memories and colour. It will always be a work in progress and will keep evolving along
Best places for vintage furniture: “Oshiwara furniture market, Mumbai and Amar Colony, New Delhi.”
Tips for young people designing their own home: “Take time to research and go to a physical store. Then you will know the difference between furniture in real wood and engineered wood that is mostly sold online. Look to find good-quality stuff as much as finding a deal. But you don’t need to be fancy from the get-go. Ask yourself: ‘where do I spend most of my time?’ and start with that. For example, I don’t see many youngsters using a dining table, so don’t get carried away by the magazines you see and buy everything at one go. Spend more on the long-term elements of a home, like beds, mattresses, the TV and the couch facing it. But shoe racks, end tables can be temporary and cheap.”
Tips on concealing wires when you love to buy tech stuff and your wife wants the home to look good: “You will have a lot of wires wherever you have the TV or music system. Buy a cable-concealing box, which will help all the wires look neat. Next, there are wires where there are chargers, lamps etc. The lamps will typically have a table’s leg right beside it. Go to your neighbourhood electric store and ask for cable ties that can be transparent, black or white. Use them to tie the wires to the table legs. Double-sided tape or Velcro also works. You can use wire concealers that come in various shapes and then paint them the same colour as the wall. You can also use furniture or books to conceal wires. Lastly, don’t have wires at eye level from where you are supposed to sit in the room.”
The entertainment room includes comic book memorabilia that Radhik loves.
The vintage rosewood desk belongs to Narain. The cupboard and storage trunks in the bedroom have been painted white to blend in with the white walls and give an illusion of more space.
The black wall in the living room was Narain’s idea, something she always wanted in her home.
The bedroom is designed entirely by Narain and also has her work desk. It includes pieces bought from her travels around the world. She was very clear that she wanted the bedroom to have a four-poster bed, which dominates the space
According to the couple, the house is not even close to being done. “What we enjoy as much as living in this space is talking about and thinking about doing this space up. Couples like to do different things, we genuinely like doing up the house and making it ours,” says Radhik
The faux leather couch turns into a bed for visiting family and friends. The side table fan is a find from Crawford Market, Mumbai.
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