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In Bengaluru, a mood board becomes a dream home with the help of a designer

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It is the year 2019, when Priyanka Chopra has met her husband Nick Jonas on Twitter and Kaustubha KM found her dream interior designer on Instagram. After spending a few years post marriage residing in rentals in Bengaluru, Kaustubha and her husband Upen Lokeshwar saved up and bought a house of their own. And when it was time to design it, they took their time with research and some low-key stalking of interior designers online. 

Enter Bengaluru-based designer Vinithra Amarnathan, whose expertly planned Instagram grid is the perfect showcase of her work. The detailed captions and informative videos give insights into her ideas, inspirations and projects to her almost 40k followers on the social media platform. Kaustubha followed her on social media for a few weeks before she decided Vinithra would be the best person to create her dream home.

Kaustubha runs her own recruiting business and Upen works for Dell India. Since most of their day is structured around their jobs, living in the HSR Layout area of Bengaluru, which is close to their workplaces, was really important to this couple. 

Home location found, the couple had to make design choices. 

Vinithra broke down a tiny niche in the living area to create this clean wall for the antique mirror bar which now stands in the lounge area.

Planning this aspect of the home was about exploring their individual tastes and reaching a conclusion about what they could live with together. The two of them relied heavily on online research, and on aspects of their individual backgrounds and childhoods. An apartment in the big city would feel like home only if it gave them what they had growing up. 

Step into Kaustubha and Upen's new home in Bengaluru and witness one's fantasy Pinterest board come to life with each corner nothing less than Instagram-worthy. Come, take a look at the exceptional work of Vinithra Amarnathan, a Bangalore-based designer.

Having grown up on a coffee plantation in the Western Ghats, Kauthubha’s childhood was spent in a home filled with traditional wooden furniture, and plenty of greenery outside. Upen wanted something contemporary. “I wanted to recreate that feeling of being surrounded by nature from my childhood, but the setting had to be chic and contemporary,” says Kaustubha. One of the ways that Vinithra managed to meet the couple’s expectations is by using a mix of natural materials. Just the drawing room has leather chairs, a plush fabric couch and a live edge wooden TV unit. “I also brought my own style to the decor, and not just have wood everywhere. So, in this apartment you see leather, fabric, there’s marble, metal, and wood. There’s literally everything in one space, but at the same time it doesn’t look disconnected.” To make the setting contemporary, Vinithra kept the dining table sleek, with black chairs for contrast. The two large wooden ceiling beams in the drawing room take inspiration from the plantation homes of Kaustubha’s childhood, and it helps visually tie together the dining and lounge areas.

The view of the living and dining space from the kitchen. Vinithra transformed the column in the middle of the apartment with the stone cladding.

Kaustubha and Upen, both in their 30s, entertain a lot during the weekends. So, it was important their home feel welcoming and easy. Having an open plan for the common areas really lends to that impression. The 3,000 square foot, three-bedroom apartment has a large living area that flows seamlessly from the drawing room to the dining area and lounge which then connects to a balcony. All of that is anchored by a beautiful and spacious open kitchen.

An open kitchen plan is not a common feature in Indian homes. Smoking tadkas, frying masalas and whistling pressure cookers mean making Indian food can be a messy process behind the scenes. Most families, usually those with hired help, don’t mind the 

kitchen being separate from the other areas of the home, especially the parts where they entertain. Kaustubha’s heart, however, was set on an open kitchen. “I think that’s a change that we have seen. I’ve noticed that where the lady of the house cooks more, even if it’s over the weekend, she is more involved in the kitchen and doesn’t mind it being open,” adds Vinithra.

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Kaustubha was also quite certain of the colours she wanted. “I once saw a blue and white kitchen in my research online, and knew that I definitely wanted that. You rarely see that colour combination in homes here.” Taking the cue, Vinithra brought in a Mediterranean theme with the blue tiles but went with a deeper shade for the cabinets. 

Vinithra also extended the quartz stone countertop along the length of the kitchen to create a breakfast counter with bar stools where guests can sit and chat while Kaustubha cooks. The striking kitchen right at the entrance of the home now makes a statement and sets the tone for the rest of the open plan home. The Mediterranean colours flow into the balcony which is connected to the lounge area, creating a warm and fluid space when they’re entertaining guests at home.

All in all, this lovely apartment feels like you’ve landed into the IRL version of someone’s fantasy Pinterest board. Every corner and vignette is ‘Instagram-worthy’, as they say. And the natural light is so good you’ll want to forego your favourite filter while posting the pictures. 

Kauthubha was certain that she wanted a blue and white kitchen for her home.


Shamanth Patil

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