Tour an architect and fashion designer’s New Delhi rental that is all about living light

 

Shorn of any kind of excess except for what’s significant, furnished sparsely but creatively, intimate yet spacious—the New Delhi home of Saurabh Dakshini and Medha Khosla says a lot about its homeowners

 

Saurabh Dakshini and Medha Khosla’s New Delhi home is all about minimalism and essentialism

Even though I have visited Saurabh Dakshini and Medha Khosla’s forest-view apartment in Panchsheel Enclave in New Delhi many times, there is always a fresh energy that infuses their home. I feel it as soon as Medha—creator of clothing brand ANOMALY—opens the door to greet me. It’s Sunday, and both she and Saurabh, founder of well-reputed architecture and design firm Studio Organon, are relaxing at home, lightly stirring their gin and tonics and chatting, while their beagle Pepper dozes.

New Delhi-based architect Saurabh Dakshini, founder of multidisciplinary firm, Studio Organon, and his wife Medha Khosla, who is the founder of clothing brand ANOMALY, with their cocker spaniel Pepper. The flooring is a mixed timber and parquet floor. The open-shelf cabinet was made in Saurabh’s workshop and is filled with collectibles.

An overview of the living room, one of the couple’s favourite spots in their home.

The fresh yet familiar energy most likely comes from the remarkably understated apartment: this, for both Saurabh and Medha, is not just an aesthetic, but an ideology that permeates what they do, how they think, what they make, and how they live. Nothing in the flat is overpowering; neither object nor light obstructs, which makes it radically neutral, almost canvas-like—a place where visitors and residents can really be themselves. 

“It wasn’t always like this,” Saurabh explains, taking me through the brief history of the flat in which he first moved as a tenant in 2016. Originally, dark hues like black and beige dominated the walls, floors and doors, making the 900-square-foot apartment appear much smaller than it is. The first thing Saurabh did was work on “lightening things up”; it was a move that also capitalised on the tremendous amount of natural light that pours in through the windows. The vitrified tiles on the floor were replaced by light wood, heavy curtains made way for breezy linens, and each door was painted white. In the bathroom, the previously unremarkable walls were traded in for an uneven, stormy grey that matches the current kitchen floor.

The study table in neem wood and copper-plated steel was custom-designed; the ‘Golden Bell’ light by Alvar Aalto was a gift. The Princess Pea toys and the other timber toys were souvenirs from the couple’s travels around the world.

The living room features a long media shelf in powder-coated metal, walnut and pine wood. The coffee table in walnut and pine has a replica of the Chandigarh lounge chair by Pierre Jeanneret in maple wood. All the furniture in the room was custom-designed, except for the small side table with the cat figurine, both gifts from friends.

Once Saurabh was finished with the structural changes, the couple began consciously filling the space only with objects that they would truly need. Thanks to Saurabh’s furniture designs, as integral to his studio as the interior projects he takes on, the apartment now houses an enviable collection of furniture by him, from comfortable couches—upholstered with fabrics from ANOMALY— Pierre Jeanneret-inspired modernist-inspired chairs and oak tables to the clean-lined, comfortable beds. There are plenty of conversation pieces, but the most sentimental one is the first piece that Saurabh ever made—a large desk made from a strong, almost still-living slab of teak wood, which is a well-used part of the living room.

There is a noticeable public-private separation in the house. When the couple entertain, or watch movies, they take comfort in the living room, fitted out with a large-screen TV and sunlit balcony. The two bedrooms—one of which is a guest room—is purposefully sparse, and meant to fulfil the need for peaceful sleep. “We wanted almost nothing in the bedroom,” Saurabh says, and when Medha reveals the wonderful forest view that both the bedroom and guest room look out to, it makes sense why: they’ve got more than any material acquisition could offer.

The custom-made bed is of white ash and walnut wood. The cushions, bed sheets and other soft furnishings were either selected or made by Medha.

The custom-made side table in black marble and stained pine wood is next to a version of Pierre Jeanneret’s Chandigarh lounge chair in mahogany. Both the lamps are from Decon Lighting, New Delhi.

It is in the knowing of less being more that makes them naturally conscious people—and that is clearly reflected in their way of living. Constantly trying to upgrade the apartment with accessories or ‘newness’ is not of interest to either. In fact, Medha jokes that her entire life could fit into a single wardrobe. I don’t challenge her, but it seems true: this is a home, and a lifestyle, where the excess simply has no place.

NEED TO KNOW
Homeowners: Saurabh Dakshini and Medha Khosla
Location:New Delhi
Size and configuration: 900 square feet; 3BHK rental which is used as an apartment with a bedroom, reading room-and-guest room, and a closet room
Structural changes: floors, doors, colour palette
Style:understated, clean, functional, neutral
Favourite materials: wood and brass
Neighbourhood:Panchsheel Enclave. The duo enjoys the peace and quiet (on any day of the week), and having like-minded people as neighbours
Thumb rules for designing a home:
· Use as many natural materials as possible
. Allow for as much natural light as possible
· Keep the tones and colours neutral to create an illusion of greater height
Furniture:most of the pieces have been designed by Saurabh
Most-used spaces:living room and main bedroom
Conversations starters:Saurabh’s desk and his popular Chandigarh chair replicas
First purchase: crockery
Last purchase:TV, long ago, when they were doing up the home
Local brands:Claymen, Decon Lighting, Blue Tokai, The Altitude Store, Aalis Kebabs

The custom-made cabinet in walnut and birch ply and OS board are next to the dining table.

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