Prolific actor Abhay Deol opened the doors of his home for the fifth season of Asian Paints Where the Heart Is, and offered a peek into his warm, welcoming glass house inside a forest
Going off the beaten track is nothing new to Abhay Deol when it comes to professional choices. So the fact that he chose the same mantra when it came to his home should certainly come as no surprise. “It’s a plot in the middle of a forest. I wanted to bring the environment into the house, so this is essentially a glass house in a forest,” says Deol of his Goa home that brought a rustic, country-style eloquence to the Asian Paints’ Where the Heart Is series this season. He was clear when he told his architect that he wanted no windows; it had to be glass doors that opened to the outdoors. The sprawling living room is exactly what he wished for—open space, high ceilings, forest views and an inviting vibe. “You kind of feel the exterior space of where the house is.” While nature is a dominating feature here, there are the complementary unfinished materials, lovely wooden furniture and unique statement pieces that give this modern glass-encased house a contemporary rustic look.
Natural light and greenery are integral to creating this sort of an interior space. For Deol, his glass house in a forest seamlessly achieved the inside-outside look with little difficulty. In an urban setup, it may just take some more work. Your minimalist living room will only benefit from generous doses of daylight, so make sure your windows are large enough (and there are enough of them). Place a variety of indoor plants that are easy to maintain and brighten up the room. If you have a balcony or a terrace, then create an outdoor seating area with wooden chairs and a larger variety of plants.
The walls of your minimalist living room may be in a spectrum of white, off-white or eggshell-white but be sure to leave one wall looking unfinished. The warmth and raw edges of materials like brick, wood and stone will offset the neutral-shaded look of your room. Exposed brick, unpolished natural stone perhaps in its raw form are interesting options to add some character to the space. Deol went with a beautifully distressed-looking exposed brick wall in his living area, which complemented the house-in-a-forest location of his home.
When it comes to that archetypal rustic look, the floor has lots of potential. Deol chose to go with black granite (and wood in some parts of his house) for his home. While that might be a great idea if weather permits (though it’s an absolute no in cities with hot summers!), for those of us who’d rather not take a chance, you can opt for any kind of natural stone or wood flooring. (Stay away from pure, pristine and polished marble if you want a rustic vibe.)
There’s nothing quite as inviting as soft furnishings that allow you to relax in absolute comfort. Since that is what the rustic style is all about, be sure you stick to the natural and the organic when it comes to choosing fabric for your upholstery, cushions and curtains. A leather chair in an earthy shade will work as an accent piece too. The country-style look would be incomplete without that slightly worn, weather-beaten, lived-in furniture to lend the space a cosy look. Furniture made out of distressed wood is a great option to achieve that. You could even look for pieces that have been made out of recycled wood to add an authentic touch to your space. Such kind of furniture will give character and a sense of history to your living room.
If you have an heirloom, or a timeless piece of furniture handed down in the family, then don’t stow it away. Make good use of it in your living room design. Beaten brass, well-worn wood, ceramic accessories, antique-looking lighting fixtures, even an heirloom rug—anything with history—are failsafe ways to incorporate the rustic look into your living room.
The best part about a neutral canvas is that it is versatile enough to be adapted to any kind of style. For the rustic look, your go-to colours would be the ones you’d find in nature—greens, yellows, warm browns, rust oranges, earthy reds. Used on furnishings, seen in the artwork you choose to hang, perhaps in the shade of an accent wall or a coffee table, these shades will layer your minimalism in inviting shades of nature.
Nothing says rustic like mellow lighting to create the right mood. If you’ve got enough daylight pouring in through your windows, then you can choose to go with subtle and warm mood lighting to spotlight your living room in the evenings. And use different kinds of lighting fixtures to get that look—cove lights, wall sconces and a floor or table lamp if you have the space.
Unfinished materials, stone, wood, antique-looking metals, natural fabrics—don’t shy away from layering on the textures in the living room. A space that engages all your senses and provides comfort is integral to getting that rustic aesthetic just right. And creating a mosaic of textures goes a long way in making the living room look welcoming. But be sure you don’t use so much that it can seem distracting.
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