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Jim Sarbh’s Spanish colonial-style getaway home has an old-world charm

  • Heritage Home
By Gauri Kelkar
7 min read
Nov 14, 2022
Jim Sarbh

In Season 6 of the Asian Paints Where the Heart Is series, Jim Sarbh opens the doors to his heritage home on the outskirts of Mumbai, which provides a roadmap to a timeless design aesthetic

“A lion’s got a mane. A peacock’s got a tail. That’s the way the animal kingdom is. And I have absolutely zero problem being flamboyant,” proclaims actor Jim Sarbh on an episode of the Asian Paints Where the Heart Is series, about the design bracket that best defines his style. At his Spanish colonial-style Dahanu home on the outskirts of Mumbai, the flamboyance is expressed in intricately crafted detailing, sweeping geometries, lavish greenery and wide open spaces. It really is a perfect escape, sitting amid a garden, inviting the outdoors and blurring boundaries with free-flowing spaces.

 

The open-plan living area runs uninterrupted into a dining space with French doors on one side and a covered verandah on the other. “We end up spending a large chunk of our time [in the living room]. We’ve tried to keep the furniture and the layout more or less the same as it was when I was a kid. Everyone’s really into minimalism now, with straight lines and all of that but in the pursuit of minimalism, we’ve lost the eye on design, like if you look at older bannisters, they used to be so intricate.”

Jim Sarbh’s tranquil home, a literal oasis on a sandy beach, is a space full of memories. Set amidst the calm of a quaint town, the mansion whispers poetic verses through its intricate designs, floral patterns and natural materials. The Villa itself is built in the Spanish Colonial style, and characterised by arches, open spaces, and courtyards - all surrounded by a large garden. This is an open home, not just in the way the architecture of the space works (wide open spaces, large arches, a blending of the outside with the inside), but in the way Jim treats his guests: this is a home for people, not home just for a person.


Bearing this out is the curving staircase with the polished, meticulously detailed staircase that leads up to the upper levels, which opens out into an outdoor pool, a frequent haunt for the actor when he visits. The indoor-outdoor theme is as much a part of the plan as the ornamental design elements—the gleaming wood, semi-circular forms, “these embedded archways for artwork and sculptures”, and a blend of glass, wood and all-white spaces. One of the master bedrooms takes that forward as well. With balconies all around and a four-poster bed anchoring the aesthetic. It’s a deeply personal space where Sarbh can slip into for a measure of solitude. “My favourite part about coming here is the peace being in nature brings.”
 

Get Inspired

Jim Sarbh’s outpost in Dahanu is also a space that can serve as a blueprint for homeowners who would like to replicate a slice of a timeless aesthetic in their own space. It’s totally possible to do, and with a little help from this Beautiful Homes Style Guide, you’ll have the roadmap to create the look.

A green three-seater sofa with white contrasting armchairs
French windows in the living room

An Open Plan

The lesser the walls, the more space there is to work with; it’s a thumb rule of interior design that many designers—and homeowners—swear by. Sarbh’s fantastically sprawling living-cum-dining area is all the more spacious looking given the uninterrupted run, not just into the dining area but out into a covered verandah as well.

The advantage that Sarbh has, however, is the sheer volume that is there to work with, which means a couple of seating arrangements and room for a large cabinet. The upside is that you have choices about the elements to use to recreate the look for your space. Against pristine white walls, the Munich 3-Seater Sofa available in olive green, paired with a couple of the Seychelles Wingback Armchairs would work well, especially if you add a wooden glass-topped coffee table to the look.

 

If Sarbh’s floral-upholstered sofa is more your thing, then the Hamburg 2-seater sofa that comes with a floral option will serve you well, particularly paired with a white-upholstered Berlin 1-seater along with White Teak’s White Bliss Pendant Light (preferably near a window). 
 

Liberal Use of Wood

Wooden furniture and accessories are a great way to add warmth and give your space a timeless look. Sarbh uses it generously, from the dark wood cabinet in the living room that looks like a one-of-a-kind piece to the sideboard behind the dining area or the lighter-coloured cabinet-cum-TV unit. If you have heirloom pieces, then be sure to add them to your space. But if your apartment is compact, don’t overwhelm the space with a large or dark-coloured piece.

Maximally designs cabinet shutters
A grand eight-seater dining table

Set the Table

An open living-cum-dining area means your dining table should complement your furniture choices and, like Sarbh’s home, opting for neutrals is a safe bet. The Foresta (if you prefer something in lighter wood) or Amer sideboards make for a great addition to the room. And while you’re at it, it won’t hurt to look at the Harmya Dining Chair for the Alwar 6 Seater dining table if you are particularly enamoured by the ornamental table legs.

Harmya dining chair
Foresta sideboard

Neutral Colours

The best way to showcase elegant, well-crafted décor and furniture, ornamental sculptures and artworks is to go neutral in the background. White walls are an ideal set-up for such elements to come into their own and catch your eye.

Floral print upholstery sofas
Photograph below a decorative wall light

Decorative Lights

When Sarbh sat down with the Asian Paints Build Book, he was focused on the lighting fixtures that would best complement the aesthetic of the space. “We zeroed in on classical ornamental lights.” In this space, Sarbh used a pair of wall sconces to create an accent wall in the living room. White Teak’s French Restoration (antique gold finish) Crystal Wall Lights would be a great way to use wall lights sculpturally in your space.

Unwind in Comfort

If you have a particular preference for headboards, then the Amer 4 Poster King Bed (complete with an arched headboard) to get the aesthetic you want.

Four-poster bed matching the decorative window grill pattern
View towards the balcony from the bed

Prepare a Seating Nook or Area

A master bedroom would be incomplete without some seating space for a nook. So if you have the space, then that four-poster bed will be well-served by the Kimberley Accent Chair with its pretty floral patterns.

Create a Work Sanctuary

And what’s a bedroom without a desk in today’s work-from-home culture? A desk to keep your documents and devices, or a medium-sized sideboard that can double up as a desk in a pinch, like the Arturo Side Board, is a good idea.

Arched openings
Outdoor furniture

Blur the Boundaries

Have a balcony or large windows? Then make the most of them to ensure you get enough natural light, great cross-ventilation and some outdoor space to unwind in. Add some plants and you can have your private garden at hand.


If you’re tastes run in the direction of timeless interiors that pay homage to nostalgia and celebrate the intricacy of detail and design, then Sarbh’s heritage home is an inspiring study.

Three-seater munich sofa

Three-seater Munich Sofa

Four-poster king size bed

Four-poster King Size Bed

Arturo sideboard

Arturo Sideboard

Kimberley accent chair

Kimberley Accent Chair

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