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A Mumbai flat undergoes a stunning transformation

  • Home transformation
By Meenakshi Nair
9 min read
Oct 27, 2020
A living room with seats, table, artwork and balcony

Renovating a structure from the 70s can seem like a daunting task – but with a joint creative vision, Jyotika Purwar and her clients managed to transform a classic Mumbai 4-BHK into a retro-chic open-plan home with interconnected spaces. Jyotika, the architect and interior designer of the project, knew her clients before they became clients—Jyotika and the lady of the house used to work together and reconnected at a company event. That’s when the couple told her they were looking to remodel their home, and she jumped in with her ideas. Says the man of the house, “We had already gone through 3-4 other people before we met Jyotika, all of whom operated like factory managers who wanted to give modular solutions as opposed to empathising with us. She was very open—that was the key differentiator.” 

 

The couple wanted a home that was simple, natural, and reflected their tastes. Jyotika’s ideas and renders aligned with their vision. 

The Design Philosophy

Both space planning and materiality came into play while redesigning the apartment. The metrics were: maximising the space, pulling in all the lovely green that was outside the home, and using traditional materials to give the home a feel of “monsoon architecture”, or the sense of having an old-style South Indian centre courtyard within the apartment.

 

The old layout had windows on the periphery but no natural light within, which meant that the other areas of the house didn’t have beautiful sweeping views of the trees. With so much lush greenery literally spilling into the apartment, the couple wanted the feeling of being ensconced in a tree house in the middle of a city. Jyotika and her clients also decided to add warm, earthy tones and textures to make it feel less like a cookie-cutter Mumbai flat. 

A living room with sofa, table, artwork and windows

The living room contains furniture that has travelled with the family for over 20 years, an eclectic mix of polished dark wood, rich fabrics and stone.

Jyotika took elements of traditional bungalows to camouflage home-technology solutions and enhance the space—the wooden beams add character and soul to the apartment while concealing wiring and LED drivers.

 

The end result is a home that is vast, open, welcoming and brings the outside in.

A space with a bay window and wooden screens

What was once a dark corridor has been opened out into a bright sunny communal space with a bay window, flanked by folding wooden screens on either side.

Old Apartment, New Challenges

The 3,330 square foot house was originally built as a four bedroom apartment meant to house a joint family, which meant four separate bedrooms with attached baths and a lot of compartmentalised spaces. The kitchen (adjacent to the living room),  was completely closed off, not meant for the eyes of guests.

 

The entryway was also narrow, with a sort of an antechamber that kept the main door hidden from the large living room. The only real ‘open’ space in the house was the expansive living room extending into the wraparound balcony, overlooking the trees. 

The clients felt the existing layout was too linear and segregated, and wanted a home where they could welcome guests with a sense of warmth and community, but offer privacy when needed—a flexible space that could be easily transformed to suit their needs and moods.

 

Some of the other aspects of the redesign the clients were particular about were the use of colour, bringing in influences from their travels abroad and using existing pieces and artwork to accentuate the space. Says Jyotika, “It wasn’t just about reconfiguring the space, it was also about repurposing existing pieces.”

A Seamless Blend Of Community And Privacy 

Jyotika set about making the initial structural changes, knocking down walls where she had to. She made use of sliding and folding doors that open up to create shared spaces for interaction, and close up into private coves for alone time.

 

The entryway was completely redone, to highlight the vastness of the living and dining area and give the home a more welcoming feel. The narrow, closeted separation was taken out and, in its place came a 200-year-old jack wood pillar from Colombo. The entrance hinges around this beautiful piece, inspired by verandahs of traditional Sri Lankan villas, and flanked by artwork on either side, which the couple collected while travelling. This gives the effect of transitioning from outside to inside, without feeling closed off.

 

For the kitchen, the clients had an important requirement: they wanted to be able to close it off from the rest of the space when necessary. The solution? A motorised wall that slides over and closes the kitchen completely. Jyotika also opened out a window and created a little nook with seating by the windowsill, transforming a formerly dim kitchen into one flooded with natural light. To keep things bright and airy, the clients chose to work with a yellow colour palette, taking inspiration from Provencal French kitchens. The tiles are a rustic textured terracotta, offset by countertops done in blue Brazilian Bahia granite.

The kids’ bedroom, family room and master bedroom use beautiful wallpapered wooden screens, creating a flowing space during the day and neatly sectioned-off rooms for bedtime. What used to be a dark narrow corridor is now a bright family room with a centre table, perfect for an afternoon of board games. Flanked by folding and sliding doors on either side, this room can convert itself into a quiet space for homework, even when the parents have guests in the adjacent living room.

 

The family room stretches into the study, a space with accents of blue and a gorgeous staggered wooden bookshelf that houses tomes, knick-knacks and fun panels made from posters the couple collected over the years. 

 

A bedroom with a reading nook ,bed and a stage

A bathroom was converted to a stage with storage underneath, while the bookshelf is modelled along a Rubik’s cube. The panels pivot to create 16 different colour patterns and combinations. At the far end is a reading nook with a large frameless window.

The kids’ bedroom has a special feature thanks to another structural change that Jyotika made. What used to be an unused balcony along one end of the room has been reconfigured into a cozy corner perch—a raised stage/platform with built-in storage underneath. The furthest end of the former balcony is now a reading nook with a large frameless window, overlooking the trees outside – almost like having a treehouse in the middle of the city!

 

Tech Integrated

While the house looks classic, the couple wanted to integrate functional modern lifestyle technology into their home, but elegantly—no wires and extension chords in the open. The husband says, “Jyotika and I collaborated on the tech and spent a lot of time fine-tuning it. We believe technology should be hidden and not in your face.”

 

Tech requirements are integrated into all areas of the house, from smart lighting and concealed tech screens in the study to strategic plug points. The balcony railing, modelled along the lines of community tables at Japanese noodle bars, has charging points along the bottom, making it the perfect spot to take a work call or place laptops. The master bedroom has a custom bed with concealed wiring inside the base of the bed.

 

With a home this well-appointed, it’s hard to find one room that rises above the rest. The family does have their favourite spots, but the balcony is where they all spend time together - it even has a glass floor so that they are greeted by green from both above and below. Says the wife, “We spend a lot of early morning time there and when we have guests, that’s where we tend to be.” And who wouldn’t enjoy that space? In the concrete jungle that is Mumbai, this home truly is an urban oasis.

A dining room with a view of the kitchen
The kitchen can be left open or closed with a motorised white wall that slides across to shut it. Inspired by Provencal France, the clients chose a shade of bright yellow contrasted with blue Brazilian bahia granite countertops.
A bedroom with green colour walls, a sofa and a bed
The brief was to create an “oasis of calm” at the end of a long day, and this has been achieved with a mellow green palette. This room is a strict no-work zone, hence no study tables or bookshelves.
A bed side table in wood
The low bed contains a concealed reading lamp along the edges, hidden beneath a wooden panel.
A leather desk in the corner of the bedroom
The desk is a nod to British-era consignment furniture. The computer is hidden behind the desk, while the base of the table doubles up as a docking station. To create this piece from a bygone time, Jyotika worked with Purple Solutions, a leather craftsman in Byculla.
A bedroom with a sofa-cum-bed, in a blue colour palette
A custom Murphy sofa-cum-bed can be left as-is when no one’s around, but pulls out and makes for a surprisingly comfy bed for visitors.
The washroom with a shower in intricate patterns and bright red colour
An intricate Chinese temple door encloses the shower area, while the bright red vanity continues the Oriental theme.
A living room with seats, table, artwork and balcony
This section of the living flows into the wraparound balcony that offers 180-degree views of the trees that surround the home.
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