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In Mumbai, a couple creates a home that's their retreat and refuge

  • Ideas and Inspiration
By Ela Das
9 min read
Apr 16, 2021


In the city of Mumbai, Bandra is a neighbourhood of contradictions. As a once-upon-a-time suburban village, it has some of the most charming bungalows built at the turn of the last century. But, today, on most of its quaint streets, you’ll see rows of towering skyscrapers standing next to heritage properties.

House no. 7 sits within one such sky-high building, where apartments are akin to bungalows in the sky. Danish Khan and Toral Mawani had been looking for the perfect home to call their own through their 21 years as a married couple. As co-owners of an advertising film production house, they were searching for a space that would serve as a calm sanctuary while also being inviting enough to host guests. They moved into House no. 7 just a few months ago. Spread across the length of the house, the living room room boasts a wall with floor-to-ceiling doors opening into a balcony that overlooks Bandra. With an almost all-white palette, the space is blessed with lots of natural light and ventilation. 

We're warmly welcomed into the living room Danish Khan and Toral Mawani's new home, House no. 7, which they moved into a few months ago. Spread across the length of the house, the room boasts a wall with floor-to-ceiling doors opening into a balcony that overlooks the city's buzzy suburb. Paired with an overarching all-white palette, the entire space is well-lit, naturally ventilated and open to the outdoors.

In Search Of A Home

“This was the 88th house we saw!” exclaims Danish, looking back at his house-hunting phase. It is not uncommon in Mumbai to spend years looking at home options, so much so that you may end up becoming quite good friends with your broker. While the couple’s vision of having a spacious and uncluttered home seemed pretty straightforward, finding a property that matched their expectations proved to be tough. “It took us over a year to find this apartment, which was a bare shell when we first saw it. With its large balcony, high ceilings and natural light, we realised we wouldn’t find a space like this in Mumbai easily,” remembers Toral.
 

The brief was simple—to transform this 2,300-square-foot apartment into a home that’s airy and as open as possible, without overbearing colours and impositions like false ceilings. The couple relied on designer Kumpal Vaid, founder of the Mumbai-based studio Purple Backyard, which they’d worked with to create their previous home. “This made it easier for me to incorporate a few of their older pieces into the new space, while also bringing their vision to life which I knew like the back of my hand after discussing it with them over the years,” says Vaid. “Since it would be just the two of them living in this apartment, it was important for them to be visually connected at all times. This is why we made it a two-bedroom apartment, with the living room being the central point of the entire space. The master bedroom is a culmination of two rooms joined together to allow for a walk-in closet, while the bedroom next to it is now a cosy den.”

A sentimental painting owned by Toral's father, gifted to the couple by her mother, is a mainstay in the living room.

The jungle-print customised wallpaper creates a celebratory mood at the bar.

An exaggerated terrazzo floor by Bharat Floorings echoes the aesthetic of a heritage home Toral grew up in.

Attention To Detail

The living room has several unique design elements that quietly blend into the home’s soothing aesthetic. While white marble is laid out across most of home’s floors, it has been cut and placed to follow the stone’s sinuous patterns. These are sporadically interspersed with sections of intricately placed mosaic tiles. “We initially wanted these to be tiles with semi-precious stones, but were advised against it. Since we were keen on having it incorporated somewhere in our home, we settled on a pink-quartz monolith at the end of the bar,” explains Toral.
 

Serving as the pièce de résistance of the living room, the bar counter was built for a couple that love to host. Its doors open up to reveal a colourful jungle theme, immediately giving a sense of joy and celebration, switching up the mood and aesthetic of the entire room.
 

The Nature Of Space

“While Danish and Toral wanted a muted and serene space with colours not going beyond white or off-white, we had to make sure the home didn’t end up looking bland, without any character,” says Vaid. To avoid being too safe, she enhanced the house’s ample ventilation with elements of nature around the home. While the entire kitchen sports a white concrete finish, the backsplash brightens up the space with beehive-patterned tiles. In the guest bedroom an exaggerated mosaic-tiled floor adds a youthful charm to a room designed with Colonial-style furniture. The couple’s favourite spot comfort zone is their den. “After lunch, I love to kickback on the recliner and catch up on reading or the news. With an abundance of sunlight streaming into the entire house, we find ourselves retreating to different rooms as the sun moves through the day,” says Toral.
 

“In every home we lived in before, we were constantly planning our next. Now I feel at peace. This house serves as a symbol of refuge and has evolved into a space we work from and retreat into,” says Danish. It is, really, a serendipitous blessing of space and orientation, especially for a home in Mumbai.

The brief was simple-to transform this 2,300-square-foot apartment into a home that's airy and as open as possible, without any overbearing colours or structures such as false ceilings. The couple relied on designer Kumpal Vaid, founder of Purple Backyard, whom they'd worked with to create their previous home. "Since it would be just the two of them living in this apartment, it was important for them to be visually connected at all times. This is why we made it a two-bedroom apartment, with the living room being the central point of the entire space. The master bedroom is a culmination of two rooms joined together to allow for a walk-in closet, while the bedroom next to it is now a cosy den." says Vaid.

Kumpal Vaid’s tips for anyone looking to design their own home:

  1. When planning furniture for any space, first mark out its dimensions on your existing floor plans to make sure everything fits.

  2. If you're unsure about how to design a room, and don't know where to start, begin with a mood board. Get on a platform such as Pinterest, and start saving any image you like-don't restrict yourself solely to interior design. Have a look at it after a week, and you'll begin to notice the aesthetic, colours and textures you gravitate towards.

  3. When designing a space, break an idea into its most basic form, material and terminology. If you see a room you like with diaphanous sheers, it simply means you like linen curtains that let a little sunlight in.

  4. Have a clear picture of what you want. Having a professional on board is always helpful-but till you don't have a vision of the home you'd like to live in, a designer won't be able to bring it to life.

  5. Always think from a utilitarian perspective. Homes are meant to be beautiful spaces, but they should also serve your practical requirements.
Danish Khan and Toral Mewani in the living room of their new home, House no. 7. Image courtesy, Prachi Damle
Designer Kumpal Vaid, founder of Purple Backyard. Image courtesy, Prachi Damle
The couple's personal art collection hangs in the living room above a customised couch by Pinakin Design.
The whimsical lights that hang above the communal-seating bar are by Purple Backyard.
An art-deco grill inspired by Toral's first home rests within the main door.
Inspired by biophilia, a bright honeycomb-styled backsplash by FCML lies behind the countertop in the kitchen by Ernestomeda.
The earthy-toned bedroom has a canopy-style bed with clay lights above the side tables. Touch switches have been customised by Digital Dreams to match the flooring.
Two single four-poster beds by Purple Backyard lie in the guest bedroom.
The house's botanical aesthetic is highlighted in the master bathroom with leafy tiles from FCML paired with white Statuario marble.
The guest bathroom continues the nature-inspired mood of the entire home with an accent wallpaper by Cottons and Satins.
The jungle-print customised wallpaper by Cottons and Satins creates a celebratory mood at the bar.
An exaggerated terrazzo floor by Bharat Floorings echoes the aesthetic of a heritage home Toral grew up in.
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