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The designer shares the simple principles she relies on to make a rental space feel more like your own
Most young folk in urban cities today find themselves looking for a rental apartment or home to live in. This usually involves making peace with and finding a way to work around the designs that already exist within the space. However, in the two-bedroom rental apartment interior designer Supriya Hiremath Vora shares with her husband and two-year old son, this wasn’t the case. In a home she describes as fuss-free with a lot of room for running around, she found a way to create a space that feels like her own.
“Since I was a child, I was always interested in creative things from using pieces to pull together an outfit or sprucing up a home,” she recalls. “For some reason, I ended up studying psychology in college because, at the time, I thought interior design was very technical. Once I started working, I took up jobs that involved curating and editing things. Through this journey, I discovered my calling as an interior designer. Every day is a learning experience, and each space I design gives me more and more confidence.”
With this skill, she put together her South Bombay apartment which boasts a unique art collection and edit of design objects. She took Beautiful Homes through her journey designing this space.
Supriya Hiremath Vora (SHV): This is the second home my husband and I share. I think finding a house is truly a game of luck. After a couple of months of seeing spaces with a broker, we stumbled upon this one, which also happens to be in the same building as my in-laws.
SHV:It was a bare shell at the time and needed to be built from scratch. It had a lot of potential but needed the right design.
SHV: Yes. The landlady had employed a contractor to build the house. I stepped in and asked if I could also be a part of the entire design process. Since I had a different vision for the home, I worked out an agreement where she’d share the budget she’d set aside for designing the apartment, and I’d pool in the rest required to execute my designs. The size of the rooms and the tall height of the ceiling immediately caught my eye. Every window also has a parapet outside, where I knew I’d place a lot of plants. Both the bathrooms were given a complete makeover. We also added more wardrobes because there was barely any storage space. I updated the existing ones with cane shutters and tried to keep everything against the walls to have more space for running around. I was also careful about not buying things, because I wouldn’t be able to reuse them.
SHV: I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you can give a space a completely fresh look without changing too many things. You don’t have to go crazy bringing in new designs. Simple but effective decisions such as having high-quality pieces of furniture make a room look richer and warmer. There are also so many reasonably priced materials available to create a stylish bathroom.
SHV: We added laminate wood flooring and swapped out all the windows with huge sliding frames to bring in more light. Floors and windows are two things that are very important in any house, and the first thing I look at.
SHV: That’s quite true, conventionally one would not do this, but, in this home, it was a change that was necessary to make the house warmer and happier to live in. We didn’t have to spend much in other areas, so it worked out to the same thing.
SHV: I like things that are unique, and I enjoy the thrill of searching and finding something completely unexpected. I have a fond memory of the time my mum took me to Pondicherry to shop for my home before I got married. There was a couple there who drove from Germany to India and they were selling furniture in their backyard. We bought everything, from crockery to the desk in my living room to an old music box from them. Each one is a sentimental piece now with a nostalgic story attached to it.
SHV: I follow my heart. As a young collector, I usually pick pieces that I want to look at every day and make me feel happy—make the home feel happy. And I’m always on the lookout for something new and interesting. Every piece doesn’t have to be expensive or created by a prominent artist.
SHV: I started ordering his furniture the moment I found out I was expecting. It started with a little almirah and a chest of drawers, and then I sketched out a rough layout of everything I’d need in the room. I also knew I wanted a wallpaper because it allowed me to create something whimsical. It’s easy to change it as the child grows out of it. Earlier, that room was the den, and I wanted to reuse the furniture that already existed there, so I kept one of the bookshelves and reupholstered the sofa bed.
SHV: You can make a home which is far from perfect but still aesthetically pleasing and warm to live in. Ultimately, you should always create spaces within which you feel happy. A picture-perfect house may look gorgeous in a magazine, but your home should enhance the entire family’s lifestyle. If a kid’s room is messy, simple tricks like bringing in cute baskets for storing toys will make the area neater.
SHV: That you shouldn’t splurge on a rental. We spend so much on eating out, shopping and travelling—but at the end of the day, it’s more important to spend on living in a space that makes you comfortable. It’s what you experience every day and will bring you more joy. It doesn’t have to be too extravagant, but a little always goes a long way!
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