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This industrial-style Mumbai Apartment makes a statement

Studio apartment design with yellow sofa & low bed – Beautiful Homes
By Gauri Kelkar

Jul 12, 2023

A former 2BHK in central suburban Mumbai is reincarnated as an industrial-style 1BHK awash with light, peppered with local crafts and natural materials, a complete expression of its homeowner

It’s easy to imagine the tony Godrej Properties’ mixed-use development in central suburban Mumbai to be rife with elegant homes. Yet, in this phalanx of luxury residential homes in ‘The Trees’, one top-floor house in an apartment building has particularly stand-out credentials. “I’ve had some amazing reactions from guests. Some think it’s unfinished and ask me abhi kaam baaki hai kya? Some just walk around looking lost, like they’re still trying to grasp it. Many say that they’ve never seen anything like this. Slowly, as they start seeing things and absorbing the space, they’ll start feeling better about it,” laughs homeowner Darshan Gandhi, global head of design for Godrej Consumer Products Limited. 


And ‘they’ would be right, because this house is rather unique. Gandhi reverse engineered a 2BHK into a 1BHK and upended the conventional notion of space demarcations. “When I think about what makes this home relevant to today’s life, is there any ‘room’ function anymore? Every family has a very specific way of living. This house is designed to my order and that makes me happy and efficient,” she says.


Beyond the threshold lies a seamless space that is pleasingly without barriers. “When I booked the space, I told them I don’t want walls. I’m used to living in open spaces. I like the idea of a terrace. I wanted some plants, a balcony, sunlight.” 

Well-lit living area with natural light – Beautiful Homes

Homeowner Darshan Gandhi in her well-lit living area which receives ample natural light from the wall of windows along one side.

Pretty multicoloured reflector glass baubles, suspended from a pitched roof in a patch of space between the front door and the wall of windows opposite are an instant draw. (The ceiling dips down into a flat plane across the remainder of the house.) This pitched roof is an architectural stand-out feature that Gandhi made the most of—by leaving it as is. And those glass baubles something she had her eye on after seeing them at a Jodhpur palace. “After booking this home, I got in the habit of taking pictures of things that I loved. I was creating some sort of a mood board in my mind. I loved the glass globes that I’d seen and wanted something like that for my space. Fortunately, I found exactly what I was looking for in an antique store in Kochi.”

Take a tour of Darshan Gandhi's 2BHK turned 1BHK in suburban Mumbai, now transformed into a captivating industrial-style home.


This open space is an atypical living-kitchen-dining-bedroom space, all in an uninterrupted run. Beyond the bedroom is Gandhi’s pottery studio culminating in a plant-rich balcony. There is an amorphous partition between the bedroom and living-dining-kitchen space in the form of (generally rolled-up) curtains. “If I want some privacy around the bedroom area, I just pull the curtains down, but it’s mostly to add drama to the whole look. Along one side, parallel to the bed—made in-situ with poured concrete—are the storage areas, wardrobe, mirror, space for her pottery paraphernalia, and (discreetly behind a black beaded curtain) the washroom. “The only part of the house where I have done some ‘work’ is the storage/wardrobe spaces. I got the beads made by a lady who makes curtains to use as a partition for the storage spaces. I’ve added some art and objects to go with the industrial look I wanted.” Gandhi had to, however, shelve plans for a concrete floor. The concrete was poured just before the lockdown hit and couldn’t be polished in time. “I ended up using this black slate generally used in old houses and temples. It’s a natural stone from Haryana.” The only 'room' in the house is her son’s bedroom, through a discreet doorway near the kitchen.

Studio apartment layout with bed, sofa & dining table – Beautiful Homes

The view of the uninterrupted, seamless living-dining-bedroom; the walls are exposed concrete.

Modula kitchen design with attached balcony – Beautiful Homes

The dining chairs were custom-designed by Gandhi; the table surface is clad in traditional hand-painted Azulejos Portuguese tiles from Velha Goa. (Darshan Gandhi’s suggestion for a pic.


Gandhi’s love for natural materials comes through very evidently in this house. She graduated in interior architecture from APIED (Arvindbhai Patel Institute of Environmental Design) and followed that up with a degree in lifestyle product design from NID, Ahmedabad. And she’s an alumna of the Harvard Business School. “I’d say I’m more of a strategic designer but with a high artistic sense. It’s a very holistic process. I have a radical approach but one that’s true to the context and not radical just for the sake of it.”


A multiplicity of influences, experiences and her design instincts influence her approach. “I believe that the future lies in the history. I like to understand what was the original form of something and simultaneously contrast that with the extreme future of it. It’s a ‘grandparents to grandchildren’ sort of span and I try to locate myself in-between, like a Google map and pin down an aesthetic that works in that moment, for the present context.”  

Colourful bed upholstery with green bed back design – Beautiful Homes

The blue jali headboard behind the bed, sourced from Kochi, also serves as a separation to Gandhi’s pottery workstation behind the bed.

Full-size wall mirror with a black stool – Beautiful Homes

The storage areas, cupboards and full-length mirror along the wall opposite Gandhi’s bed and pottery spaces; the open shelves hold knick-knacks, toys, craft pieces, and collectibles picked up on travels.


There are century-old ceramic pieces inherited from her grandfather arranged on a narrow ledge of the pitched roof: “He used to collect ceramic toys from this industrial city called Thangad”. Tiny doll heels decorate the frame of a mirror, souvenirs from her travels, and local heritage craft pieces. A pretty blue antique window from Kochi serves as a headboard and partition with a pottery studio. Then there’s a miniature weighing scale from Sabarkundla, a town known for making weighing scales. “I’m not really into decorative crafts. I like things that have stories and utilitarian value. I surround myself with things that fascinate me.” Like this diversity of local crafts that sparks her curiosity. “During the lockdown, I went back to my hometown [in Amreli, Gujarat] and I used to explore smaller gallis in the area. I found a very old sankheda, or turned wood craft shop which makes utilitarian artisan pieces.” She was charmed enough that she got the artisans to do several pieces that she has displayed in her space.


This house is a wonderful panoply of whimsy, quiet elegance and warmth. It bends the conventional model of configured spaces in the best way, evolving and transforming as Gandhi wills.

Home office space in your bedroom – Beautiful Homes

Darshan Gandhi is the global head of design for Godrej Consumer Products Limited.

Living room design with leather sofa – Beautiful Homes

The living, dining and kitchen areas of Darshan Gandhi’s open-plan apartment in Mumbai’s central suburb of Vikhroli; the British country-style pinch-pleated white decorative pull-up sheer panel from etsy.com serves as a soft partition between her living room and the space occupied by her bed; the sofa is from Gulmohar Lane and the Hans Wegner ‘Shell’ chair was bought online from Chair Factory; the material used in the kitchen is black Kadappa stone.

Studio apartment design with yellow sofa & low bed – Beautiful Homes

The bedroom area has an in-built concrete bed; the headboard is a repurposed antique window sourced from Kochi; the apartment is an uninterrupted space with her pottery workstation behind the bed, which runs on into a cosy balcony; the flooring is kund slate stone and was sourced from Haryana.

Granite floor tiles with exposed concrete walls – Beautiful Homes

Gandhi’s pottery workshop; the shelf holds mugs, bowls and other stoneware articles made by her.

Potter wheel work – Beautiful Homes

Gandhi working the potter’s wheel.

Wood frame mirror design with unique décor – Beautiful Homes

Gandhi’s love for the quirky is evident in the collectables dotting her space, including these tiny doll heels along the top of the mirror— “I love old classic toys, the nostalgia and the contrast of the scale brings joy to the space.”

Pooja unit in your wall shelf – Beautiful Homes

An old-style stone gokhalo that Gandhi bought from along the roadside on the way to Kutch; in traditional Indian homes, the gokhalo, or niche in the wall used for oil lamps, is generally near the entrance to houses.

Wooden bed back design with upholstery – Beautiful Homes

The detail of the jali headboard from the back that doubles up as a pottery station panel.

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