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This Mumbai apartment is a minimal, monastic den

  • Apartments
Nov 30, 2017


Elsie Nanji puts together a serene, understated apartment that doubles up as a party pad

When hosting a party, we often struggle to rejig the furniture to accommodate all our guests. So, when she had to plan a space to be used primarily for hosting, ace designer Elsie Nanji kept furniture pieces to a minimum and pushed the rest against walls and niches. For instance, the sofa and the bookshelf have been placed between two pillars. She even created a ledge skirting the windows to provide seating from where one can look out to the expansive views of the sea.



The main attraction though, is the Cabinet of Curiosities which stands against a completely white washed wall. Painted with a distressed effect, the cupboard houses heirlooms collected and passed down in the family. “When doing a

To create separate spaces within the large living area, Elsie sectioned off a part by creating a ring of seaters and pouffes. You can try the same with armchairs and sofas. For maximum effect, try your hands at mix and match seating options.

house, the central idea is to make the space unique to the owners. One day, while we were discussing the house, the owner’s daughter brought out perfume bottles of her grandmother while the grandmother brought out badges belonging to the son. So, we decided to make it like a little treasure chest,” divulges Elsie.


If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own home, Elsie has a few suggestions for you too. “If you don’t want to use heirlooms, you can convert the cupboard into a puja room. Secondly, make optimum use of your window space by converting it into a seating area. Kids love it, and so will you.”

Old steel boxes are repurposed as shelves to store the precious mementos. From vintage perfume bottles and badges to first ever credit cards, things of emotional value find a home in this cupboard.
Cabinet of Curiosities houses heirlooms passed down for generations in the family. The cupboard, bought at a flea market was carefully painted to bring out a vintage effect. You can adapt the idea to store books, china ware or even convert it into a puja room.
The dining space is non-pretentious and kept simple with a bare table surrounded by black chairs, which adds a little contrast to the otherwise white surroundings. For small spaces especially, such streamlined furniture saves space and can also perform multiple functions.
Placed in a recessed alcove between two pillars, the neutral toned sofa is propped with some bright cushions. To completely utilise the space behind furniture, you can build floating shelves or hang artwork as well.
A smart way to utilise the empty space between two pillars is to go vertical. Here, Elsie used a sleek bookshelf that also doubles up as a place to display objets d’art, making for a colourful corner.

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