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This Ahmedabad home reinterprets tradition in a contemporary format

  • Contemporary Designs
By Gauri Kelkar
8 min read
Apr 13, 2022
living area done using breathable off-white and blue fabrics

Homes that are crafted from the heart are often a pretty good representation of the way people live, a cue to their preferences, what they like to surround themselves with. This three-bedroom apartment called Samsara, in a building on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, identifies at the very cellular level with its inhabitants, including their inherent love for the antique crafts.

 

Bhoomi Dani and Priyam Shah live in this soothing home with their little child Samayama. They are also co-founders of Vraj:bhoomi, a clothing and textile brand out of Gujarat, an artisanal-centric label that contemporises antique craft-making techniques hailing from the Kutch region. According to them, their home “Samsara” is a conscious attempt at building a collective roof, where artisans, textiles, culture and modern ideas coexist. It is this underlying design philosophy that buoys Vraj:bhoomi that reflects so completely in their home is, therefore, no surprise.

Bhoomi Dani and Priyam Shah live in this soothing home with their little child Samayama. According to them, their home “Samsara” is a conscious attempt at building a collective roof, where artisans, textiles, culture and modern ideas coexist. It is their underlying design philosophy that contemporised antique craft-making techniques hailing from the Kutch region, that buoys Vraj:bhoomi and reflects so completely in their home.

Crafting The Right Look

Located on the 12th floor of a 14-storey building, in their home the off-white background offset by the toned-down indigo offers a sense of balance while bringing out the colours of the block-printed textiles. “The house celebrates raw beauty to establish the artisanal design language of the home,” says Dani.

 

The passion for craft, and a commitment to sustainability, is expressed through every detail that has gone into making this house—the hand-block-printed wall mounts and textiles, the reclaimed-wood furniture in lime wash finish and a general preponderance of the handmade. “We believe that uniqueness in anything is conceivable only if it has an element of the handmade,” says Shah. Here, it’s there in the furnishings, furniture pieces and other accessories as well.

the custom console at the foyer

Reclaimed wooden furniture pieces in limewash finish were handcrafted to give a contemporary touch; the traditional mural craft of Kutch, called lippan kaam, has been used to create hand-done textures on the walls using locally available materials like white sand, clay and papier mâché and help keep the interiors cool.

a matching charpoy with cushions

This corner, Shah’s favourite, has a block-printed cushions on the woven distressed wooden cot with the portraits and words of spiritual guru, Sadhguru.

interiors inspire dinner set

The off-white-and-indigo colour scheme carries through in the simple yet rustic tableware crafted in a contemporary, yet rooted design; the geometric textiles create an interesting table setting.

Simplicity was at the core of the broad brief that Shah and Dani gave themselves—having done this house entirely on their own. “We did not consult any architect or interior designer. We knew that if we were to call this place our home, we had to design it ourselves.” The richness that dresses up this aesthetic is mellow and remarkably accessorised with colour, pattern and textures. “We gave this space its distinct language by infusing our signature block prints into the home textiles, inspired from the age-old Pichwai paintings,” says Dani.

 

In An Antique Land

The Pichwai influence may have left deep impressions on them and this house, but it is the region of Kutch, which has been an unchanging muse. Handwoven textiles from a little village of Bhujodi in Kutch are scattered through the space, some as soft furnishings and others in the solely aesthetic role of wall hangings. Clearly, apart from Pichwai, other lesser-known craft forms received equal attention. One of the “unknown modest art forms of Kutch”, called lippan kaam, has been used to create hand-done textures on the walls. A traditional mural craft originating in Kutch, it uses materials like white sand, clay and papier mâché. “Each artisan has a distinct style of creating texture by moving his palm in an arc-like shape on the wall,” explains Shah. Interestingly, these murals perform the dual task of not just looking pretty but keeping the interiors cool too.

 

The profusion of every kind of craft, one might think, would be distracting or overdone but there is harmony here between the different elements at play—the prints, textiles, carvings, artworks, all of which evoke the past but in a modern language that is relatable and effective. “We worked towards holding the natural tones and textures of each material. Each material has its distinct touch, feel and sight,” says Dani.

Reclaim And Reinvent

While textile craft and art hold up the artistic end of the spectrum that is this home, the reclaimed-wood furniture used around the space propped up the sustainable end of things. “Each piece is custom-made from the wood that had previously been used for another purpose.” A headboard and footboard of a vintage bed, for instance, were reincarnated as a bench for the living room. “The act of repurposing and turning [reclaimed pieces] into a new piece adds a certain beauty, charm and story to the surroundings and seamlessly connects our living space to the natural world and the past,” says Dani.

a 6-seater dining area with matched fabrics

The reclaimed furniture continues on in the dining area; the wall behind the dining table has traditional ‘rattan’ art that the couple collected on their trip to Bali. The wall hanging on the left corner is hand-woven by an 85-year-old woman from a small Kutch village called Bhujodi.

In a home that advocates simplicity through every design decision that its crafters took, there is nothing ‘simplistic’ about Samsara. That this house exemplifies the ‘you are how you live’ trope speaks to the deep impact that their work has had on Dani and Shah. It is a tribute to history revived in an innovative, sustainable and modern expression. That they chose to create a home that manifests their passion speaks to their commitment to lost forgotten worlds.

the happy occupants of the home
The homeowners, Bhoomi Dani and Priyam Shah, the co-founders of Vraj:bhoomi, with their little one, Samyama.
living area done using breathable off-white and blue fabrics
The off-white background of this 12th-storey home is accented with toned-down indigo. The benches are meticulously upcycled using an old bed’s headboard and footboard. The age-old Pichwai painting style has been intricately reinterpreted in the form of textiles, furnishing and wall adornments.
furnitures in rustic finishes
The house is filled with colours, patterns and textures that inculcates Vraj:bhoomi’s signature Pichwai-inspired prints with motifs like cows, peacock, the lotus; each textile used in this room is carefully crafted using the technique of hand-blockprinting with natural and plant dyes by the desert artisans of Kutch; other elements used in the space include decorative doors and windows.
a classic cupboard
The homeowners’ fondness for vintage can clearly be seen resonating through this space, including this wardrobe in one of the bedrooms that has been handcrafted using reclaimed wood.
the wardrobe in off-white rustic tone
This small bedroom features reclaimed wooden furniture in limewash finish and handcrafted textiles.
furnitures in rustic finishes
The off-white background is accented in toned-down indigo printed textiles to create a tranquil vibe; the table lamp has been upcycled from one of the pillars of a vintage cot, locally known as khatlo.
interiors inspire dinner set
The off-white-and-indigo colour scheme carries through in the simple yet rustic tableware crafted in a contemporary, yet rooted design; the geometric textiles create an interesting table setting.
a matching charpoy with cushions
This corner, Shah’s favourite, has a block-printed cushions on the woven distressed wooden cot with the portraits and words of spiritual guru, Sadhguru.
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