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MUMBAI

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Good Morning! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Did you happen to flip through the pages of GoodHomes’ March edition? The Real Home section featured Ramya, Anand and their son Aditya’s 1450 sq.ft Mumbai apartment. All that had to be said has been brilliantly captured by Pia Sinha. I’ll let these two pictures decide whether you should grab a copy or not. If you liked this home, I bet you will like the Jains’ 1,800 sq. ft upcycled home as well. It was featured in Good Homes. Image courtesy: BBC Good Homes India March ’13 Edition

My son remarked this afternoon, “mamma, how does Google know all the answers?”  I replied, “yes, it does, provided you ask the right questions.” The past decade or so has made us believe that we can have all the answers in a click from supernova explosions to a drug prescribed by a hematologist to what’s so fascinating about a beluga whale; it has given us the confidence to experiment, get our hands dirty from carpentry to coding.

But, I believe certain things in life are best left to experts. Because their expertise in the field takes your breath away, even if only for a moment, it’s worth it. So, as much as I advocate DIY, I’m also an ardent fan of the professionals who know their work best. Here, we are talking of interior designers.

The Orange Lane is one such firm in Mumbai run by Shabnam Gupta. Her portfolio is incredibly impressive/creative in execution from the commercial ones to vast houses to studio apartments and bachelor pads.

Minus words, plus pictures – to take your breath away.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Kaizad Dinshaw’s work ever since I saw how he magically transformed his bachelor pad into a visual treat. How much can you accomplish in 691 sq.ft of space you may ask? Take twenty steps from one end to the other, and you hit a wall. But, that’s how small or rather big is Dinshaw’s apartment, and we saw, how with a clever utilization of space, he didn’t compromise on aesthetics, functionality and most importantly, lack of floor area.

So, after a long gap, I browsed Nitido Design’s residential portfolio. Kaizad’s verstaility comes across in decking up small spaces predominantly in white. I often get e-mails from readers asking how to conceal a dining area from the living space, or what would go well above a weathered cabinet, or how could a old mirror fit into a space. It’s good to see the portfolio of experts and learn a thing or two to see what works and why, and how to complement furnishings and furniture.

Here are a few favorite picks of mine from Kaizad’s portfolio.

The weathered cabinet becomes the focal point of this room. So, before you discard that old cabinet, think again. You can re-purpose it to make it the star of the room. A simple DIY of painting with one color, sanding, and painting another coat of a different color will give it the weathered look. A mirror or large artwork above the cabinet works well. But, if you are thinking an assortment of small photo frames, not so much!

We have a huge collection of books at home. Of late, most of the reading happens on iPad, Kindle and my Nook color. But, I cannot emphasize more the lure of real books and having one library at home, especially around growing kids. A dark backdrop, or any contrasting color, makes the space stand out.

Minimalism is on the top of my list in everything I do. And I’m fortunate to have a like-minded family that believes in giving away stuff in excellent condition – be it toys, gadgets. Why buy, you may ask? Well, not anymore. I think twice before getting anything new into the house.  And if something new has to come in, then something has to go. As a result, we don’t have overflowing closets or, toy boxes. It has also meant lesser trips to shops and malls and more to parks. Something my husband read out to me a year back on the paradox of choice and happiness has stuck with me:

***        Buy more experiences and fewer things. Material goods depreciate. The day after you buy something, it’s probably worth less than you paid for it. Experiences, on the other hand, appreciate. Your memories of the things you do—vacations you take, concerts you go to—tend to become fonder with time.

***        Buy many small pleasures instead of a handful of large ones. This one’s tough to hear on a personal level, because I tend to forego daily indulgences for big rewards. But, in the words of the authors, people are usually happier with “frequent doses of lovely things rather than infrequent doses of lovelier things.

Come to think of it, the whole process of redesigning our home a year and half back began when I realised my husband and son’s needs – space. The declutter journey began with replacing all our oversized furniture with compact ones. It’s been a BIG transformation that we are all happy about but still not quite there. So, I’m a little wary of homes that barely have space to walk around but it’s a personal choice.

I’m constantly looking at studio apartments to learn about maximizing space and innovative ways of storage.  On one such mission, came across designer Ayaz Basrai. Ayaz Basrai is the owner of The Busride (I know a quirky name for a design studio). Even more quirkier  is his home. Ever fancy living in a 160 square feet apartment? The smallest I’ve ever lived in a 540 sq. ft apartment in Chicago. So, this just hooked me on.

The design studio’s profile of impressive achievements includes The Smoke House Room, Cafe Zoe, informal The Chimp Kiosk, quirky The Channel V studio among a dozen others. But what stood out for me is his tiny sliding home in the Ranwar village. Fathom a king sized bed that splits to create a seating arrangement during the day, a walk in closet, full length mirror, changing area, a pantry and a workstation – all in 160 sq. ft?

Take a 675 sq.ft apartment in Mumbai, make an interior designer its owner and, this is what you get: a small, functional abode that looks double its size as spaces flow fluidly into one another. Owner Kaizad Dinshaw, who designed the apartment himself, is the man behind residential and commercial design firm – Nitido design. Who lives here: Kaizad Dinshaw Size: 675 sq.ft Location: Mumbai Designer: Kaizad Dinshaw, Nitido Design This month’s Good Homes features the 675 sq.ft one-bedroom apartment of Kaizad Dinshaw. To say, I was floored by the design would be an understatement. I live in a 1460…