Discovering my own design language, across 18 homes & 5 countries

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this obsessive need to use my living space as a canvas – a physical expression of how I feel within.

I remember driving my parents nuts because I wanted a round-shaped bed (inspired by a Bollywood sequence where the heroine reclines in her round, luscious bed and sings a beautiful melody for her love, something I very much wanted to do for my first crush). Or, adding fairy lights to soften the crevices of peeling paint in a humble room I’d rented when I started working in Mumbai. I was determined to find beauty in every struggle and I did.

Life, as it turned out, has since taken me to 18 different homes in five countries. Each time I moved, I learnt a little bit more about using spaces – creating several varied moods and looks within the same house. I scouted local markets for objects because details – little things here and there – add volumes to a mood. In the process, I learnt to appreciate traditional craftsmanship as well as modern design. Above all, I learnt how to put different things together. In magical ways that totally transformed spaces.

I took up home ‘design’ professionally when a friend, who was left abandoned by his architect last year, asked me to complete his house. It’s one thing living in cosy apartments in London, Hong Kong, Dubai or Mumbai and making them glamorous and chic. Quite another to undertake finishing, designing and styling a 10,000 sq ft space built on four levels – in a former apartment building which now needed to look like a bungalow. All without changing the external shell, even by a brick, if you please.

The only blessing was that I had free reign to do as I liked – all my friend wanted was to create a home which was, in his words, “super luxe and comfy”. Once I went past my initial hesitation (read several sleepless nights), I went through hundreds of blog posts, Houzz and Pinterest, mixing them up with my own imagination and creating my own unique design book. Armed with my book, I did what I know how to do best – mix the traditional with the modern, choose objects with big personalities and yet put enough spaces between them so that they don’t over-power each other. The biggest challenge was to keep a very keen eye (in capital letters) on details, the lack of which as you know, is the ruin of many a design idea. I also set myself a fairly high bar to not settle for either mediocre finishing or listless objects that didn’t speak to me.

I haven’t, you see, had the privilege of a formal education in design. But it’s been a blessing in disguise, allowing me to create my own eclectic language. 

I believe that living with beauty is a great luxury. Spending a lot of money, now that’s easy. The tricky bit is layering, creating multiple dimensions, choosing objects which sync well together to make a space interesting.

I also believe that our homes are a visual story of our dreams. Magazine-worthy homes are nice but it’s incredible to create a home which reflects our unique heritage, our memories, things we’ve loved and collected. And, most importantly, a timeless design that we want to live in, that gives us the space to flourish and grow.

Whether a project is big or small -restoring a 100+ year old Portugese villa or designing a walk-in-bath or  – these two beliefs have become fundamentals of my design philosophy and language. 

Here’s to enjoying eclectic design, living with beauty, to love, life and all things spinning….

Credits:
Rooms designed by Chanda Chaudhary

Pictures by Shivani Gupta

All images are subject to copyright Love, Life & All things Spinning….

Author: Chanda Chaudhary

Aesthete. Storyteller. Wanderer. Chanda is a lover of design, craftsmanship and individualistic style. She’s best known for hosting long champagne lunches filled with stories and tales of adventure, living life on her own terms and making the ordinary, extraordinary. She lives and works in Goa, India.

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