Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tips for low budget interiors (Deccan Herald, Nov 2012) http://www.deccanherald.com/content/289420/design-matters.html

Design that matters

Nov 2, 2012
Juanita Kakoty understands the importance of design that is in keeping with different spaces, during her visit to the home of an interior designer.
This passage morphs into a beautiful space after the redesign.As soon as one enters a house, one should feel the warmth of those living in it,” tells Urmimala Bhuyan Bora as we sip tea in her drawing-cum-dining room overlooking the enclave right behind the house, where palms and other green plants create that much-needed sense of connect with nature in the concrete madness of Delhi. I soak in the visually appealing spaces in front of me while listening to Urmi, “Whatever you design should complement the space you are designing it for. Say, what you do for the living room, dining room or bedroom, etc, should be worked out keeping in mind the activities to be conducted in the room.

The design, therefore, should include the ergonomic details. For example, when designing a chair, one has to know if it is a study chair or a sofa or a dining chair. The design should fulfill the purpose of the activities and the human dimensions, and should not disturb the flow of movement in that space. In other words, the design should not hamper the activities to be performed in that room.” 

Inspired by her architect husband Chanakya Bora, Urmi has been into interior designing for over twelve years now. “I love creating homes out of houses for people,” she says and for that, she does not limit herself to high-end clients. She has done budget interiors for young professionals like academicians, journalists, lawyers, corporate executives, etc for whom each penny counts but who wouldn’t want to compromise with the aesthetics. “In low-budget interiors,” Urmi tells me, “I basically focus on the furnishings (upholstery, furniture, accessories, appliances and other movable articles in the house). I also reuse materials available with the clients and give them a new look.” 

The colour scheme is also an important aspect of design, she adds. “I give the client the freedom to choose the colour she or he wants and then I tone it down or accentuate it according to the natural light coming in or the artificial light available. In rooms or houses where natural light is restricted, I don’t use dark colour schemes since it makes the space darker. I use some light colour for the walls, floors and ceilings so that they reflect light from the materials around. And they can always be accessorised with colour through upholstery, paintings, cushions, decorative items.” To accentuate her point, Urmi talks about her latest project at New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh in Okhla. 

“The area available is approximately 900 sq. feet. The house had no storage space to begin with. So we created storage by designing furniture like beds and sitting spaces to meet dual purposes. We also created storage out of eye-sores that we had to hide. For instance, as one enters the house there is a small passage that has a wash basin right in front, visible from the main door. So we hid that wash basin by encasing it in a design that acts as a bookshelf, a shoe rack and two portions of general store. One can now use that basin, yet it is beautifully hidden.” “The clients of the house wanted a subtle and elegant look. I kept that in mind when I went about creating a wider look in that small space. I have used mirrors in the passage and kept the walls, ceilings and lamps white to reflect light. 

She adds, “the zing comes in with the colours I use for the upholstery and accessories. Since the clients are nature lovers, I have created a sense of closeness with nature at their home by arranging plants at the landing. So that as one walks up the stairs to the house, one can see the greenery reflected in the mirrors of the passage. The rooms in the house do not get much light and air. So I am using plants in the shaft too for a sense of seamless connect with nature.” Lifestyle and beautiful living have always been an inspiration for Urmi. It is very well reflected in her own house. As we sit in her living room and talk about interiors, I notice how from every corner of the room, one can see a continuity of theme running across the space. The furniture mingles with the colour scheme and accessories around the room. Every corner is different and has a unique story to tell, but as a whole, all of that somehow seem to go effortlessly together. 

Following a theme

“That’s my idea,” says Urmi, “To have a theme running in a space despite the varied artifacts around. Like the Shaheen Bagh house, where I have not only played with different accessories and touched them up to create a thematic look, but where I have also used an eclectic mix of furniture. For instance, I have not used sofa sets as that would have eaten up the space available. It is an assorted mix of tables, chairs and sitting spaces that has created an elegant, spacious living-cum-dining room.”

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