WHEN DESIGNER RICHA Bahl set out to do the interiors for actor Alia Bhatt’s new home in Mumbai, the brief was clear—white-washed walls, muted lights, expansive views, greenery and lots of space for her furry friends, Edward, Sheeba and Pica. The cat-crazy sisters, Alia and Shaheen, wanted a New-York style, pet-friendly apartment that would be open to parties and yet have these little corners for cozy conversations and plentiful reading. “Like many other first-time homeowners of their age, the Bhatt sisters wanted their place to have a boho chic feel. So, we introduced vintage flooring and some fun elements like neon signs, pendant lights, floral sofas and printed rugs. They both travel a lot, so we have given them scope to add a few new things every now and then,” explains Bahl, who has been busy curating homes for the young and the affluent across India.
Be it Shanghai, New York or Delhi, millennials world over are creating spaces with fluid boundaries—homes that can be turned into party pads over weekends and serve as co-working spaces on other days. While the exteriors do matter, they prefer to invest heavily in luxury kitchens, fancy floorings and smart home systems. “We are talking about the internet generation, which wants everything at the click of a button. They define luxury homes as places that offer great functionality and are high on design. Millennials give a lot of importance to individualisation, and that reflects in their personal space, too,” says Bahl, who has carved out these interesting little nooks like a library and a tea bar for Alia and Shaheen at their home in Juhu. “The tea bar is the highlight at their place. Both of them love collecting tea from all over the world, so we have made this corner with wooden barstools where they can enjoy an evening cuppa together. Within the bar, there are lots of kettles, and we have given them the space to build up on their hobby. It is a good, happy clutter,” says Bahl. She also had to keep in mind the dressing room for Alia. “When she is getting ready, it is not just her in the room; there is the stylist and the makeup people and an army of helpers. So, we designed a proper place to accommodate everyone,” she says.
While the young, high-net-worth individuals are extremely guarded about their personal space, they also want to be in the centre of things and not away from good restaurants and nightlife. Most millennials like to opt for localities that support common interests like fitness, food and fashion. “This generation really works hard and parties harder, and that is what they are looking for when doing up homes. Millennials are completely different from their parents’ generation. Looking to create an extension of their own personality, they don’t care for what people think about their idea of a home,” says Shabnam Gupta, celebrity interior designer and consultant. “So, it is all very client specific and tailor-made; each home is very different from the other. Some of my clients have really hectic, glamorous lives, so they want to create a retreat, which can also transform into places they can hang out with their friends.”
Earlier this year, Gupta made headlines for designing Kangana Ranaut’s gorgeous vacation home in Manali. Right from the timber ceiling to the hand-painted wood panelling, antique shawls and old Himachali jewellery, Gupta gave the house a quintessential flavour of the hills. “We curated everything around Kangana’s interest,” she says. “It is a mountain home with an old soul; it makes you slow down. We wanted her to unwind with the calming energy of the surrounding, but it is also one place that completely transforms during parties.”
Equipped with a home gym, a beautiful glass conservatory and huge windows looking out to the snowcapped mountains, this retreat was far easier for Gupta to conceptualise than designing the peppy home space for Parineeti Chopra. “I am still old school when it comes to design. Vintage comes more naturally to me,” says Gupta, who has also designed restaurants like Social, The Bar Stock Exchange and the Tanjore Tiffin Room. “So, while doing up Parineeti’s place, we had to really get into the fun zone to give the home a young look and feel. We like to get into the head space of our clients. As a studio, we not only believe in creating good-looking spaces, but also a functional house to suit the owner.”
* French Art Deco furniture from the early 1920s, such as a set of folding tables by Eugene Printz
* Furniture by artists like Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann or George Nakashima are great collectables and will continue to be important pieces for modern design in the years to come
* Furniture from Italian fashion house Etro. Home accessories from this family-owned label have been around for some time. But, this year, the brand has gone all out to embrace the joie de vivre of three Indian cities—Panaji, Kolkata and Agra. Look out for the Woodstock sofa, which encapsulates the east-meets-west theme in fantastical hues
* Hermes ‘Walk in the Garden’ dinnerware. Created in collaboration with British artist Nigel Peake, this whimsical dinnerware collection is an absolute delight for porcelain lovers. The brand has beautifully recreated Peake’s dream garden in bright orange, Prussian blue, green and warm yellow
* Home decor pieces from Peacock Life. Quirky, eclectic or vintage, this retail store offers a mix of curated pieces favoured by B-town celebrities and restaurateurs