By Tejal Mathur

Don’t be afraid of the Dark

Definitely not for the fainthearted or lovers of all things that are easy on the eye. Deep velvets in pink tourmalines against carbon dipped pigmented walls to contrast the  texture for drama was my first instinct to ‘dress’ up this mystical sea-facing home for the artsy,  no holds barred couple that conveyed to me their desire to go all out on color and add subtle  glam in gold-tipped furniture and lighting. 

Accent walls are … well… boring and for me, an enveloping cocoon that pushed the palette to  the extreme was the only way to live on the edge and then leap. 

Luckily for me, Pratichee and Anand had immense clarity on going with a ‘full-bodied’ palette  that tipped heavily on the deeper saturated side of the Pantone fandeck.  Their instant excitement of what I put forth after their intrepid choices in the brief blew my  mind. And even though I had worked on their first home 14 years ago, their next round held  greater promise and got my head rush going. 

The endless possibilities of a bold expression or vision that could hashtag itself with  descriptives like maximal, seductive and smoky-eyed 

Of course in all this, my quest for timelessness over a ‘color of the year’ headliner led me to  create classically styled paneled walls for that touch of French elegance in the architecture that  could then take on the evocative colors that were carefully curated with juxtaposing the fabrics  and their collected artworks. 

The two most fun parts in the process were first culling out space for Pratichee walk-in closet  and the second was designing a bespoke wall shelving for Anand (an obsessive collector of  record labels) in his lair, the media room. Probably the most indulgent space that had an entire  wall lined with pro equipment (given his work as a filmmaker). The walls are soaked in deep  tanzanite with a royal aubergine velvet couch that pops. 

The dining & seating were centered in the squarish living room to face tall French windows  that opened out to a long deck and huge mouthful of color-changing sky beyond. It was almost magical how some streaks across the setting horizon looked like they had  blended into the walls of the house at dusk. 

The dining back wall is smoldering anthracite with a sliver of gold piping and is flanked by the  doorway and a floor-to-ceiling bar cabinet in black matted marble and slim ombré shutter  folds.  

Fortunately, the lobby is private and even as you exit the elevator the tone is set as gold  lettering on the walls that say Pranā (a confluence of their names) welcome you to what lies  beyond. Where the dance of color and textures within compete with an overwhelming sky and  breathes life and energy into the space. 

The leather finished terrazzo composite dining top is surrounded by skinny soft blush ‘stiletto’  like chairs. The rest of the living walls take on a deep shade of a moonlit river interjected with a  gilded cabinet below a fierce Basuki Dasgupta. 

With a repertoire of working with handcrafted finishes they loved, the idea of me designing a

coffee table as a block in a raw oak wood that we flame torched to an umber brown and  coated with oil for a textured open-grown finish much like the Japanese technique of wood  preservation called ‘Shou Sugi ban’. An experiment in itself makes for the centerpiece apatly  christened ‘Charred for Life’.  

The scene-stealer in the room is an overpowering ‘winged’ wallpaper- essentially art in itself  that was a unanimous choice once they picked it. 

One of my favorite vantage views in the layered décor is where the hidden guest room door  panel opens into a deep raisin-colored room which is lined with an opaque amethyst pastel on  fluted wardrobes. 

The contrast between the masculinity of the living room wall in Pensive Prussian from Asian  Paints and the Boudoir brocade of the purples is rather startling and keeps drawing you back  in. 

There is no room for subtle in the master bedroom where I sampled out several shades to get  the perfect dark teal like a reef in shadow on 2 walls to keep the color warm enough. Naturally  finished cement-fiber panels (I love the rawness of construction material) take on the only wall  

remaining and deftly conceal a door to the bathroom. While another slides to reveal  Pratichee’s whimsy wardrobe and shoes-a world in itself. 

The brown marbled bathroom boasts a bulb-lined vanity mirror and black matt textures and  enamelware. 

While the daylight brings out the intensity of enveloping saturated walls where not one corner  is spared (all in or nothing for me) the evening glow of lamps and chandeliers base the  bareness of the sorcery that can get the adrenaline pumping the heart racing and  conversations never-ending. 

It makes me repeat with conviction “Don’t be afraid of the Dark”.