This minimal Pune home can pass off for an ashram

by Vogue

January 24, 2023

This minimal Pune home can pass off for an ashram

With soothing finishes, minimum furniture and lots of sunlight, Between Walls designed a meditative haven

On the eighteenth floor of a building in one of the city’s buzziest neighbourhoods, is a Pune home that mutes the urban cacophony. “It’s so far up that you can’t hear the cars, horns or traffic,” smiles Payal Oswal, who bought the property along with her husband, Anand, for their family of five (which also comprises their daughter and Anand’s parents). Instead, what the couple can hear most mornings is the breeze and the bulbuls, and the neighbouring trees chattering to the rooftops—rare novelties for city dwellers.

Unsurprisingly, when it came time to design the interior, the Oswals were certain that these elements (the birds notwithstanding) should be invited, in some capacity, to play a starring role inside their home.

Bright and breezy

The living room is a zen oasis, with an adjoining balcony that affords interior-exterior living. The TV wall wears fluted panelling that elevates the neutral cocoon. The rug is from D’Decor.

“The wind and the sunlight, those were our primary points of reference,” says Natasha Shah, founder and principal designer of Pune-based interior design firm Between Walls, who was tapped by the couple to turn the home into a light and airy bolthole. “We envisioned a timeless space that embraced luxury—without bling and touch-me-not accents,” shares Payal. The couple’s brief, therefore, was simple: a fresh and bright design scheme with minimum furniture and maximum storage. The solution, Shah determined, was skewing white and light. “Of course, there was more to it than just colour: we also widened the openings and minimised passages, all in a bid to make the space look luminous, open and breezy. The main challenges were the civil changes and the space planning that the site needed for opening up the layout,” avers Shah.

An ashram-like aura

The master bedroom is characterised by a light oak floor and a fluted ceiling. The headboard is a black-and-white curiosity that adds a dose of drama to the pared-back space.

The dining room is a family favourite. It stars a black sculptural dining table and a bright orange elephant artwork from Ityadi.

With soothing tones, warm wooden flooring, and gently fluted walls in the common spaces, the interior could have you mistaking it for an ashram. The mystical avatar is furthered by a series of invisible interventions: a concealed door leads into one of the bedrooms, while curtains in the living room are secreted away behind a glass partition. The only departure from the abiding whiteness is the eye-popping elephant artwork that hangs in the dining room, which looks like it could spring to life and join the family for lunch. “I love the dining area because it peeps out into the living room and serves as an extension to the kitchen. The teak wood table has a sculptural quality. We built it in situ so it really looks part of the landscape,” says Shah. Adds Payal, “It’s our favourite haunt and our favourite element. We love how it holds its own and doubles as an accent.” Admittedly for Anand and her, the table is the heart of the home in more ways than one.

The daughter’s bedroom is at the end of the passage and features a rustic orange glass door. An oval window above the bed gives the room a whimsical flair.

The parents’ bedroom is dominated by wood and white finishes. A sliding door opens up to a puja room, which, in turn, connects back to the living area.