BH: What did you learn along the way?
SHV: I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you can give a space a completely fresh look without changing too many things. You don’t have to go crazy bringing in new designs. Simple but effective decisions such as having high-quality pieces of furniture make a room look richer and warmer. There are also so many reasonably priced materials available to create a stylish bathroom.
BH: What was the one thing you splurged on the most in this home?
SHV: We added laminate wood flooring and swapped out all the windows with huge sliding frames to bring in more light. Floors and windows are two things that are very important in any house, and the first thing I look at.
BH: This is interesting because most residents in a rental think of investing in pieces they can take with them to their next home…
SHV: That’s quite true, conventionally one would not do this, but, in this home, it was a change that was necessary to make the house warmer and happier to live in. We didn’t have to spend much in other areas, so it worked out to the same thing.
BH: What do you look out for when collecting pieces or furniture for you home?
SHV: I like things that are unique, and I enjoy the thrill of searching and finding something completely unexpected. I have a fond memory of the time my mum took me to Pondicherry to shop for my home before I got married. There was a couple there who drove from Germany to India and they were selling furniture in their backyard. We bought everything, from crockery to the desk in my living room to an old music box from them. Each one is a sentimental piece now with a nostalgic story attached to it.
BH: You’ve also collected a lot of art over the years. What makes you want to buy an artwork?
SHV: I follow my heart. As a young collector, I usually pick pieces that I want to look at every day and make me feel happy—make the home feel happy. And I’m always on the lookout for something new and interesting. Every piece doesn’t have to be expensive or created by a prominent artist.