Mumbai is a city of closed doors. Knock and they might be opened to you. And that’s when you see, behind that door is a house, rented, shared or owned. A dream that everyone yearns to fulfill. Home sweet home. ‘And it takes years to build a home’, my dad used to say. Why? Because you take time to adorn every wall with a memory and every corner with a smile. It takes years for the rooms to be filled with laughter and tears of good times and bad. This is where you will always be yourself, for there is no place like home.

 

My parents took great pride in making our humble home a welcome one. There was no extravagance but loads of thrifty solutions. We learnt to reuse almost everything after it got a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint or new fabric. I learnt that a well-kept home surely painted a pretty picture. Colours, I realized had the power to transform anything, and EVERYTHING. They could brighten a nook, hide an architectural flaw and emphasize the focal point in a room.

 

And so it came to pass, when we picked our own little nest, a cosy little two BHK apartment. For a family of three it seemed perfect. This was just before the price per square feet went all the way to Jupiter and its moons. It was only recently when we renovated the place and we are very house proud, if I may add. We did not hire an interior designer. Right from the faucets to the tiles, electrical fittings to the furniture, everything was sourced by yours truly. Let me tell you how.

 

When I started out, I knew I wanted to create a space that reflected us. My husband is the calm, I am the storm and my daughter is the rainbow. In between this mayhem, our cat (now two) is our stress buster. So, no mundane pastels for us. Our house was going to be eclectic.

 

The living room always sees the maximum activity. It also is the cover of your book of life. I knew I wanted a showstopper there. Nothing in the market appealed to my crazy, creative side. That’s when I decided I wanted a mural, a handmade one at that. I designed a tree out of POP, accented it with tea lights and readymade flowers. It took me 15 days, but it was worth the masterpiece. Till date, my friends love coming over and taking a picture by the ‘Tree of Life’ as they call it. Every time they do, I sprout a shoot of happiness.

 

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Since the mural occupied a whole wall, the rest of the room is easy on the eye. Asian Paints was the undisputed choice for colours. You simply choose a shade from its extensive shade card and get your computerized, eco friendly colour box ready for use. And so green adorns the hall walls, (Fresh Leaf #9309) , ably offset by White (Satin #L119). A sofa cum bed, which is a must have in every Mumbai home, occupies the other half of the room. A gap created by an out of place pillar has been used effectively for a CD cabinet. The pillar is home to the TV with a simple glass table for the add-ons. A false ceiling border with mood lighting, a delightful lamp and azure blue curtains add the perfect finishing touch.

 

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My Merrie Pink kitchen (Shade #0418, yes, why restrict yourself?) begins with a long passage. So we used a portion for a cutlery cabinet. A trellis segregates the dining area from the kitchen. A dear friend painted a gazebo overlooking the sea, and we had our Vastu element of water in the North. I found a wall hanging made of capiz shells, added a fairy light and voila, we had a centerpiece.

 

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The princess’s room makeover was special. She was growing and so we needed a room that would accommodate all those needs. We pulled down the bunk bed into a singular pull out with storage. Hot pink, grey and white were the colours chosen. The furniture was spray painted. The largest wall was done in Pink Silk #9413, along with all the niches in the room. Butterflies stick on and wall stickers, completed the tween look. A pink damask partition added the glamour. Picked a birdcage, spray painted it white, added the fairy lights and she had her own little chandelier. A grey carpet and pretty pink curtains added to the chic and urbane feel.

 

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The master bedroom was a challenge since it did not get enough sunlight compared to the other rooms. So we went with Blue Twilight Sea #7439 and white satin with gold accents. A mirrored panel slide in wardrobe gave the illusion of space. The balcony was pulled in to add room. A bookcase was a must while an antique mirror graced the dressing table. Crystal curtains with LED lights made for the bed backdrop. Throw in the right set of cushions and we were done.

 

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The house took about 2 months to become our home, but it was worth it.  It wasn’t easy, but nothing that is worthwhile ever is. This home makeover taught me 5 things when you undertake a mammoth task such as this.

 

a) Budget

 

Be smart. Always work within specifics. Once you have set an upper limit, remember to keep a 20% buffer. Try multiple stores for a product. Compare notes and keep a diary. Look for wholesale deals or street bargains. You will be amazed at how random stuff can make a room come alive.

 

b) Space

 

Be aware about the restrictions you are working within. A bathtub is a luxury in most middle class Mumbai homes. Don’t try to fit in a style that won’t complement your home. Use wall space effectively. Remember, even an ordinary wall can be soothing to the eye in a heavy room. Work the spaces to your benefit.

 

c) Back-up plan

 

Be prepared. Things might not go all according to the plan. There will be delays. There might be unforeseen contingencies. Always have a plan B. If  ‘mera wala blue’ does not fit in the scheme of things, what is the next option?

 

d) Labour

 

Be involved. They are providing a service. You don’t own them. Don’t expect them to put your dream house together with a set of instructions. A cup of tea, or two won’t hurt. Treat them well. The chances are they will repay it with their skill. Be polite, but firm in what you need. They will learn to follow instructions.

 

e) Rules

 

Be responsible. Know that breaking of beams is illegal and hazardous to life, yours and your neighbours. Grills around the house are for protection, but they require a BMC permission. More importantly, they need an opening in case of fire. Renovation in a home needs to be carried out during certain hours in the day, else it is a nuisance to others. Your home may be the your Taj , but you are not the Emperor.

 

Take your time. Work the logistics and the math. And when you are done, you will be house proud just like we are. Your home will be an extension of you, a symphony that speaks ……………..Kyunki har ghar kuch kehta hai.

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Written for The Beautiful Home Blogger Contest in association with Asian Paints and Ripple Links.

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