As the sunshine dances on the early morning dew drops of the Jacaranda trees making them glisten, it simultaneously makes its way through the large french windows of a gorgeous, cozy, European styled cottage, which emerges with sloping roofs and an imposing exposed stony facade – welcome to the Chowdhury’s dreamy white castle in Jammu – home to the lady of the house – Shalu, her husband – Abhimanyu and their nine year old son – Ranveer. Shalu is a microbiologist working at the government run hospital here in Jammu, while Abhimanyu dabbles in the multiplex business.
One quick peek inside their home and you are instantly transported into a realm of elegant calm and quiet. The residence which took over a year to complete has many memories – like the one where Abhimanyu planted the Jacaranda trees right after their marriage and how the happy family now awaits the bright, purple hued blooms to flower once a year in April. Or that the exterior stone facade is made up of the same stones that were put up in a highly revered local temple and it took more than a year to set them perfectly.
The porch is your first landing towards the home after you get past the mesmerising, expansive garden and sports a beautifully carved mirror in distressed patina with a bench and a coffee table (both bought from the Sharma Farms in Chattarpur, New Delhi). Shalu likes styling quite a few of her vignettes here and watching the rain drops pitter-patter.
The living room is the epicentre of this home and having entertained many a guests here, evokes a sense of a rustic Italian barn meets a sophisticated hamlet in the Hamptons. I love how she has kept her entire 3-bedroom home classy, yet uncluttered. The guest room is on the ground floor while the couple’s and their son’s room is up the stairs. Shalu was hugely inspired by her travels to Europe and used those ideas while selecting furniture and furnishings for her interiors. She trusted an old family friend who has been in the interior designing domain for more than two decades and did all the shopping from Chandigarh. The furniture bit was executed by her friend, who did a phenomenal job when it came to recreating elegant vintage styled statement pieces for the home.
A small corner of green for that ‘room under the stairs’ (aka: Harry Potter) instantly calls you towards itself and you get pleasantly surprised to see that the planter stands are nothing but upcycled crates placed creatively on top of each other!
Even though the entire home is draped in neutrals, the use of different textures, patterns, prints, and designs keep one enamoured. The same is true for the drawing room as well. The sheer blinds, upholstery on the couch and the arm chair might be painted in peaches and cream, but they tie up the entire design story in this room beautifully.
The guest room on the ground floor has its brief moments with pops of colour in the way of cushions, throws, and of course, fresh flowers!
The dining room dabbles in beige, silver and grey with two large mirrors reflecting the dining table (which is considered good as per Vastu). A minimalistic space, with steel grey curtains, the space looks enchantingly beautiful with the sunshine streaming in.
Ranveer’s room interestingly also had a neutral colour palette till he expressed his desire of wanting an element of red. The room was redesigned and Shalu included a red couch in his room thereafter!
The staircase leading up has beautiful mirrors in all kinds of shapes and later opens into a landing which has a small lounging area with two cute slip on chairs and a hutch cabinet displaying their travel spoils…Did you notice the huge hurricane lanterns at the base of the stairs? stunning, aren’t they?
Florals and pastels are taken to another level when it comes to Shalu’s room. A fancy four poster bed in all its gorgeousness is easily the showstopper here, while the tall pastel green arm chair and the floral couch add a sense of regal splendor in another corner. Take a look…
Shalu and her husband have always steered clear of having any entertainment setup in their bedroom, hence the study cum lounging room more than makes up for it. Intriguingly, this is also the only room in the entire home with the television set in it.
I love how she has spruced up her study corner with a Chinese urn lamp, a ladder shelf and of course, lots of vintage charm and plants…
The kitchen has a fascinating mix of warm wooden hues and teal blue tiles (in varying gradients) which work quite well together and quirk up the space, making it all the more interesting to hone one’s culinary skills.
I had a lovely time scripting this blog for all of you, that might be evident from my writing probably; but more than that, I absolutely loved interacting with Shalu; in spite of being a busy soul, she was so forthcoming in answering all the questions, quite a few of them being inane too! Thank you dear, for giving us a sneak peek into your captivating nest. You can follow the gorgeous decorista on her Instagram feed here.
A couple of key takeaways for me while I was going through her home’s images is – One, that a subtle palette can be accentuated beautifully with judicial and clever use of textures, patterns, prints, and sprinkles of colour (in the right amount) and can give a new definition and character to one’s home if they have the flair for it. Second, plants shouldn’t be just a part of your garden, but also your lifestyle. If you look closely, Shalu has made Mother Nature a part in all her vignettes and her entire home, and that’s something you can never fall short of…
(All images published in this blog belong to Shalu Mengi and may not be replicated or reproduced without prior permission. Text copyright: A Cauldron Full of Love)