It is very common these days to come across homes that exude a thoroughly modern charm, with an abundance of contemporary furniture set in trendy surroundings.
Interestingly, ethnic homes with indigenous furnishings also abound and look just as elegant and pleasing to the eye as their western counterparts. However, of late, amalgamation of the two distinct styles has become a trend and decorating one’s home in an eclectic fashion, with furniture and accessories reflecting both the timeless, and the avant-garde, has become extremely popular these days.
One such home is that of Rahat and Zahid Khan’s. As you walk through the long driveway overlooking the carefully manicured lawns complete with copper and steel fountains, you don’t expect to see antique decorations in the foyer. A large mirror within a carved frame greets you as soon as you set foot in the entrance, while a square piece of carving apparently once a part of a haveli dresses the ceiling.
The front of an old window, from rural Sindh, serves as an adornment for one wall. It has concealed lights which give it a romantic glow. According to Rahat, the antique pieces have been picked up from kabarias and were in a pathetic state when purchased. Below the mirror are two roughly-hewn wooden chairs that are quintessentially South African, a large candle stand is placed between the two.
A coffee table bought in Bangkok with legs boasting traditional carving, serves as a base for a ceramic piece. In fact, you soon discover that the house is full of decorative items that have been bought from different parts of the world.
Rahat has no qualms admitting that decorating the house is more her husband’s passion than her own and he is the creative force behind selecting and even designing of the many furnishings around their home.
To the right of the foyer is the drawing room. It is a spacious room with marble flooring adorned with rugs, and has wooden beams running along the ceiling. The wall to the right is occupied by louvred French windows opening out into the garden, framed by off-white embroidered shears.
An upholstered sofa in green and off-white raw silk is placed at an angle against one side of the wall, a tall palm sitting strategically behind it. Another similar sofa occupies the opposite wall, a wood-and-glass console table with green decorative items standing behind it.
The furniture in the room is assorted and does not appear incongruous. A single-seater upholstered in maroon self-embossed fabric forms part of the sitting arrangement and also includes two chairs upholstered in green and a settee with maroon upholstery. The settee’s rounded legs match those of the centre table’s, although the polish is different.
At the far end of the room is an off-white and maroon checkered upholstered sofa, off-set by a wooden sofa in off-white brightened with maroon-embossed velvet cushions. Different shaped corner tables and coffee tables placed between chairs and sofas add to the room’s eclectic look.
An antique wooden shelf adorned with statues occupies the front wall.
A large glass doorway leads you into the lounge. Upholstered sofas, low stools and rounded chairs provide for comfortable seating in front of a wall with built-in cabinets housing a television set.
A grandfather clock stands next to the door leading to the kitchen, to the right of which is a staircase leading to the bedrooms. Money plants hang from the upstairs lounge and cascade over the lounge below.
Inside the dining room is a round dining table with a glass top standing on an ornate wooden base. It is complemented by a huge mirror gracing the wall, a glass shelf holding decorative pieces held up by antique brackets is below.
So, if you have old furniture lying around the house, but would rather do up your home in a contemporary style, there is no reason why you should throw it all away and later feel guilty about it. Just add some contemporary pieces to your home like the Khans have done, without worrying about the varied themes and transform its look.