The home of couple Shibani Jain, founder of Baaya Design décor studio and her husband Vipul Jain, co-founder of Accelya Kale Solutions and NGO Catalysts for Social Action, reflects their artistic sensibilities. Their 2,500-sq ft, three-bedroom-hall home in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, is replete with handicrafts and arts that celebrate the rich heritage of Indian culture and add to the aesthetic appeal of their home.
“We wanted a home that was eclectic and arty and one that would reflect our personalities and interests. We enjoy traveling and have visited more than 30 countries together, including some very exotic and unusual destinations,” says Shibani Jain, a graduate in Visual Communication Design, from NID Ahmedabad.
Jain spent over a decade in the handicraft sector, before starting Baaya Design. Her passion for traditional Indian crafts spills over into her personal space, which she designed on her own. “I like to keep up with the times but as a society, our growing reliance on digital connections makes us yearn for our native crafts and their familiar forms. I feel that when people make things by hand, they put a little bit of their spirit into the things they create. My home is a space where one finds a mix of cultures and histories – where ethnicity gets a new avatar in the décor,” Jain maintains.
A décor theme held together by elephants
The standout elements in her home are the colours and the natural elements used in the décor. Her home has a large number of hand-crafted products. “I focused mainly on natural materials without making too many alterations to the substrates. I retained stone for the floors, metal for the railings and wood for the doors and other fixtures,” says Jain. The living room, which has a mixture of different art forms, is tied together by a common theme – Jain’s love for elephants.
Jain says that she has collected almost 400 pieces of décor items based on elephants, from across the world. “I have a fascination for elephants. I have a dedicated cupboard, which is full of elephant figurines sourced from all corners of the globe. There are crystal elephants from Belgium, an elephant made from the tooth of an Alaskan woolly mammoth, Malaysian and Indian elephants and even a jade elephant from China, to name a few,” she points out.
A melange of crafts from across India
The living room has a Dhokra carving from Chhattisgarh. This craft involves the casting of non-ferrous metals using clay models and beeswax, to create decorative human and animal figurines. There are also stone artefacts from Zimbabwe. The bar unit is carved from Burma teak. A huge Gond painting, the ‘Tree of life’ made by an artisan of the Gond tribe, adorns one of the walls.
“Gond paintings are expressions of rituals and folklore that are deeply linked with the day-to-day lives, religious sentiments and beliefs of the people. Forests, animals, birds, Gods, etc., are painted in bright, multi-coloured hues. The artist has painted a beautiful huge tree that is not only vibrant but also creates an ambiance of serenity and positivity. The tree and the birds create a feeling of nature inside the house. My favourite place in the house is on the sofa, opposite the tree in the living room. I usually have conversations with friends and family, here and play with my Yorkshire terrier, Milo, who is the latest addition to the family,” Jain explains.
Colourful and yet, warm
One of the bathrooms is designed with blue Jaipur pottery mosaic tiles. Even the entrance foyer has a cupboard with blue Jaipur pottery tiles. The bedroom cupboard has a Warli art (which is a tribal art form of Maharashtra) depicting a tree overlooking a village scene, with a meandering water body. The dining table has colourful runner and table mats. Jain admits that she loves to mix and match different colour palettes.
“I always look forward to being surrounded by candles. They are essential to my home as I love the soft warm glow that it exudes, in the evening,” she elaborates. There are soft ceiling lights all over the house, which give a warm glow to the house. Hanging lights add contrast and a rich feel to the space. The ceilings also have spotlights for additional brightness, whenever required. “My priority was to rely on natural light for most of the day and thankfully, I was able to do this in all the rooms. My home is my space where I can relax and unwind with comfort and ease,” Jain concludes.