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Apartment 5 at Bandra -Studio by the sea

Year of Completion: 2015
Location: Bandra, Mumbai
Area of Construction: 475 square feet

This 475 sq.ft. Studio Apartment is a small simple yet sophisticated space with all the functions of a modern living. It is a style forward abode designed in a way to optimise the most of the space using muted tones. The colour pallete of the apartment is neutral colours like beige, browns and greys making it look very elegant and chic. 

When it comes to interior design, a small flat or studio apartment is notoriously difficult to decorate as there is a limited canvas to play around with. Generally, there are two ways to approach such a space — you can either use a coordinated style that extends throughout the home or you incorporate a different theme within each functional area with a unifying design layer.

Architects Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally of Studio Osmosis chose to go with the first approach while designing a 475-sq ft studio apartment, in the Mumbai suburb of Bandra, by keeping the material palette simple and unified. The client is based in Chennai, but rents the studio as he travels to Mumbai often on business.

“The client wanted a chic modern-style fully-equipped house where he could hold meetings, entertain guests as well as live,” explains Sameer. However, considering that this was a second home for the client, the budget was nearly as tight as the space itself. Speaking of the apartment’s location and original condition,  The flat had been lying vacant for quite some time before the client came along.

When the architects saw the space for the first time, it was in shambles. While no structural changes were made, the duo took down all the walls and got rid of the small, stuffy windows as well as the false ceiling with unsightly wooden beams. The idea was to open up the space and make it both

stylish and comfortable. This was achieved by making the most of the breathtaking sea view that the apartment offers and the natural light that filters in. The windows were opened up to span the length of the space, and were embellished with an Eta gold stone frame. Instead of the obvious choice of white flooring, which is traditionally used to create an illusion of space, the designers used Andhra brown stone for the entire floor, even the bathrooms. This not only helped add warmth to the flat but also unified it.

Since the ceiling was low, Shilpa and Sameer created a false ceiling with a simple and clean lattice in the living area, with no fans in the entire space. The designers tried to use minimal furniture, natural materials and limited accessories to decorate the space. A semi- glazed partition was created for the bedroom, which could be slid shut when privacy is required and otherwise left open, maintaining the continuity of the space. The laminate of the wardrobe camouflages with the wall panelling behind the bed, thus creating a seamless, uncluttered effect. The window ledge in the guest room also doubles as a study table, while the bathroom door, storage space and the wardrobe have been designed to appear as one single wall feature. A grey bison board has been used for the wardrobe and wall panel behind the bed.  Chocolate Andhra stone has been used on both the flooring and the walls of the attached bathroom. The designers have used the same pattern for the bathroom door, wardrobe and storage space in the guestroom, making it appear as a single wall feature.

A comfy partially floated bed occupies the bedroom, while the study-cum guest room features a sofa bed, a small coffee table and a study chair. “We thought of keeping a big sofa near the windows in the living area, but we dropped the idea and instead put two cosy chairs that are perfect to enjoy a coffee break while a cool sea breeze drifts by,” exclaims Shilpa. A sleek modular kitchenette has also been incorporated. It features a muted palette with a granite work top, beige backsplash and push cabinets with laminates on the surface.

Photographs : Kunal Bhatia