Family heirlooms, eclectic art and rich cultural souvenirs find their designated space in Latha Reddy’s elegant home
When former Indian Ambassador to Thailand, Portugal and Austria, Latha Reddy, relocated to Bangalore after 38 years in service, she needed to transform her 30-year-old apartment into a very personal space.
“My first task was to identify an interior designer who could incorporate my current lifestyle, my taste and my treasured collectibles into one holistic, yet functional home,” she begins. Connecting with Sathya Shanker, a freelance interior designer with an architectural background, was the first step towards creating her dream home. “I’ve always lived in spaces that were pre-designed and there were limitations on what I could do with them,” she tells us. Before Reddy’s collection of fine china, blue porcelain, paintings, cherished Buddha figures and family heirlooms arrived from Delhi (her last official posting), Shankar put the overhaul plan in motion. “The building is well located, and with the judicious use of beautiful blinds and grills, we limited the view to lush raintree tops, a heritage building across the street and her parents’ lovely garden next door. Then doors were reassigned, internal walls knocked down, grey mosaic covered with warm wood, and plumbing and wiring modernised,” explains Shankar.
Breaking it down
The challenge began with the entrance. Shankar gave the drab elevator doors a deep rich wooden frame, smartened-up the stairwells
and created an elegant private foyer with a collection of tiny Ganeshas welcoming you into the apartment. The first impression of the living-dining space is restful with fluid seating bays, interesting art work, and artifacts that invite you to take a closer look. There is no clutter and every piece has a purpose or a story.
A muted gold theme that begins with the reclining Buddha in his comfy alcove is picked up in the soft silk furnishing (gifted by the Thai crown prince), rattan sofas, throw cushions and picture frames. And in the coconut shell mosaic coffee table and Kashmiri lamps. Tiny snuff boxes are displayed in a glass cabinet flanked by two striking chairs – all Chinese in design like the intricate cabinets that house her music system and well-stocked bar.
The big picture
Shankar uses the extended living room space to achieve a pleasing effect of depth and dimension. A wall-to-wall display cabinet holds the Black Madonna icon, fine Celedon ceramics from Thailand and Korea, dramatic collars, and breastplates worn by Miao tribal women from China, among the sparkling crystal.
A smart, functional study is warmed by an African rug, gifted by the Zulu king, and soft green leather touches on the desk and chairs. A cool blue corner is home to her Portuguese Vista Alegre dinnerware and Iranian enamel platters, while two ensuite bedrooms echo the restful green and blue theme with matching washrooms.
Reddy’s design brief was clear from the outset. “I like to keep my guests comfy and I like to entertain frequently. I also need to house my staff who have been with me for decades. I need an efficient workspace and space to enjoy the family heirlooms and souvenirs I’ve collected over the years. They not only decorate my home, they animate fading memories and they facilitate some fun story-telling sessions at our social gatherings,” she says.