Tranquil Ambience in an Urban Home


The lovely and peaceful space created by Hoori Noorani and her family is a world apart from the hustle & bustle of Karachi. Natural materials and a tropical aesthetic, create a tranquil ambience in this urban home. We sat down for a leisurely chat with the home-owner who is a linguist, publisher and artist.

Hoori tell us a bit about yourself?

Well I studied classical dance, Bharat Natyam with Ghanshyam and later I performed with Sheema Kirmani. I stopped a few years ago because of a problem with my knee. I was also part of the Dastak theatre group and did plays with Sheema as well.  I also run a publishing house called Maktaba-e-Danyal that specializes in Urdu literature.

So when did you build this home?

We just moved in 2 years ago. Before that we lived at smaller place. When we were building this house, I told my husband most people downsize at our age, but we are doing the opposite (laughs). Keeping in mind that our son is coming back soon and we want something to inspire him to return.

How did you create a tranquil ambience in your urban home?

I go for very neat looks and don’t like clutter. I like an eclectic and eastern look but with a little bit of modern in it. I like earth tones and let the plants do the talking.

We also added some unusual elements like bathrooms that are open to the skies.

tranquil urban home

You are obviously a creative person?

Yes and my husband too, he takes a lot of interest in the house. When we were designing the place it was 50-50 contribution by us.

Breakfast nook next to the pool

The architect Najeeb Omar is also a personal friend, so we could tell him exactly what we wanted. It was a perfect blend of his aesthetic and our similar ones.

All the outdoor spaces are on one side which is unusual?

It was a longish plot so that made sense. We also made the pool there. Then I wanted to be on the ground level because we are not getting any younger!

That also compromised the space a bit, but the architect has done a wonderful job. We have a large drawing, dining room and he even managed to give me a small study.

The rooms all face courtyards?

tranquil urban home

All the rooms overlook a green space. So either the pool, or the courtyard or the verandah!  There are also natural elements everywhere like wood and these slate slabs on the doors.

Najeeb had done this in another house; so we wanted it in all our doors and gate. A craftsman came especially from Islamabad and stayed here for 4 months working on these.

tranquil urban home
Entrance door decorated with slate slabs

We see interesting art pieces everywhere, tell us about those?

We travel a lot, especially my husband who runs an herbal pharmaceutical company and exports to the CIS countries like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. We both studied in Russia, in fact that’s where we met. I did my Masters in Philology and I often visit there as well.

tranquil urban home

So have a lot of art from those parts. I also have paintings from Nagori, Abro and others. Athar Sahab  also had a brother who painted and after he died, all these canvases were discovered, with not brush work but knife work. So TCF decided to auction them and we bought a few as well.

What is your favorite space at home?

tranquil ambience urban home

That would be my study. Here you will see a light made up of jacket-covers of some of my books, designed by famous artists; such as Shakir Ali, Sadequain and Nagori Sahib. Sheikh Ayaz requested that Nagori Sahib do the cover of his book and that’s how I met the artist.

I bought one painting from him and one he also gifted to me because I really liked it. We couldn’t afford to buy two in those days.

tranquil urban home

Another favorite piece is this cabinet in my bedroom. It is a custom piece by furniture designer Zahra Ebrahim…she converted it into a dressing table for me.

The house is built around this lovely swimming pool.

Yes, we wanted it to along the side of the home, so we can see it from all the rooms. We use it all the time. Swimming is also good exercise for my knee.

tranquil ambience urban home

tranquil ambience urban home

We wanted plants right till the edge of the pool. We worked with a landscape artist for that. I didn’t want manicured gardens, wanted the green coming into the pool. I also wanted some hanging plants. This antique bench by the pool is from an exhibition by Huma Qureshi. Also the urn from which we created the fountain!

What about these dramatic lights & garden furniture?

tranquil ambience urban home

I had these lights custom-made as well by a designer named Sana Maqbool. The ones in the corridor and a few of the others. The outdoor furniture is by a young designer, Bina Sohail who also created these pieces especially for us.

Tell us about any favorite pieces?

In the drawing room most of the furniture is new. But these 3 sofas are from the 50s from my parent’s home. They have a very interesting story too…my father had been entrusted with some money and he hid it in the wardrobe. My mother found it and thought ‘he’s hiding money from me, let me quickly go buy furniture with it.’ When he found out he said ‘What did you DO’!

tranquil ambience urban home

They were so old but still looked modern, so I asked Zahra Ebrahim to fix them. She said they can’t be fixed but she would make the exact same design for me. I still look at them as my family sofas though.

Another piece that’s very dear to me is my daughter’s painting that hangs in the drawing room.

Do you keep collecting and adding to the décor?

I keep adding pieces to the house all the time.  Most of the things are new, but they don’t look new. Zahra is still designing some things for me (laughs).

This urban home with a tranquil ambience is really giving us house goals! 

(Photography by Naeema Kapadia)