Perched on an outcrop and set amidst the rolling green landscape of Bani Gala outside Islamabad, this completely self-designed home employs an eclectic design to create a unique living space. The home owner Lubna, is a former bureaucrat and self taught interior stylist/designer. “Even when I was working in the civil services I had a passion for doing up my home. I had never thought I’d ever do it professionally but here we are.” She lives here with her son who is currently away in University in the UK.
How long have you lived in this house?
We have lived here for three and half years. I designed and built the house. It wasn’t easy as the terrain here in Banigala is different, hilly and tough. Also designing the house without an architect was a tough call. I made several plans and then finalised one and had a retired civil engineer execute the plan.
Describe the location. It is on an elevation?
The house is in what’s called north Banigala, located almost at the foothills of Imran Khan’s house. It’s on a slight elevation and commands a beautiful view of the Maraglla hills! This of course is the best part of the house.
How would you describe your design sense? You have quite an eclectic mix here.
This is a tough one, I do have an eclectic mix of things because they were not bought at the same time. I’m an avid collector of art, furniture and accessories so over the years my collection has built up. I love modern minimalist designs ( I know that sounds so contradictory! Looking at the amount of stuff I own). But the house itself is very pared back in its elevation design and is quite simple on its plan. I believe I have a leaning towards a more maximalist look, with layers of objects making up a room.
So you have always been interested in interior design?
I suppose I was always interested in the arty side of things, and I have inherited this passion for interiors from my parents. They built several houses in their lives and were avid connoisseurs of beautiful pieces for their homes.
For years I’ve done up my home in one way or the other, so when friends and family started asking me to help them do up their spaces, I decided to take it a notch higher and do it professionally.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes in many different forms. It’s the colours of nature, especially here in Islamabad where we have all four seasons of the year in full bloom. I also paint so colours and their application in different ways has always been appealing to me.
Looking at the work of my favourite designers and artists from around the world is a huge inspiration. I have a quirky list of who all I admire and follow on social media. I particularly love the work of Kelly Wearstler, Nina Campbell, Tricia Guild. And of course, HomeLoveLifestyle!
Another major inspiration is my guilty pleasure of watching home tours on YouTube!
What is your favourite room in the house and why?
This is easy. It’s my bedroom, the reason being it has a sitting area with it and I have my TV, a beautiful view of the hills and that coziness that one yearns for. It’s the place I spend most of my time. Actually the house is pretty big and can be daunting at times because we aren’t a big family. So the bedroom is my nest.
Is there a favourite object in the home?
I have many special things that mean a lot to me for different reasons. First of all it’s the animal trophies that my father collected in his life time, he was a very keen hunter. I know with all the consciousness about animal rights this may sound odd. But I remember my father being a very ethical hunter, who would hunt only with a permit and never during mating season and never casually. His trophies from South Africa are special.
I also love my carpets because they bring a smile every time I see them. They are colourful and beautiful. Then of course the art I have collected.
Do you entertain often? How do you use the space then?
I live a little outside main Islamabad so casual drop-ins are rare. I do entertain but not too much as I’m a bit of a loner. But I do have a lot of guests from out of town so it’s never too boring.
You have a lovely modern kitchen. Do you cook?
Thank you, yes I do cook mostly continental dishes and bake as well. But honestly not as much as I would like to.
Do you think interior design is an indulgence or is it important for one’s well being?
I believe interior design or rather having an aesthetically appealing environment is essentially important for our well being. I think one of the most foremost things in self-care is that we give ourselves enough respect to live beautifully. And by this I don’t at all mean that we spend exorbitantly on interiors, not at all.
It just means doing up our spaces where we spend most of our time with care, with diligence. I would anytime spend on a piece of furniture as opposed to a piece of jewellery. So it’s all about priorities. I urge people to take care of their homes, and style them beautifully to make life more beautiful.