Pastel hues and an interesting play of materials lend a plush, relaxing vibe to this elegant suite of rooms in Karachi. This serene space is home to the lovely Shami Ahmad who is a Business Development Director in Education and lives between Karachi and the UK.
“In mid 2016, I moved to Karachi for work. I oscillate between my home in the UK and Karachi for work. With my IT work and a fairly hectic schedule, I needed a serene place to call home. My aunt was kind enough to offer me a space in her house to make my own. Hence this suite that I call my own and where I can shut the world out and let friends in.”
You have such an elegant suite. It’s almost like a retreat within the home. Who designed it?
Thank you. It was designed by a lovely architect called Ghufran Bashir who is now a friend. Add to that inspiration from Pinterest and my own design sense. The architect and I are aligned to the same aesthetic so it made my life a lot easier. This was a passion project which he helped bring to fruition. I had the opportunity to bring items from the UK but chose to use local furniture designers and suppliers. Most of the pieces are from Yardstick by Lubna Ayub and Bina Sohail Designs.
How much of your own creativity went into it? Or did you just define your needs?
I would say 60% was my vision with the rest being supported by Ghufran and his trades people. I did define each and every finish and layout idea but he helped bring it to life.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Minimal, calm, Scandi, warm, cosy and most of all inviting.
What is your design inspiration?
Scandi design, John Pawson (architect), no fuss, no tchotchke (clutter items) displays.
Do you entertain here?
Yes in the wee living room that was formally my aunt’s study. It seats 6 comfortably. Now with Covid guidelines it fits perfectly.
Everything here is carefully selected. You must really enjoy this space?
I love the space and the calmness of it. Coming into it from a busy day at work and being locked in watching films etc on lazy days… The fact that it has a small kitchenette makes it autonomous to the rest of the house.
Is there a particular object which is special to you? Any stories ?
Pundit Ravi Shankar’s signed photo taken by a friend at the newspaper I used to work for in Los Angeles. It brings back memories of the time I used to see him perform at the Occidental College in Pasadena, LA. Then I love my talented cousin’s doodles which I’ve framed as it’s the mindfulness that I live by. Also the Fornasetti plates on the wall that I acquired at an auction, even though they’re easily bought from their website. Piero Fornasetti had a sense of humour which I appreciate.
There is lots of storage in this small space. Was that a requirement of yours?
Yes, since I wanted to be independent of the house outside.
What’s more important to you? Style or comfort?
Both go hand in hand. Good design and layout brings comfort as a main consideration as well.
Photography by Naeema Kapadia