This old house got a brand new look after extensive renovations to meet the evolving needs of the family who live here. The lady of the house, Neelofer Maqsood, not only keeps a gracious home but is devoted to her various pets. She works closely with animal welfare groups like the ACF (Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation) and shares her own space with her three dogs, there is a bustling aviary outside, koi fish swim lazily in the pond and a pet cat basks in the sun. Even the stray dogs on her street are fed by her and bound up, wagging their tails. The home is a welcoming space for all and Neelofer and her family love to host guests.
Neelofer showed us around the home and answered our questions.
You have been living here for a long time but decided to renovate recently?
That’s right, we have lived here for 25 years. The entire upper storey was added and many of the downstairs rooms were renovated as well. It was a massive job and we moved out of this house while it was underway. We also had an elevator installed since I have trouble climbing stairs.
The formal dining room and the sun room downstairs are new features?
Yes. The sun room was an open verandah which we converted. It is now everyone’s favourite entertaining area. My husband hosts his friends here and so do I. And it’s absolutely lovely to sit here and watch the rain.
The sunroom opens into the formal sitting room so there is a good flow of space when we have larger groups to entertain. The ladies tend to move to the formal area.
The two paintings are a central feature of the formal sitting area.
Yes. The artist came and personally installed the work here. And I developed the other features of the room and colour scheme around that.
The lounge is an older area?
Yes, but since the house was single storied, the double height ceiling is a new feature as is the brick facing and the jharoka. The jharoka opens into my bedroom upstairs. The wooden floor was also newly put in. The windows in this area, the jhoola and the other furniture is all old. There is also a pool outside but it is empty right now. because of the rains. But it is used regularly.
The upper floor is completely new ?
Yes. We added this home theatre which is used a lot by us. My husband loves to watch films and my son plays video games with his friends here. There is also a small kitchenette and powder room attached so the area is quite self-contained.
The bedroom has a very calming and clean ambience.
Yes, my husband wanted white, although it is hard to maintain with the dogs. And I love the floor length windows and the balcony outside. We moved into the home in November so we thoroughly enjoyed the outside spaces.
Who makes the decor decisions?
Both my husband and I do. But after he tells me his preferences he gives me a free hand. We had professional help with the interiors but my husband I chose each and every thing. We knew exactly what we wanted.
Initially I was opposed to the whole renovation scheme but now I’m really enjoying the new space.
The decor in the older areas of theme is very different from the new areas.
That’s true. I used to gravitate to more traditional decor, darker colours and carving. But I now find myself drawn to more modern and contemporary pieces. The colours are also very light or neutral.
I also don’t like too much going on. I have put away many things and don’t want clutter around.
You also used to paint and do ceramic work yourself?
I used to, I even held exhibitions. These shoes are something I had made many years ago. It’s a remembrance for me.
Where do you spend the most time?
My bedroom. It’s a relaxing space and my dogs are with me here.
Photography by Naeema Kapadia