Warm and Creatively Decorated Karachi Apartment


Stepping into this warm and creatively decorated Karachi apartment, one’s eye is drawn to the many striking collectibles and pieces of furniture. The home owner’s love of home decor and attention to detail is evident throughout the space. “I grew up in a home where both my parents were very particular about a well designed home,” says Maliha who is a teacher by profession. “And they involved us in the process.” She shares the apartment with her husband, Khurram, and three children who let her take the lead in matters of home decor.

Creatively Decorated Apartment

How long have you lived here?

We have lived here for 8 years. And before that we have moved several homes from Islamabad to England. I am originally from Lahore.

So have you been shifting your things from one place to another?

Not really. The only things I really care about are my books. They go everywhere with me. A lot of my things are still packed away and in storage in Lahore, like my grandmother’s silverware. Although recently I am more of the mind that life is fragile and one should enjoy the things we have.

Creatively Decorated Apartment

So how did you go about furnishing this apartment?

Many things are from my mother’s home, some from my in-laws, from our travels and I have also picked up things in Karachi over the years. My father used to travel a lot and I have some mementos from him, like this piece of the Berlin Wall.

Creatively Decorated Apartment

There is a lamp, which is a figure holding an orb, which I fell in love with on a family vacation with my parents. I was in my teens and insisted they buy it. So they later gave it to me.

My father  also bought many pieces from China. So I have some of that collection. Then I went through an Oriental phase myself and added to the Chinese collection.

Like that stunning screen in your bedroom?

Yes. That Chinese screen was also bought at an antique market in Karachi. I love the piece, although it needs a fair bit of repair.

Do you enjoy scouring the antique markets?

Creatively Decorated Apartment

Well I used to. I stumbled upon an antique store in Karachi which had lots of furniture belonging to old Parsi families. I definitely gravitate to the old school. But I don’t have space for more pieces now.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I am definitely drawn to antiques and the traditional. But I think I like to mix it up. I’m not very contemporary though. My family’s old haveli is still standing in Mochi Gate Lahore. My grandfather lived and died there and it was his wish that it be kept by the family. So I have strong memories and associations with that haveli and I think that I have that old sensibility; which is why I can’t go very contemporary.

Is your family happy to let you take the design lead?

They are. Actually my husband worked for a Japanese firm and he was very tuned to the minimalist look. Initially, he asked me to keep things very bare and simple but over the years I have filled up the home. I started collecting things I was drawn to and I enjoy being surrounded by things I like… and my books. My husband has made peace with this now. (laughs) .

Creatively Decorated Apartment

I don’t like very formal areas because they don’t get used that much. Rather than a drawing room I prefer a study.

You have put up family photographs all over the home.

It’s just a personal preference; I feel  it makes a space more personalized and warm. I also don’t often find artwork which appeals to me.

You seem to like ceramics.

Yes,  I started collecting ceramics when I lived in England. There was a shop in Portobello road where I picked some Moroccan pottery and that started it off.

Do you have a favourite object in the home?

Creatively Decorated Apartment

Creatively Decorated Apartment

These days I am really enjoying this antique glass cabinet that I  acquired. I also  love this wooden and glass cabinet which is actually what was called a naimatkhana and was used to store food in th old days. It reminds me of my grandmother’s house. Originally, it would have had netting instead of glass  to let the air circulate and not spoil the edibles.

What is your favourite space in the apartment?

Creatively Decorated Apartment

Creatively Decorated Apartment

As a family, we use the casual sitting area the most; everyone just gravitates here. But I also love my bedroom. I love the big windows that face the trees which I can see even if I’m lying on my bed.

Actually what I love about this apartment is the fact that it faces the trees so we have the greenery coming in from all the windows; which is a luxury in the middle of the city.

I have always been used to open spaces and so I have plants in the balcony and a bird bath so the birds visit. And since this apartment is West open, it’s very breezy.

Photos by Naeema Kapadia