The Ashley’s Way

The Ashleys meet their kindred spirit in a Mumbai client. The result? A tranquil, intelligently-planned space with surprises tucked away in the oddest of corners. The no-frills furniture, minimal styling and fine detailing add to the charm.


Arbaysis Ashley
Pooja Ashley

Sometimes what you don’t do turns out to be more important than what you do. Such was the case in this 800-square-foot apartment designed by The Ashleys in Mumbai, which brings together two design ethoses: God is in the details and simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. But before I get to explain the design of this minimal space, let’s rewind to the day architects Arbaysis Ashley and Pooja Ashley met their clients for the first time… where a big surprise awaited them. “They have been following our work for a while and their only brief to us was to design their house in The Ashleys signature style!” the architects tell me. For any design professional a moment like this is ecstatic, given the fact that a free hand in design does not come by often (sometimes never!)… Arbaysis and Pooja were on cloud nine. The architects dove right in with great enthusiasm.

The highlight of the living cum dining space is the mirrored wall, adjacent to which is a detailed wooden grooved panelled feature. All the furniture here has been custom made by the architects — the plywood and veneered straight-lined dining table with suede upholstered chairs, the plush sofa with a built-in seating along the window and the centre table made of strips wrapped in a circular form.

“Our style is defined by minimalistic panache, where simplicity is in the smaller details. It leaves a space understated yet elaborate…yet not stark! We weave in finer specifications and international styling so that clients experience a home which is at par with global standards. And that’s exactly what we wanted to deliver in this project,” explains Arbaysis. This 2BHK apartment,which is spread across on the 17th floor of a high rise, affords views of the vast sea, and by virtue of this feature, infuses a sense of calmness, despite being on a busy suburban Mumbai street. The house borrows the same soothing and restful language of the sea and weaves it beautifully into the design of this apartment.

The focus wall in the master bedroom has groove patterns in POP in grey. The backdrop is ideal for the plush leather-clad bed with custom-made side tables to complement it. The ledge near the window is a cosy place to unwind with a book or watch the sea for hours together.

When the clients purchased this space, it was a 1BHK studio apartment. The architects remodeled it to create a central access to the living cum dining room, which is flanked by two bedrooms (a master bedroom and guest bedroom), and a kitchen down the corridor. Considering the space constraint, the bathroom attached to the guest room also doubles up as the powder room and can be accessed from the dining area. The architects were left with a compact space to accommodate the living cum dining area after the layout of the house was rejigged. Being the public zone of the house, this space was also required to make an impact, intrigue people and tell the design story, all at a glance. It did so, and how… with just two smart moves. A mirrored wall was created next to the dining area, which hides the access door to the powder room beyond it. Continuing the sense of mystery a delicate wooden floor-to ceiling-panel with grooves was fashioned next to the mirrored wall — it masks the guest bedroom door. “The detailing of the mirror and panelling put together brings in a flavour of a separate space for the living and dining areas and also creates the illusion of a larger apartment at first sight. We’ve been told that that people visiting the house thoroughly enjoy the way the home unfolds to offer spaces beyond walls,” informs Arbaysis.

The guest bedroom is almost Zen-like and uses warm tones as seen on the headboard, the textured beige wallpaper and the upholstery and bed linen.

The minimalist flavour of the house extends to the master bedroom and the guest bedroom too. The couple’s bedroom has a lush leather-clad bed, which is set against an interesting grey wall with groove patterns crafted meticulously in POP. To achieve a high level of finesse for this wall, a simple acrylic “form-work”was employed at the top and bottom while chiselling each groove. This minute, yet important, detail heightens the drama in a beautifully subtle manner and makes this wall the centre of attention in the otherwise white canvas of the bedroom. Wardrobes here, also in white have seamless handles designed to merge with the overall theme rather than protrude outlandishly. The guest bedroom, on the other hand, has a custom-designed wooden bed against the backdrop of soft beige textured wallpaper. Both the bedrooms have a seating ledge next to the window for lounging. Given the tight space, every small detail in this apartment has been carefully thought out to exude a sense of a larger space, which is totally uncluttered. Hence, you’ll see shutters finished in white polyurethane, impeccably blending into the wall canvas to provide hidden storage, which fulfils the clients need for extra storage. Additionally, there are storage spaces tucked away in seating ledges. Though the entire apartment is largely enveloped in a white hue, the warm parquet wooden flooring flows through the entire space to bind and hold the home together with its warmth.The entire house has yellow light for mood lighting and recessed day light for general lighting to create an ambience as per the mood.

The moment one steps into this white oasis, a sense of serenity seeps in, which is further enhanced with the no–nonsense, straight-lined furniture and styling. But it’s the catch-me-if-you-can intelligent design specifications which steal the show here. “The strength of the project at a micro-level lies in minute detailing at a macro level,” Arbaysis tells me. I can’t agree more!
To design an apartment which reflects the architects’ style of work — a minimal space where simplicity is in detailing.

Floor Parquet wood Walls Wallpaper, paint, POP, mirror, wood Furniture Leather, plywood, veneer, polyurethane Furnishing Suede Artwork Painting on canvas, customized for the client

Project Signature House Area 800 sq ft Location Bandra, Mumbai Principal architects Arbaysis Ashley and Pooja Ashley


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