Her Instagram feed (pun unintended) celebrates the joys of the hearth. But over the last few months, author, chef, blogger and food photographer, Swayampurna Mishra—better known as La Petite Chef—has also given us a closer look into her home (in progress). The family decided to take on the mammoth task of doing up their villa in Raipur from scratch—during the pandemic. And as all the pieces continue to come together, Mishra takes us through her entire journey—that perhaps will inspire you to take on a home improvement project of your own.
Why we decided to build our home from scratch
The need should really come from within—to create a space that speaks to everyone in the family. For us, it was important to keep everyone’s taste in mind. Once we had bought our villa, we knew it was the perfect blank canvas for us to design our home on.
What you need to consider
One should design a home keeping in mind the next ten years—just so you don’t have to majorly change things around again. If you have kids, or you work from home, ample concealed storage that’s tastefully done is vital. And of course, the budget needs to be finalised from the beginning, so that there's clarity for all.
How to keep things sustainable
For me, sustainability was a big thing to focus on. We broke walls without any fear and turned them into 12-foot-long windows, French doors and a huge casement window for our kitchen. We turned the house into a large airy space with indirect sunlight bouncing off the room. Thanks to the awnings, there’s no direct harsh sunlight, yet the house feels lit from within. Our architect, Khushboo Kakkar of BASICS Studio, Raipur came up with the idea of terracotta pots in the filler slab to further keep the courtyard cool—and it’s a wonderful touch. We are also repurposing some of our old furniture and curtains.
On selecting the right architect
We had loved Kakkar's designs from her earlier projects and after a brief conversation and presentation, we knew we had found 'our person'. I think it’s got a lot to do with the vibe, camaraderie and understanding with each other. The chemistry with the architect (and the designs) has to be there to make a good team.
Our terrazzo flooring for the entire ground floor was done on-site. But yes, choosing good quality tiles was slightly more difficult. I had ideas about what I wanted and I found that Graffiti Tiles of Ahmedabad was the perfect fit for our space. Apart from their collection of Italian marble, rustic and terracotta tiles, they even custom-made tiles for us.
Furniture was one aspect we didn’t want to cut corners with at all—we knew we wanted solid, good quality modern furniture that would not feel outdated even after ten years. We went with many pieces from Gulmohar Lane, a stunning statement console from This & That India (that also won an EDIDA award in 2020) and a few other beauties from West Elm. The furniture in the bedrooms and walk-in dressing rooms was made by our designer.
Furnishings and upholstery
I believe furnishings and upholstery are the finishing touches to any home. It can actually make or break a wonderful design! Good quality comes at a price—so plan your budget accordingly. A lot of our furnishings are from Good Earth, The Calico Guild, Gulmohar Lane and Sarita Handa. The pure linen pieces were picked from Saphed while the bedding sets for the kids were custom-made by Linens & Shades. All our upholstery is from D’décor—we went with a mix of velvet and sheers for the bedrooms, but in the living spaces, we chose light, natural fabrics like pure linen, so that the sunlight can stream in and make the house look bright and beautiful.
I got many pieces from Claymen which I'm going to showcase in our foyer. I'm doing another accent wall with the cutest little clay heads. There are also a few vintage wooden pieces from The Purple Turtles, a stunning 6-foot-long statue from The House of Things, brass beauties from Good Earth together with some stunning, ceramic pieces that have been custom-made by various artists. We also got stunning lights for all the rooms—a double-height ceiling chandelier from Jainsons Emporio, pieces from Oorja (The Purple Turtles), the stunning Padma lamp by Dotto and a glamorous piece from The White Teak Company. We also got terrazzo wall lamps from Harshita Jhamtani Designs.
I was looking for just that one or two pieces of art that spoke to me. I am beyond thrilled to own a Thota Vaikuntam and an S.H. Raza for our living spaces. The master bedroom boasts of a minimal, yet evocative custom painting by Design by Metamorph.
Garden furniture and accessories
We have three garden spaces—the main garden at the front of the house simply features two egg wicker chairs, a soapstone bench and a stunning leaf swing from Length Breadth Height, Ahmedabad. We got a few custom-made planters from Studio Palasa. The second garden space is the terrace balcony beyond the master bedroom and features chairs from Wicker World. The terrace is being turned into a peaceful space with a pergola from Shubhwood, a large 12-foot mural, Italian garden furniture and a super comfy swing from IDUS furniture. Some other places we got garden accessories from are Beruru, Artemis Cast Stone and Conkreate Studio. I'm also excited about a set of nine hand-painted ceramic wall plates custom-made by Cico Raipur.
On putting together the kitchen
My kitchen—the heart of my home—is being designed by Concept Kitchen, around the concept of light and open spaces and has elements like Microcrete walls, a cute breakfast nook, a statement window and brass pendant lights. It’s a voice-controlled kitchen and all the appliances are from Kaff Appliances. We have a separate pantry and laundry room apart from a utility in the back. In order to create a truly organised space, all the furniture is custom-made.