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Project Gulshan, Dhaka

What do you envision when you think of an elegant and sophisticated home? An intellectually appealing vibe, the right pieces, architectural details, and unique shapes come to my mind. A space that is a little glamorous, which feels chic and elegant, and most importantly well thought out. It’s achievable when you pay attention to detail. Details are the key.

You can create it in a dark or light colour palette according to your preference. Some people might think that it needs to be white or a brighter colour palette to make a sophisticated home. That is not correct. It can be done both ways.

I recently traveled to my home country of Bangladesh and got a text from a nice lady who has been following me on social media for quite some time now and was a fan of my home styling. She asked me if I could design her house. She invited me to her place for lunch to discuss if we could make it work. Her house is in one of the poshest areas in all of Bangladesh but still, she wasn’t completely satisfied with the current setup of her house. She wanted to create a more elegant and sophisticated home but wasn’t completely sure how she can achieve it hence she needed some guidance.

Her current setup of the room was a bit traditional and she wanted a light, airy, unique, and more cohesive-looking living room. Two days later we confirmed the project and our design journey started. Below are some of the pictures that I took on the first visit. -

I studied the pictures and gave thought to every inch of her living room. It was a bit challenging to source the items in Bangladesh for that particular style that she wanted but still, I didn’t lose hope and started working hard.

At first, I cleared up the window area to get more natural light sources because natural light really helps to create the overall mood. We had to improvise and change the main sofa set. It was a large 3-piece matching sofa set which I really wanted to get rid of. I wanted to mix and match the pieces and wanted everything to blend in.

My client said she didn’t want to throw away the sofa as it was in great condition and made with high-quality materials. So we decided to upholster them and change the look of the whole set. We upholstered the main sofa with a beautiful ivory textured fabric which brightened up the room. We then removed the two-seater completely and upholstered the single one in a champagne stripe soft fabric which worked very well with the main sofa. We upholstered and fixed the existing ottoman and used it as a corner table which could also be used when they need more sitting space. We made two beautiful great quality accent chairs which created an eye-catching focal point. We placed a round accent table in the middle which my client already had in the other room.

We did the window treatment considering many things and selected the fabric and the colour in a way that provides more daylight. Another consideration was to use curtain rods that are larger than the actual window so the window looks bigger and provides more daylight. I will probably write a blog on window treatment alone sometime later in the future. We added a splash of green in the corner to complete the look.

We made a beautiful coffee table that had storage space. We had to give a lot of thought to choosing the coffee table as it’s the focal point of the living room. It gave an architectural feeling to the room and the storage space allowed a much more practical approach as you can store your remotes, extra candles, lighters, prayer mat for the guests, whatever was needed, and still have a clutter-free table top.

We curated some amazing vintage lamps and structural vases of earthy tones. I even DIYed some old vases that my client had lying around the house. I gave them an aged, stoned, and pottery look by applying some painting methods. We both were very happy with the results and they worked very well with our design style.

We painted the walls a brighter colour which made the room look bigger and more elegant.

We changed the wall lights and installed some modern light fixtures and also added a beautiful brass picture light above the painting. My brother is an artist and I got an amazing abstract art from him. I showed him some samples and the colour palette of our design and he was able to create exactly what we wanted. It also matched perfectly with the rug.

The ceiling looked cluttered with two ceiling fans so we removed them and installed some downlights instead which brought the room together. My client already had a modern chandelier installed so we left it as it worked nicely with our style. Also, we changed the old electric switches to modern and nicer ones.

Next, we had to tackle the TV console. We needed to give a lot of thought to this one and finally came up with the best idea in the end. We closed the shelves with some cane webbing doors which gave it a polished yet traditional and classic look.

For accessories, we used most of the pieces that my client already had. Most of them she collected during her travels. I wanted to add them to create some depth. In my opinion, when everything is new, it doesn’t create depth and interest in the house. It’s always great to mix old items with new ones if you can do it the right way. I also added some pieces from my collection.

We added some different types of magazines and a photo album with a neutral cover to style the coffee table. They make great conversation starters when you have guests or as reading material for the waiting guest. We added some candles cause your room should smell great too! Don’t forget to light your candles before any guest comes or if you simply want to unwind after a long day!

Now it’s time to talk about the client herself. She is an amazing lady inside and out. She didn’t take any advantage of me despite it being my first professional work in Bangladesh. On the contrary, she helped and supported me to make things much easier for me. Due to her constant support, I was able to finish my work on time. She gave me full freedom to use my creativity and helped me execute them. She is very loving and caring. She picked me up and dropped me off every time we needed to go out. Not only her, but her family members were very kind and nice to me as well. I completed the project right before the day I flew overseas. I am extremely happy that both of us were satisfied with how the project turned out.

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