When she was a young girl, actor Tanishaa Mukerji, sister Kajol and four cousins spent their holidays at maternal grandmother Shobhana Samarth’s Lonavala cottage, built in the 1950s. The engagement with the outdoors was such a fulfilling experience for Mukerji that when Samarth willed the property to her, she decided it would be a perfect place for her to spend quality ‘me-time’ away from the madness that is Mumbai. “I inherited one of the two cottages on the 1-acre premises and it’s my chill pad,” says the chirpy actor.
Mukerji loves to renovate and recreate rather than buy something spanking new. So refurbishing the house while maintaining its original look and character was a challenge she loved. “I changed the flooring to a green onyx marble because I wanted to maintain the natural look,” she says. She also realized that the windows, doors and some of the furniture were made of solid teak but had been painted over. So she got the carpenters to scrape off the paint and varnish the wood, thereby salvaging the original work.
1. The actor, who loves scouring flea markets, chanced upon this colourful hammock in Goa and snapped it up for her veranda. 2. White lends an illusion of space to the tiny pad. Multi-hued cushions and freshly-cut heliconias, courtesy a friendly neighbour, add colour. 3. Mukerji especially likes this old photograph of her mom. 4. The vajra, used in Buddhist meditation, was bought for its aesthetic value, with no idea of its actual use. 5. The veranda looks right into the living room and serves as an alternative seating arrangement. Mukerji has restored the furniture and given it a fresh lease of life with lilac cushions. The tabletop was created by fixing leftover bathroom tiles on to an old, spare wooden frame.
Mukerji has personalized the antiques around the house. An old frame, for example, was fashioned into a coffee table for the veranda while leftover bathroom tiles were used to furnish the top. “I love taking something that’s old and dying and not so pretty and reworking it,” says Mukerji.
True to her personality, Mukerji loves bursts of colour at home. While the living room has bright yellow light fittings and a smattering of fuchsia, blue and metallic cushions, the turquoise-tiled tabletop—she chanced upon it in a shop in Ooty during the shoot of Tango Charlie and coaxed her mom, actor Tanuja, into buying it for her—adds to the old-world charm. The solitary bedroom houses period furniture from her mom’s Kolkata house and every nook is filled with flea market finds such as lamps from Chor Bazaar and brass figures from street shops.
Photographs by Dabboo Ratnani; Styled by Ragini Singh and Manisha D Ratnani; Make-up: Pravin Banker; Hair: Roshan Banker
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