Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Traditional Redux

Set in a small town in north central New Jersey, the Mehrotras home embraces traditional over modern, comfort over design rules and soul over trends. Having lived in this house for over 16 years, the Mehrotras are embracing a new stage in their life being empty-nesters, as their twin girls, Isha and Shree are off to college. Anjali Ganeriwala, grew up in Calcutta and moved to the US to pursue undergraduate studies in 1987 and has been in NJ ever since. With a background in Computer Science, she's currently transitioning to yet another career as a college admissions counselor. Prashant Mehrotra too studied engineering but sales seemed to be his area of calling. The couple met while they were studying at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ and the rest is history.....The college sweethearts share common interests when it comes to decor, travel, food and Bollywood movies. One look at their home and their passions are mirrored in every nook and corner of their home.
A stunning antique door from a haveli in Rajasthan adorns the entryway. A lucky score from ABC Carpet & Home, the elaborately carved piece asserts the style adopted for the adjoining rooms. Potted beauties are brought indoors to breathe in some color and seasonal appeal into the interiors.
Craftsman style homes have a lot of character and Anjali's way of curating and furnishing her home, perfectly complements the warm wood elements and architectural details that are found so generously in all areas of the home. This is what Anjali had to share when asked about her decorating style, "I would call my style – colorful and very quality conscious. I tend to always look for quality over quantity and avoid kitsch like the plague. I love color and can never have too much of it! But the high ceilings and open architecture of my house have forced me to keep colors neutral and play around with accent colors to define each space." 
The formal living room screams cozy grandeur with earthy tones dominating the scene while peaches, coral and rust are thrown in for striking visual appeal. Traditional, big, statement pieces come together to create a dramatic effect while art, travel treasures, books and family pictures add the personal touch!
Luxurious Kanjivaram silk saris have been restyled as swag window treatments that cascade down the sides of the window softening the look of the space. The corresponding sari blouse pieces have been made into  custom cushions that spice up the muted colored couch and chairs. The collection of watercolor artwork behind the couch has sentimental value as the artist is none other than Anjali's sister.

The Mehrotras love collecting coffee table books from the different places that they visit. In the living room, Anjali has creatively piled a bunch of books on a wooden ‘paata’ with an enameled plate on top to serve as a side table where guests can put down their drink.
Another simple yet colorful vignette includes this silver statue of Dhola and Maru (a couple whose tragic story is the basis of many songs and told throughout Rajasthan) was bought while on a visit to Udaipur. 

Anjali clearly wanted her home to showcase their Indian roots and her love for Indian fabrics and textures. Though she would have loved to have custom work done but labor costs in the US and shipping costs from India made the ideas prohibitive. So she scouted high and low in stores like ABC and Pier One to find pieces that had an Indian vibe. The more traditional Kashmiri carpets were infact brought back in suitcases from their trips to India.
Adorning the stairway, a collection of odds and ends come together to make an interesting collage. Print blocks that have been repurposed as hooks (sourced from Anokhi) are juxtaposed with mini-terracotta masks (Kolkata) and carved wooden lizards (Mexico). The Rajasthani puppet adds a splash of vivid color and mimics the girl in the painting.
Furniture from Ethan Allen sets the tone for this grandiose style formal dining. Butter colored walls are the perfect backdrop for rust and wine colored patterns that dominate the room to create an intimate ambiance. On the far end of the dining room wall, actual menus from two of the top restaurants (the original Bouley of NYC (then consistently ranked as best restaurant in the 1990s) and Mama’s Fish House in Maui) that Mehrotras have dined in over the years is framed and hung, to remind them of some wonderful time spent with family. Other decorative wall art includes Talavera pottery from Mexico and other art pieces collected by the family.
Art forms the soul of this home. Clockwise from left: The painting above the fireplace is a signed limited print by famed Telangana artist Thota Vaikuntam. Next a sketch that Anjali herself did as a teenager is framed and displayed on the book shelf. She fondly recalls that this was the view from her bedroom window while she was in Kolkata. The set of two paintings by an unknown artist were sourced from Jehangir Art Gallery. Anjali says that the paintings were an investment with the intent to support deserving artists.
Another very special piece of framed art is a custom piece that Anjali gifted her husband on their 20th anniversary telling the story of how they met. She specially commissioned a Bollywood hoarding painter in New Delhi to create this one-of-a-kind piece. 

Head this way to the family room which is the hang out zone for the family. Much like the other rooms in the house, the family room too has an open layout, abundance of natural light and high ceilings . Neutral shades are spiced up with splashes of orange and green. The collage of paintings on the wall is priceless as they are done by various members from Anjali's family.  
 Another view of the family room. 
Quoting Anjali on what the word "home" means to her, " A place that you are happy to come to at the end of a long day. That was something my husband and I prioritized in every home we lived in. We were willing to compromise on other expenses but we felt it was important to have a home we were proud of and enjoyed since we spend so much time in it. Even today I constantly look at my home and sometimes I feel like it’s a dream – I can’t believe I live here!" 
The kitchen is Anjali's favorite space in the house. Utilitarian in every respect yet spiffy enough to entertain when friends drop in for dinner. "This is a room that I got to design – I picked out the cabinets, the island, the granite, the tile…everything! At the same time I was able to put in personal touches like a book shelf for my cookbook collection, a custom rack to show off my Le Creuset pots and a pin board made entirely of corks from the wines we had consumed. I truly enjoy cooking so I was also able optimize the layout of the appliances to make it easy to chop, cook and clean-up in one corner."
And finally a look at their daughter's (Isha) room. Isha had two specific requests while decorating her room. One that it should reflect her Indian heritage and two, by no means she wanted it to be girly. So they choose a color scheme of blue accented with orange. Block-print style bedding and Indian accents from Good Earth and Pier One pull the room together for a youthful vibe.

I'd like to conclude this feature by thanking the Mehrotras for letting us tour their beautifully decorated private abode that embodies everything the family so earnestly values - aesthetics, heritage, global culture, art and ingenuity. I wish them with only the best things that life has to offer!

(Image Credit: Anjali Mehrotra, The images may NOT be copied /used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission from Anjali Mehrotra and TECD)


  1. Well curated home. Enjoyed reading the narration and vibrant pictures over a cup of coffee. Thank you to the home owner and the author for sharing.

  2. Warm and welcoming home. Love the door and the hoarding painting.


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