The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A restful canvas

If you owned an art gallery, would you cram your home with wall-to-wall paintings and artefacts? Would you keep changing the works of art every now and then when the mood seized you?

Sunaina Anand, owner of Art Alive, an art gallery in Delhi, makes sure that art doesn’t dominate her home — though there is plenty of it all around. Her four bedroom home in the smart Greater Kailash II in south Delhi is tastefully done with fresh flowers all around and souvenirs from around the world. Being an avid art collector, it’s no surprise that the walls of her home display select works by leading artists. The elegant furniture is all handmade.

Anand lives on the first floor of a three-storied building with her husband and two teenage daughters. Enter the apartment — home to the Anands for the last 20 years — and the first thing you see is a work by Paresh Maity.

Walk to the drawing room and there’s a giant 6ft x 6ft painting by S.H. Raza that runs along one side of the room. The riot of colours on the canvas contrast with the muted colours of the upholstery.

(From top) The dining room has an interesting look with a grand piano, a grandfather clock and bright paintings; shades of purple and maroon dominate Anand’s daughters’ room; a ceramic figurine picked up from New York; a black metallic bell from Korea

The house has been renovated three to four times since the Anands moved in. For instance, the kitchen was recently done up to give it a functional yet modern look. Most importantly, the kitchen’s wooden door has been taken off and replaced by one with an etched glass. Says Anand: “You need to keep doing up your home so that it looks fresh.”

Anand regularly updates the look of her home with custom-made furniture. “It helps having a good carpenter at hand who can understand your concepts and implement them,” she says. As far as the styles go, it’s a combination of contemporary and classic furniture.

Besides the made-to-order pieces, there are also two coffee tables. One of them has a glass top and a heavy wooden frame and Anand says that she picked it up from an antique shop. Colourful cushions in orange add a dash of colour to the décor. The blinds in the drawing room are made of dark brown raw silk while those in her children’s room are maroon and purple.

She has also given the apartment a slightly different look with dark wooden flooring. She reckons it lends her home a warm look and it’s also easier to maintain. The two silk carpets in the drawing room are rolled away in summer.

You have to take three steps up to the dining area that has white tile flooring. The two most interesting pieces in this area are a grandfather clock and a grand piano with an unusual history.

The Hermes clock was bought from Germany. The piano was picked up from a German ship that had made its last voyage to a breakers yard in Gujarat. Normally everything movable is taken out of such ships but somehow the piano had been overlooked. One of Anand’s friends happened to be in Gujarat at the time and asked if she would like the piano. Today her daughter plays it occasionally.

Though Anand tries not to focus too much on the paintings, they do command attention. The Raza dominates one wall of the drawing room while two Husains decorate another side of the room. You also can’t miss the Krishan Khanna oil on canvas which is one of Anand’s favourites.

The art is matched by souvenirs from around the world — like the well-crafted duck and vase from Murano that sit in the drawing room. There’s also a jade horse head which is a replica of a masterpiece housed in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The television room is where the family spends a lot of time together. This room opens up to a balcony that has potted plants and overlooks the busy street outside. Anand grumbles that the area has become much more crowded and noisy than it was when the family first moved in. But this also has its advantages because the nearby GK II market has lots of interesting shops and eateries now.

Anand looks forward to getting home after a long day at her gallery. She says: “It’s where I can relax completely.’’

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