Name: Sharita Harcharan, her husband Shai, their children Jason, Ryan, Justin and Jasmijn
Location: Capelle aan den IJssel, the Netherlands
Size: 1,076 square feet
Years lived in: 16 years, renting
Upon entering the Harcharan home, one instantly feels relaxed and completely at ease. It's hard not to with all that light, the pale hues and the various tactile elements. When asked about her signature style, Sharita says without hesitation: "Lots of white, a touch of pink, romantic, light wood. I love natural materials and have an extra fondness for the warm and cuddly ones. This has actually been my preference for as long as I can remember. With the huge popularity of Scandinavian interiors it has become very trendy, which feels a bit funny since it has always been my personal style."
The latter has served her well though: what started out as a little pastime of sharing interior shots on Instagram is evolving into an actual job as a stylist. As more and more people follow Sharita's Instagram account, she receives requests for styling advice. One memorable project was helping a family who moved to Dubai. It was done fully remote, using video and WhatsApp. "Due to the long-distance nature of the job, it was quite a challenge. But everyone was super happy with the result," says Sharita with a big smile.
With a light-colored home and four children, the burning question is undoubtedly: How do they keep it so clean?! "Do you know I get that question at least once a week?" Sharita grins. "But seriously, the answer is surprisingly simple. We've always had such a light interior, so the kids are used to it. There are some basic rules like 'please eat at the dining table'. We have enough storage space, that's certainly a must. The sofa has been treated against stains and we chose good quality rugs, so if someone does spill it's a breeze to remove the spot. Last but not least: We take off our shoes when entering the home. I find it interesting how white has a bad rap in terms of maintenance, while black doesn't have that reputation but in reality is worse to upkeep. For instance, on a black surface you will see dust constantly unless you wipe it off every day!"
The family is very comfy in their welcoming home, but is there anything Shai and Sharita would change? If given the chance, the kitchen would probably be different. They'd really like a more open kitchen that would feel like an extension of the living area. Although they would also still like to be able to close the kitchen when desired. "Glass doors within a black steel frame would be ideal," says Sharita, "that way we'd still maintain the sense of space while being able to shut off food odors etc. Who knows, in the near future..."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Romantic Scandinavian
Inspiration: Interior magazines, home improvement TV shows, trade fairs for interior design.
Favorite Element: Definitely my workspace! I love working at my computer here or flipping through an interior magazine. My desk is near the living room. This was a deliberate decision: I would be secluded, but at the same time I would also share the space with the kids while they enjoy crafting at the dinner table or watching a movie on the sofa.
Biggest Challenge: The entry. It's small and narrow, so I found it challenging to make it cozy as well as functional. Also, it's the first introduction to our home, so I want to make a good first impression. By painting the walls white and hanging a large round mirror the entry feels a lot more spacious. I used natural materials like a wooden coat rack and a narrow wooden bench; it adds warmth to any space. Above all, it's important to not fill the room with jackets and shoes. That's why we have a built-in closet, so we can keep it all out of sight. A few nice plants are the finishing touch to make the entry look homey.
What Friends Say: Everyone who visits says it's a pretty, light and warm home. I often hear them say words like "peace" and "Zen"; which is great, because that's exactly what I want our home to radiate.
Biggest Embarrassment: None that I can think of. I don't even have bad buys since I always give a purchase much thought to determine if I truly want it. Of course I see many things that are pretty, but an item should also fit our home. Not that it has to be matchy-matchy. In fact, I like to mix sleek design with soft and tactile materials. My absolute fave are products that are exclusively handmade; I find these so so beautiful.
Proudest DIY: My favorite DIY has to be my felt memo board. Very simple and yet so indispensable for my workspace. At first I wanted a cork wall, since I'm a sucker for natural materials. But it turned out I'm not nuts about cork and it would also define and darken the space. I was actually looking for something pretty and functional, but also fairly subdued. Then the idea hit me to stick felt to the wall. It's a special kind of felt: 8 millimeters thick (0.31 inch). In a soft ecru shade, very natural and exactly what I was looking for. I cut out the right size and stuck it to the wall with a special glue. Like I said, very simple but really good-looking and functional. It's perfect for hanging all my lovely things, like postcards and cute accessories. That's what's so great about a felt wall: You can keep on pinning and removing stuff without ruining the wall.
Biggest Indulgence: My pink armchair from HAY, because I was able to configure it myself. There's a pink HAY cushion in the entry and I very much love the fabric's delicate color. So I went to the HAY store and asked if this particular fabric could be used to upholster one of their chairs. And that was actually possible: I could pick the chair model, leg base and fabric. So it felt like this chair was made especially for me!
Best Advice: Don't let the trends lead your decisions, since home decor styles keep on shifting and for most people it's impossible to change their interior every year. However, if you really love a trend, you can change some accessories or transform a wall with paint or wallpaper. This will already have quite some impact on the overall look. You'll see: a different vase here and a new cushion there will give your home a new feel. Keep it subtle, but consistent. That way your home will be updated without costing a lot. Last but not least: always stay true to yourself, it's the base for creating a warm and cozy home.
Sofa Dunbar - FEST Amsterdam
Coffee tables Around - Muuto
Pendant light Octo - Secto Design
Swing - Sukha
Mirrors with rose and gray colored glass Framed Mirror - Muuto
Round rug - Armadillo & Co
TV unit Stacked - Muuto
"Lady & Gentleman" vases - Atelier Stella
Pink armchair - HAY
White knot cushion - My Little Echo
Floor lamp Pull - Muuto
Light box Saber (above sofa) - Zuiver
Gray plant box - ferm LIVING
Wooden bird on windowsill Turned Owl - Lars Beller Fjetland via Hem
Desk - House Doctor
Office chair - HAY
Cushion stella s - FEST Amsterdam
Palm pendant light - Philippe Xerri via Couleur Locale
Wooden coat hooks The Dots - Muuto
Craft paper bag - Love Warriors
Bed GJÖRA - IKEA
Neon wall light Liefde - Qazqa
Wooden monkey - Kaj Bojesen
Magazine rack Vega (on wall) - Foxy Potato
Bulb pendant lamp E27 - Muuto
Mirror - House Doctor
Wooden coat hooks The Dots - Muuto
White side table DLM (used as nightstand) - HAY
Pendant lamp Grain (hanging from pink Dot coat hook) - Muuto
Wallpaper Brooklyn Tins - NLXL
Bunk bed MYDAL - IKEA
Rug - Sissy-Boy
Gray and wood shelving unit YPPERLIG - IKEA
Plush toy crocodile - Sebra
Desk Flisat - IKEA
Chair About A Chair - HAY
Plant stand - Handed By Up
Plush polar bear and rabbit wall decor heads - BiBiB & Co
Mirror Strap - HAY
Throw Colour Plaid - HAY