House Tour: Ashwiny’s Riot of Colors

updated Apr 16, 2019
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Name: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Location: Mumbai, India
Size: 1150 sq. ft.
Years lived in: 5


(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Like a Bollywood spectacle, today’s house tour is an ode to all things colourful, a Mumbai residence with spaces that radiate the creative personality of its occupants through the glowing spectrum of paints, the texture of decorative details and an apparent love for the handmade evident in each of the rooms. Stark minimalism this is not. Ashwiny’s home is a reminder that a home is indeed where our heart is, and her heart is manifested in the various artistic, hand painted furnishings and personal art that grace her home in captivating style…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


AT Survey:

My/Our style: Simple, Functional & Elegant. Vibrant & Energetic. 

Inspiration: I have always been a great fan of art in its wide spectrum. I love colourful pop art, old movie posters, kitsch art, Japanese designs, Marrakech souks, vangogh, Rajasthan, kutchi embroidery, orissa (a state in India) handlooms, colourful wooden toys, melas (fairs) and at the same time I am greatly influenced by black and white photographs, moody-romantic places, great designers, typographers, film makers, cinematographers. Anything and everything fascinates me. Just before I decided to redecorate my home, I had visited Portugal. The colours and the overall chirpy feel of Portugal stayed with me. And that’s what played a major role in my decision to do my home this way. So I guess for that moment I was influenced by vibrant colours and wanted a riot of colour therapy and I still feel the same.

Favorite Element: The study and the green balcony overlooking the Gulmohar tree and the riot of colours. They have their own style of creating an ambiance.

Biggest Challenge: In Mumbai the houses are small, therefore it’s important to create a sense of movement and space in the given area. The biggest challenge was to make a small home look big.

What Friends Say: My closest friends tell me that my personality is very ‘vibrant’ and that reflects in whatever piece of work I do whether it’s work, personal art or the way I represent myself. I feel I am quite experimental and outgoing as a person, and at the same time an introvert. I introspect a lot and love spending time with my self. My husband is pretty much similar. Actually the house pretty much reflects the both of us. The hall is where we meet the outside world. The décor reflects our outgoing nature. The study and bedroom is where we spend most of the time and the space is created according to the mood set by us.

I love having a cup of tea sitting on the couch, watching birds chirping on tall trees that drapes gently over our bedroom window. Our bedroom is a place where I usually read, have long conversations, watch movies and spend time with my self. The study is completely contrast to the other rooms. Everything is artistic, hand painted/made, mood driven and functional. This is where we spend our creative time as individuals and as a team. Discussion, stories, paintings, ideas, friends and family occupy this space. It reflects our artistic side and the nature of our work. Overall the home is truly designed to give enough space for everyone to do his or her own thing.

Biggest Embarrassment: I am actually very happy with our home. But if I was to change something it would be revamping my bathroom.

Proudest DIY: The study. I have painted and made everything with respect to furniture. The book rack, the cupboard and the planks. It was an open canvas.

Biggest Indulgence: The sofa set in the hall. That’s it. Our whole idea when we started was to keep the cost minimal and do lots of creative stuff, which could only reflect us.

Best advice: My husband and I primarily advised one another instead of seeking outside resources for advice.

Dream source: Everything I do has an expression of its own. I like detailing and bold, messy design too. I browse a lot. Learn from others and try adapting. All this is reflected in every form of design, whether its home, advertising or graphic design. One thing I feel is a signature in all my designs is a constant effort to break free from clutter and try to make a lot of things on my own as knick knacks. For example: paintings done by me are now frames. I like playing with clay and little things have found a place too. Toleware is another fascinating form of art. I have painted aluminum dabbas, water cans, buckets and used it as paper holder, plant holders etc.

So my “dream source” is anywhere and everywhere. Recently I saw some spare parts at a junk shop which was near my medical store and my mind started working.



Hall & Dining
The Hall & Dining space is evocative and friendly with the bright orange and shocking pink. I have collected a lot of knick-knacks over the years I started getting interested in art and design. These have found space everywhere including bathrooms, kitchen and grills inside and outside the house. The wooden sofa with interchangeable cushions is what dominates the hall.
We have a space occupying one wall with movie posters which keep changing as and when we remember we have to do so.
A very plain looking DVD rack from Ikea which never impressed me was revamped with calligraphic strokes. Different masks enhancing the walls were bought every time we traveled. The mandatory each time we traveled separately or together was to buy knick -knacks which reflect the place and fridge magnets, however expensive.

The kitchen overlooks the balcony and a big forest flame tree. My love for nature and the natural surrounding decided the overall framework and colours for the kitchen.
The balcony holds lots of plants and other things like the wind chime, bells, colourful butterflies and grasshopper gripped in the pots. You can hear nice musicals mixed with the cuckoo, crows and children playing. The wall is painted with leaves like shrubs. We have always been very close to our first buys and gifts from near and dear ones so the computer rack which was my husband’s first buy when he started working was changed it into a colorful table to hold a microwave. An old music system used during the good old hostel days found space in one of the racks in the kitchen. A very old green wall clock gifted by my father in law years back adorns the wall. My amature school paintings, wooden toys and first gifts from my very first boss rest on the top of the shelfs.

The study doubles up as a friends and family room too. The room was small and
I wanted it to be more like a studio.
Nothing fixed to the wall. Nothing orderly. More space.
It was very difficult to explain to the carpenter that I did not want any varnish, or veneer on the wood. He failed to understand ‘why’ and after repeated questions and explanations and references of latest designs he ultimately gave up.
I decided to have boxes of various sizes, which can double up as tables and book/DVD rack. The cupboard was utility driven. And futon was kept to sit and sleep when you want to. A low table was actually the back of an old cupboard my mom was throwing. I just stuck Moorish tiles and added a dash of red with four legs to give it life. It’s now used to keep my never-ending obsession for magazines and design books.

Everything in this room was hand painted and it was a fun. A feeling of satisfaction and the idea that I can change everything when I am bored of seeing it made me feel good. The whole room was a canvas. The colours were very moody in turquoise and brown and the one big lamp just added to the ambiance.

The ink blue and violet bedroom again is very functional with furniture. A Double-bed,two cupboards and a couple of rack complete the look.
The corner is well utilized to give space to a computer, which is not seen otherwise.
The inky blue and violet is what attracts attention and sets the mood. Since the bedroom is not the typical square shape I could experiment and balance the two complimentry bright colours. Instead of using the regular frames with paintings. I painted my art board, which was my table for 8 years.
One side of the wall has childhood memories in black and white. Yes there are stuffed toys too, which cannot be thrown however messy they are.

Everything single things has a personal touch. The nameplate is designed using the frame of a tray mat, which was a discarded piece I found in chatuchak market, Thailand.

I wanted to add a lot of accessories since those are the one, which actually amplify the look of your home. And those are the one, which are least, noticed. So minimal use of furniture but using of lot of small knick-knacks did the trick.
There is no particular place I source accessories from. It been collected over the years. Some are hand made like the tin dabba, gardeners water hole, paper glasses are all painted when I felt like. Its all in the spur of moment and very spontaneous. I just wished I had more time to ideate and work on more innovative forms of design.
Hopefully in the future would want to do a lot more in the interior space.

(Thanks, Ashwiny!)


Photos by Ashwiny
And check our archives of ATLA’s past house tours HERE
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)