The longing for home and belonging had been the strongest and the most visible form of emotion during the pandemic. Driven by this feeling, an Indian immigrant family who have been away from their homeland for the better part of a decade decided to create a space that was reminiscent of their Indian roots and an ode to their beautiful neighbourhood of Oakton, Virginia.

Interior designer Vibha Mehta understood this brief, as well as their sentiments, exceptionally well that has brought about warmth and transformed their house into a home by weaving the tapestry of their family ethos and cultural heritage. Despite being continents apart, Vibha seamlessly managed this project over zoom calls and Google meets, sitting 8,029 miles away in her bungalow at Pawna Lake, near Mumbai. A reminder of how the pandemic has shrunk our world, this project also demonstrates how distances don’t matter to execute a project of such mammoth proportion in the present times. 

Nestled in the suburbs of Blake Lane, Oakton VA, the massive six-bedroom house with lush and soulful intimate spaces is spread on a sprawling 7,000 sq. ft. To add character to such a big space, Vibha collaborated with Kunal Mehta (Kanchi) to create mood boards for the living areas and bedrooms by diligently zeroing down on the minutest details. Previously, Vibha has designed independent projects, such as Mumbai’s Starbucks outlet in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel’s Heritage wing and the hotel’s Wasabi restaurant and Chambers.

From plush velvets to subtle linens and performance fabric upholstery to splashes of colour in draperies and throw cushions, Mehta took to the Kanchi playground for all her interior fabric design and styling needs.

All of this was made possible with the Kanchi team ensuring every detail was executed exceptionally for a smooth delivery, after all, it was door-to-door delivery. Santa arrived early for the Manaise family this year when the 40-footer container reached their home carrying all-that-the-house needed to make it into a home. Mehta’s vision and the efficient logistical team made the dream come true in the midst of the pandemic.

Inter mingling spaces being an open layout have their distinctive character and the Manaise family loves it. The synergy in the home is great from one space to the other. Family portraits of baking together to growing up years, memories fill up the space making it very warm for the family who has been away from home. Having friends and family over after almost a year of lockdown has a charming influence on the visitors who instantly connect with the home and the curated decor.

Massive furniture pieces to custom rugs, accent armchairs to classic bar cabinets, headboards to dining table and chairs, stitched pleated drapery with its unique tie-backs to metal table lamps, wall featured mirrors to the most unique bed & table decor, the space was literally bustling.

It’s worth seeking furniture pieces that will work through decades of life moments with you. Sometimes, the investment into a furniture piece that you know will become an heirloom later on in life is worth the splurge, after all.  

While the installation team was busy unpacking for days and assembling glass and metal ceiling light fittings that were curated for the space, putting up hand-painted art still holds a special place for both Mehta & Manaise’s. Especially the Golden Temple in B&W, gold foiled in 5’x9′ that adorns the entrance hall and leaves a mesmerizing effect on every eye.

Six months and numerous detailing later, the home is the perfect haven for these house-proud owners who have experienced time slowing down in the pandemic.

The world came to a standstill in the months following the lockdown. That gave us time to pause and reflect on our relationship with each other, and how we were spending our downtime. This realization was one of the reasons behind my motivation for this project. Channelling my energy and shifting my focus from a dystopian-like reality, I focused all my creative insight into this beautiful project. And the result was not just a stunning home with beautiful interiors but a soothing mind space for me.” – Vibha Mehta, Creative Head and Interior Designer.

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