Interior designers and architects Renu and Robin Matharu

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Interior designers and architects Renu and Robin Matharu know the power of subtlety. In this tranquil residence, the Delhi–based couple designed with natural, soothing and ethereal tones in mind. You & I takes a tour of the flat, which has an interesting mix of colourful, vintage and new furnishings and fittings.

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While beige remains a consummate classic for both neutralists and colour lovers alike, architects and interior designers are particularly keen on the colour as of late. Take Renu and Robin Matharu, for instance. Reflecting their urbane sensibility, while allowing for a bit of airing out, the couple’s three-bedroom apartment in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi proves why the classic colour never goes out of style. “Our goal was to modernise our apartment with custom-made furnishings and fittings, while striking a perfect balance in a room,” says Renu.

To balance their desires, the couple behind Renu Robin Design Studio focused on creating a seamless flow throughout the home, using a neutral colour scheme. At first glance, it would be easy to say that pops of colour add elegance to the more formal rooms, including the living room, open-plan dining hall, and the open-kitchen. But it’s the masterful way they use neutral shades as their canvas that truly makes the space compelling. “The neutral shades and dim lights on the ceilings is kind of our signature.” But they have added a colourful rug and patterned cushions in the living room to prevent it from falling flat. “I wanted to make the home feel like spring and summer, so we have incorporated colours to jazz up the interior spaces,” says Renu.

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With the major structural elements in place, the dynamic duo introduced warmth and texture throughout with luxe furnishings, fittings and materials, many of which were custom-made. “According to us, furniture is one of the most important elements in a home. We are attracted to these innovative furniture pieces that are simple, elegant, and timeless yet modern,” Renu explains. In their living room, the modern and comfortable sofa set is juxtaposed with Italian marble and eye-catching paintings. “The living room is the centre of the house, and on quiet days, it’s where we sit with a cup of coffee and work from home on our laptops,” Renu says. “Since we have created airy, open-plan dining and kitchen areas, we wanted the different areas to complement each other.” Upholstered in velvet fabric, the round dining table and chairs boost the elegance in an otherwise minimalist room. “We chose pieces that had contemporary lines. And the soft fabric – I just love the feeling it gives,” she admits.

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Renu and Robin’s design was also driven by their love of art. The designer chose a wallpaper to add charm to the rooms. “Since the house has a modernist edge, we made sure the finishing touches were elegant or tactile,” says Renu. Throughout the  house, the couple has showcased a striking collection of artefacts and paintings that runs the gamut from abstract to representational. “When it comes to artefacts, we either have custom-made pieces or go to local art galleries and buy paintings,” Renu explains. “I always have the feeling with apartments that if you put something into them, they give you something back,” she adds. “We like to respect the original style, which is why when it comes to artefacts, we believe in minimal clutter.”

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They really appreciate the attention to detail, which is why in the kitchen, Renu and Robin kept things a shade darker so as not to compete with the beige on display in the living area. “We had to figure out how to make the kitchen look different yet feel like the rest of the house, so we went for the darker brown.” The Matharu’s made sure the house really functions as a house. The result may prove that fans of modern, elegant yet artful can peacefully coexist in one home after all. Case in point; the three spacious bedrooms, which lead from one room to his-and-hers closets and a Moroccan-inspired bath.

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In the end, the Matharu’s house is a fine balance of feminine and masculine, texture and colour, and neutral shade that makes the space not just elegant, but fresh. And for the couple, that’s what it’s all about. “A functional apartment can still have a sophisticated space with the right materials in the right places.” Mission accomplished.     - Anisha