Twenty-seven years ago, Srila Chatterjee and Mahesh Mathai walked into an apartment in a 1904 Indian Colonial–style building in a historic area of Mumbai-and they knew within minutes that it was exactly where they were supposed to be. The space, in a building once called the Castle for its turret, had been shoddily carved up into four separate flats. But Mathai, a filmmaker, and Chatterjee, a film producer turned interior designer who owns the lifestyle site Baro Market, were undeterred. They tore down extraneous walls, which opened the space up, and fixed floors that had been damaged by a leaky roof. Ten years later, they added an outdoor terrace.
The home’s exuberant decor has similarly grown organically as they have amassed pieces from near (pottery tiles from Jaipur, antiques from Mumbai’s Thieves Market) and far (a rug from Morocco, a pendant light from Turkey).
“My home reflects my upbringing-of being true to myself and what I believe,” says Chatterjee, who grew up in Calcutta. That unwavering authenticity has made her home even more comforting during a period when India has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is a time to reset and to think about how to make our lives more local,” she says. “Design needs to answer honest questions about how you really feel about something, rather than just following it because it’s the done thing.”
In the living room of Srila Chatterjee and Mahesh Mathai’s Mumbai apartment, the sectional is by Baro and the chairs and ottoman are custom. The vintage Art Deco pendant is from the Mumbai flea market, the rugs are Moroccan, and the tiger sculpture is from Kerala. The room features artworks by Anjum Singh, Adeela Suleman, F.N. Souza, Sushil Soni, and Rekha Rodwittiya.
The difference between a welfare state and a totalitarian state is a matter of time.