It’s most likely that if you walk in on Archana Kumari Singh’s very classic apartment in the morning, you would find her going through the day’s newspaper seated on her favourite rosewood chair upholstered in antique brocade, with a masala chai in her hand. The sunlight streaming through the large glass balcony door giving her company.
One of the reasons, Archana and her family fell in love with this 3,000 sq ft apartment in Kailash Colony is because of how it is awash with natural light and a joyful sense of calm. Living here for the past two years, the house-proud entrepreneur’s sense of aesthetics is noticeable in every nook and cranny. Even when you see the products she creates and sells under the label, House of Badnore (named after the aristocratic principality of Badnore in Rajasthan from where her husband, Ranjai Singh, originally is), you will see the elegance associated with royals. Women’s, men’s and home accessories in silver as well as hand-embroidered cashmere stoles, shawls along with scarves, pocket squares, House of Badnore taps into the very idea of regal luxury.
Her previous and longtime stint as president of Frazer and Haws, the luxury silverware company, helped shape her product line as well. Not just Badnore, the splendour of her childhood home in the principality of Pratapgarh, is also evident here, especially in the furniture—some procured from the ancestral havelis they own and some recreated to fit in with her aesthetics. Stately hand-carved beds, tables, chairs and writing desks abound, all of which retain that old- world veneer.
But the interesting aspect in the interior design is how Singh has put them all together in a very contemporary set-up, making the décor even more timeless. The rationale being that is, despite hailing from aristocratic families in small towns of Rajasthan, she and her husband are living very urban lives in the city. The home is where the past and the present reconnect. They cherish their heritage (the walls are dotted with old photo frames of ancestors and family members) but they are also carrying forward their legacy towards a more contemporary future. Their daughters, Krittika and Anantika, have been brought up with this ideology as well. Their rooms, replete again with stunning rosewood beds and rattan furniture, also have bright-hued walls that are fresh, fun and very today.
Discerning travellers, the Singh family picks up interesting bric-a-brac wherever they go. Handpainted cupboards from Spain, paintings from Pakistan, egg-shaped jewellery boxes, the house showcases them all. A gorgeous rhino sculpted out of a single block of rosewood gives company to striking watercolour paintings by Kolkata-based Subir Dey. Another canvas by him, depicting the iconic Victoria Memorial, hogs centre stage in the living area.
While the family mostly lounges in the TV room, they enjoy elaborate meals on the dining table, which was commissioned to a Jaipur artist. “This kind of work is slowly going extinct. I wanted an inlay workpiece in the house and this table fit in beautifully with everything else,” says Singh, adding, “Our childhood was always about being exposed to the most beautiful things at home. My father, Raja Abhay Pratap Singh, was a great connoisseur of everything distinguished, be it good music, collectables, literature or food. I’ve imbibed a lot from him. My mother was extremely creative and made beautiful handicraft items. Our design sense was honed during those years.”
And just as we sip tea together, the eye drifts towards a spectacular centre table that has resin elephants for feet. “Oh yes! It’s a conversation starter. Just like how these vintage pieces make us stand in awe when we enter forts and palaces. I like it when it happens to our guests when they walk in here,” she rounds off proudly.