Interior design may be a new trade in Nepal, but traditionally, Nepali homes have always had a functional aesthetic. Today, the interior design market is growing as people have begun to recognise the need to create "beautiful indoor living spaces", as Kunal Lama calls them.
Lama, owner and designer of Caf? Mitra, is currently helping to renovate Hotel de l'Annapurna. He says it is all about using creativity and technical solutions within a structure to make it functional, practical, and attractive as per the client's wishes, along with the designer's own touches. That much is evident in the chic interiors of Cafe Mitra, which fit organically into a traditional two-storey structure in Thamel.
Interior design is more of a passion than profession in some ways. The good thing is it need not be a nine-to-five job, even if it requires attention to detail and a knack for harmony. Siddharth Gopalan is an established interior designer who has managed this in diverse works such as the Roadhouse caf?, La Dolce Vita and Dhokaima Cafe. Educated at the Gujarat institute of Environmental Design, he has been working for the past 11 years in Kathmandu.
"God is in the details," is all Gopalan has to say, and he has put this motto into practice in his designs. When he started out in Kathmandu, interior design was not even considered a profession. Despite his early struggles, he now believes interior design has good potential in Nepal.
"Designing is a responsibility you have to take very seriously and what you owe that responsibility to is your conscience," says Rana. The disadvantage is that while selling designs, one has to make compromises to the clients' taste. The advantage is that you leave a little of yourself behind in your work.
Rana, Gopalan and Lama all agree that patience is the most important characteristic of interior designers. Formal education and passion bring a certain quality and richness to interior design. It's not the profession for those seeking to get rich quick, but the dividends lie elsewhere?- or perhaps within your favourite four walls.
Where to shop for your own four walls??Life Times recommends a few interior-enhancing trips.
"Would I buy this for my own home?" is the question Rishi and Sunaina Saraf always ask when choosing pieces from all over the world for Casa, their newly opened home accessories store. Walk into the bright and airy showroom and find yourself tempted by items ranging from lamps to bedspreads that scream contemporary chic. Not looking for a big purchase? Then the variety of little knick-knacks for your home will keep you engrossed for hours on end.
Anamnagar, Singha Darbar East Gate, 410 2684
Turn your home into a hotel with Emporios' line of extravagant furniture. With an impressive showroom spanning two levels, Emporios is sure to satisfy those with cash to spare, offering anything and everything a hotel-house needs. Forget your wallet and get your cheque-book ready; it's a lot lighter to carry around.
Teku, 410 4522
Berger Paints' Cosmic line of paints combines advanced computerised paint technology with the ancient Chinese practice of 'Feng Shui' (living in harmony with nature) to create a balanced union aimed at providing you with peace of mind.
Tinkune, 446 6038
Whitewashed walls are now a thing of the past?- colours can be used discerningly to create a palette that infuses character into a home. Asian Paints has been adding colour to the Nepali landscape since 1983. For those mindful of how colours can create harmony, Asian Paints offers a large variety of emulsions, including the premium Royale Play and Royale Glitter lines.
Thamel, 441 7606
Madan Joshi and Binod Tuladhar established Furniture Land 10 years ago, pioneering the import of modern furniture from China, the manufacturing processes of which marry high quality and competitive prices. Whether customers pick from the 'signature' line of products or the rest on offer, they can be assured of an excellent after-sales experience.
Bluebird Mall, 422 4797
Specialising in iron furniture, Akarshan Interiors is the brainchild of owner Sabita Dhungana. Dhungana has been tinkering with the properties of metal and transforming them into works of art for the past 17 years. Due to the lack of a proper supply of electricity to power modern machines, Akarshan crafters employ unconventional methods. Instead of welding, they use the traditional coal methods to manipulate iron. The process makes for a clean and natural looking final product.
Kupondole, 554 5055
Try the carpets that Status Trading brings in from Indonesia, Switzerland and Abu Dhabi, among other places. Their selection spans common ribbed carpets to high-end cut-pile and loop pile carpets.
Putalisadak, 422 8382
Hint of nostalgia
With their ranges in oriental elegance and contemporary vigour, Life Style poses a difficult question to the customer ? old or new? Owner Raju Karmacharya maintains that many of his customers prefer the oriental style. But for those who can't decide, Life Style also offers expert consultation to guide buyers through the whole process. Welcome the new era by living in style.
New Plaza, 442 5402
Serving a niche market, Durbar Decor offers a variety of furniture based on historical styles such as neo-classical and Victorian, among others. The wooden furniture is made from mahogany or Burma teak, and lives up to its antique brand by lasting well over a hundred years.
Teku, 422 2201
Named after his mother, Bipin Mishra's Karuna Interior specialises in design and home accessories from his outfit in Dillibazaar.?Step into this cozy shop and enjoy the warm hospitality of Mishra, who readily dispenses design ideas and d?cor tips.
Dillibajar, 443 4181
The grand old dame of the furniture industry in Nepal, Bira Furniture has been in operation since 1963 and is the brainchild of family patriarch Padam Shrestha.
Bira Furniture's longevity is testament to the quality of its woodwork, which includes parquet flooring, beds and sofas. While the company built its reputation on classical style wooden furnishings, it now also offers contemporary designs and products?- most notably pre-fabricated houses that allow for quick assembly and modifications.
Patan Industrial Estate, 552 4118