By Kuhu Kinnori
Dr Tasrina Rahman Chhonda gives us a tour of her stunning abode, where intricate cane furniture and treasured mementos from her trips adorn the space. We take a peek of her fabulous house with lush greenery on the balconies and the inviting warmth of the interior.
Dr. Chhonda, a certified doctor and public health specialist, is currently working as a consultant at an event organization. She and her husband of 28 years shifted to this new house in Dhanmondi there months ago. The artistic genius of the homeowner is reflected in the decorations of this house, sharing her tactically tasteful ways of decorating with contrasting yet complementary colors, textures and tastes.
Entering their abode, one would see a folding partition door between the corridor and the drawing room. From the drawing-room, there is yet another sliding glass door from the drawing room to the dining room. This maze of doors gives a sleek and space-efficient appearance. The corner between these two doors is embellished with a narrow, translucent glass window with wrought iron railings. This dainty little design allows refracted light to enter and cast a heavenly glow into the drawing space. Sitting in front of it is a short table made of “beyt” or rattan material, that showcases miniatures and collectibles from different tourist destinations of the world.
In the end of the drawing room is a couple of hanging shelves. Dr. Chhonda explained that she removed the almirah that used to be there with these hanging shelves made entirely of wrought iron. These shelves preserve the memorabilia dear to Dr. Chhonda and her family. The rear wall painted with a deep orange color brings out a delightful contrast of the decorations in place.
Dr. Chhonda explained that she maintained the combination of off-white and black colors while decorating the interiors, and a hint of a warm-toned bright color like orange and yellow to add a colorful contrast and bring out the elegance of the interiors.
Within the drawing space she showed an interesting action table with a glass top that has ruling stools underneath. This chair and table set not only save space with its compact design but also look simplistic yet sublime. Some whimsically placed house plants integrate a touch of life into the inanimate appurtenances of the room. It can make sitting arrangements for when there are many guests and when other seats are occupied.
The living space is furnished with many rattans and some wooden furniture. There are creative showpieces hoisted up on the beige walls of the living room. Some eye-catching pieces include metal plates frieze and picture frames. The choice of lighting is some quaint lanterns that give a touch of antiquity in modern “art deco” interiors. The creative Dr. Chhonda used to do embroidery and its sample can be seen on a wall of the living room as a hanging “objet d’art”. It shows pink, orange and yellow tulip flowers delicately embroidered on a black fabric background that bored well with the room’s aesthetic. The accent chairs, side tables and other paraphernalia are arranged along the walls of the room and paired with accessories and indoor plants. This thoughtful placement of each component makes the already spacious room appear much larger and brings a sense of unity among the assemblages of the room.
One wall of the living space is covered with a pink cedar wood wallpaper that matches stunningly well with the cane and bamboo seaters before it. An extended family photo sits on this wall as a “window of reminiscence” into their family roots and values. The colorful rug underneath adds dramatic effect to the setup.
At the further end of the room before the narrow balcony are two glass-fitted wooden swing doors which are separated by a narrow wall that displays expensive paintings of Egyptian papyrus and a golden etch work. On the two corners are two chic dark wood shelves bearing crystal and porcelain trouvailles from different parts of the world. The balcony is embellished with greenery coming from numerous mini ornamental house plants that add freshness and a connection with nature to the interiors. Mrs. Chhonda claims that it’s important to have bits of herbage within any household since it has a discernible effect on people’s moods, and she herself has used greenery in the rooms of her home.
Mrs. Chhonda had her spacious bedroom decorated with woven cane furniture along with one tinted grape and wall colors similar to the rest of the house. The centerpiece of the room is the custom design pattern bed clad in a straw-colored bed sheet that doubles the beauty of the room. Some accent chairs made of rattan are placed in front of the wall opposite the bed. A short chest table made of the same material sits in the midst of the chairs. Dr. Chhonda explains that such furniture is essential to her since she finds herself needing to keep small things in her bedroom.
This master bedroom has an adjoining veranda where the house host has placed her beloved house plants. A glass partition beside the door with ‘wicker’ blinds gives a peek into this picturesque veranda. A simple handcrafted swing made of a wooden plank and tightly bound steel chains hangs near the railing and the herbage. She affixed some tiny potted plants to the railings that creates more space for more plants as well as creating a small-scale hanging garden. Our host claims that she enjoys her hot beverage, or perhaps listens to music while sitting on her cherished balcony swing.
Dr. Chhonda introduces her daughter’s room with a hint of wishful sentiment. She informs that her daughter has been in Canada for a year, studying for her Masters degree and away from home. The yearning mother expresses her sorrow that her daughter has not yet come to her new room since the family shifted to this new house in Dhanmondi. In spite of this, Mrs. Chhonda makes sure that her daughter sees her room whenever they have a video chat online. The room has a large customized woven cane bed facing an open window on the opposite wall. Her daughter’s favorite toy pillows are seen placed on the bed. The fitted cabinets are made of wooden boards, and they reach as high as the ceiling. The cabinets are black and white which bode well with the noir-themed curtains of the room. The lampshade is placed on top of the nightstand close to the bed.
Another embroidery work by Dr. Chhonda can be seen hanging on the wall of her daughter’s room. Among the many little showpieces she neatly placed in this room, Mrs. Chhonda didn’t forget to preserve the few bamboo cups her daughter had brought back from a trip to the Bandarbans with her friends. The loving mother hopes that her daughter will love to see this room with her own eyes when she comes to Bangladesh.
The dining room gives a rustic ambiance with a rattan dining table and chair set and fitted wooden cupboard facing opposite to the dining space. Before the family moved in, the cupboard was already built in, but Dr. Chhonda renovated this piece of furniture. With the help of professionals, she added black beats to the cupboard doors and changed the handles. He also cleared the middle portion to add a table countertop to place essentials of the dining space. He wrapped the glass shelf doors with wicker weavings that shield the contents of the shelves, to give a neat and uncluttered appearance.
At the further end of the dining space is the family corner with many picture frames of their close family members, from both her and her husband’s sides. Sitting on a rattan-cane accent table, these pictures bring back warm memories and convey a sense of warmth to them.
According to Dr. Chhonda, the most special feature of her home is the collapsible wooden partition. It doubles as a gate, and an artistic piece. It was installed in the place of a completely opaque and dull door. This collapsible “gate” is creatively made with evenly spaced Kerosene wood bars that make it see-through from both ends. Next to the store is a shoe rack that is extended upwards as a layered rack for porcelain vases, crystalline sculptures and a myriad of showpieces. Some potted ornamental and creeper plants are tightly secured onto a wire net.
On the other side of the partition is the “Foyer”, which is a narrow lobby. A couple of pendant lights dangle from the wooden false ceiling above illuminating the whole room with warm-toned incandescence. Like the rest of the rooms, there are cane and bamboo sofas, seaters and accent shelves accessorized with many decorative articles. For instance, there is a rickshaw model and a handmade owl doll with “rickshaw painting” decorations. A narrow crevice with a burnt brick wall has two hanging lights customized with “gamchha” fabric, while some antique lanterns are placed nearby. An earthen mug and jug set serves as an elegant attraction, while also quenching the thirst of whoever seeks a cool drink. A small side table is a sentimental piece to Mrs. Chhonda because it was her father’s gift to her about 30 years ago, and she preserves this memento with utmost care. All these components give this room a pleasant rural experience.
The master bathroom is another interesting place with a humble yet luxurious vibe. The original basin in this bathroom was replaced with a more modern, white marble bowl basin, surrounded by some decorous money plants, a flower vase and engraved wooden stands.
At the entrance to their home, a welcoming sign is quoted, “Home is where our journey begins”. Dr. Tasrina Rahman Chhonda agrees with this quote and adds that home is everyone’s favorite place. According to her, a fabulous house is a place of safety and peace, and her own home is fabulous to her.