We got the chance to take an inside look into Sheharyar and Mehwish Ali’s stunning residence in Lahore. From their tech savvy set-up to their homegrown vegetable garden, see what makes their house a home.
Have you always been into design?
MEHWISH: Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in decorating and making a space into my own.
Who is the architect and who is the interior designer of your house?
MEHWISH: Our house was designed and built by Wasif Ali and Associates. The pool area was a later edition, and was designed and built by Kamran Sheikh.
SHEHARYAR: We did a lot of the interior ourselves, but Kamran Uncle came along and made quite a few changes.
How closely involved were each of you during the conception, building, finishing and furnishing of the house?
MEHWISH: Construction on our home started almost fifteen years ago and since we were really young back then we didn’t take as much interest as we should have. Over the years, we’ve both become much more enthusiastic into the development of our house, especially the interiors.
Who makes the design decisions in your home?
MEHWISH: I’m the big boss when it comes to making decisions. I love to decorate and put things together.
SHEHARYAR: I agree; it’s all her. I’m just there to pay the bills (haha).
As husband and wife, where do your tastes clash when it comes to interiors? What aspects are the two of you in-sync for?
SHEHARYAR: Of course, they clash! I like minimal and straight lines, whereas she likes colour. I love my poker and pool table, but I’m always in fear of the day when I enter my home and find out they’ve been donated. I once tried to park an antique car inside the house but unfortunately it didn’t fit through the door. Actually, if it had, I probably would have been murdered by now.
MEHWISH: I like eclectic and colourful interiors. Initially, he wanted everything to be black but we’ve come a long way from that haha! We now have white sofas, red chairs and colourful artwork throughout the house.
Any funny OR memorable stories from when you first started doing up the place?
SHEHARYAR: I don’t know if I found it funny at the time, but my things seemed to miraculously disappear while we were setting up.
Mehwish, how does being a florist impact your decorating style?
MEHWISH: They both go hand in hand. You can have the most beautiful room with the wrong style of floral arrangements and it will look awful
Do you have any decorating rules that you like to stick to? On the other hand, what are some interior rules you love to break?
MEHWISH: I do follow basic design rules in terms of proportion and layout . Rooms should not be overcrowded and there should be ample space for moving around easily. I love mixing contemporary pieces with antiques to give a room an eclectic feel.
Tell us a little about the statue. what’s the story behind it? What made you buy it and where did you attain it from?
SHEHARYAR: I’m a Sci-Fi buff so needless to say when I saw it I knew I had to get it!
MEHWISH: I had seen it somewhere and knew S would love it so I took him to the store and the next thing I knew, it was in our house.
In your opinion, what makes a house a home?
MEHWISH: A home should be a reflection of your personality. Two people can have the same things but how they put them together makes a space truly their own.
SHEHARYAR: Family. It doesn’t matter what you have, and how much you have, if your family isn’t there it holds no value. Oh, and also a comfortable environment.
What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when decorating their house for the first time?
MEHWISH: I think most people feel the need to complete a room as quickly as possible. It helps to buy a few things at a time, as tastes change with age. Also, how a piece a of furniture looks at the store is not how it will look at home.
SHEHARYAR: Being too impulsive. I think that’s what happened with us initially as well. Thinking about it now, if we designed or re-did the house now, it would look completely different.
Do you have a favourite nook in your home?
MEHWISH: My go-to spot is our vegetable kitchen garden; because I find growing your own produce so therapeutic.The kids are ever so helpful in planting and harvesting and are always ready to cook with me, so it makes for the perfect family time.
SHEHARYAR: The home theatre without a doubt! That’s my little den to have my privacy. It’s where my movie collection is stocked and it’s also my gaming room.
Be honest: how often do you use your snooker and poker tables?
MEHWISH: I personally don’t but Sheharyar uses them occasionally. My master plan is to eventually change that space into a new dining room.
SHEHARYAR: It’s the perfect entertainment for a boys night. I don’t think wives realise the importance of them
Do you have any one piece that you’re very sentimental about?
MEHWISH: I have this standing mirror in our room that I bought when I was around fifteen years old. I can never part with it.
Have you ever had buyer’s remorse? If there was one piece you could get rid of now, what would it be?
MEHWISH: I once bought this wooden carved ethnic sofa that’s been in storage for the past ten years!
SHEHARYAR: Once while she was away, I decided to re-do the TV lounge. Turned out to be the worst mistake of my life! I went against all her advice and truly regretted it, as the furniture I ordered was actually horrendous. Since then, I tend to stay away from all design decisions.
If you could take three pieces from your home with you on a deserted island, what would it be and why?
1) The living room sofa since it fits the whole family and is the most comfortable piece of furniture.
2) My cell phone so I can be in touch with the world.
3) The kids bikes so they can keep busy and be of some help.
1) The sofa from my TV lounge (it’s in a league of its own).
2) My phone along with it’s solar charger (no plug needed).
3) My wife and two children – don’t think I need to give a reason for that.
How much of a role does technology play in your house?
SHEHARYAR: 101%. The lights, blinds, TV, music, literally everything is tech savvy. We have what you call scenes; for instance if we are having a party all we do is press one button in the phone application and the lights come to a predefined level, music starts playing in all the rooms, the blinds come down and so on. Similarly, if we have a formal dinner, it’s another button which turns the house into a completely different mood setting. Everything in the house from lights, music, blinds, TV, home theater, everything is connected through the application.
MEHWISH: Our house is too complicated and hi-tech for me! I have to ask my 6 year old to turn on Netflix for me, that’s how bad it is.
Favourite interior stores:
MEHWISH: Not one in particular, but I love antique stores and weekend markets.
Favourite interior magazines/blogs:
MEHWISH: Houzz, House and Garden Magazine, Architectural Digest and of course, my favourite, Pinterest.
Your go-to Pakistani artists:
SHEHARYAR: I’m not really an art buff, but I love Shakeel Ansari’s work.
Where do you source your one-of-a-kind sculptures from?
MEHWISH: We like to travel and visit new countries and most of the artwork and souvenirs have been picked up from the places we visit.
What colours, textures and materials do you gravitate towards most?
MEHWISH: When it comes to furniture, anything white! I also adore decorating with books, colourful artwork, lots of photographs and souvenirs as accessories
What are some interior design trends you love these days? What is a trend you are ready to see die?
MEHWISH: I’m not really into following trends, I tend to follow instinct more.
Within your own home, what’s your next project?
MEHWISH: Up next, we’re working on a very hi-tech garage. Here’s hoping I get the hang of it!
Photography IMRAN FAREED