Ask Dr Minal Patwardhan Andrade, noted medical dermatologist, laser specialist and aesthetic physician, what her concept of a ‘dream home’ is and pat comes the reply: ‘Home is where the heart is – with my family and dogs! It could be anywhere in the word and of any design but as long as my loved ones are there, it’s a dream home.’
So while she owns homes in India too, in cities she grew up in and where her loved ones were based, presently, the dream home is right here in Dubai. The founder of Dr Minal’s Medical Centre has been a long term and very eminent resident of the city but it was only recently that she moved into her plush Emirates Hills villa – just before her husband Joesph Andrade’s 60th, to be precise. The move was also hastened because their earlier space was up for demolishing and they needed to shift into the new home they had owned for several years. However, while Minal modestly says that her house still requires some sprucing up, to us, it appeared to be straight out of an interior design mag!
The villa has seven bedrooms including office space and a gym. The living and dining room blend with the casual hangouts into an open, well-lit space. The kitchen and domestic quarters are spaced to avoid aromas into the living space. In a nutshell, the house has been designed to be as practical as it’s pretty and care has been taken to ensure that every member’s (including the pets’!) needs are taken care of.
Minal and Joseph were clear about what they wanted – a warm home and not a museum! “It had to be a place where we could be at ease, where the kids could put their feet up, where we could kick back and rest in the garden, jump into the pool and where our friends and family would be able to drop in any time they felt. And of course, it had to be a place for our dogs to wander about – our home is easy, clean and comfortable,” she says adding that they deliberately chose a homely but modern design. “It’s really a mix of everything as we love different design elements.”
Comfort and ease evidently ranked high in her list when it came to designing a home. “I like furniture that you can actually sit on and be comfortable putting your legs up without having to worry about getting anything dirty. I am extremely fussy about cleanliness so I have tried to choose modified furniture to be manageable. Similarly, our washrooms are specially designed to smell and look fresh and easily sanitised,” she says, adding, “We also believe in having the right energy and great natural light, which all the rooms happily soak in.”
Keeping in line with this thought, the couple has highlighted spaces with art and wall paint techniques instead of heavy furnishings, lending the entire home an airy, colourful yet minimalistic look. The embellishments are provided by the paintings, sculptures and fun pieces they collected over the years during their travels, or acquired through charities as well as old pieces holding sentimental value. “We have picked up almost all the art and knickknacks from our trips to various countries. They might not all be cohesive in the general terms of design, but to us they all go together because of the sentiment that they hold. The art you see here is also an eclectic mix; some were gifted by patients and others from charity and known masters. We have quirky elements like the seven dwarves in the garden which I love… the dwarves, elves and garden gnomes feel like family to us!” she smiles.
What also adds to the appeal of the home is that almost every décor piece has a story to it. “I remember this abstract painting I had picked up for my clinic in Sharjah and a patient walked in and realised that her father was in fact, the artist! The next day he came in and signed the artwork which was a lovely gesture. He unfortunately passed away, but now we keep the artwork at home and it holds a special memory,” she says. It is these memories, friendships and emotions that get reflected in her interiors in almost all the rooms.
Minal is a woman of several interests and passions. Her work in medical dermatology and its application in the world of aesthetics have fetched her a lot of acclaim but beyond work, she has cultivated hobbies, prime among them gardening and landscaping with an eclectic mixture of flowers and vegetables. “Cricket and football also keep me on my toes, we have literally globetrotted to watch matches,” she laughs.
It’s not surprising therefore, to see that the house has been designed to cater to all their interests. “We added a lot of funky art and plants,” she explains. “A little mixed, eclectic elements can be found at every corner that hold memories to the family. The colours, when it comes to the art and the elements we have collected over the years of travel, have definitely made the house more lively,” she says.
Her favourite corner though is the area in the living room by the window that overlooks the garden. “The corner gets great light and it’s warm…the perfect spot for me to read a book or just enjoy a peaceful cup of tea.”
Now that fits the definition of a perfect home – good views, peace, a sense of zen and a cuppa chai!