This stylish ciuple knows the art of curating beautiful homes, and through their popular interiors brand, they have become the go-to advisors for India’s swish set. HELLO! gets a tour of their beautiful Gurugram home — and a special Christmas treat!
“A home should reflect who lives in it,” says Anuja Gupta, her statement truly evident in the beautiful house she shares with her husband Mayank in Gurugram’s posh address, DLF The Camellias.
Their three-bedroom apartment is the last word in understated luxury. Each room is thematically different from the other, yet exudes a lived-in comfort that makes the space a cohesive unit reflecting their personalities.
Whether it’s the plush and spacious living room, the cosy and nature-inspired family lounge, the equestrian and clean-cut ‘Ralph’ bedroom, the decadent and old-world ‘Garcia’ bedroom, the classic and commanding master bedroom, or the striking oriental bathroom, where a larger-than-life golden dragon adorns an entire wall, every nook is an advertisement of the creative acumen of its owners and designers. An unsurprising fact considering they are the proprietors of one of India’s most successful furnishings and interiors brands, which they built from scratch 17 years ago — Anuja and Mayank are the co-founders and creative directors of apartment9.
“We were both part of the family business, which made linens for the best international brands. Some of our friends asked us to retail what we made in India, and so we established the apartment9 retail store as a weekend passion project,” says Anuja.
Mayank adds: “We both have MBA degrees and never studied design, but we intrinsically like to design our own spaces. In fact, we designed our own retail store. People loved it so much that they started asking us to design their homes. Since then, it’s grown very organically. We were retail centric at the beginning, but slowly and gradually, we’ve grown the business to what it is now.”
Over time, apartment9 expanded to include furniture manufacturing and interiors curation to its portfolio. The two are now experts at putting together an entire look for clients.
“Our expertise lies in utilising every aspect of the space to make it look its best,” says Anuja. “You can see it in our apartment, which we designed to offer a seamless view of the golf course from the bathrooms through to the balcony.”
High-school sweethearts, the couple met at Delhi’s Modern School, Barakhamba Road, and have been together since Class 12. Though both were trained to join the family textile business (Anuja’s family owns the popular bathroom fittings brand FCML, yet she chose to begin her professional career with Mayank’s father), their creative inclination was evident early on. When Mayank returned to India from the US, having pursued an MBA at the Rochester Institute of Technology and worked at Crate & Barrel, he was tasked with putting together a brand-new factory for the business.
“Mayank had no experience in this field, but he had a knack for creating spaces, and he did a wonderful job with it. Even after all these years, the factory façade is unique.”
“After we got married, we broke down a part of our ancestral home and redid it in our style. We installed a platform bed in our bedroom, which was a very experimental move back then, but we loved it! We had seen these kinds of designs on our travels and wanted to create our space the way we liked it,” shares Anuja, who believes they are equally well-matched as a couple and as business partners, as they balance each other’s personalities well.
Business interests aside, over the years, their most steadfast passion has been their love for travel.
“Our favourite destination is Paris. We try to visit the city multiple times a year both for professional and personal reasons,” shares Mayank. “For our last trip as a family, we went to St. Andrews in England because the boys and I are avid golfers. Travel is the best education for them and us, too.”
Parenthood has also been a fulfilling experience for them. Anuja describes their two boys, Sumair (16) and Kartikey (12), as being as distinct as chalk and cheese. While the former is quiet and introspective, the younger one is a firecracker with a penchant for philanthropy, having started the Young Helper’s Initiative to help underprivileged children.
“They make us who we are,” say the proud parents.
The couple’s other interests include a love for music, art and coffee-table books, which they painstakingly collected from around the world. One sees their varied passions come together seamlessly in their apartment. Thoughtful details like personalised stationery, laundry bags and towels; curated works of art that range from a selection of the masters to more contemporary names; quirky décor elements and beautifully crafted rugs…
All home accents make a statement without seeming over the top. These flourishes create the ‘mood’, which, according to the Guptas, is what sets their practice apart. It’s also the mantra they employ when entertaining close friends and family.
At their apartment, Mayank is in charge of the music and wine — of which he has in-depth knowledge, being a member of a wine club — and Anuja is the affable hostess who assembles cosy tablescapes. The one currently on display signals the onset of Christmas festivities.
“I love laying out beautiful tables. I joke that I’m in the wrong business because this is my true passion! I like to use things that are already in my collection or are easily available, and I use them creatively.
“I picked up these books at the second-hand book market at Daryaganj. The candles are from apartment9, the snowflakes were custom-made, and I found some of these goodies on Instagram. Tying it all together are my lovely Croquembouches, to add the decadent Christmas vibe,” she smiles.
“My idea of laying the tables with such care is to initiate memorable and meaningful conversations. I do them all myself, and they change as per the occasion. Even when we entertain casually, I love to personalise my tables. Everyone can offer good food and drink, but my endeavour is to personalise the experience. I believe life is about experiences and doing things together so we can create memories.”
One would be hard pressed to box their design aesthetic into preconceived categories, but that’s where the beauty of their practice lies. It’s witnessed in the seamless absorption of a model sculpture of Banaras within contemporary luxe surroundings. It’s seen in the Kazakh rug that holds the pride of place in an ultra-modern bedroom. It’s evident in the bright pop of emerald that a velvet settee provides in a living area awash with muted blacks, whites and greys.
“‘Minimalist’ is a word we prefer to stay away from because we find it cold. We like our work to be simple and clean, but warm. We’re definitely more classic than modern in our style, but we like to mix the two to create warmth,” Mayank summarises.
As they play the perfect hosts, seated on the balcony of their apartment overlooking exquisite views of the DLF Golf and Country Club, Anuja and Mayank embody the sentiment of warmth — both through their actions and their words.
Interview: Noor Anand Chawla; Photos: Ashish Chawla; Creative Direction & Styling: Amber Tikari; Hair & Makeup: Michelle Rai of Levo Spalon
This interview has been adapted for the website from an interview that was originally published in HELLO! India’s December 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!