HELLO! catches up with A-list interior expert, Gauri Khan, as she shares her design journey and what led to her first coffee-table book, My Life in Design.
HELLO!: What prompted you to come out with your coffee-table book, My Life in Design? What can readers look forward to in its pages?
Gauri Khan: “When the team at Penguin discussed this idea with me, I felt that through the book, my learnings and basic tips for interior design could be put down. I also had a bunch of pictures of projects I had worked on, which I thought would be interesting for a coffee-table book.”
H!: How do you look back at your successful career in the interior design space? You carved out a unique identity of your own…
GK: “Thank you! It’s been an exciting journey for me professionally, and there’s a lot more to do... The highlights of my journey have been encapsulated in this book.”
H!: What would you advise young couples decorating their home on a limited budget?
GK: “Evaluate all your options thoroughly by using mock-ups and sketches, before you spend money on doing anything physically. That way, you can have a good idea of what purchases you should make and stay within your budget.”
H!: Who’s your best critic, and how good are you at handling criticism?
GK: “It may sound cliché, but I am my biggest critic. Having said that, my team and my family are very frank with their opinions and have very good inputs and insights.”
H!: “We, as a family, have seen Gauri go from strength to strength over the years as a designer. Her journey, though she keeps it low-key and understated, is inspiring for all of us” — In his foreword, your superstar husband Shah Rukh Khan has mentioned how you got into designing spaces because you had invested all your money into buying Mannat. What do you recollect from those initial days, when you were entrusted with this responsibility?
GK: “I was part of the design process for Mannat, but I was too new to it to be entrusted with all of it by myself at the time. It was overwhelming. But thanks to our architect Kaif Faquih and his team, things worked out rather well. My family and I didn’t just get a beautifully designed home, I also managed to hone my skills and realise I could do this professionally.”
H!: You have talked about how important it is to keep the client happy no matter what. Does this entail letting go of one’s ego and opinions to satisfy them?
GK: “It’s not about ego as much as it is about one’s individualistic style. When doing commissioned design work, I have to prioritise the client’s requirements. So far, I’ve faced no roadblock with any clients, and it’s always been about healthy collaborations.”
H!: You have a background in history and arts and have talked about how travel influences your creativity. Which are your most favourite destinations? How do they inspire your work?
GK: “London, Europe... And closer to home, Agra, Jaipur and Delhi. All of these places are rather inspiring from a designer’s perspective.
H!: The book has some beautiful photographs. What did you have in mind while selecting the images?
GK: “Since it was a coffee-table book that Penguin had planned out, they wanted me to have a lot of relevant images in it. So I found everything that I felt spoke about me as a designer and put them in!”
H!: You have a number of movie star clients. Who’s been the easiest to work with?
GK: “Everyone has been delightful to work with. There’s a whole list of them in the book, so I hope people see the spaces I’ve worked on for them.”
This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the April 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!