KARACHI: The capital of Sindh, Pakistan’s premier industrial and financial hub and now ranked as a beta-global city, Karachi is gradually fading away amongst heaps of dust, sand and garbage around the city. Sadly, it rusts and corrodes away with limited plantation, as the civilians are now accepting limited measures by government for any help. Amongst all the turmoil, Anam Shahbaz Khan, in her capacity tries to grant us the kind of eye-healing that we all need: great interiors and exteriors to keep your houses looking nature-friendly and focuses on them becoming a treat for sore eyes! Anam, what is the first thing you notice about someone’s house, when you enter? The first element that catches my eye when I walk into a house is the light fixtures. The placement and type of light fixtures are important aspects of interior design, since they work in conjunction with color selections, room size, availability of natural light and the selection of furniture. It also, surprisingly, happens to be the most under-looked aspect in interior design for most people. How do you think one should design a kitchen in a small budget? With a limited budget, the expenses post-covid and businesses shutting down, a lot of people can’t afford to decorate their houses or apartments like they would otherwise. Individuals are recommended to not spend too much on appliances or equipment, specifically if the focus is on design and having ample storage options. If you don’t have space for a full island, you can think about bringing in a slim rolling kitchen/bar cart to serve as extra counter space. Even a narrow console can work as a spot to set tools and ingredients on, while you cook! What are the places where you could get reasonably priced good products in Karachi, for decorating your homes? I personally love Pith, DesignRaft Studio, Tali (located in DHA, Karachi) and Ewc Interiors; although the cane and rattan shops near PIDC are no less in their quality and finishing for outdoor as well as indoor furniture. Tauheed Commercial’s ‘Ezzi Furniture’ is also an option; for second hand furniture or custom-made, cheap but durable products. You just need to have an eye for detail and you’ll be able to find great options even from the junkyard! What kind of trends are you foreseeing in the year 2021, specifically Karachi winters? I would say earthy tones, Wicker and Rattan furniture also; since it has made a comeback from the 1960’s and is here to stay! How has the market for interior and exterior design grown in Pakistan in recent years? I wouldn’t go back since I’ve commenced my interior design journey in recent years, but during the last twenty years, Victorian accessories and overstuffed seating had taken over like a plague. Upholstered furnishings were more popular back then, and instead of sensible planning and architectural details, rooms looked rather dreary and uncomfortable to sit in! In recent years, Karachi families have started paying more attention to multi-functional and open spaces. I am also a huge fan of refurbished furniture, which is becoming a popular choice amongst young couples who are decorating on limited budgets. Do you feel like certain plants can bring out the green which is scarce in Karachi? Karachi weather, unfortunately, is optimal for numerous beautiful plants to grow in, especially since humidity levels are high from March to November. A lot can be said about the lack of effort by the concerned authorities towards plantation drives in the city, but we’ll just leave it at that. Some indoor plants that are easy to maintain in low-light include Snake plants, Areca Palms and Spider plants (known here mostly as ChloroPhytum). What sort of decorations and accessorizing would you suggest to people living in this city, or those who are relatively not too acclimatized yet? Using a pastel palette, that comprises creamy yellows and pale sandy pink, conveys a sense of coolness in the hot climate of Karachi. However, you can always bring in a flash of blue or red with accessories such as pottery or throw pillows to prevent details from getting lost in your space! Living in Karachi, however, does have its setbacks: the rust and corrosion makes it difficult to maintain outdoor and indoor furniture. Brass is becoming a HOT TREND these days, but it also suffers from similar issues as steel and metal. Regularly using ‘lacquer’ helps prevent rust and corrosion on brass, and helps maintain its shine. What is your number one concern when you are working on interiors or exteriors with people? Budget is always the first concern when working on a project. For my startup, which is by the name of @a.part.mental on Instagram, I charge a design fee which is worked out according to the budget and scale of the job. Clients, even though this doesn’t come with time or commission charges, are generally not too happy about this approach. The usual problem is ‘overcharging’. In reality, 9 out of 10 people that I know are under-billing their clients, since most interior designers charge by the hour as well as commission. How do you define an interior designer? What are the qualities they should possess? An interior designer should embrace diverse styles, should be experimental while accommodating the client’s needs/budget, understand the space available and most importantly: be able to virtualize and give attention to detail. How has your work changed the way you see houses and people? When I was designing my own space, I made sure it reflected my personality and style. I felt that my style is Scandi-industrial/ Nordic but over time it has evolved. After visiting a few clients’ homes and discussing their preferences, I wasn’t reluctant to add a Boho-chic element in my suggestions or go bold with colors, because it seemed to fit well with their space. It’s important to deviate from the usual and go along with what satisfies your client and represents their individual style. Anam Shahbaz Khan Besides work, Anam enjoys family time at home with her two kids and husband. She thinks free time sounds like a distant memory now after kids; whenever she has some she takes a trip to the nursery and buys more plants. Her favorite color is blue, hence most statement pieces in her house (including her kitchen) are blue! My favourite movie is the invisible guest. It’s a Spanish movie. I’m more into thrillers and enjoy suspense. Her favorite movie is Invisible Guest, a Spanish movie. She enjoys watching thriller and suspense movies when the kids are asleep. You can reach out to her at @a.part.mental on Instagram.