Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri are opening up their home to a lucky winner of Airbnb’s “Home With Open Arms” campaign in February 2021.
“As a part of the stay, the lucky guest will get a sneak peek into our lives. They’ll get to enjoy a sumptuous meal of my family’s favorite foods, personalised keepsakes as souvenirs, and enjoy a movie marathon of Shah Rukh’s favourite films. More than anything, we just want the guests to be comfortable, and have a great and memorable experience during their stay,” says Gauri.
UNRESERVED speaks to Gauri about her stunning family home that she designed, and everyone’s favourite thing to do (now that we can’t) – travel.
What was the inspiration behind the design of your home?
I would say that my family is the inspiration behind everything that I do, even the design of this house – this home is full of love and exudes warmth. I have personally designed the house and handpicked every element of it. Our Delhi home is reminiscent of some of our favorite memories together and reflects our journey – first of Shah Rukh and I as a couple, and then as a family of five. I would say that my family is the inspiration behind the design of this house – this home is our haven in the city where the journey began, and it is nostalgic, full of love and exudes warmth.
Favourite room or area in your home?
To be honest, the entire house is special for me – each corner has been designed by me and I have personally handpicked even the smallest elements of the home. But if I had to pick one corner – it would be the ‘nostalgia wall’ in the master bedroom. Some of the key pieces featured on the wall are very close to my heart and include things like Aryan’s first badminton racket, Suhana’s make-up brushes and butterflies that she collected, AbRam’s first birthday gift – an exquisite silver mirror, and comb and an art piece that Shah Rukh bought from his travels, which is a tribute to his love for pizza along with unpublished playbills and the original negatives of his favorite movie Scarface.
The photo wall in the entrance foyer is also extremely special to me – each of the photos is symbolic of a different time in our lives – there is one of Shah Rukh in his signature ‘Open Arms’ pose while another one shows him and Aryan from the time, they used to practice boxing together. Putting together the photo wall was a lot of fun because I spent a lot of time revisiting and reliving early memories while looking through hundreds of pictures – from the time Shah Rukh and I had just started dating to when my kids were born and even to when they grew up and went to college.
What is Shah Rukh’s and your favourite dish to make and eat?
Shah Rukh loves to cook and I love eating. He loves to cook Italian food like pasta for all of us.
A must-have when you entertain at home?
Whether you’re hosting guests for a few nights or having a small gathering, it takes a lot of thinking and planning to ensure they have a great time. Small yet intricate details, such as the invitations, refreshments, the décor and even the music can make all the difference.
Get-togethers, small or big need to be made personal. If you want to leave a lasting impression on your guests, then there is nothing like adding a personal touch. I have especially learned this from my travel experiences when I have received something personal that stayed with me forever. Even simple things like a personal note, taking care of dietary restrictions, and having intimate conversations make guests feel welcome.
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What is a day in your life like?
I start my day by working out. I then spend time with AbRam and also help him with his schooling. In the day I go to my store and work on upcoming projects. In the evenings, I like spending quality time with my family.
How do you like to relax after a long day?
The best way to relax after a long day for me is probably a nice swim.
What inspires your work?
I am greatly inspired by the places I visit and the things I observe during my travels. For redesigning my Delhi home, my family has been my inspiration – this home is our haven in the city where the journey began, and it is nostalgic, full of love and exudes warmth.
How has the pandemic affected you?
I have always believed that one’s home is a safe haven and central to family life and the last few months have only made that realisation stronger. The last few months have given us an opportunity, as a family, to slow down and spend time with each other. Even though we have always made it a point to plan family time/vacations together, we always have a list of things to do and places to visit. This was the first time in a very long time that we could spend uninterrupted quality time together.
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Favourite place to visit?
Italy is one of my favorite places. From the museums and cathedrals of Valencia to the exquisite murals and paintings, and the majestic architecture of Rome, serves as a great source of inspiration. Travel is a really big part of my family’s life, and a lot of my design inspiration comes from places I have visited or things I have observed during our trips. I also take a keen interest in the architecture of places when I travel and that eventually finds its way back to my work in different forms.
Mountains, cityscape or seaside?
I would love to go to the beaches any day!
When you travel, do you overpack, under pack or take just enough with you?
I am bit of an over packer when it comes to travelling. I keep in mind what my family likes to do and plan the itinerary and pack accordingly.
What’s a memorable or funny story on one of your travels?
We use Airbnb a lot while travelling. In-fact the idea of opening up our home on the platform was actually sparked by the fantastic experience we had at an Airbnb in LA. We had gone to drop off the kids to college last year and had a wonderful experience with Airbnb. The warm and welcoming stay we had there was what encouraged us to welcome people into our home too, and just give them a memorable experience as hosts.
Can you share some travel tips you have?
I feel travelling is all about experiencing something new, the architecture, local culture, and cuisines of the place you are visiting. So, my top travel tip would be to always engage with locals no matter where you are travelling. Every place has unique architecture and is known for its culture and I personally get inspiration when I meet local artisans and different forms of art in each city.
What makes you feel at home when you visit someone’s home or when you travel?
For me, a perfect home is a place that embodies love and warmth. It reflects the values and memories that a family shares together in these four walls. It is the inhabitants that make the place special, that’s what makes a house a home -the love, laughter, countless stories, and memories.
The first place you want to visit once the pandemic is over?
The next destination in my wish list would definitely be Milan.