The Modest High Riser An Alternate Living Space With Niranjan Kunwar
It’s not been long since we’ve seen a mushrooming of high-rise buildings in the capital. However, after the Great Earthquake of ‘15, these gentle giants have been abandoned due to fear. The housing market has shifted after a brief rise in apartment living to more open spaces. Amongst the few mavericks still opting for the high rises is Niranjan Kunwar, and he graciously invited us to his abode.
Perched on the 11th floor of the Bajra and Shangrila Residency, the one bedroom apartment has been designed and furnished to incorporate a lot of character into a cozy space. Furnished and designed under the watchful eyes of Diwas Raja KC and Niranjan himself, the tiny apartment reflects the characteristics of the reserved yet charismatic resident.
IT’S OBVIOUS THAT THE SPACE IS NOT A LAVISH ONE. BUT, UNLIKE THE CONVENTIONAL NEPALESE OUTLOOK THAT GRAVITATES TOWARD BIGGER ESTATES, I WANTED SOMETHING THAT WAS PRIVATE AND CLOSE TO
HOW DID YOU COME BY THIS SPACE?
It’s obvious that the space is not a lavish one. But, unlike the conventional Nepalese outlook that gravitates toward bigger estates, I wanted something that was private and close to me. Thanks to a fortunate turn of events, my family came across some inheritance and this place opened up too. It fit into the budget and as soon as I walked in, I fell in love with the view. The fact that it was located in Dhobighat humored my attachment with Patan, so for me, it seemed like a very good investment. This is coming from a guy who thought he’d never live in a high-rise apartment after the earthquake.
WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS OF MAKING THIS PLACE COME TO LIFE?
Although this is my space, a lot of credit has to go to my good friend Diwas. The man has a really good eye for design. I professionally hired him and he came up with ideas about the colors and decors and what not. One major change we made to this place was to break down the wall that separated the dining room from the kitchen. When we broke it down, more light came in and it just made the place livelier. With the addition of a bookrack, the room doubled as a study and I think that’s really smart when it comes to small spaces like mine.
YOU HAVE A REALLY GOOD COLLECTION OF DECOR ITEMS. ANY WORDS ON THEM?
I was in the US for a long time and when I got back, I lived in a small rented place. I love living modestly, but what really tormented me was that I couldn’t bring all my stuff back home. Even the things that I had brought had no proper place. All my books and things my friends had gifted me were on the floor. I always wanted to get a place of my own where my things could find their rightful place; and now both of us do. That’s why I have prints on the walls, pictures of my trips are up, and souvenirs are all on display.
THE FURNISHING HERE HAS A LOT OF CHARACTER TOO, DID YOU GET THEM HERE OR…?
I have come to realize that, in Nepal, if you are willing to put in time and effort, you can get things custom made for pretty cheap. Most of my furniture are custom made and are unique. Anyone these days can look up designs, so you just have to find a carpenter who’s easy to work with.
Also, there is a place called Thimi Ceramic and they make really good cutlery items. They export to Europe and keep the pieces that don’t meet their strict standards here in their stock. I got all my bowls and plates from them and I think it just adds more character into my space than a uniform set would.