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Designer Stories: Rendezvous with Interior Designer Cheshta Papneja

Mumbai-based interior designer Cheshta Papneja is glowing in her own success with back to back projects, spanning from residential to commercial and hospitals too. Enthusiastic, passionate and vibrant, Cheshta is indomitable in her attitude and has a long way to go. Team DesignBids got into a candid chat with Cheshta to know more about her life as a designer, projects she has completed as well as her designer instincts.

Tell us something about yourself. How did you get started as a designer and your journey so far?

I have completed architecture in 2011. Since then I have worked with real estate companies. From March 2011, I have been working as a freelancer interior designer and architect and have completed several residential, offices and hospital projects too

How is your life as a designer? How many projects have you completed so far?

Life has been good but hectic with lots of drawings and site visits, but honestly, I love doing it. Individually, I have handled 9 projects, mostly residential and commercial. The last project was designing a hospital interior for Dr. Brijesh in Mumbai

Do you prefer just designing a project or design + execution as well?

Though I have worked on a few design-only projects, including the last one through DesignBids, but I personally prefer executing them as well.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far as a designer?

For projects that I simply design, the biggest challenge comes up when it has to get executed by other contractors, since if it is not properly done, my design doesn’t turn out the way I had imagined it to be. Therein lays the problem between designing and execution. If the contractor isn’t skilled enough and doesn’t follow the drawings, the design goes in waste.

What inspires you with your design ideas?

I am highly active on Pinterest and constantly follow new images that are uploaded and pin the ones I like. There are designers; in particular Signature Designs who I feel are doing really well; their designs are really nice.

Let’s talk about your last project with DesignBids. What was the time span from the moment you were shortlisted till the time you started working on the design?

Dr. Brijesh was in a hurry to get his hospital done. It took me 15 days to show him the 2D presentation which included the plan, reception and office position. Next, I showed him the 3D views and within 15 days the design was complete.

When did you apply for the project?

I applied for the project at 11:30 am on the day it was posted. I called the client up and we met at 1:30 in the afternoon. We discussed his project, showed him few of my previous works and got a call from him in the evening saying that he wanted me to work on his project. He asked me to collect the advance and there it was a one-day closure.

Can you talk a little about your last project?

Every project is different, and so are the specificities, hence I am never repetitive with elements. Talking about my last project with DesignBids, it was a hospital interior for Dr. Brijesh in Mumbai. Since he is a cardiologist, I didn’t want the hospital to look too bold with colors. I went mostly for whites with brown and gray shades. To balance the walls, the ceiling and floor were kept white as well and I went for lesser wood work on the ceilings too. Breaking the white charcoal sheet with brown strips of veneer was mainly for shunting the monotony. My main intention was to make the place look calm and not too vibrant for heart patients. The reception was beautified with an up and down lighter paneling in gray, allowing it to gel well with the wall tiles. Personally, I do not prefer using too much color,except for residential projects and particularly children's room.

Few pictures of the project:

Entrance of the hospital | Photo Credit: Cheshta Papneja

Reception area | Photo Credit: Cheshta Papneja

Interiors of Dr. Brijesh's hospital | Photo Credit: Cheshta Papneja

Waiting lounge | Photo Credit: Cheshta Papneja

Hospital interiors | Photo Credit: Cheshta Papneja

Dr. Brijesh's chamber | Photo Credit: Cheshta Papneja

Any problems you faced during the process?

There were no major issues as such, but just the carpentry part.

Any lessons you learnt that you would keep in mind for your future projects?

The use of right materials in the right place is inevitably the most valuable lesson learnt from my last project. Even Dr.Brijesh was very happy with the final outcome and said that it looked better than the 3D view.

Few changes that clients usually look for in their homes?

Clients usually look for general changes viz beds, wardrobes, false ceilings, writing tables, TV units etc. but there are two things that I inevitably lay emphasis upon; the first has to be bed backs and the second TV units, since these are the first elements that come to notice when a person enters a room. I always try to incorporate a different theme in every room and gel each room in a placid flow.

How do you tackle difficult clients?

To start with you need to be ready with a good plan, one that even you are convinced with. Take clients through a 3D walkthrough of each and every wall along with the top view of the room as well as positioning of every object in the room and convince them what would look best in the room. If they have any suggestions, I try to incorporate those in the design too. This works for me and my clients usually get convinced once they see the 3D view of the drawing.

How long have you been associated with DesignBids?

Since January 2017, I have been associated with DesignBids.

How early do you think should a designer apply to a project?

Well, from my personal experience I can say that early applications do help in faster shortlisting, since I have benefited from it. But what’s equally important is to have a good portfolio to showcase. Try including high quality images, since that is what would be important for clients in shortlisting designers. I have downloaded the app, and hence am always alert about new projects whenever they are posted. Recently, I have applied to a number of projects in Mumbai as well as negotiating with a prospective client in Hyderabad on a design-only project for his bungalow.

Your views on DesignBids as a platform.

DesignBids is doing a really good job. The previous system was a little complicated wherein designers had to fill in a detailed quote, which was obviously difficult but now the form is simplified and it is easy to apply. Though currently I have been shortlisted for a number of projects in Mumbai, the rainy season has caused a slight hindrance as clients are scared of getting their interiors done during monsoons. But otherwise, I am really happy with the way things are shaping up for me.

Any suggestions for clients

Clients should be absolutely clear and descriptive about their requirements. Most importantly, their budget should be in sync with their requirements. One cannot expect a complete house renovation in just a lakh and likewise. Clients also need to understand that it is not always possible for designers to quote low and that too if their proposal is unreasonable.

Rounding up

DesignBids is a great platform and surely has helped me immensely. Completing projects through them has given me a lot of satisfaction and I am confident enough that I will be able to contribute as well as do good in my career too.

Team DesignBids wishes Cheshta the best of luck in all her future endeavors.

Madhurima Das

Madhurima Das

Madhurima is a microbiologist by qualification and writer by choice, emotional yet practical, sensitive yet sensible. She is always enthusiastic about good music, books, food, and destinations.

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