Beyond Blueprints With Farah Agarwal :  On The Era Of Eclecticism In India

Transforming volumes into avant-garde interiors and accentuating staid spaces with impassioned drama, Farah Agarwal, the founder of Chestnut Storeys, brings quirkiness and a refreshing perspective to the industry through her designs. The state-of-the-art design studio epitomises signature luxury by skillfully articulating diverse elements and an artistic approach for every project. From contemporary to art deco interiors, Farah celebrates the duality of spaces, both locally and worldwide. Farah Agarwal, with Beyond Blueprints, talks about her journey, all the things that inspire her, and the valuable lessons she learned in the field of design.

A classic example of a modern home designed intricately by Farah Agarwal of Chestnut Storeys. Image credit: Ishita Sitwala and Nayan Soni


⦁ How would you describe the aesthetics and design style of the studio?

At our design studio, we celebrate diversity and creativity. Our aesthetic is versatile, catering to the unique preferences of each client. We thrive on challenges, tackling projects across various styles and industries. With no singular signature, we break free from convention, trying to ensure that our work is always fresh and exciting. It's not just about architecture; it's about the holistic experience.


⦁ In what ways have nature and travelling influenced your design career?

Experiencing different cultures and environments has broadened my perspective and enriched my design approach. Even seemingly mundane elements like a phone booth vary from place to place, sparking inspiration. Interacting with diverse individuals exposes me to unique personal design styles, which I integrate into my work, particularly in interiors. From the way food is served to the intricate patterns of crockery or cutlery— every detail informs my design process.

A curated collection of home decor items on the terrace celebrating art and craftsmanship. Image credit: Ishita Sitwala and Nayan Soni


⦁ How do you approach the challenge of incorporating cutting-edge technology into your design?

While we recognise the importance of incorporating cutting-edge technology, it isn't our primary focus or a significant challenge. We prioritise infusing our designs with a personal touch, fostering engagement, and emphasising the human element. While we utilise technology for understanding and improvement, it doesn't dictate our design process. Instead, we rely on our creativity and intuition to create meaningful and impactful client experiences.


⦁ How do you stay updated on current trends, technologies, and innovations in the field of interior design?

We prioritise personalised and project-specific approaches over fleeting trends. While we have younger team members handling technological aspects, we have learned to leverage social media to glean insights into emerging ideas. We believe in continuous learning and exploring new concepts to see if they align with our interests and enhance our design process.

The distinguished aesthetics of the Powder Toilet highlight the assembly of fine details. Image credit: Ishita Sitwala and Nayan Soni


⦁ What are your thoughts on the current relationship model between contemporary artisans, home decor, and furniture brands?

I believe the current relationship model between contemporary artisans, home decor, and furniture brands is symbiotic and holds great promise. It's heartening to see an increasing number of designers and brands stepping forward to champion artisans and consequently prioritising craftsmanship over mass production. 

This shift not only adds a human touch to our designs but also celebrates artisans’ unique skills and artistry. By embracing this approach, we can create pieces that resonate more deeply with individuals and foster a greater appreciation for the craftsmanship behind them.

⦁ What would you say is the most underappreciated design element in a room?

One of the most underappreciated design elements in a room is cornices, beautiful and intricate mouldings installed along the top edges of walls and ceilings. While they enhance the overall look and feel of a space, they often go unnoticed or are glanced over. Cornices add a subtle yet significant touch to the room's aesthetic but don't always receive the recognition they deserve.


Underlining the varied textures and patterns to create an eclectic yet cosy room. Image credit: Ishita Sitwala and Nayan Soni

⦁ What are the most significant challenges in working with local materials and traditional crafts? How does it impact your design style?

Working with local materials and traditional crafts presents challenges such as consistency, but in some instances, embracing the organic nature of craftsmanship adds authenticity to the final product. However, rather than impacting our design style negatively, they often enhance it. The availability, access, and talent in utilising these materials have improved significantly, allowing us to realise our design concepts effectively. Overall, integrating local materials and traditional crafts enriches our designs and contributes to their uniqueness and authenticity.  


⦁ What are your views on sustainability? Does your design practice incorporate an eco-friendly approach?

Our approach to sustainability is subtle yet conscientious. While we don't make loud claims or centre our brand personality around sustainability, we incorporate eco-friendly practices into our design process. We prioritise the use of upcycled materials and take note of the adverse effects our work may have on the environment, striving to minimise our footprint wherever possible.


The addition of signature home decor and accent rugs expresses Farah’s approach to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a space. Image credit: Ishita Sitwala and Nayan Soni


⦁ What would be one essential element in all your projects, whether it is a residential project, commercial, or vacation home?

One essential element in all our projects, whether residential, commercial, or vacation homes, would be carpets and rugs. These versatile additions bring a unique and subjective dimension to the space, enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Whether aiming for simplicity or drama, carpets and rugs offer flexibility and can be adapted to suit diverse preferences and budgets.


⦁ What is the best advice you have received that you would like to pass on to the next generation of architects and designers? 

The best advice I've received is to stay calm. While seemingly simple, this advice has profound implications. A senior in the industry once shared an experience where they found maintaining composure with a particularly challenging client issue shifted the energy of the situation positively. Staying calm allows for greater receptivity and the ability to centre one's energy, enabling clearer thinking and problem-solving. It's about looking at things from an outward perspective and aligning thoughts with a sense of calmness, which can lead to transformative outcomes in both professional and personal realms.

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9th floor, Birla Centurion, Century Mills Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, Mumbai– 400030, Maharashtra, India. 

Registered Office:
Birlagram, Nagda- 456 331 (M.P.) Tel: (07366) 246760-66, Fax: (07366) 244114, 246024, CIN: L17124MP1947PLC000410  

Allwood Contractor App Helpdesk 

Call: 1800 120 1234, Monday to Saturday, 09:30 am – 6:30 pm (Except Public Holidays).


Product Warranty

Terms and Conditions for product warranty registration of Birla Opus products

  1. The Warranty shall be effective from the date of purchase of the Product as per the tax invoice (“Warranty Start Date”), provided that painting work is fully complete, and the Consumer registers the Product for warranty.

  2. The Product must be registered within 15 days from the date of purchase by calling customer care at 18001201234 or registering on and furnishing purchase details as required during the Warranty registration.

  3. The Warranty shall be valid for parameters and period as defined in the respective product warranty document (‘Warranty Period’) from the Warranty Start Date. 

  4. Upon settlement of any claim, Warranty of replaced Product will not start afresh, and will continue for the remainder of the Warranty Period from the Warranty Start Date.

  5. If there is a break/ lag in completing the painting work, the registration of the Warranty and Warranty Start Date will be determined by the Company at its sole discretion.

  6. The Company may appoint a person to examine and confirm the application of the Product as per the directions specified prior to registering the Warranty.

  7. For registering of Warranty, where quantity of Product purchase is equal to or more than 200 litres, please call our Helpline on 1800 120 1234 with requisite details. The registration of Warranty in such cases is subject to a satisfactory pre‐inspection at site by Company’s representative.

  8. For the warranty to be applicable:
    1. Minimum volume of the product required to be purchased needs to be met
    2. Birla Opus recommended system needs to be used
    3. Product coverage and application guidelines need to be adhered

For more details, please refer to respective  product specific warranty document and product information sheet.

  1. Consumer may raise a claim within 30 days of discovering issue(s) noticed on the affected areas based on Warranty Parameters/ scope

  2. The Consumer is required to notify the Company of the issue(s) noticed along with the invoice details, sample pictures and basis for Warranty invocation by contacting the customer care at 1800 120 1234. The Consumer shall provide such additional details as required by the Company and/or allow the Company to visit/inspect the painting site either in portion or entirety at the Company’s discretion.  

  3. In case where the Company decides that the Warranty is applicable on the issue(s) noticed on the affected areas, the Company shall bear the Replacements Costs as detailed in respective product warranty document to repair/ repaint the affected areas.

  4. Replacement Costs shall mean the cost of material and labour required to correct the affected portions, as determined by the Company.

  5. In case where the Company decides that Warranty is not applicable, the same shall be communicated to the Consumer.

  6. Warranty is applicable only to the affected area where the Product is used in accordance with application guidelines and not to the rest of the areas.

  7. In case the Consumer carries out repair works on the areas covered under the Warranty, the same shall be at their own risk and the Company’s Warranty on the Product shall not be valid on such repaired areas.

  8. The Warranty will cover only manufacturing defects of the Product and will not cover any defects arising out of factors not in control of the Company. For more details of exclusions, please refer to the warranty document of respective product. 

  9. Except expressly stated, the Company disclaims any liabilities whether in contract, tort or otherwise. The Company makes no warranty regarding merchantability or fitness of products for any particular purpose. 

  10. The Company shall not be held liable towards loss or damages of incidental, indirect or consequential nature or for any value more than the tax invoice value. 

  11. In case of any disputes, exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Mumbai shall apply. Governing laws shall be Laws of India.

  12. The facts and all matters concerning any Warranty/ claim/ dispute will always be kept confidential by both the Consumer and the Company.