The Lahori home which was recently repainted. ©Gulf News
Today: At home with Manohar Lahori, chairman of Palmon Group, and his wife Reshma Lahori, managing director of Desert Blues
The Lahoris are from India and have been living in Dubai since 1985. Manohar Lahori owns garment factories in Dubai, Fujairah and India, manufacturing high-quality menswear and specialised garments such as skiing gear, for European and American markets.
Reshma is an audiologist and speech therapist by training but now manages her own business supplying run-offs, slight seconds and cancelled orders from local and overseas factories to the local market.
"During the Kuwait war, my husband had to go on a long business trip and asked me to go to his office regularly to keep an eye on things.That is when I discovered several containers of run offs lying in the warehouse. Within a few years I made enough money to have my own factory across the road from his and now supply goods to many well-known labels," she says.
Their son Kunal helps in managing his father's business and has diversified into properties and investment. Their daughter Shilpa is a fashion designer and along with her friend Riddhima Mankani, launched a fashion label, called Affascinaire, two years ago. Their designs are manufactured in her father's factories.
The Lahoris are a close-knit family and have all been involved in doing up their home, which was recently redecorated for Shilpa's wedding.
"When we were house hunting, the most important feature I was looking for is a feeling of openness. I wanted high ceilings, spacious rooms and a sweeping spiral staircase," says Reshma. Adds her husband: "I have many business visitors from Europe and the US and I wanted a house with a nice garden and living and dining area, to be able to entertain my guests at home."
Manohar, Reshma, Kunal and Shilpa near the gazebo surrounded by a picturesque well, fountains, a moat and a soothing waterfall which continues over the boundary wall. ©Gulf News
The decorative gate opens onto a beautiful garden. A quaint wooden bridge leads to a gazebo surrounded by a picturesque well, fountains, a moat and a soothing waterfall, which continues over the boundary wall. "I love the sound of the water and always have my tea and read the newspapers here early in the morning," says Manohar.
A wooden dance floor was recently added to the garden in time for Shilpa's wedding. But the piece de resistance here is their Teppanyaki table.
"This table has an interesting story. During a visit to Taiwan, I enjoyed the Teppanyaki food so much that I asked my supplier there to take me to a Teppanyaki restaurant every evening. A month later he called to say that he was sending me a special gift. We had to hire a crane to haul this gift home and since it could not fit in the house, we put it in the garden," says Manohar.
They often host Teppanyaki parties. "Dad has improvised some recipes that we all enjoy, but for bigger parties, we hire a Teppanyaki chef from one of the five star hotels in Dubai," says Kunal.
Beautiful stained glass doors lead into the spacious living room. The ceiling is indeed high and the open feeling has been enhanced by replacing the walls between the drawing and dining areas with decorative wrought-iron partitions.
An antique, Chinese carved ivory chess set, which is Manohar's favourite decorative piece in the house, separates the two seating areas in this massive room. "I bought Chesterfield sofas from the UK for this room, because I wanted a classic, timeless look," says Manohar.
Portraits of the family, a decorative sword and some marble sculptures are the few decorations in this uncluttered area. Shilpa has designed an interesting raw silk panel with inserts of laminated photographs of each family member for this area. All the furniture for the rest of the house, including the bedroom sets for all six bedrooms, was shipped from the US. "We travel to the US every year and enjoy shopping there," they say.
The entrance to the Lahori home with stained glass doors and windows. ©Gulf News
"When he likes something, he buys it without worrying about where we will keep it. I do not like my house to be cluttered with too many things, so I send most of his purchases to his office in Jebel Ali," says Reshma. Thus, besides his collection of globes and furniture, there are also eight vintage Rolls Royces parked in his office.
Surprisingly, this car collector does not drive. "I prefer to make business calls on my way to the office. Earlier I had a chauffeur, but now I go to the office with my son," he says.
The furniture in the dining area also has an interesting story. "We liked a show apartment display in an Ethan Allen store and bought the entire set including the grandfather clock and the paintings on the wall, to the utter surprise of the salesman," recalls Manohar.
The furniture in the coffee lounge, next to the dining room, has a very different but equally elegant look. Bought during a business trip to Syria, it has intricate mother of pearl inlay work. Three portraits of old men painted by Shilpa adorn the wall in this area.
The curtains in both areas are an interesting mix of beige and multicoloured stripes, draped artistically on the windows. In fact Reshma and Shilpa have tried various experiments with the curtains in every room.
In one of the two guest bedrooms downstairs, they have put the thicker curtains behind matching sheers to create an unusual effect. In the TV lounge on the upstairs landing, alternating peach and pistachio green curtains in crinkled chiffon provide a soft, soothing look. The whole family likes to relax in this lounge after dinner.
"During the day we are all busy. So we make it a point to have dinner together," says Reshma. "Dad gets home at 7.30pm and dinner is at 8.30pm sharp. Even if Kunal or me want to go out for the evening, we make it a point to be home at dinner time and go out later," says Shilpa.