Home Profile for The Address- Times of India
There are some who hesitate to adopt a pet citing lack of space. And then there is Rubina Dhankar Qadir Din, who insists that her home in Gurgaon belongs to her 46 dogs while she and her husband share the space with them.
“Life has a strange way of working out.” Rubina says as we meet at her Barsati (terrace), which has been converted to a Living cum Dining space of their house. “I was married and living in Mumbai with my first husband for 14 years. At that point I was a journalist with NDTV and Times now. After my marriage ended I moved to Delhi with my mother and started working with JJ Vallaya as a brand manager,” she continues while sipping her herbal tea. After a few years she moved back and started an ad production company. During this time she dabbled in Interior Design for friends. Finally in 2012 Rubina moved back to Delhi where she met my current husband Abdul Qadir, a fitness instructor and Dog lover as she discovered. “Soon after we started living together in my condo in Gurgaon we started adopting street dogs. No one wanted these dogs and most had terminal illness’s. We started with 12 dogs who have now slowly gone up to 46,”
In the beginning of 2015 they decided to put the condo on rent and look for a larger house with open spaces for the dogs. She shares, “It was getting expensive to take care of them on just my husband’s income so I tried to figure career prospects too. Meanwhile, I put up images of the condo at various sites looking for people to rent. People started complimented me on the space and design. Soon they started asking me to design their homes.”
The ground floor of the villa was also styled by her, but as the dogs grew in number the space appeared more lived in. As a result they decided to focus on a living space at the Barsati. The Barsati has two basic rooms, converted as a living and dining area with the open space offering outdoor seating. The two rooms in fact have been left as raw as possible, with just single brick layers of the walls, tin roofs and aluminium doors.
Despite the almost raw sense of style, the space appears inviting. In her own words, “My style is very rustic chic and that is the style I am comfortable with. A lot of the furniture you see here has been designed by me, I believe in reasonably priced furniture but I’ll splurge on accessories. Fortunately my husband is also very house proud. He loves to gift me gorgeous home accents from different designers and stores. As a result, I have a collection of plates from Good Earth and some accessories from Oma. However, the two pieces which have stayed with me from my first house, is the Nepalese Tara statue and the Limited collection Fab India cabinet,” Perhaps due to the overall sense of bareness, we can’t help but notice the trunks. She confesses, “My husband is a hoarder and since the ground floor is devoted to the dogs, we had to find a creative way to store his t-shirts. To find a suitable storage solution, I sourced traditional trunks and made them work as part of the décor.”
Along with the trunk another very noticeable element is mirrors. There are at least three-four in each room along with posters and frame. For Rubina the use of mirrors came naturally, as she loves them, “I think they add character to a space, so I use them a lot. But most people can’t tell how many there are, as I place them in unique ways, each reflecting something unique, for instance the one in the living space reveals the reflection of the chandelier,” she shares.
When she initially started her business, Rubina would request clients to provide dog food as payment for her services. However she soon realised that people could be quite unfair. Sometimes, she would receive only two bags of dog food as payment for the whole house. “That experience shocked me. So now I have a transparent fee structure for my interior styling services. My business really picked up after eight months of styling homes. In fact, now I am tie-ups with different designers such as Sarita Handa, Elvy and so on.” she explains.
With 46 dogs living at home doesn’t entertaining guests pose a unique challenge, we wonder. She agrees, “We used to be sociable, but now with the dogs we rarely go out and even if people come over we hang out at the Barsati. However, my husband and I are both very content with the direction our lives have taken for both us and our babies,”