The Perfection of Planning
With strong content, focused engagement, and diligent planning, Shehar Bano Rizvi, a Doha-based Pakistani-origin storyteller/content creator, and photographer has carved a niche in the blogging sphere. SCALE takes its readers through the home of this conscientious designer, who has created a beautiful space here in Doha for her family and an ingenious platform on social media for her blog and her Instagram feed. By Sindhu Nair
“My style is a combination of modern, vintage, and ethnic. I love old pieces and like to include bits of our tradition and culture.”
Shehar Bano Rizvi
The social media scene is abuzz during the lockdown period. What started out as a tireless, often ambitious, read lofty plans on Instagram stories, has now filtered down to stories of value and quiet fortitude. That is the lesson that the lockdown has passed on to us too, of taking each day slow, savouring it, and passing on the values learned. Making time has become the new trend, replacing FOMO for its lack of significance at this time that we spend indoors. And it is in this space that Shehar Bano brings in her quiet wisdom, simple recipes, Urdu readings with kids, and creative planning within her house. Her home has been featured in many interior magazines and websites for its charming simplicity and strong pride in her roots.
The large airy living room, the coziness of family get-togethers reflected in spatial arrangements and small niches, the love of familial ties through the moments captured in frames, the organized beauty of her working spaces and the simple DIYs she has incorporated within her interiors, are all lessons we can take notes from.
A home is after-all a projection of your soul and this is so evident here when Shehar says, “I am a child of nostalgia and love the feeling of having old family things around. Our house tells our story.”
It is her honesty and pragmatic nature that shines through and makes a mark on each one of her followers as she says in reply to the notion of a superwoman/ multi-tasker image that the social media tends to project: “The superwoman does not exist, that is a myth. I am not doing this all by myself. I have a support system that works with me and enables me to do what I am doing.”
SCALE engages this talent in a conversation to know more about her home and her planning tricks.
SCALE: Did you have a plan in mind as you began designing your house? Were you sure of what changes you would bring about or did you go with the flow?
SHEHAR: Since Mohsin and I moved to Doha 16 years ago, we had always been living in apartments and loved the ease of maintaining a small space. But as our family grew, we moved to this rented home, which has been a pleasant change for our growing kids (one girl and two boys). We moved into this rental home in Sept. 2018. I didn’t have a plan of how I wanted to do the interiors and went with the flow. Since my style reflects who I am, where I come from, and where I live now, so I incorporated those elements as I went about decorating this home. I think my style is a combination of modern, vintage, and ethnic. I love old pieces and like to include bits of our tradition and culture.
SHEHAR: It definitely, is! We live in a rental house in Qatar, which came semi-furnished. However, the style was completely different from my taste, and I re-did the entire home with our furnishings.
I love gallery walls and have lots of them around the house, mostly my photography. We also have lots of emotional pieces around our home, and those pieces have a story behind them and, hence, have sentimental value. I have some of my mother’s and grandmothers’ decor pieces, paintings, and even porcelain (more than half a century old). I am a child of nostalgia and love the feeling of having old family things around.
On the other hand, Mohsin is very patriotic with the love of Urdu language and Pakistani art and culture. And hence you will see a lot of pieces from back home, in every corner of our home. Even the family room wall was painted in white and green to be a symbolic representation of the Pakistani flag. Our house tells our story.
SCALE: Which is your favorite aspect of your house or your fav corner? The blue coloured wall or the framed study room or the creative children’s room. And why?
SHEHAR: I love the open floor plan of this home and the indoor Juliet balconies from the rooms looking into the living space. Although it’s a big house, I always feel connected and can keep an eye on what’s going on. I also love love love the high ceilings! Another thing that I adore is the huge windows, which allow daylight to come in from everywhere.
I love gallery walls and put up a combination of things on the wall – some new, some old. What I love the most about the wall in my office because I have a bit of my dad and my mum with me at all times. The eye chart (which reads ‘Life is all about giving – Dr. Hasan Rizvi’) was a DIY project that I made when my dad passed away.
The two silhouettes of women were hand-painted on glass by my mum some 50 odd years ago, even before she got married! These are priceless!
SCALE: If you had one piece of advice to give to your readers on how to spruce up your interiors, what would it be?
SHEHAR: I believe you don’t have to buy expensive things to make a home look beautiful. Its how you put the most ordinary things together is what is more important. Make your house a reflection of you and your sense of style.
SCALE: How do you keep such a large house, clean and clutter-free?
SHEHAR: We do have a live-in nanny who helps me with the cleaning and cooking. However, even with the helper around, I always involve the kids in cleaning up and keeping the home clutter-free. If they play with a game or a particular toy, they need to clean up before moving on to the next activity. Its teamwork, one person cannot do it all.
SHEHAR: I believe that the notion of the Super Woman is a myth! A woman who multitasks and manages everything! She is a dynamic professional at work, a housekeeper at home, a culinary expert in the kitchen, an amazing mother to her kids, a perfect wife to her husband, a fitness freak who eats healthy and stays fit, looks pretty at all times with perfect hair and makeup and basically saves the world! So, let me tell you something, the perfect Superwoman does not exist!
Here is my secret. I am not doing this all by myself. I have a support system that works with me and enables me to do what I am doing.
My husband is my biggest support. He is the most hands-on dad I have ever seen! We have always worked as a team, which is the biggest reason you see me doing so much stuff! It’s all about teamwork. I have a live-in nanny who helps me with the day to day chores in the house and with the kids. I can’t call myself a completely hands-on mother because I DON’T DO EVERYTHING for my kids myself! What I do is that I prioritize the things that are important for the kids to do with a parent rather than the nanny. So, I focus on the quality time rather than the quantity of time with them. Blogging works perfectly for me because I write once they are asleep(which is by 7 pm). I then work for 4-5 hours until late at night.
I am a trained Project Manager. I plan, prioritise, and delegate stuff (I do some things myself too! ). It’s a skill that I use to the best of my capacity to help me manage to be a wife, mother, and myself.