The corner: Hassan Shaheryar Yasin

The stunning, newly renovated house and studio of Hassan Shaheryar Yasin in Karachi

Manahyl Khan March 06, 2016

We visit the stunning, newly renovated house and studio of Hassan Shaheryar Yasin in Karachi and get an exclusive look at this grand mansion!

It takes a special person to envision the successful outcome of a heavy renovation project based on the beauty of a single window amidst brick and mortar ruins. Anyone would think it quite mad; he admits his mother did too. But Hassan Shaheryar Yasin is one to be reckoned with, for there is much to admire about the window he put his soul into: the golden rays of sunshine striking through the textured glass panes, a soft view of the tall, dusty pink-hued minarets of the Mohatta Palace and the unbeatable feeling of being present in a time long gone.

He enjoys the luxury of more than just the window now: there is a majestic entrance with a generous green garden in the front, and a stunning yellow brick-walled area behind the expansive property. The breeze is wonderful, laden with a salty wisp from the nearby Clifton Sea, and the trees are ancient — the perfect place for a cup of tea and conversation.

The inside is another feat, starting with the tiles changing colours and patterns from room to room. The thick wooden staircase, the rickety sounds that come loose from stepping on stairs stepped on by far too many, the windows illuminating sections of the vast rooms, the olden paint-coated switchboards with switches as thick as pegs, and doors that still have bolts give you joy for being preserved tastefully.

There are reminders, however, of our present time. The glossy, art deco light fixtures, the shining chandeliers and wooden tables add glamour to a worthy backdrop.

With both the restoration and interiors done by an external company, HSY says he provided them a good brief about what he wanted done, “We wanted to keep it minimal, because like the house, I need to grow into it. The rest of the accents will follow.” Sharing that he has a passion for collecting urns, with an excessive lot of them at his home in Lahore, he started with just three in Karachi to keep his collection natural.

“As a designer and a regular person I love layers on people, myself and in clothes. Even a house needs to be layered, but you cannot layer a house until you live in it. Otherwise it looks staged and it should never look that way. It needs to reflect your experiences, the tokens you receive as you go along from various clients.”

The only picture of HSY himself in the studio is one with his mother and sister, and it’s a sweet way to start. “Will other pictures follow? Of course they will. Will I find a throw I really like? Will someone gift me a book, or give me something I may not love but keep anyway for its sentimental value? Yes, but it just has to be organic.”

HSY’s attraction towards the natural is understandable; for that’s just the kind of person he comes across as. Down-to-earth, present and observant — he’s an instant friend and a keeper at that.  He’s kind enough to ask us for more tea or coffee at regular intervals: “Have some, na,” he insists.

We continue chatting and walking around the house, entering one room while peeking into another, trying to take it all in. We’re almost done exploring the mansion, and we ask him what he does at the end of a tiring day, “I sit, sketch and ignore everything else that’s going on.”

Fitting to find him unwinding by the very window he bought the property for. There is a chair next to the window, with smaller tables besides it, his sketchpad can be seen sitting on the table with a pen across it; presumably resting before HSY is delivered his cup of chai and his mind turns to meditating through design.


Bunny Rabbit | 7 years ago | Reply Wow obviously he has worked very hard for all that opulence and luxury and deserves every bit of it .
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