SOMETIMES a clean serene space is something you can only dream about. Yet broadcaster and writer Aasmah Mir has made that dream a reality.
With her pared-down East London loft that she shares with husband Piara, she has created a clutter-free home with a minimalist aesthetic.
Aasmah has lived in London on and off for 12 years. She first bought a flat in Highbury, North London in 2003 after she sold her own flat in Glasgow.
“I really wanted somewhere with a garden, as it is always so hard to find any outside space in London. It was a lovely two-bedroomed flat, but after getting married I sold it and moved in with my husband,” she says.
Her first flat was a characterful one-bedroom in a sandstone tenement, overlooking tennis courts in Hyndland.
“At the time it was such an adventure to have my own place. I didn’t have the money to do any renovations to the kitchen and bathroom, so I just re-decorated it and lived with the odd-shaped kitchen and the bathroom with no shower! It was all about location. It sold easily and I used the proceeds to buy my flat in London years later,” she says.
However, her work as a presenter for BBC Five Live meant she has had to move around. When the station moved to Salford in 2011, she based herself between Manchester and London. Her home in Manchester was a two-bedroom flat in a converted mill. “It was also quite minimal in style, had a lot of exposed brick, white walls, iron pillars and pipes. It was an old building, but converted in a modern way, rather similar to our home here in East London,” she says.
Two months ago, Aasmah decided to leave her position at Five Live as after 11 years, as she felt it was time for a new challenge. Plus the commuting between London and Manchester was tough and she didn’t get to spend enough time with her husband at their East London home.
Aasmah first worked as a newsreader for STV after she graduated from Bristol University with a law degree. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do and my parents both pointed me in the direction of medicine or law, in typical Asian parent style,” she jokes.
Aasmah grew up in the suburban enclave of Bearsden, outside Glasgow. “We lived in a beautiful five-bedroom detached Victorian house. We were four kids, so we were glad of the space. The garden was huge and when I first moved there at the age of ten, I thought it was magical – it was a bit like The Secret Garden,” she explains.
Aasmah got married in 2007 outside Glasgow and then moved in with her husband. “What I loved most about our home is it is the place we always come back to. It’s warm, peaceful and safe, but it’s also in a thriving, buzzing area that doesn’t close down at 10pm,” she says.
Aasmah’s husband bought the flat in 2001, she continues: “He bought it off-plan as a show flat. It was a great buy because the area has developed so much in 11 years. He hasn’t done anything to it. But I have and will. I’m going to redo the bathroom and have lots of ceiling-height storage and bookcases built in. It’s a delicate balance. There’s a lot I would like to do, but I don’t want to take over. I have to take account of his views too. Unfortunately he has a view on everything – every lampshade and fork,” she jokes.
Both Aasmah and her husband share a minimal taste. They have a Balzac sofa in the lounge by Matthew Hilton from SCP and Eames chairs around the dining table from Heals. A large olive-green leather-clad Natuzzi armchair sits over a brightly coloured rug from Designer’s Guild.
Although they have two bedrooms one of these is used as a dressing room. In the master bedroom, the bed is from Heals and the two lamps on either side are from John Lewis. Everything is painted white and the floor is a rich mahogany polished wood.
There are no paintings or photographs on any walls, only one solitary Bollywood print in the sitting room, which adds to the sense of calm and serenity.
Next to their bedroom they have a bathroom with shower and an unusual reflective mirror looks back into the bedroom. Aasmah is keen to do up the bathroom soon, but a bright colourful shower curtain from Marimekko works as a focal point for now.
Aasmah adores cooking and although the kitchen may not look as if it is constantly in use with its sparkling stainless steel and chrome, she is often experimenting with new curries and baking. She has even launched her own YouTube channel called Cracking Curries.
It may be a serene space, but there is no doubt that it is also a place where many good times are had.
What was the last book you read and loved?
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
What is your favourite film?
Veer Zaara (Bollywood film).
What is your favourite hotel?
Soho House New York.
What is your favourite perfume?
Earl Grey by Angela Flanders.
What is your favourite meal?
Goan seafood curry at The Painted Heron.
Who is your favourite fashion designer?
What is your favourite music?
Frank Ocean, Sean Paul, Mavado.
Ideal holiday destination?
• Aasmah Mir (www.aasmahmir.com)