Designing a Room For Royalty by Rydhima Brar

By Theodore Alexander December 3, 2021

Welcome to the Empress’s Quarters, where the everyday becomes extraordinary and each guest feels like royalty. This room is one of the first you’ll find in the Berkshires’ Cornell Inn, a newly renovated travel destination... and a designer showhouse!

That’s right. Every space in this historic inn was recently reimagined by 21 BIPOC interior designers as part of the Kaleidoscope Project. Now, these rooms are experiences ready to be lived, and if you know me, that’s where the magic happens…

Hi, there! Who am I? I’m Rydhima Brar of R/terior Studio in Los Angeles, and yes, this is my room. I believe every person has a story to tell — our homes are where we express it in livable form.

My own story starts with Indian roots and a childhood in Kuwait. When the Gulf War broke out, my family and I fled to India overnight, lived there, and then returned to Kuwait once more to rebuild our lives. My father was a contractor, and from a young age, I was immersed in historic design and architecture. Kuwait is famous for luxurious textiles, opulence, and quality that endures. I spent hours, years really, studying centuries-old structures, artwork, and tapestries.

As an adult, I sought my next adventure in the U.S., working my way from New York to California, where I eventually met my husband and started a family. Not long after, I felt my roots calling and started my own interior design firm serving clients on both coasts and all the way to Kuwait.

If there is anything life has taught me, it’s that we have the power to reinvent ourselves whenever and however we want. Our lives are not two-dimensional, but stories with chapters and choices and branches, a mosaic of history and personality.

That is what I want to create when I design. That is what makes a space feel deliciously good!

Once I know the story we’re telling, I love to express it through contemporary style, luxury and comfort, and a dramatic or eclectic touch of the unexpected — to make you look twice. The result is personal, emotional, memorable, and livable. Which brings me to...

Embassy Bed from Theodore Alexander. Photographer: Frank Francis

The Empress’s Quarters. Here, I wanted each guest to feel immersed in a tale that transcends time. I blended style from the past (with nods to Mughal princesses and Eastern history), the present (with contemporary touches and modern-day sophistication), and future (with a few curiosity-piquing elements for that “otherworldly” vibe). I used color, luxurious textiles, and of course, stunning pieces generously donated by Theodore Alexander to bring it all to life.

Soma Wingback Accent Chair by Theodor Alexander. Photographer: Frank Francis

Quality is also extremely important to me. In Kuwait, architecture endures for centuries. Pieces like handwoven rugs and expertly crafted furniture last for decades or more, becoming heirloom pieces that gather their own stories as they pass from generation to generation. (Who doesn’t love a piece with a story?!)

When I partnered with Theodore Alexander to design this room, I already knew their pieces were beautiful. Up close, I realized that their quality is bar none. These are pieces that will stand the test of time... and look fabulously iconic doing so.

Soma Wingback Accent Chair by Theodor Alexander. Photographer: Frank Francis

Confession: I’m also a total nerd! I love anything Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, Stranger Things, you name it. A little touch of sci-fi or fantasy, like the Rey and Leia pillows above, and the space becomes instantly more playful and fun. Whoever said we had to take ourselves so seriously?? ;)

 Photographer: Frank Francis

Speaking of fun, I’ve also been known to create cocktail-inspired interiors, or at the very least, craft a cocktail that was inspired by one of my designs. In this sweet-meets-spicy room, I chose this Indian-inspired cocktail, the Peppertini.

Photo: Jaisalmer Gin

The Peppertini

1-⅔ oz. Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin
⅔ oz. pink peppercorn syrup
⅔ oz. fresh lemon juice
1-⅓ oz. pink grapefruit juice
Pink peppercorns an orange twist for garnishing

*Recipe originally found on The Gin Kin.

Ahhhh, can’t you imagine sipping this invigorating concoction in the Empress’s Quarters, relaxing like a queen, and whiling the day away in luxury? bet I can!

Embassy Bed & Soma Wingback Accent Chair by Theodor Alexander. Photographer: Frank Francis

By now, you’re probably itching to go whip up a cocktail for yourself, but before you go, I can’t resist asking...

What’s your story?


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