An Artist, an Interior Designer, and the Founder of The Living Concept (TLC), Minha Musheen is also a mother of two beautiful girls and a proud Sri Lankan. With a Bachelor of Arts in Interior design and her postgraduates in Education, she was a fine arts teacher while residing overseas. She returned to Sri Lanka over six years ago, after moving from country to country (six to be precise) since she was 19 years old.
When Minha founded The Living Concept (TLC) in 2017, she fulfilled an ambition she has had since she was a 15-year-old girl. TLC is an emerging residential and selected commercial Interior Design studio. In addition to functioning as an Interior Design studio, TLC is soon to launch its own locally sourced product range celebrating Sri Lankan crafts. This product range focuses on sustainable collaborations with small-scale, home-based artisans and makers. Minha is keen on establishing fair trade and hopes this platform allows them to improve and empower their lives.
Complimentary to her love for Interior Design, Minha has a passion for art. She learned to paint at a very young age in Sri Lanka and sought guidance under Lebanese painter Haider Hamaoui to further her knowledge as a young adult. Having presented her work at local and international exhibitions in the past, her art is inspired by the many places she has lived in over the years. And over the years her painting mediums, styles, and subjects have evolved from watercolour illustrations of seascapes and landscapes to modern abstracts in oils and acrylics.
“As an Interior Designer, I like to bring style, joy, soul, and order to space. I practice a rather holistic approach to Interior Design, one that brings a client’s personal style to life”, Minha stated. With meticulous attention to detail, she seamlessly designs each element of space from floor plans to finishes. She goes on, “As someone who has worked with colour from a very young age, I am confident of my command for colour, and blending style which enables me to achieve my project goals as an interior designer. The end result of which is beautiful living space that is inviting, captivating and above all functional and liveable.”
In addition to residential work, the Living Concept has worked on several restaurant and boutique hotel projects on the south coast and several residential projects in the city. She also highlighted her work on the indoor-outdoor restaurant space of Crab & Co – also in the Galle fort, as well as the interior for Epicure, a fine dining restaurant in Colombo 7. Minha’s favourite project to date was working with the architect owner of a property in Galle Fort on restoration for a 7-room boutique hotel where the interior had to be redone from scratch – A project she found exciting and challenging at the same time. The 17th century Dutch and British colonial building was in a run down and rubble state when Minha and her team first saw it, but even in such a state, she was able to see its potential. As the property is located inside the Galle Fort – A UNESCO world heritage site; Very few changes are allowed to be made internally or externally to existing structures.
The restoration process began with understanding and embracing the vision the property owner and client had. Minha had the opportunity to be involved from the onset and was thrilled about making decisions on behalf of her client, who trusted her with the property that was over two centuries old. Minha and her team were given a blank canvas where they introduced new interior finishes, flooring, bathroom finishes, fittings, and all other aspects that finalized the design. Minha recalls the unearthing of the centuries-old granite flooring which was perfectly intact, which was restored.
She said that they also unearthed some original terracotta flooring, but were unable to save it due to its fragile nature, and so was replaced with new terracotta tiles. Overall, as much of the building’s colonial integrity was preserved as possible while bringing it to life in a new age.
Creating an interior for a boutique hotel and restaurant means designing a space that appeals to all, and a space that looks beautiful by day, and even more spectacular by night. Minha and her team envisioned the place to be one of luxury, touched by old-world charm, with an overall contemporary feel to it. Since the property was to be used as a boutique hotel, functionality, style, and utmost comfort were key factors that were considered when making decisions on furnishings. Every piece of furniture for this project was designed by TLC, including all the light fixtures such as the brass light fittings, chandeliers, and drop pendant lights and custom-manufactured by Idea Hub Trading. All the artwork for this project is on loan from the private art collection of Architect Murad Ismail. Minha is proud to say that the boutique hotel was named ‘The Bungalow’ and was mentioned in the August edition of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine in 2019 as a ‘great option to stay, with great restaurants’, and the reviews on the hotel complements its interior and design, which speaks to the success of it.