The star of Bravo’s new reality series Double Exposure (premieres Tuesday 15 at 10pm) and one half of renowned photo duo Markus Klinko & Indrani (mkibook.com), Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri has been living in her prewar co-op apartment for the past five years. On the rare occasion that she’s not jetting off to her next assignment, shutterbug can often be found on her building’s 15th-floor rooftop terrace. “I come up here once a day to eat lunch and take conference calls,” she says of the respite.
“I tend to work around the clock,” explains Pal-Chaudhuri of the four Mac computer screens currently overtaking her dining room table. “I like to have two projects that I’m working on up at one time, that way I feel overwhelmed and keep going. Otherwise, I’ll fixate on the details.” She raves about her ergonomic office chairs from HAG and Herman Miller. “If you have to work 48 or 78 hours straight—which I do sometimes—they are incredibly comfortable,” she says. “You can sit backwards, sideways—the key [to staying up] is to just keep moving.”
Pal-Chaudhuri picked up this statue of the Hindu god Shiva in Jaipur, India. “I’m from India, and Shiva is a deity that I find really fascinating, with the cycle of life and death,” she says. “It keeps me calm and focused.”
These Hello Kitty stuffed animals were used in a recent photo shoot with Lady Gaga, wherein stylist G.K. Reid created a dress out of the plush toys. Pal-Chaudhuri kept them as a souvenir and they now sit above the Murphy bed in her guest bedroom.
Pal-Chaudhuri had a space-saving Murphy bed custom made for her second bedroom, which she uses as a guest room. Tord Boontje’s Garland pendant light from Ballard Design casts an ethereal glow over the space. “You have to drape [the installation] yourself, so it’s really fun to arrange.”
Reflective surfaces are everywhere in Pal-Chaudhuri’s apartment, including on this lingerie chest from Neiman Marcus and decorative star from Pottery Barn. “I’m really into mirrors,” she says. “I’ve sort of gotten taken over by the mirror—it creeps into everything.”
Despite the kitchen’s narrowness, Pal-Chaudhuri calls it incredibly functional. “I’ve had a whole group of family members cooking in here, and it works because of the length,” she explains. “It actually allows more people to do more things than a conventional kitchen.”
A portrait of the Hindu goddess Durga hangs beside Pal-Chaudhuri’s bed, where she often meditates on her shag rug from ABC Carpet. “She rides on a tiger, has a thousand arms and destroys all the evil in the world,” she says of the deity. “She’s a wonderful mother figure: She’s very fierce, but she’s a protector.”
Some of Markus Klinko & Indrani’s iconic photographs hang above the living room sofa. “It’s actually really hard to choose which images to display, so I constantly change them,” says Pal-Chaudhuri. “I get really critical of my own work sometimes, so it needs to be something I can look at all the time—the David Bowie is one of my favorites.”
A tabletop souvenir from Egypt pairs nicely with a base imported from Africa and purchased at Neiman Marcus. Horchow’s zebra-hide rug pulls everything together.
Mementos from Pal-Chaudhuri’s travels litter the mantel. “It’s a little bit of everywhere,” she says. “I love everything ancient and old world.” Among her treasures: Bows and arrows from the Amazon and a sword from India. “I was cleaning up and I realized I have a lot of weapons in here,” she laughs.
“There’s a really fun character here,” says Pal-Chaudhuri, pointing out a laughably exaggerated fertility symbol from Egypt that she keeps next to the Breville espresso maker. “I kind of like the parallelism with the coffee machine [handle]. It gives people a little surprise.”
In 1994, Pal-Chaudhuri and her father founded the S.E.E. school (seeschool.org) in India, which provides free education to 300 children, most of whom are Bangladeshi refugees and impoverished Indians. “It’s really rewarding. The kids are just the most beautiful beings and they are so happy with life,” she says. “These pictures keep me grounded and centered. I do a lot of postproduction work from home, so it’s really nice to remember the things that are important.”
The red console comes from the Home Decorators Collection (homedecorators.com) catalog and arrived at Pal-Chaudhuri’s apartment in individual pieces. “It’s very surprising because you have to put it all together, which I didn’t realize,” she says. “I tried to assemble it myself but gave up after a few hours.”
Red chairs from Design Within Reach surround an antique mirrored dining room table and contrast nicely with the damask drapes that Pal-Chaudhuri made using fabric from Mood. “I love the pop of color,” she says. The red chandelier was a thrifted garage sale find.
All of the molding and door frames in the apartment are edged in metallic gold, giving the space a regal finish. “It’s inspired by Russian palaces that are trimmed in gold,” says Pal-Chaudhuri. “It’s actually difficult to find real gold paint to use for that much territory, so I had to mix together a few colors to get that real gold feel.”
Photographs: Michael Kirby Smith and Markus Klinko & Indrani
The star of Bravo's new reality series Double Exposure (premieres Tuesday 15 at 10pm) and one half of renowned photo duo Markus Klinko & Indrani (mkibook.com), Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri has been living in her prewar co-op apartment for the past five years.
Love the look? Buy it here!
Unique Framing(291 24th St between Fourth and Fifth Aves, Sunset Park, Brooklyn; 718-369-2732)
This is Pal-Chaudhuri's go-to source for the gold custom frames that encase her work.
Hell's Kitchen Flea Market(39th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-243-5343, hellskitchenfleamarket.com)
"I love flea markets," says Pal-Chaudhuri. When she's not traveling the globe on assignment, you can find her rifling through vintage housewares at this local outdoor market. "I also like people's [yard] sales; if I see those flyers posted, I'll go."
Many pieces—including the table base, rug and sofa in the living room, the nightstands in the master bedroom, and the mirrored desk and lingerie chest in the guest room—come from this upscale department store. Despite the fact that the closest location is in Paramus, NJ, you can still purchase Neiman's high-end home goods online.
Pearl River Mart(477 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-431-4770, pearlriver.com)
Pal-Chaudhuri uses several stacked drawers from this tri-level Chinese emporium to store clothes in her master bedroom. "I like mixing the high-end and low-end," she says.