By Madoline Markham
Photos by Lauren Ustad

The first time Kavita and Rakesh Varma saw the brick house they call home, they already owned it. The couple was moving to the Birmingham area from Pittsburg three years ago and knew they had to act fast when a house went on the market. They wanted to be in Vestavia Hills, close to their jobs in the UAB area, and after a Facetime tour with their realtor, David Spurling of RE/MAX Southern Homes, of one overlooking the Samford campus with an open feel in the interiors that caught their eye, they put in an offer on it from afar. Now three years later, their family has made it their own.

The house was built in 2000 and had a more traditional feel overall, so the couple wanted to bring more of a contemporary flare to it as well as the bold colors they’d both grown up with in India. Kavita is originally from New Delhi and Rakesh from Mumbai, and they both were physicians in India before moving to the U.S., where they had to retake exams and go through fresh training before practicing here, she as a pathologist and he as an intervention radiologist.

To bring in their own style, Kavita and Rakesh ordered statement-making modern crystal chandeliers online from Sofary to add pizzazz to their two-story entry way as well as their dining room and breakfast room. Working with contractor Vance Ballard of B&B Construction, they also selected a new serene color palette for their walls and had a contemporary set of panels placed over their fireplace. To top it all off, they incorporated more modern furnishings from stores like Scandinavian Gallery in Hoover and West Elm.

Today whenever visitors enter the home, they comment the positivity, the openness and the warmth of the space—which is always accompanied with a hospitable welcome from not only Kavita and Rakesh but also from their children, Riya and Riaan, who will be eager to show you around their home with smiles and laughter. The welcome is rivaled only by the experience if you catch it at day’s end for a sunset view or on the Fourth of July to see the fireworks over Vulcan—scenes of their new city the family loves to savor with one another.

Living Room

To add contemporary flare to this central room in the home, the Varmas had the fireplace covered in white panels with a wavy texture. They also added a couch and red cubes from Scandinavian Gallery to the space, and at night they shine different colored lights on the fireplace using filters.


This casual living space off the kitchen features a leather couch from West Elm.

Dining Room

The artwork in this space shows off not only the colors of India but the meaning of its festivals, like Diwali, the festival of lights. It pairs with an equally colorful rug and a sleek black table and chest from Scandinavian Gallery in Hoover.