House of Palettes is a painting studio in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur designed to unravel the esthetic side in you. The studio is decorated with beautiful paintings and has a friendly environment that will compel you to hold a paintbrush even if you have never been interested in art.
The initial idea behind this studio was to create a space where tourists and expats could have an enriching experience. “When our friends came to visit Kathmandu from abroad, we realized that there was not much to do it this city. We do have beautiful cafes but that’s about it,” says Rahul Agrawal, co-founder of House of Palettes. Hence, Neha Agrawal along with Rahul Agrawal and Deepa Agrawal created this space where people could come, paint and take their creations back home.
“We always knew that Nepalis are interested in art. We have beautiful art and architecture all around the valley. But we were not very sure if our locals would be interested in investing in it,” says Rahul explaining why their initial target groups were mostly foreigners.
However, now, this studio proudly claims that their most cherished and loyal customers are the locals. Nepalis, irrespective of their age groups and backgrounds, come here and enjoy painting. Their customers range from children less than five years old to adults more than seventy years old.
A creative arena
According to Shirin Shrestha, studio manager at House of Palettes, this is a place where anyone can come and relax. For office goers, it is a perfect destination to unwind and recharge after a tiring day and find solace in the world of paintings. For everyone else, House of Palettes can be a beautiful escape from boring routine life.
The first thing that the customers have to do when they enter this studio is choose what they would like to paint. “You can choose a picture from our collection, or get your own design. You can also make something on your own,” says Shrestha adding that the only thing that the customers have to pay for is the canvas.
The next step is to find a seat. “You can sit among other artist, stand outside in the sun, or sit alone. The choice is yours,” says Shrestha. After selecting a canvas and a seat, you will be provided with paintbrushes, colors and all the other essentials required for the painting at the studio itself.
According to Shrestha, the best part about this place is that you can leave your painting halfway through, come back some other time and start painting again. There are no extra charges for the amount of time taken to paint on a canvas.
This way one can create his/her own masterpiece and take it home. While painting, you can also drink wine, beer, or juice and get some food for yourself from the nearby café. With constant encouragement from the staff there, you can quite easily bring out the artist in you.
All three founders, Rahul, Neha, and Deepa, were extremely passionate about art. That is why they wanted to bring art into other people’s lives as well.
“Art gives us immense happiness and we wanted to share it with the world,” says Rahul who encourages people to come to the House of Palettes, enjoy their time, and not worry about the outcome.
According to Deepa, art has always been an integral part of her life and her experience with this studio so far has been outstanding. “It feels great to see people create a part of them and take that back home,” she says.
However, setting up this creative space was not as easy as it seems. There was a lot of brainstorming and actual physical hard work was put in to create this place as well. According to Deepa, House of Palettes, for them, is like a beautiful rose that has to be watered everyday and has to be taken care of properly.
From local artists
“You don’t have to be an experienced artist to pick up a brush and paint on an empty canvas,”
says Jenny Nakarmi who guides and teaches customers at the House of Palettes. According to her, the only thing needed to paint a masterpiece is a homely environment and a little bit of encouragement. She says she has seen may people who, in the beginning, were scared to even pick up a brush. But most of them ended up making amazing artworks.
Touching every heart
Even children love coming to House of Palettes during the weekends. “I think what children like the most about this studio is that they can finish a painting and take that back home in two hours. They do not have to sit down sketch, draw, and then create a perfect piece,” says Deepa adding that, at their studio, they encourage children to enjoy themselves and in the process they make some amazing art.
This place is also great for team building exercises. Many companies get their staffs to the House of Palates for recreation and retreats. “We have had 10 people painting on one canvas to create a beautiful design or 10 people can paint on 10 different canvases which when come together become a single piece of art,” says Rahul.
This way, House of Palettes helps everyone unwind and bring out the child in him/her. “It is a place where everyone feels at home, and make new friends and memories. And if you can turn your memories into treasures then that’s even more better,” concludes Rahul.