Saturday, May 23, 2015

Swapnali Patil's home in Germany

"For me, home is where the heart sings," Swapnali told me when I chatted with her one day on Facebook. The thought stuck in my mind, and when I looked at the pics of her home, there was no doubt that her home is not just singing, but doing a happy dance.

 Swapnali takes pride in keeping the accent of her home India. She says, "My home reflects everything that I am today which is totally Indian. You can see in the colors and in the kind of fabrics used in my house. "

She loves a touch of warm colors like red and yellow.  Swapnali says her affair with colors began way back, when she was a little girl, and used to watch her mother drawing colorful Rangolis every single day.

he true-blooded desi girl that she is, she loves to celebrate festivals and especially Indian ones. In fact, her love for DIYs in home decoration was piqued during the Ganesh festivals back home, where her family used to make their own decorations to adorn the deity.

She loves brass artifacts and antiques, and loves to surround herself with things that remind her of India. Ganeshas, Radha-Krishna statues and paintings of Indian Gods are everywhere!

Swapnali loves her home in Germany located in a quiet street with a huge garden outside. The 2-storey home has a basement and garden, and each room has a balcony - ample space for her to exercise her decorating skills.

Loving the little Indian touches in her kitchen
 However, she spends a lot of time these days tending to her toddler, and she says her home is a work in progress. She eagerly awaits spring so that she can start gardening as well. Well, this glimpse of her garden that she has shared (see pic below) has me wanting to see more! So I hope you will send us more pics soon, Swapnali!

And here's a lovely painting nook she has made for herself. How inspiring!
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Goa Chitra,Victor Gomes' Goan Ethnography Museum

A sign on the road
 pointing out Goa Chitra
I am just back from a relaxing trip to Goa. We stayed in a lovely beachside property alongside undoubtedly the cleanest beach in South Goa. It was also a short drive from our apartment to several beautiful museums, Ateliers and other culture-rich destinations in South Goa. Among them was Goa Chitra, which houses the private collection of Mr. Vicot Hugo Gomes.

I connected with Victor Gomes way back in Jan 2014, as I was curious about his collection of Christian religious articles from Goa, curated under The Museum of Christian Arts, Goa. Mr. Gomes had invited me to drop in Goa Chitra back then, but I couldn't make it. So this time around, I was determined to visit.

 Goa Chitra is located in Benaulim. Go to Benaulim town, and anyone will direct you there. Or, use the GPS like I did. The museum is a delight! Housed in a large property that also has an organic farm attached to it, as well as Mr. Gomes' private residence, it is spread over three or four little "buildings".

The displays and artifacts are meticulously arranged, and a qualified guide makes sure that you have a lovely experience. Our guide was Velena, and she was very knowledgeable.
A quaint little bridge in the middle of the museum premises

The museum opens into a beautiful art gallery. The next building is a short walk, and has a lovely collection of old buggies, carriages, pallanquins, hearses and toys, sourced from different eras, and different parts of India. It was an experience walking through and seeing these beautifully-restored ancient modes of transport. The curator has arranged them in order of the evolution of the wheel. So the first exhibit features a cart with a crude wheel, to the more advanced carriages that were developed after the Industrial Revolution, and found their way into India during the British Raj.

Against the wall is a toddy-processing unit

Next, in another building were astounding collections of Goan Ethnographic artifacts. I was particularly fascinated by the displays of tools of trade belonging to barbers, coconut climbers, masons, goldsmiths, toddy makers, etc. Their implements are arranged just as they would have been back in time, and this is a great way to teach kids about our past.

Old fashioned pelmets are mounted above arched windows

Later in the tour, we were pointed out working models of feni distilleries, sugarcane juicers, etc. Mammoth collections of old vessels, weights and measurements, brass kitchen accessories, spoons, etc. make you stop and wonder at the ingenuity and creativity of the people back in time!
A collection of boyaons
There are also collections of imports -water filters and ceramics brought in by the British or the Portuguese, old steam irons, and crockery, etc.

An old rat-trap
Victor Hugo Gomes

It is difficult to believe that all this is one man's collection. Victor Gomes has been collecting since his University days. Velena explained that the magnificent carriages and buggies on display were dismantled or broken when he found them, but he has carefully taken the time to restore them piece by piece, struggling to find original parts. In some cases he has taken up to a year to restore a single item.

When in Goa, do visit this place. Set aside a couple of hours to enjoy the whole experience.

Goa - Chitra
St. John the Baptist church road,
Mondo-Waddo, Benaulim, Salcete Goa - 403716 India.
Ph.: 91 0832 6570877, Mobile: +91 9850466165
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Aradhana Anand's Bold and Eclectic New Delhi Home

Aradhana Anand is not afraid of experimenting with colors, textures and paints in her home, and her courage is often well-rewarded. This is a home tour of her New Delhi home, where she lives with her parents and sister. Aradhana returned to the family home after spending 6 years in Dubai and Singapore.

The house is a 4 bedroom 6000 square feet home, with 2 occupied bedrooms, 1 lounge, a drawing room, dining room, kitchen, utility room and basement, as well as a backyard and garden. Aradhana and her sister helped their mother decorate when they moved in in early 2007. 

The lovely collections of art work, textiles, fabrics, furniture and accessories have been picked up from all over the world. Aradhana's dad travels extensively on work, and the rest of the family travels often too.

The drawing room, dining room, living room/lounge 

Thota Vaikuntam (the small pair in the wooden frame)
Shipra Bhattacharya (colourful painting behind the console)

The dining table is custom made | the cabinets and
writing bureau that line the wall are Kashmiri 
The plates are from Greece and Romania | | The candleholder is silver | Russian mosaics in gold from Moscow (on the wall) | 

Christian religious artifacts decorate the dining room.The Madonna head is by LladroThe Pieta is Italian (it's been with the family for a long time) 

The lounge/ living room is comfortably arranged, with beautiful art work, warm colors and a view of the greenery outside.

The garden is a natural retreat - lush green and a cool contrast to the warm colors indoors.

The stairway

The stairway houses a collection of beautiful art work, including
Tanjore paintings and Raja Ravi Verma oleographs. I also loved the cluster of candles, tables and greenery at the base
 Aaradhana's bedroom
This is the room that is the most eclectic, and you can see I have saved the best for the last. The unique shade of grey on the walls you see here was carefully chosen, and Aradhana is thankful she has experimented, because she loves the way the color sets off everything from accessories to fabric and furniture styles.

Aradhana is obviously a feline fan. Just look at the gorgeous artwork on the wall here.
She has a pet cat Snickers, and I bet you can spot her in a couple of the pics here.

The paintings are by an Indian artist called Shishir Bhatt, you can see them more clearly in a later picture| Pink lamp is Chinese, bought at a thrift store in Singapore. The table lamp is Chinese as well and the whale bookends are by Jonathan Adler

The buddha is from Siem Reap | the Russian Orthodox mosaic copies of Jesus and Mother Mary is from Russia | the little white pottery candle holder is by Jonathan Adler from his Muse collection | the lamp is porcelain from China
The wall art is from Singapore, China, Syria, Cambodia and Indonesia |
The blue plant stand is from Tibet.

Aradhana has long since mulling over replacing the purple sofa with an upholstered chair, a project that was just completed last week. When she first mentioned her plans and asked me to hold this post until the chair was ready, I was a bit disappointed. I mean, look at that gorgeous sofa - how could anything else look as good there? But I was wrong. The chair looks fabulous  - the style and colors have come together really well, and she also gets more space! Brilliant.

Aradhana is about to start her own practice of making chairs - classic forms with funky/modern upholstery and this chair is her first prototype. So you know who to contact if you are looking for a beautiful accent chair to liven up your home!

The takeaway
Aradhana's home is a classic example of a home owner who has dared to experiment, and come out successful. What exactly were her design rules, her guide when she started decorating? This is what she said when I asked her this,
"I don't have any particular design rules per se | I like to mix up the periods - classic with maybe the odd modern piece | I love colours especially coloured walls | I don't mind taking a risk | Everyone told me that dark grey would not work as a wall colour, it would make the room too dark and gloomy - it didn't."
Aradhana's home is refreshingly different, and I personally loved the fact that she has decorated with her heart, casting away traditional design rules, and mixing, matching and blending to her heart's content! Aradhana, thank you for walking us through your home, we loved it!

Aradhana blogs
That's where you can contact her if you want to explore the possibility of ordering an accent chair for your home from her!:)
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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Odd One Out: Designer Monica Bhandula's upcycled shipping pallet furniture range

Monica Bhandula
Interior Designer Monica Bhandula uses an interesting material in her latest collection. Shipping pallets. Strange, you say. I thought so too.
Monica however, has harnessed her creativity and her deep-rooted belief of  seeing beauty in imperfection and creating from nothing.

It all started when Monica was working on an interior site, and she was left with no funds to purchase the main lobby lighting fixture, and no material to clad the pillars with. She applied her tor mor jor  skills  crafty hands and mind) to create the best out of waste and that’s how the first pallet creation was born.

I had to feature her work here, not just because I am crazy about sustainable products, but also because I love her blend of retro-modern style!

Lucky Lips as Monica has named this piece carries  one down memory lane  in the music world. It is going into a teenage girl's room. The  table uses one pallet and has drawers  in wood with a perforated sheet inner and metal pipes as the base.The motif is hand-painted by a local artist.

The pallet was sourced from her client's warehouse waste  as they were importers and  had piles of pallet lying around as scrap. From her fabrication workshop came the pipes ,chains and buckets, which created the most unique center  chandelier. The moment it was fitted  she knew she had discovered a beautiful raw material to create with.
This burnt bench creation makes for a great console table. It 's made using a burnt wood
 finish technique with melamine polish .

More about the material
A wooden pallet is the structural foundation of a unit load which allows the handling and storage of material. Old pallets can be recycled, up-cycled, re-used or re-purposed into creating furniture, garden racks, etc. Recycling is good, both to use and to give new life to an object and help make our planet more sustainable. It can become a strong recycling trend.

Pallets are easy to work on for a lot of creative construction. It can develop shape and harmony by transformation. It can be smoothed from the sides and used to make tables, flower pots, seating, etc.

Pallets being more or less of a standard size, can be used in modular furniture requirements. It can be cut into half & given a comfortable angle for making chairs or day beds.

Pallet furniture can be made trendy by giving effective paint treatments. Often pallets are made from pine ,oak and fir. These woods have a lot of character of grains and holes and can be stained with the polish color as per requirement.

Pallet lends itself very well to paint and can be made to look chic with stencil paint, glass insets, etc. It makes sense to keep the “pallet aspect” intact in these creations, for obvious reasons :)

To know more about buying Monica's furniture, visit her facebook page

She is based in Hyderabad.

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