Monday, August 22, 2016

Vintage Typewriters as Decor Accessories (Part 2)

I’ve said this before and you will hear me saying this again……….the most positive aspect of blogging is meeting like-minded people (even if the connection is virtual.) It is more than rewarding to connect with people who share the same creative vision as you. Expanding on that I mean people who see the entire process of decorating ones home as more than putting together of pretty objects. They understand that a home should enrich one's everyday experience and thus surround themselves with things that they love and have meaning to them. One such wonderful soul is Meera D’souza. If I had to describe Meera’s décor style, it would be contemporary- nostalgic with a global-desi vibe. Meera’s home is filled with vintage treasures such as typewriters, vintage kitchen utensils, terracotta pottery, brass artifacts... and so much more. It was but natural that when I thought of putting together a feature on typewriters, she instantly came to mind. So I reached out to her and she very graciously obliged. And bingo, she had not one but three typewriters to share! So I decided to dedicate an entire feature to her wonderful collection. I’m going to let Meera take over from here and share her love for the typewriter….. 

I spy the typewriter......Here's a vignette to show you how Meera effortlessly incorporates vintage decor into her home
“My interest in typewriters is more recent. I think, the more I have lived away from India (20 years now), I yearn for the sights, smells and sounds that make me nostalgic for what was. The clanging of the keys, manual setting of margins, and the ringing of the bell when you press the carriage return key- brings back memories of the Xerox/ typing wallah.

Getting a paper typed as a student meant going to the Xerox/Typing wallah and paying up to Rs 1.25 per page. It meant the neatest of penmanship for the "rough copy" so it was clearly decipherable by the typist. It meant a quick walk to Hill Road where you received bids from the two stores next to each other. It required going back two-three times to check if your paper was complete. And because the process was so draining, it was never my favorite activity. I felt these gentleman with their typewriters could hold your entire class grade ransom if they did not work fast and accurately. I never really cared to know whether they were using a Remington or a Godrej or an electric typewriter. They just needed to type at a lightning speed of 120-140 wpm and make no errors.

LC Smith typewriter
However, when I first saw typewriter art- intricate pictures of icons and scenes using simple typewriter alphabets here in the US, I developed a fascination for them. The first one I acquired was an LC Smith typewriter. The lady selling it had opened a small store in the town where we lived. She even had the ribbons for them. It was wonderful hearing about her love for vintage items.

Vintage Children's typewriter
My second one was a vintage children's typewriter from an antique mall. I loved the colors and of course, the price. I was not sure if it would work. However, the gentleman at the store and I, tried various combinations to get it to work. In the end we did get it to work! It was the oddest thing- two strangers in a store, excited that they could figure out a small mechanical toy.
Blickensderfer typewriter
And finally for my newest acquisition – the Blickensderfer typewriter. I got it at a local sale. My eyes were drawn to the keyboard- which is not the usual QWERTY layout. The keyboard is considered scientific because it uses the most common letters on the home row- DHIATENSOR. I was disappointed to find it was a non-working typewriter- yet it looked in great condition. The owner stated that it had been working till the day before. So we made a deal- I would need about an hour to withdraw money from the ATM and if he managed to get it to work in that time, I would pay the price he had marked. If not, he would take a $100 off! An hour later, he had not had much luck. I resigned myself to the fact that this would not be a functional piece. I was having a hard time believing that it worked one day and stopped the next. So I came home and researched on-line manuals for the model, zoomed into all the mechanical drawings, and figured out how to get it to work!
I feel like I could go on collecting these beauties. Is 3 really a collection? Who knows. Until the next one catches my eye I am enjoying the conversation that occurs around these pieces when friends come over. Of course, I also enjoy styling them. I was so thrilled when Sruthi asked me to send a few pictures for this feature. One of my favorite bloggers, and a blog that has brought never-ending inspiration to me! Thank you Sruthi for showcasing my collection here on TECD.” 

Oh Meera, the pleasure was all mine! Thank you so very much for being such a sport and sharing well put together vignettes from your absolutely beautiful home !

As for you my lovely readers aren't you inspired by Meera's collection of vintage typewriters? I personally loved how the pieces add an old world vibe to the decor of her home. If you've been undecided about how to include vintage decor to your home, I'm sure our series on vintage decor has definitely solved that dilemma by now. So happy hunting for that one special find ! 

(Image Copyright /Credit: Meera D'Souza, The images may NOT be copied /used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission from Meera D'Souza and TECD)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Vintage Typewriters as Decor Accessories (Part 1)

Tap Tap tap.......ding.....zzzziiiiiip........Tap Tap tap.........ding.........zzzziiiiiiip
When I talk of typrewriters, it conjures up images of what I perceive as the more untroubled, innocent days……

My grand-dad’s office was conveniently located next door to home……so when we visited my grandparents, my sister and I always found an excuse to visit my grand-dad in his office. We loved going in there and tapping on the many typewriters that were employed for official use. I for one, felt all grown up in a formal office environment and for some vague reason, I'd always end up typing letters to my parents and grand parents telling them how much they meant to me. Good ol' days! 
Fast-forward to present day! Recently my son, requested my husband and me to buy him a typewriter as he wanted to write a book this summer “the old fashioned way”. It was an instantaneous yes from the both of us as we wanted him to experience the thrill of something different in the day and age of IPad and Mac computers. For me it was a chance to add a vintage touch to his room (Yes, I always have my hidden agendas when it comes to decorating!) So off we went on a typewriter hunt until we found the “one”. We came home with a 1950’s Remington Green Quite-Riter Portable Typewriter with Original Case and all! It now sits on my son’s desk, where he taps away at the keys to weave what is a kidnap saga……when he’s not in the mood to write, the typewriter holds his favorite quote and multi-tasks as a source of inspiration. It is a perfect addition to a boy’s room, don’t you think ? Well, that’s my take on how to include a vintage typewriter to your décor.

Wait we are not quite done yet. We have a part 2 to this feature, as I managed to rope in Meera D’souza who has quite the collection when it comes to typewriters. Stay tuned to some very lovely vignettes from her home. 

(Image Credit/ Copyright: Sruthi Singh, The images may NOT be copied /used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission from Sruthi Singh and TECD)  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Flea Market Loot - 2016

Come summer and visiting local flea markets, antique fairs and salvage yards is a ritualistic affair for me. Flea market style is something that I’m hooked to because it advocates style that is authentic. It's the possibility of finding pieces that are loaded with faded charm or have the ability to evoke nostalgia that makes the process of scouring flea markets so exciting. What's also wonderful is that if you are someone whose décor style thrives off of flea market finds, you know for sure that no other home out there is going to look like yours! 
I'm so excited to share my first flea market find, these gorgeous 1950’s Afghani spice boxes. Traditionally used to store spices, they now serve as storage for my ring collection. I have blogged about similar pretty boxes earlier, and have had them on my must-have list for the longest time. I've spotted a few on Etsy and Ebay but boy are they pricey! However, I got really lucky the other day. These beautifully handcrafted boxes in shades of coral and deep garnet, with flaking paint and intricate detailing, literally jumped at me from a pile of clutter (Tip: Having a trained eye always helps to recognize the potential that pieces might have when you spot them amidst a pile of junk.) I contained my excitement, for the fear that the seller might pick up on my vibes and quote an exorbitant price for them. So with a casual tone, I approached him and to my delight, these were up for grabs for a song:) 
Next is a vintage amber miniature glass hobnail oil lamp from Japan. I not only fell in love with the color but also with the size! It’s in perfect condition with a working wick. Spotted this one on the third floor of an antique shop. Hiking those rickety stairs was so worth the climb. I also plan on building a collection around this particular find. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have this in different sizes and colors all lined up on a mantle? (Tip: Another helpful tip would be to have a mental list of what you’d like to snag at a flea market jaunt as this way you have a specific requirement, don’t end up with stuff that you may not need and stay well within your budget.)
Who doesn't love the iconic lassi glasses of Punjab? I know I do. I love displaying blooms in unique receptacles and a brass lassi glass would elevate the entire arrangement to a whole new level is what I reason. I hunted long and hard for the perfect lassi glass. I also believe in stretching the dollar. So if the price is not right, I just wait. And I can happily say that the wait was well worth it. With elaborate details, this handmade filigree work, lassi glass weighs a ton. An authentic vintage piece, the seller himself sourced it directly from Pakistan. There was no way I was going to walk away without this piece. So the offer was made and graciously accepted by the seller. Back home, the lassi glass turned new vase, holds some pretty in pink, Turkish carnations. 
Last but not the least is this Pakistani truck art. It was so unique, kitschy and colorful that the minute I spotted it, I knew where to hang it. These are traditionally used to decorate trucks in Pakistan. Much like our trucks in Punjab, the truck drivers take great pride in decorating their trucks. Infact, truck art has even made it from the road to the catwalk. (FYI: The Italian fashion company Dolce & Gabbana used truck art-inspired displays in a 2015 campaign.) 
With that we wind up with our flea market post for today. I hope you enjoyed the vignettes I shared from around my home and are inspired to do some flea market shopping of your very own. (Tip: Flea market style is also about stretching the dollar so remember there is always room for bargaining. That being said, if you happen to fall in love with a piece, price becomes a secondary consideration. What really becomes important at this point is deducing what the particular piece can do to elevate your current interior styling situation:) 

This month we are focusing on flea market and vintage style. I have a lot in store and you are going to love it (if I may so myself). So do stay connected.  To catch up on my other flea market posts, click here, here and here

Happy decorating!

(Image Credit/ Copyright: Sruthi Singh, The images may NOT be copied /used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission from Sruthi Singh and TECD)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Russet Revival from Coppre

The design team at Coppre is constantly engaged in experimenting with my favorite metal copper, to yield products that are the perfect amalgam of age-old techniques and craftsmanship, in harmony with contemporary design and function. Their latest collection titled “ Russet Revival” has been shaped in collaboration with the renowned Riccardo Giovanetti Design Studio. In fact, this brilliant collection was also exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair “Salone del Mobile” earlier this year. Mainly consisting of three simple containers, the design concept adopted for this collection thrives on “to do a lot with a few”. That expanded means that each piece may be used in more ways than one! In double finishes that range between the hammered lustrous sheen of copper to almost matt blackodised finish. I personally think that the sculptural yet simple forms of these beauties would fit right in with any style of interiors. 

I'm sure you are tempted to get hold of one of these beauties for yourself. To order yours now, click here

(Image Credit: Coppre) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Traditional Redux

Set in a small town in north central New Jersey, the Mehrotras home embraces traditional over modern, comfort over design rules and soul over trends. Having lived in this house for over 16 years, the Mehrotras are embracing a new stage in their life being empty-nesters, as their twin girls, Isha and Shree are off to college. Anjali Ganeriwala, grew up in Calcutta and moved to the US to pursue undergraduate studies in 1987 and has been in NJ ever since. With a background in Computer Science, she's currently transitioning to yet another career as a college admissions counselor. Prashant Mehrotra too studied engineering but sales seemed to be his area of calling. The couple met while they were studying at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ and the rest is history.....The college sweethearts share common interests when it comes to decor, travel, food and Bollywood movies. One look at their home and their passions are mirrored in every nook and corner of their home.
A stunning antique door from a haveli in Rajasthan adorns the entryway. A lucky score from ABC Carpet & Home, the elaborately carved piece asserts the style adopted for the adjoining rooms. Potted beauties are brought indoors to breathe in some color and seasonal appeal into the interiors.
Craftsman style homes have a lot of character and Anjali's way of curating and furnishing her home, perfectly complements the warm wood elements and architectural details that are found so generously in all areas of the home. This is what Anjali had to share when asked about her decorating style, "I would call my style – colorful and very quality conscious. I tend to always look for quality over quantity and avoid kitsch like the plague. I love color and can never have too much of it! But the high ceilings and open architecture of my house have forced me to keep colors neutral and play around with accent colors to define each space." 
The formal living room screams cozy grandeur with earthy tones dominating the scene while peaches, coral and rust are thrown in for striking visual appeal. Traditional, big, statement pieces come together to create a dramatic effect while art, travel treasures, books and family pictures add the personal touch!
Luxurious Kanjivaram silk saris have been restyled as swag window treatments that cascade down the sides of the window softening the look of the space. The corresponding sari blouse pieces have been made into  custom cushions that spice up the muted colored couch and chairs. The collection of watercolor artwork behind the couch has sentimental value as the artist is none other than Anjali's sister.

The Mehrotras love collecting coffee table books from the different places that they visit. In the living room, Anjali has creatively piled a bunch of books on a wooden ‘paata’ with an enameled plate on top to serve as a side table where guests can put down their drink.
Another simple yet colorful vignette includes this silver statue of Dhola and Maru (a couple whose tragic story is the basis of many songs and told throughout Rajasthan) was bought while on a visit to Udaipur. 

Anjali clearly wanted her home to showcase their Indian roots and her love for Indian fabrics and textures. Though she would have loved to have custom work done but labor costs in the US and shipping costs from India made the ideas prohibitive. So she scouted high and low in stores like ABC and Pier One to find pieces that had an Indian vibe. The more traditional Kashmiri carpets were infact brought back in suitcases from their trips to India.
Adorning the stairway, a collection of odds and ends come together to make an interesting collage. Print blocks that have been repurposed as hooks (sourced from Anokhi) are juxtaposed with mini-terracotta masks (Kolkata) and carved wooden lizards (Mexico). The Rajasthani puppet adds a splash of vivid color and mimics the girl in the painting.
Furniture from Ethan Allen sets the tone for this grandiose style formal dining. Butter colored walls are the perfect backdrop for rust and wine colored patterns that dominate the room to create an intimate ambiance. On the far end of the dining room wall, actual menus from two of the top restaurants (the original Bouley of NYC (then consistently ranked as best restaurant in the 1990s) and Mama’s Fish House in Maui) that Mehrotras have dined in over the years is framed and hung, to remind them of some wonderful time spent with family. Other decorative wall art includes Talavera pottery from Mexico and other art pieces collected by the family.
Art forms the soul of this home. Clockwise from left: The painting above the fireplace is a signed limited print by famed Telangana artist Thota Vaikuntam. Next a sketch that Anjali herself did as a teenager is framed and displayed on the book shelf. She fondly recalls that this was the view from her bedroom window while she was in Kolkata. The set of two paintings by an unknown artist were sourced from Jehangir Art Gallery. Anjali says that the paintings were an investment with the intent to support deserving artists.
Another very special piece of framed art is a custom piece that Anjali gifted her husband on their 20th anniversary telling the story of how they met. She specially commissioned a Bollywood hoarding painter in New Delhi to create this one-of-a-kind piece. 

Head this way to the family room which is the hang out zone for the family. Much like the other rooms in the house, the family room too has an open layout, abundance of natural light and high ceilings . Neutral shades are spiced up with splashes of orange and green. The collage of paintings on the wall is priceless as they are done by various members from Anjali's family.  
 Another view of the family room. 
Quoting Anjali on what the word "home" means to her, " A place that you are happy to come to at the end of a long day. That was something my husband and I prioritized in every home we lived in. We were willing to compromise on other expenses but we felt it was important to have a home we were proud of and enjoyed since we spend so much time in it. Even today I constantly look at my home and sometimes I feel like it’s a dream – I can’t believe I live here!" 
The kitchen is Anjali's favorite space in the house. Utilitarian in every respect yet spiffy enough to entertain when friends drop in for dinner. "This is a room that I got to design – I picked out the cabinets, the island, the granite, the tile…everything! At the same time I was able to put in personal touches like a book shelf for my cookbook collection, a custom rack to show off my Le Creuset pots and a pin board made entirely of corks from the wines we had consumed. I truly enjoy cooking so I was also able optimize the layout of the appliances to make it easy to chop, cook and clean-up in one corner."
And finally a look at their daughter's (Isha) room. Isha had two specific requests while decorating her room. One that it should reflect her Indian heritage and two, by no means she wanted it to be girly. So they choose a color scheme of blue accented with orange. Block-print style bedding and Indian accents from Good Earth and Pier One pull the room together for a youthful vibe.

I'd like to conclude this feature by thanking the Mehrotras for letting us tour their beautifully decorated private abode that embodies everything the family so earnestly values - aesthetics, heritage, global culture, art and ingenuity. I wish them with only the best things that life has to offer!

(Image Credit: Anjali Mehrotra, The images may NOT be copied /used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission from Anjali Mehrotra and TECD)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Color Your Imagination with the Spring-Summer 2016 collection from Welspun”

Are you looking for that perfect, luxurious bedding to elevate the mood, style and comfort of your personal sanctuary? Look no further. “SPACES Home & Beyond”, the premium bed, bath and coordinates brand by “Welspun”, recently launched their Spring-Summer 2016 collection. Their newest collection yet again highlights Welspun’s unwavering commitment to premium quality products with high end design. The USP of the collection lies in the fact that products are available in an array of over 100 delightful shades. A perfect time to refresh your bedding, the SS16 collection is sure to gratify every style genre.
As we know, color can be a powerful design tool, if one understands color psychology and its emotional nuances, it can be effectively used to create an ambiance that stirs positive reactions, craft space illusions (even in a tight square footage area) or can be simply used as a design element to bring points of interest to an otherwise neutrally calming boudoir. Whether you are looking to cool off the summer heat with calming blues and egg shell whites or intend to warm up the space in saturated sunset hues of reds, oranges and yellows, the Spring-Summer collection 2016 from Welspun has something for even the most jaded of color palettes, with over 100 shades to choose from. Me with my strong affinity for color, together with the vibes of this wonderful season, summer, I chose to showcase bedding that revels in a multitude of colors for this feature.
Each of the season’s special collection - Epica, Boho Chic, Courtyard and Youthopia Denim, color your imagination like no other. The Epica collection is the perfect mélange of the past and the present. Modern digital prints bring to life floral, Persian and abstract theme motives in delicious hues. This would be a perfect fit for transitional as well as contemporary spaces.
Symbolic of the Boho-Chic style, this collection is vibrant, eclectic and whimsical. Adopting patterns that are abstract in design mixed in with geometric streaks, this collection is not for the faint hearted. With a mix of water colors and ink treatments dominating this collection, the resulting patterns are not only surprising but also playful. For an individualistic style statement, throw in a few Moroccan lanterns, potted greens, a mix of different textures and eras together with the Boho-chic bedding and you’ve got yourself, a relaxing one-of-a-kind haven.
The Courtyard range celebrates nature and its blushing blooms. Working with similar concepts such as the watercolor effect and digital printing, this bedding range is your opportunity to bring the outdoors in. Vibrant motifs set against a neutral backdrop, this collection is perfect for that modern-chic-cottage look surrounded by furniture that is characterized by unpretentious peeling patina.
The Youthopia collection has a younger fashionable vibe to it. This visually-textural, denim-inspired collection comes in shades of sea-inspired blues that are coordinated with bold hued graphic pillows. Mix in retro décor with this trendy bedding and maybe you could even get your teen to make their own bed. A win-win situation I say!

The Spring-Summer 2016 collection also includes other ranges such as Ruyal, Intensity, Caprice, Skyrise, Forever Classic Stripe, Flexi-Fit, Antonym, Texpressions, Hygro Cotton and Dohar. Living beautifully and waking up feeling refreshed has never been easier. Get your bedding game on and head right this way to browse your pick. 
On a different note, if you already have any of these looks going on in your personal sanctuary, I would love to see how you have pulled it all together. Do share it with me on my FB page

Happy Decorating folks!

(Image Courtesy : Welspun)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Indie-Bohemian Inspired Summer Soiree

My word for this year has been “Collaborate”. Everything for the past six months seems to revolve around this word…….and boy! Am I glad a lot of wonderful things seem to be taking shape because of this. One of things that I’m very excited about is that we have our first ever guest post here on TECD in collaboration with Deepa of AalayamAalayam needs no introduction. But if you are new to the blogosphere or to the world of Indian décor blogs, Aaalyam is one to bookmark! I keep going back to dip into Aalayam’s diverse repertoire as India Inspired topics reign supreme. Deepa and Supriya bring their nontraditional approach to design, décor, parenting issues and Indian festive occasions. It’s the well put-together features, experimental attitude and unique voice that is refreshing. Today, Deepa has put together an extraordinary outdoor-scape that orbits around jewel tones, pattern on pattern, textural layering and nonconformist décor choices that rightly connotes the free spirited Bohemian style. If you are looking for boho-chic, summer soiree inspiration, you are in the right place! Over to Deepa ……..
"Hello TECD readers! 
Picture gypsy bohemian and see what comes to mind? Bright colors, bold patterns, scattered chotchkies and maybe some warm-hearted Arabian lounge music wafting through the air! Now, how about you picture gypsy bohemian with an Indian twist? And what comes to mind then is an earthy, kaleidoscopic visual with layers of
colorful bohemia. It is a celebration and a happy exposition of colors, patterns and textures! And that’s all I wanted for our backyard patio one evening -to create an inspired wonderland in which to enjoy a beautiful evening and relax with the family.
Summer evenings in the Midwest are to die for and we love making the most of our treed backyard. We spend many an evening outdoors- grillin’ an chillin’! Lingering summer evenings are the perfect time to make some beautiful family memories, don’t ya think? And one evening, I decided to turn this outdoor space into an extension of our home and literally took the indoors out – pillows, end tables, an area rug, decorative accessories and even a Radha – Krishna painting to hang on the trellis! 

I love our weathered pergola. It works well with anything I want to transform this space into and has been the anchoring feature of many backyard celebrations! And the creative potential that this outdoor space holds excites me but I haven’t fully capitalized on that yet. Eventually, I will invest in some durable outdoor fabrics and accent pieces. After all designer outdoor spaces are all the rage these days!
This time though, creating this table scape meant re-using things I already have. And what fun it was too – to go shopping around the house! Bringing in bits of bohemia meant not being too rigid about the colors and combinations and so I just went wild with the patterns and the colors and let it play out on its own! The end result was vibrant and playful - a perfect backdrop for some cozy conversations, wine and cheese and a game of chess! Of course, this could work very well for an evening of alfresco dining with friends as well.
The challenge of bringing a creative vision to life gives me such a high! So, as much as I wanted to sink into the season with my family, I also wanted to create something beautiful. Being able to add a few images of an India inspired outdoor space to the repertoire of google images seems to be another purpose that Aalayam is serving. And I hope you all have your best backyard summer this year!!
Once again, I cannot thank Sruthi enough for allowing us to bring an Aalayam offering to her fantastic blog. I love The East Coast Desi. It is simply my all time favorite design/décor resource staple. Kudos Sruthi for this beautiful and inspired blog that you have worked so diligently to create and maintain! And as always, it is fun to bring our collective audiences ideas and life style inspirations that we know will be appreciated! Thank you and I hope that East Coast readers will follow this post back to Aalayam where Supriya and I have been brainstorming on some great posts for the rest of the year.

Have a wonderful summer everyone!
Deepa (of Aalayam)"

Deepa, thank you for putting together this wonderfully vibrant feature! It's always a pleasure collaborating with Aalayam and I so look forward to more of such wonderful opportunities.........As for you my lovely peeps, get out there and make it a bohemain inspired outdoor party when the sun shines:) 

(Image Credit: UJ for Aalayam. The images may NOT be copied /used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission from Aalayam and TECD)