Monday, March 13, 2017

As "Indianly" Rustic as It Gets (Farm House Tour)

Imagine being able to escape the city's humdrum, the deafening noise and the toxic pollution to a serene sanctuary where all that  surrounds you is the symphony of the whirring of the crickets, the squawking of the parrots and the neighing of horses. Air so fresh that a breath of this is as invigorating as an hour of a yoga session. And to top it all, the drive to this dream destination is only a stone's throw away from the city! Sounds too good to be true???
Not for real estate magnate, Jayesh Patel. The man loves his horses and farm like no other and definitely lives life large. Welcome to Jayesh Patel's traditional Indian style farmhouse, lovingly called the "Desai Vadi" (location - Kanjri (Gujarat, India)). Every evening after work his ritual involves driving himself to the farmhouse to spend some quality time with his prized horses and farm animals. This is his way of unwinding and replenishing his energy, to tackle another day of  busy city life. 
The Man - Jayesh Patel with his favorite mare, Laxmi.
The main entryway
The idea of owning a  farmhouse had been marinating in Jayesh's thoughts for a long time. Seeing and experiencing the relaxed life at his dad's farmhouse, had made Jayesh decide that he wanted to own one of his very own. His equestrian interests further fueled this thought. Jayesh decided to bring architect Pranav Patel and Meghna Patel on board to pilot his dream project. Together, they were able to complete Desai Vadi in a time span of 11/2 years. The result is an elegantly rustic 1,100+ sq ft space with a living, kitchen and sprawling verandah that honors traditional Indian style of architecture.
He says the effect of red tiled roof, a sweeping courtyard surrounding the farmhome, carved pillars and doors, in a rustic setting, effortlessly aides in melting away the layers of stress brought on by the city life. Imagine basking in the sun-toasted verandah with a cup of chai! This potent combination can only have a therapeutic effect and act as the quintessential laid-back tonic, won't you agree???
Jayesh's artistic capture of the traditional bullock cart used as a sculptural element in the courtyard.
A khatiya/charpai used for lounging in the sun-kissed verandah. Don't miss the earthenware pots with the painted handiwork of artisans that were specifically called to get the desired rustic effect.
Jayesh wanted to deliberately keep the feel of the farmhouse interiors, folksy and relaxed. Without making the decor overbearing, he opted for the traditional Lipan work to do the trick. Artists from Kutch were called in to work their magic. And in no time, the walls had a bejeweled feel with the mirror work shimmering from the pendant lights suspended from the wooden beams above (another beautiful architectural feature).
Ample seating with slip cover style cushions for comfort make it a clever and easy to maintain option. Pops of color are brought in with glass work cushions covers that are so abundantly available in Gujarat:)
A closer look at the details that make this space what it is! 
A view of Desai Vadi in the evening light!
Putting this feature together has only made my decision to retire in a little farmhouse (on the outskirts of Bengaluru) that much more stronger. 

I can't thank Jayesh enough for being so wonderful, responsive and patient through this entire process of putting this feature together. It has been such a pleasure coordinating with him! Jayesh wishing you the very best! 

Finally, I'm so glad that what started brewing almost 6 months ago has taken shape to share with my TECD readers. I hope you'll enjoyed the Desai Vadi tour as much as I had fun putting this together for you. 

(Image Credit/Courtesy: Jayesh Patel, All images are the property of Jayesh Patel and may not be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without his prior written consent.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Keeping It Elegantly Eclectic (Home Tour)

With creamy white walls and an open arrangement in the floor plan, the home of Aninda and Mayank in Delhi, is an enviable balance of tranquility and décor drama at play. Working with an overall white color palette, accomplishes a designer feel and brings about a relaxed, sophisticated vibe. The couple has expertly used pops of color in the home to bring in the much needed contrast, visual interest and happy vibes. Mayank is an investment professional while Aninda is a multidisciplinary creative. She is a jewelry designer and the founder of Studio Azzurra, a mosaic artist and a décor blogger at Sunshine in My Cup. Together they share their home with their adorable and energetic three year old son (who has both his parents tightly wrapped around his little finger:)
Starting with the doorway, we are introduced to the fact that  it is the little details that makes a house a home. The brass knocker you see dressing up the door was picked up from Kerala. Step in and the decor in the foyer further asserts the fact that creative risks definitely pay-off if one has the vision and makes the effort to execute it in a planned manner. Over to Aninda to fill you in on her side of the story, "When we bought this place a few years back, our son was still very young, so we decided to wait for a year till we could find the time and mindset that remodeling a house deserved. I used this time to collect our thoughts and inspirations for what we wanted our home to reflect, while my husband went about meticulously planning the execution details. The combination of his left and my right brain, allowed us to execute ideas to our satisfaction, without engaging an interior designer. We essentially imagined it to be an extension of our personalities, a place that mirrors our love for travel, books and Indian crafts, with an underlying global ethnic vibe to it."
I say, the couple deserves a  huge round of applause for the final design outcome! It is both functional, looks radically different from anything that I've seen before and  totally complements the many facets of the home owners interests. More of the design story from Aninda, "We wanted our space to radiate a sense of calm, so we went with white walls. This also provided the perfect canvas for our many colorful collectibles, allowing them to stand out against the light background. The white jali partitions merge with the walls, yet help gently define the living, foyer and dining spaces better. Rounding off the wall edges to give them a curved smooth finish helped us achieve an overall softer look. While it may not be apparent in the images, this seemingly small detail lends a beautiful finished look to the entire space. Tons of plants and fresh flowers are also a staple in our home."
This particular image that I had seen on Aninda's Instagram feed, got the ball rolling for this home tour. The image had niches imitating the silhouettes of the iconic Indian arches, jali style partitions used to transition from one room to another and little pockets of color that added to the visual landscape.....I knew I had to reach out to the home owners, as there was so much more to this space. And I am so glad I gave into my intuition
A full view of the living room. See, I was right when I said there was so much more to this space! Thota Vaikuntam prints, colors and patterns juxtaposed skillfully, travel finds and other carefully selected Indian decor pieces cohabitate happily to create an impressive space, that embraces refined design and understated style. The overall white palette, was a bold move I would say with a  three year old in the house. But Aninda is quick to point out that the paint is washable:)
This is just perfect, isn't it? The couple tell me that while choosing furniture for their living room, comfortable seating was priority. However, they were keen that they include one statement piece. And with that, they decided that a swing would fit this description well. Let's hear from Aninda as to how this lovely corner came together, "The swings we came across in and around Delhi were all huge, overly carved, bulky pieces.Finally we had to get it custom made to our size and style preference, for it to resemble a traditional 'oonjal'. The lovely brass chain was sourced on our holiday to Udaipur. But lugging these heavyweight chains back to Delhi was a nightmare, a mission only chronic decor loonies like us would undertake!! But I guess it was all worth the effort as this playful piece of furniture becomes a quick favorite with anyone who visits our place! I invariably find people gravitating towards it as soon as they enter our living room."
Aninda tells me that the vintage Shrinathji Pichwai painting was a lucky find and by far her most prized piece of art. The couple came across  it in one of the many by-lanes of old Udaipur. It now occupies a place of pride in the living room niche that is painted a vibrant shade of yellow ocher to offset the charcoal tones of the painting. Brass mirrors and a pendant lamp, bring the right amount of luxe effect to this corner. Another interesting addition is the small wooden boat that was sourced while on a trip to Kerala. With the boat secured to the wall, Aninda now uses it to display a few pots and add a touch of green to this corner.
Simplicity and function rule, the dining room. Amongst the structural changes undertaken by the couple, their biggest challenge was to alter the plan of the house to incorporate a sense of openness. To achieve this, they brought down certain walls to convert it from a four to a three bedroom apartment. The windows were resized to allow for ample natural light and ventilation in the apartment.
The Thangka painting was picked up by the couple on their trip to Dharamsala many moons ago. It's been framed using a saree from Aninda's mother’s trousseau. The Anjali diya from Good Earth keeps the Thangka company and makes for a soulful sacred corner.
 
A closer look at some of the finer details that go into making this gorgeous space. Aninda explains more about the pieces seen in the various vignettes, "I wanted to weave in my love for making mosaics and ceramic pieces into the décor of my home, so you will notice that the house is peppered with a little bit of both. The small ceramic pieces on the foyer console are a mix of pottery bought from a quaint little shop in Goa and those made by me. A mosaic bird bath I made gives company to the bharnis in our foyer, while my mosaic lady rests comfortably on a brightly tiled table in the living room!"
Aninda's never fail decor mantras, "For me decorating is never about buying the uber expensive. The three décor mantras that always work in my favor are:
  • Bringing in the potted greens and adding some fresh flowers and watch my room transform instantly. 
  • Weaving a dash of color into the décor. To a color obsessed mind like mine, one can never have too much of it.
  • Introducing some raw wood textures and brass accents always pull a space together for me."
The kitchen mimics  the same contemporary feel that dominates the rest of the home. Aninda added patterned tiles in earthy shades and a touch of blue-grey to brighten up the space. With a place for everything, the uncluttered work surface makes cooking a stress-free and enjoyable chore.
Clean line furniture and dark wood tones is what sets the stage in the master bedroom. The vibrant energy in the room comes from colorful textiles in sunset hues. Book shelves from the floor to ceiling frame the window. The little sette by the window, makes it the perfect spot to curl up and relax with a good read. Aninda shares, "Both Mayank and I are avid readers and want our little one to grow up surrounded by books instead of gadgets, just as we did. Therefore, we ensured the house is fitted with ample book shelves that could accommodate our large collection."
It was extremely important to Aninda and Mayank that their home have a dedicated space for gardening. Infact, they made the very difficult choice of foregoing a separate entertainment room in order to make space for Aninda's kitchen gardening escapades. Aninda says, "My husband often jokes that it was the lemon tree in the garden that sealed the deal for me on this house. Through our little green patch, we hope to teach our child the importance of getting his hands dirty, observe the often arduous but rewarding process of growing his own food and thereby learn to respect it more."
And more shots of the profusion of color from Aninda's garden! Love all the colorful contrast that Aninda has managed to bring in through painted pots and a mix of blooms.
While we come to the end of our home tour, all I can say is that the images and inspiration from this spectacular home tour is going to stay with me for a while. I know you (like me) want to go back and scroll through it all over again....So I'll leave you to it:)

Thank you Aninda and Mayak for letting us tour your amazing home! We wish you and your lovely family the very best!

(Image Credit: Aninda Singh, The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission of TECD and the home owners (Mayank and Aninda)).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Color Choices

Hello peeps! Back to my favorite virtual space! While I have been away from the blog due to work overload, the one thing that I religiously stuck to was sharing decor inspiration and all that I found beautiful on my social media platforms. I absolutely love my FB and Insta-clan and so happy to see my tribe continuing to grow stronger, support, share and inspire each other every single day!   
 
Getting on with our today's decor post. The 2013 Inside Outside edition, featured a home designed by Richa Bahl for a couple who wanted their home to reflect their south Indian Roots, more particularly Kerala. This home tour resonated with me on some many levels and more so as it is the perfect blend of Indian+contemporary design. Richa has outdone herself in heeding to the requirements of her clients. 

Recently, this home resurfaced again on the Beautiful Homes website as part of their home tours segment. With time, I noticed that the owner's had opted to change the wall color from the cheery yellow hue to the now trending, nordic all white. My desi heart is still hung up on the the previous color choice. 

I've included the before and after for you'll to see that color is a crucial player in shaping the feel of a space. The yellow lent a fun eclectic vibe to the space where as the white (despite the design elements being the same) has transformed the space to have a more updated, urban-contemporary vibe. What are your thoughts ??? (Catch the entire home tour here.)

(Image credit: 1&2 - Inside Outside, 3&4: Beautiful Homes)

Monday, December 19, 2016

"Good Design" Decoded (Home Tour)

A creative mix of sophisticated contemporary and traditional Indian design elements transform the Desai’s Mumbai home into a visual payoff. While the home stylishly satisfies modern-day living demands, it also meets the benchmark for authentic personal style. Meaningful collections and fond souvenirs, collected by the family over the years, lends character and enduring style to their private refuge. Home owner Ketan Desai is a jet setter and professionally plays the role of a global CFO to a multinational organization. When he has time on his hands (which is very rare) he can be found enjoying a few strokes of golf. Dipa Desia his better half is a specialist in residential architecture and interiors and has been practicing for over 24 years now. The Desai's elegant home is the result of her expertise in and ability to envision good design. Together they have a son, Dev who has taken after his mother when it comes to pursuing his career. He is currently a student of architecture and a trained potter.
Now since we are acquainted with the Desai family, let's take you on that grand tour of their stunning home. The main entryway to a home is like the cover of a book and its preface. Dipa echoes my thoughts on this and adds, "An entryway speaks volumes about the home owners - their personalities, style sensibilities and gives you a hint of the story of their lives. It should engage you, making you want to cross that threshold to take in all that it has to offer....".The Desai’s entryway does just that. Quoting Dipa on the design significance of her entryway, “Every hint of design in this space is meant to signify the start of my journey with my husband, Ketan Desai. My marriage took me to Hyderabad and then we took our post marriage holiday to Ladakh. I wanted us to remember fondly, where we started from.” From the ornate lotus carving above the door that makes for a grand statement, the jalli partition to the brass Naag Devi door handle (sourced while on a trip to Dharamshala) are all pointers of an effort to incorporate significant aspects from the Desais' life experience and special moments.  
When the door opens, a hint of what the Desais hold dear to their hearts comes into view. A Thota Vaikuntam painting talks of the Desai's love for art while the Jalli feature is a reminder of Dipa's Hyderabad days. Letting us in on the design process for the home, Dipa says, "I mostly get a chance to design contemporary, clean line interiors . When I got down to designing my own home, I knew there were so many stories to be told and numerous memories to cherish and relive. We had collected so many memorabilia along the way that they had to find a special place in our home. As an architect who designed mostly contemporary interiors, I also wanted to show, my clients/patrons,who had dropped the Indian elements out of their homes, how to weave our Indian art , artifacts and traditions along with a contemporary feel."
As we step into the foyer, we are instantly embraced with attractive displays. A carved wooden cabinet re-purposed from furniture pieces that Dipa owned, now serves as a console. The stained glass panels by artist Hema Desai, apart from being a design element, is also there as functional sliding doors that are meant to convert the guest lounge into a guest bedroom when the Desais have company.
A favorite room in the house is the living room. Hands down, the Buddha painting by artist Deepak is the focal point of this space and lends a sophisticated zen yet heart warming impact to the living room. Dipa shares that the idea came from a painted wall that she saw at Norbulingka, Dharamshala. The carved wooden panels were replicated from pictures Dipa had clicked of panels that she fell in love with in Ladakh. "It gives us a sense of calm when we are all lounging around there. Often we just switch off all the other lights, switch on the led votive lights on the Buddha Painting, play some Buddha bar music and end the day with a drink in our hands. It connects us three, soulfully, as a family. We look forward to these moments.", shares Dipa.
An extension of the living room, this area over looks some amazing scenery of the sea. M.F. Hussain painting takes center stage together with another beautiful feature, the hanging couch. The chair that you see is an heirloom piece that has been handed down from Ketan's family for the past two generations. 
Dipa tells me that the biggest challenge while radically reshaping their home was its function, "From a design perspective it had to convert from a large 2.5 bhk to a large 3 bhk. All the internal walls were opened up to incorporate the new plan. But on a more personal level, there was also, the challenge of getting all three of our tastes and styles to fuse as one, so that each of us felt at home. It was also imperative that our home reflect our culture, traditions, upbringing and value systems. I didn't want the three of us to forget what we and our home stood for. It was an interesting but difficult project. Managed to pull it off to all our satisfaction."
The Desais' decision to have an enclosed balcony not only adds more square footage to the home but also allows the family to use this space year round. The marble inlay flooring was deliberately designed to incorporate the royal ambiance that the Desais had experienced on their stay at various palace hotels. The Tiffany style lamp (to the right of the Thota Vaikuntam painting) is hand made by Dipa. She learnt this art form during their stay in Ahmedabad. Absolutely adore that "munimji" table (from Ketan's family home), looks comfortable in its new setting. 
The kansa dinnerware that you see was part of Dipa's wedding trousseau. The "Milkmaid" print at the far end of the dining table is from the Louvre Museum in Paris. If you look beyond the Jalli partition, the ceiling of the foyer area is visible. The design for the wooden door type ceiling was seeded with what Dipa had seen on her trip to Jodhpur.
I asked Dipa to share with us, three of her never fail "Design mantras","(1)Excellent planning of space with focus on function, comfort and light; (2) Understanding and incorporating personal style and (3) Less is definitely more, a place for everything and everything in its place. A clutter free home leads to a clutter free mind." I couldn't agree with her more !
The guest lounge has been created to wear many hats with the main focus being kick-off-your shoes comfort. It converts into a guest bedroom, once the large sofa bed is opened up. Flanking the sofa bed are book shelves that are masterfully concealed within stained glass panel shutters.
A view of the guest lounge when the stained glass doors are opened up to section off this area as the guest bedroom and provide privacy to their guests.
The guest lounge also has a well stocked bar or as the Desais jokingly refer to as their "daru ka adda". The carved wooden panel doors are up-cycled from furniture pieces that Dipa owned previously. Isn't that one hell of a bar?
Another enclosed balcony in this area houses a another vintage "munimji" table from Ketan's family home in Kolkatta.
Don't you agree that heirloom treasures have an inimitable manner of adding nostalgic spell to one's décor? The desk you see in the picture above is another fond and treasured piece from Ketan's family home in Kolkatta. It finds its rightful place in the guest lounge where it is put to good use.
Making this corner more interesting is Dipa's collection of Bidriware, a silver lota and meditation yin yang balls. A French artist was commissioned to make the black and white sketch of Dev, while on their trip to Paris a few years ago. The wardrobes to the right have large sliding doors that houses bags, linens and Dipa's collection of purses. Another bright idea that everyone could use is how Dipa managed to cleverly conceal the unsightly washing machine and dryer behind louvered shutters next to the wardrobes.
The Desai's master Bedroom is the perfect escape when one wants to retire at the end of the day. What makes this space so unique is the magnificence views from those large windows. Let's hear about more of this space from Dipa herself shall we, "This is my haven. From the sound of the sea.... the view of the sunset every evening,.........the sighting of the kingfisher, parrots, coppersmith, yellow oriole, drongos, mynas, bulbuls, cattle egrets, coucals and a few more, the glimpse of the moon over the horizon,casting silver shadows on the water at night.....The fishermen's boats that look like diyas floating away....... All of this makes it so darn hard  for me to leave home. This is where I design so many homes. It is where I contemplate, meditate, feel grateful.....this space evokes a cauldron of emotions....."
The mirrors on either side of the bed are meant to reflect the outside into the room. The painting above the bed is by artist Yashwant Deshmukh signifying positive, negative spaces which reflects the mood in this room. The ocher colored, textured fabrics together with the deep browns of the woodwork in the room makes for a potent combination, I say!
And finally, their son, Dev's Bedroom which also serves as his work space. Dipa designed this space to suit her son's needs as an architecture student. There is a movable drafting table.The study table tops are faced with back painted white glass, which can be used to sketch on freely. The shelf above,and next to his bed, showcase Dev's passion for pottery. His bed can be opened up to be a double bed, when he has friends for company. If you are an art aficionado, one look at the paintings in this room, and you will know that they are by artist Datta Bansode. 

With that we come to end of our home tour. Thank you Desais for so graciously allowing us to tour your stunning home. We wish you all the very best! Leaving you with what Dipa had to say about what the word home means to her, "It is a resting place, a place where the family comes together at the end of the day. A place to reflect, meditate, contemplate and unwind. A place where memories are made to remember. Also a place where memoirs of time and travel find a home. My home is designed in such a way that the ambiance makes me want to be a better human being!"

[For interior design and commercial/residential architecture project  inquiries, you may direct your questions to Architect Dipa Desai @ dipadesai.k@gmail.com]

(Photography: Sebastian Zachariah and Ira Gosalia of Phxindia.in. The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission of the home owners (Ketan and Dipa Desai) and TECD) 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mela Artisans - By Heart, By Hand (Featured Brand)

I personally have a lot of admiration and respect for the new wave of entrepreneurs who don’t just think business but are on a more purposeful social entrepreneurial mission. A mission steered by the thought to give back to the community. One such lifestyle brand, ideated by father-daughter duo - Navroze S. Mehta and Sonali Mehta Rao, is Mela Artisans! Based out of NYC, not only did this brand resonate with me on a design level but also because at its core, they are continually striving to bring about a positive change for the Indian artisans who are struggling to keep our heritage crafts alive. 
GRAMERCY COLLECTION
In 2015, Mela succeeded in creating 7,000 jobs for these artisans! Mela believes in going beyond “just supporting their livelihoods.” They have been ploughing back 1% of their sales into projects that help their artisans. They’ve partnered with Vision Spring, Sevamob, and Greenlight Planet (three innovative social enterprises in India), to bring vision exams, healthcare and solar lamps respectively to empower the artisan communities. 
CHANTILLY COLLECTION
By assisting artisan communities’ access new markets, Mela Artisan is truly a catalyst in preserving and reviving the heritage crafts of India. Unlike a lot of other sites that pull together artisan/handmade products from India, Mela has an in-house design team that curates and designs each collection. Navroze (co-founder) travels to India several times each year to meet with the artisans in person. Once they finalize on the artisan sector they wish to work with, the design team taps into the skillsets of the artisans and then takes on the task to create products for a global audience with a contemporary design palate. The response to Mela’s products has been phenomenal! Their products have been featured on PopSugar, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and at more than 300 boutiques across US!
FANTASY AND IMPERIAL BEAUTY COLLECTION
In the home décor segment, their product range includes photo frames, boxes, trays, bowls, tabletop vases, candle holders, throw pillows and desk accessories, with each product page narrating the story of the community responsible for creating it. The design process adopted by Mela has effortlessly included bone inlay and wood carving into their amazing collections that is the perfect balance of the best of the traditional Indian craft forms with the functionality of contemporary design. 
TRIBECA COLLECTION
My absolute favorite amongst the collections being the Gramercy and the Imperial Beauty. Also, their latest experiment to modernize traditional Indian Ikat has resulted in the Buna collection. Strung together by handloom artisans of South India, the Buna collection is made of woven banana fibers and sea grass, using an Ikat warp.
BUNA COLLECTION
And for the fashionistas, they have an amazing collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, earrings and scarves. 
 SPOILT FOR CHOICE - BOLD STATEMENT PIECES TO CHIC AND ELEGANT
The wonderful people at Mela wanted me to sample a piece of their stunning jewelry collection. Given that it was the holiday party season, I chose to review the Hidden Cay Multi-Color Necklace. I fell in love with its chic and elegant design!14kt Gold Plated, this brass necklace is delicate with alternating rectangle Aqua Chalcedony, Blue lapis and Green onyx. It has a beautiful finish, great detailing (like even the clasp has a mini-elephant dangler), really light-weight and very sturdy. The versatile design can be styled either with a formal evening dress or with jeans for a casual lunchdate with girlfriends! Overall a totally charming necklace and very well made!
A CLOSE UP OF THE HIDDEN CAY NECKPIECE.......AND THE NEXT IMAGE IS OF ME SPORTING THE CASUAL-CHIC LOOK WITH MY VERY OWN HIDDEN CAY NECKLACE
Mela currently ships only in the USA. You can shop for Mela products right here and do your bit to support these wonderful craft forms and a genuine mission. Should you decide to shop in person, they also have two stores, one in Manchester, VT (4566 Main Street, Manchester VT) and other recently opened in Soho between Houston and Prince (580 Broadway Room 711, NY). They have some amazing Cyber Monday offers (50%off sitewide) and sales going on right now, so make you head to their web boutique right away. Also make sure to stay connected with them via their SM platforms like Facebook and Instagram for latest updates and insider scoop on sales.

I wish Mela Artisans all the very best in their endeavor to support such a wonderful cause! 
As for you my lovely peeps, have a wonderful week ahead!

(Image Courtesy: Mela Artisans but for the last image - Sruthi Singh)