Aradhana Anand's, "Charcoal Pop" bedroom has been creating waves in the Apartment Therapy Color Contest. I for one was completely smitten with her audacious style and wanted to see more of her home. Pleased that she gladly agreed to be on TECD and was willing to give us a tour of her home that embraces bold stroke decorating and originality.
After 12 glorious years overseas and nearly a decade as a oil tanker freight trader, she decided to quit her job and move back home to Delhi for a "time out phase". During this period she not only planned her sister's wedding but was also actively involved in decorating her home together with her mom. Every inch of her Delhi home (that she shares with her parents and an extended feline family) is a testament to the decorating philosophy that a home should reflect YOU. Talking about her design aesthetics and style sensibilities Aradhana says ," I welcome colors, textures and periods that inherently aren't meant to go together, and try to mix them up. My style is far from matching the left with the right - it's way too hotel-esque for me; I like to layer it on slowly. A lot of my aesthetic taste is reflective of my Mother's, however, with a slightly more modern twist. "
A sampling of her fervor for art can be seen in the entryway. Lining the walls of the stairway are Ravi Varma Lithographs and Tanjore paintings that create a gallery wall effect. This stretches the visual height of the ceiling and draws the eye to the architectural elements of the home.
Taking the place of a traditional console are the intricately carved Calcutta style tables with tile inlay. Accessorized with antique brass candle holders, a Balinese Buddha and fresh potted plants, the artistic composition makes you wonder, what's at the end of the stairway.....
The welcoming foyer, is a prelude to the adventurous style of decorating that's endorsed throughout the home. Niches filled with art and varied collectibles invite one to come closer and take in the display. Traditional Kashmiri hand carved chairs create a quiet seating nook and impart rich character to this entryway.
As we make our way into the greater part of the home, the interiors reflect the home owners penchant for art, travel and color. Fusing influences from her travels be it India, Singapore, Dubai or Europe, the resultant effect is "drastic and fearless".
Ornate furniture and Kashmiri carpets layered over white marble, create an intimate conversation area. Wooden chairs with the swan hand rest (seen at the far end of the room) were custom made to imitate similar chairs Aradhana had seen years before in Delhi. To spice up the couch and complement the blues in the Krishna painting by Harish (seen above the couch), the cushions were upholstered in a paprika shade.
Textural partnership between the furnishings and the curated collectibles creates a space that's filled with personality and character. Bold pops of color in the paintings and on the upholstery are highlighted against the neutral backdrop of the walls.
An eye catching Lladro Nude take center stage on the coffee table. Aradhana says, " We are a family obsessed with Lladro nudes, right from my mother to my sister and we have 3! My favorite is the one on the coffee table ."
Thota Vaikuntam paintings (at the far left) and a Shipra Bhattacharya painting adorn this console together with other collated treasures from travels.
Ashok Ganguly's "Krishna" painting is paired with a Lladro nude and Wedgewood collection of teapot and pill box (Aradhana's first grown-up purchase after graduating from college).
A thoughtfully composed vignette that showcases yet another Shipra Bhattacharya painting with Balinese figurines and more Lladro treasures are waiting to tell their story.
Grouping Balinese sculptures with traditional Indian statues creates an eye catching display in this corner of the living room.
The dining room features an elegant teak wood dining set that was custom designed and made to order.
The writing bureau, side cabinet and chest of drawers are all Kashmiri hand carved pieces that perfectly complement the dining set. Russian mosaics of Mary and Christ, Mario Maranda tiles and plates from Croatia and Greece grace the walls of the dining room. With a discerning eye for unique decor, it's no surprise the Paisley upholstered chairs from the store Chantik (that imports furniture from Indonesia) found their way to this dining room.
The "Lounge" has an interesting mix of patterns. The experimental streak in Aradhana got the better of her while deciding on the upholstery for the couch, "My mother and I designed the upholstery concept for the sofas. We found a solid print a tad bit boring, so we used 3 sets of prints instead !"
And finally "THE ROOM" that led me to Aradhana. Unabashed use of color, pooled together with interesting globe trotting trophies makes this space a favorite room in the house with the living room coming in a close second !
The curvaceous sofa is an Indonesian Chibutat. Upholstered in a purple cotton sari, it can be swapped out to suit the changing moods and seasons. A Chinese lunch box from a thrift store has been given a new lease of life as a plant holder and rests on the multi-hued stand sourced from Tibet. Incorporating the new with the old, magnifying glass candle holders from Pottery Barn bring some mood light to the room.
When asked what made Aradhana gravitate towards the charcoal shade, she says, "I chose a dark charcoal grey; great cool color to off-set the steamy Indian summers. A lot of people think dark colors make a room appear smaller and dingy, I don’t agree and believe it depends on how one would color co-ordinate items in the room.
Now, my bedroom looks open and airy and the contrast between the dark walls and white ceiling lends a chic rich appeal. Moreover, fabrics, art, furniture and colors look all the more glorious!"
The bed frame has been with Aradhana since she was a teenager. Her hallmark effect of creating gallery wall can be seen here too. Art from India, Syria, Cambodia, Italy, France and Indonesia hung on the walls exude character and charm. Pillows from Good Earth and Chinese porcelain lamps allow color play with the end result being bold and edgy.
The white Chest of drawers is a French style bureau that pops off against the dark backdrop. Shishir Bhat's, pen on paper is brilliantly framed with bold colors to duplicate the yellow and green under tones in the room. Completing the setting is a Chinese floor lamp, Jonathan Adler whale book ends and the one and only Mr.Snickers.
The industrial looking TV bench is sourced from Singapore (d-Bodhi store) and is crafted from recycled boat wood.
Discussing her biggest challenge when it came to decorating, Aradhana say's, "Getting people in India to understand the concept of dark, especially while looking for charcoal grey paint to use on the walls of my bedroom and over riding the stereo-typical design concepts that plague us here in India (although I am happy to see it is changing) was a challenge. It was an exasperating task sourcing furniture in Delhi that was functional, didn't cost an arm and a leg and wasn't a regurgitated version of some trend overseas."
Being an advocate for color, Aradhana has some good advise for folks who are not color savvy, " I would say, do not be afraid of color. Mix it up a bit, layer as you go. If you are re-doing a brand new space I wouldn't buy everything at once, I would gradually introduce textures and colors and see what fits best and work from there."
And finally reflecting on what home means to her, " A home to me isn't just a functional roof over one's head; it is a space that reflects life, journeys, tells a story or two and is homely, welcoming and warm. I have always preferred individual styles to something straight out of a magazine or a furniture store window."
I couldn't agree with her more. Finding originality and depth in decorating is an art form in itself and Aradhana has mastered this without a doubt. Thank you for welcoming us into your wonderful home and inspiring us to find our OWN styles.....
To read more of Aradhana's wonderful travels and to connect with her, head over to her blog " Why a Raven is like a Writing Desk".
Images Credit/Copyright : Aradhana Anand. The images from this post may not be used without the home owner's consent.