Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Taste for the Exotic (Home Tour)

From the initial glimpses of this home, one is acquainted with the unrivaled aesthetics of its home owners. The owners’ tastes encompass a love for travel, art, textiles and global culture. By the inclusion of treasured décor pieces, judiciously curated art and handpicked furniture, it is evident that the home has a decisive personal identity! Welcome to the stunning Gurgaon home of advertising professional, Sandeep R Inamke. Having lived in Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune and traveled the world over, Sandeep’s access to many of the country’s finest arts and crafts, has resulted in quite the "collection"! Having recently moved from Nairobi to India, Sandeep’s family has lived in their current home for a short duration of only 6 months. Within this short span of time, Sandeep and his family have worked their magic wand to create a home that's rich in cultural references, textural contrasts and boasts of cultivated taste for all that is aesthetic and exotic! 
A peek down Sandeep’s foyer reveals a bevy of beautifully curated art and artifacts that pull this narrow yet hard working space together. Taking center stage is an antique Vishnu painting depicting the Vishwarupa Avatar (i.e. Krishna reveals himself as the "Supreme Being" and finally displays his Vishwarupa to Arjuna in the battle of Kurukshetra). Together with a few ceramic pieces, a Buddha bust and a grain container from Congo (the one resembling a crocodile), this space is big on global-desi style. A colorful durrie from Jaipur enlivens the neutrality aspect of this space. A set of vintage Kavadis procured from Sanskriti Lifestyle in Pune, is painted a deep emerald (by Sandeep himself) to add a touch of color and tie in the space together.
Surveying the well-appointed living room, you immediately realize global cultural references in every frame of this space. Art portraying innocent subjects by Uganda painter and sculptor, David Kigozi, brings in oodles of depth and personality to this space. Textiles and beautifully curated pieces on the coffee table further introduce one to Sandeep’s design ideology and his passion for all things vintage and handmade. The one thing that Sandeep did not compromise on, while designing this space is comfort. 

Over to Sandeep as he describes his design style, "From a design perspective am not much into fusion or contemporizing classic designs. Hence maybe a bit of a purist. Having said that, I am not against fusion as long as it is tastefully done with due respect and being sensitive to the original. My approach to interiors being to seamlessly fuse artifacts from different regions/countries together to create something unique. Whether its traditional brass lamps from Maharashtra sitting comfortably with Brass lamps from Kerala, or African masks/artifacts co-existing harmoniously with Indian artifacts. I think the common thread there is all these are traditional hand made artifacts. The real stuff, mostly old pieces hand picked with an eye for details. The outcome is always magical!

Interestingly when I lived in Africa , my African friends used to find my house very Indian and my Indian friends would find my house very Afro. I also love to juxtapose the modern with the traditional as well as different materials. Above all I think I would describe my design sense as Maximalism under control."

I’ve decided to bestow the title of a “Treasure Hunter” upon Sandeep. I mean seriously, look at all the treasures he’s managed to garner over time. Each piece unique and each piece grouped so beautifully, so as to harmoniously cohabit and not contest for attention. It truly is amazing how he's managed to create an individualistic style that is a perfect marriage of traditional and modern.

Talking about the influences on his decor style, Sandeep shares, "The love for things beautiful and authentic was instilled into me by my aunt Sonali Pingale, owner of the décor store Sanskrtiti Lifetsyle (I've featured her extraordinary home right here. So no surprises there as the aesthetic gene runs in the family). Having grown up shopping with her, she has had a huge influence on my personal decor style. Other influences being, browsing through endless pages of Elle Décor and AD (US editions) and various books on ethnic and contemporary interiors. And yes, lately Pinterest and Instagram." On a side note, anyone who knows Sandeep well, will agree that this decor enthusiast thrives on Instagram:)
A wide angle shot of the living room. There are so many tricks that one can learn from this living space. Layering and visual perception are definitely the most significant. The formal vibes of the tufted grey couch (sourced from Wooden Desirez) is diminished by draping it with Indigo textiles from Bangkok and causally tossing throw pillows to soften the look. More textile love can be seen where a console is draped in a royal blue cultural Ghanian fabric called kente. Next, the rug-on-rug trick is very creatively used here. A bold patterned durrie is layered atop a wider wheat colored sisal rug to balance proportions. Pattern is brought in naturally by means of textiles and printed accent chairs from Home Center. Coming to visual perception, effort is made to constantly engage the eye through compositions that keep the eye moving.
Absolutely love the ingenious use of a wine rack from Nairobi used to display Sandeep's collection of Hindu brass figurines. A smattering of fresh blooms and potted green liven up this lovely corner.

If you want to adopt a style that's similar to Sandeep's, here's his list of decor mantras :

  • "More is more ( minimalism is not me). 
  • Buy authentic and handmade pieces. 
  • Constantly experiment. A house should always be a work in progress. 
  • Juxtapose to create something unique yet seamless.
  • Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication."
Bringing in an unexpected element to this space is the zebra hide rug. Now before you'll jump to any conclusion, neither Sandeep nor I, support unethical sourcing of such products. This particular rug came with a certificate claiming no animal was killed for skin! With that being said, I love how it facilitates to transition from the living to the dining and keeps the predominant Indo-African theme intact. (For those of you who spotted the weapons hanging on the far end of the wall - the top one is a spear head from Congo and the lower one being a complete Masia spear).
That fantastic South Indian style lady statue is an antique, originally found in old temples of Karnataka. Sandeep spotted this at Sanskriti Lifestyle and lost his heart to this unique find. The Tanjore paintings too were sourced from Sanskriti Lifestyle. Sandeep tells me that these pieces were put up for sale, as the homes that they originally belonged to were being pulled down to accommodate modern day structures. I say, if not for people like Sandeep who love all things vintage and believe in the adage "old is gold", these treasures would be long forgotten......
The Moroccan lamp was a lucky find from Dubai. Sandeep says that it was a nightmare flying with this fragile piece as hand baggage!
Believe me when I say this rustic looking statue of a man riding a horse is made of terracotta!! This almost wood like statue was sourced by Sandeep from Congo.

I just had to know what it was about African decor that drew Sandeep in like a bee, to which he answers discerningly, "At one level it’s extremely contemporary. African art is very bold and raw as against the intricate work found in India. (Here I am not including North African art which is influenced by Asian and Islamic forces). African art is masculine which juxtaposes beautifully with intricate pieces from India / Asia, which are delicate and feminine ( I suspect this observation may kick up a conversation / controversy among my fellow decor enthusiasts:) As for African textiles, whether it’s the Kitenge from East Africa, Kente from Ghana or the mud cloth from Mali, they are all exotic and unique. What's not to love!"
Daggers of Yemen origin were bought from a collector in Dar es Salaam. Sandeep tells me that because of the turmoil that Yemen has had to face, artifacts like these are a rare find  nowadays. To preserve them better, Sandeep decided to have them framed in shadow boxes. A pair of copper busts from Benin together with a rustic bouquet of dried flowers and reed completes this corner that's done up in earthy tones.
Ignoring decor norms in terms of what is fashionable and acceptable, Sandeep has furnished the dining space based on only what complements his family's lifestyle. Dining table from Furniture Republic in New Delhi is mixed with a combination of mid-century modern and transitional style chairs to make an interesting yet comfortable combo. Yet again Sandeep masterfully pairs a contemporary rooster painting by David Kigozi with a traditional Indian Pichwai painting from Sanskriti Lifestyle to add color and life to the walls.
This gorgeous day bed was found in a shop (Odds and Ends) in Nairobi and is now part of the entertainment room. Cushions dressed in Kitenge fabric from Tanzania, bring the folksy touch to this space. Sandeep decided to go with a beaded tribal wall hanging from Nigeria to deck the space above the day bed. The painting resting on the floor is an old and rare litho-print of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's court sourced from an amazing store dealing in old furniture and artifacts market in Oshiwara (Mumbai). Right above the litho is a Zulu shield that Sandeep picked up from the Rosebank craft market in Johannesburg.
This lovely room belongs to Sandeep's ten year old son. Having grown up in Africa, it is no surprise that he is a huge soccer fan. A soccer statue from Gabon is hung on the wall to showcase his passion for the sport. A colonial style day bed sourced from Sanskriti Lifestyle, works great in this space. A combination of weathered finish photo frames, filled with special memories+art and black and white tribal art panels from Rwanda, makes for an interesting gallery wall. The console at the foot of the bed, is made to look interesting by draping it with reed fabric from Congo and displaying smaller animal marks sourced from a flea market in Johannesburg.
A closer look at a few more interesting corners and one of a kind artifacts (Clockwise from top left) : Porcupine quills from a flea market in Nairobi is neatly tucked into a brass pot; Pan Daan was picked up from Sanskriti Lifestyle; Buddha and Nag Statue from Thailand and the tranquil looking Krishna painting was commissioned art from a Kenya Artist, Ikenya.   
And more pretty corners (Clockwise from top left) :Sandeep is as passionate about at as he is about decor. The Kali painting was infact done by Sandeep himself!!!; The brass pot on the coffee table is an old heirloom piece; Krishna art by Uganda artist - David Kigozi). 

Here's what Sandeep had to share about his passion to collect art, "Am restless when I see blank walls. However art is about knowing where to stop. I believe it’s our prime duty to develop a sense of aesthetic and love for the arts among the next generation. Our children should grow up respecting and appreciating our rich and unique culture."

With that we conclude this phenomenal home tour! Would you believe me if I told you that this home tour was in the making for over a year! Yes, that's how long it's taken for this to happen. (It would be amiss if I did not thank Shalaka Pingale for introducing me to Sandeep. Thank you Shalaka, this feature would not have been possible if it wasn't for you!)

As for Sandeep, he is one of the most wonderful and patient soul's I've met in recent times!!! I've bombarded him with questions and requests and every single time he has been so gracious and understanding in answering all of them. I wish him and his wonderful family the very best!!!

I know how my readers love a good home tour, so I'm pretty sure you would have devoured this one! 
Until we meet again, happy decorating lovely people:)

(Image Credit/Copyright : Sandeep R Inamke. The images may NOT be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission of Sandeep Inamke and TECD.)

1 comment:

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