Sunday, April 7, 2019

Easy Elegance (Home tour)

A home with a heart has the ability to "bouy life" and not weigh it down! When Veshali Visvanaath (founder, curator and interior designer at the Singapore based antiques and furniture store Prakalyam Gallery) was entrusted with the task of transforming and curating for Anusha and Vijay's Singapore based home, she did just that. Combining a deep knowledge of traditional and vintage Indian furniture and antiques as well as expertise in contemporary style, she realized the full potential of this beautiful 1,744 sq. ft. sun drenched apartment. 

Veshali recollects how it all started and how she and her clients share the enthusiasm for vintage and old world charm,"Anusha and Vijay are such a lovely couple and we hit it off from day one. Anusha called me one afternoon to confirm if I undertook interior designing projects and told me that she had actually found me through your blog The East Coast Desi. So you Sruthi are a huge part for making this project happen. Anusha and Vijay are working professionals from Tamil Nadu and expats to Singapore. What enticed me even more was their ancestral home is Tanjore which is now a resort stay called "Svatma". This gave me a glimpse of the style that they were drawn to and I could align myself naturally with that style and deliver to them what they needed." 

Encapsulating an intimate and balanced setting in the home, Veshali worked her magic yet again (This is the third time that I'm working with Veshali and every single time this lovely and uber talented lady amazes me with what she can do to a space!). There is no overdone element in the ambiance. Every aspect of the home is beautifully balanced - the traditional with the contemporary clean lines while the old and the new are married in unexpected ways! 

The project took about 2 months to plan with 3 months of work on site. The most challenging aspect of the project was the square footage. But Veshali came through on this one and gave them ample storage, stylish and aesthetic features and a home perfectly mirroring the family's personalities, roots and interests.

The living room is the perfect stylish spot to kick your feet up at the end of the day and let the captivating ambiance rejuvenate you for another day.To invigorate the space which was primarily done up in neutral shades and dark wood tones, she chose hits of emeralds, mustards and ruby hues to offset the monotony. 
The design for this space is brimming with a lot of South Indian influences and rightly so to showcase the roots of its homeowners. There's the one of a kind "Indo-Portuguese" settee from the late 1800's, the "Oonjal" or swing that was installed against all odds of space restrictions and innumerable meticulously selected artifacts and accessories that  bring the convincingly traditional South Indian essence to the space injunction with the improbable mix of a contemporary vibe. 
True to its Indian inspiration, the entryway whets ones appetite as to what’s in store. Here’s more from Veshali on putting this corner together, “The lady of the house has fine taste and is full of positive aura. Her quest for the beautiful pieces, made me hunt for pieces that I knew she would love. Every piece curated for her home has been a journey to remember. This corner in particular, the 3 orange frames, are mica art from the early 1900's and acquiring it for her, is something which brings a smile to the both of us.” In the frame: A Tamil Nadu Nellai or door frame converted to a mirror. The 3 mica 1910 Tanjore art. A beautiful RV artwork. And A vegetable painted Kerala dowry box.
Seen above is the beautiful custom made swing that adds the oonjal effect of traditional south Indian homes. Veshali shares, "Anusha was so clear in her vision and as a designer it gave me the clarity to carry out the look she wanted. In fact the swing was something which she really wanted as part of the design plan and we had to get it done for her. This was the fun and challenging part as we had to restrict the swinging effect and yet get the swing to play its part." 

Another one of Veshali's distinguishing style is converting large brass pots into makeshift coffee tables or accent tables. I've seen this as part of her previous homes too and love how it adds so much omph to the space. Here's more on why she loves implementing this in her projects time and again, "I believe that our culture has such beautiful elements and pieces, I enjoy putting them together in daily life. I prefer pieces being used rather than just for display. In this project the proposal to use this beautiful vintage metal pot was willing accepted by Anusha to match a similar accent table created with one of Anusha's own heirloom brass plate ( as seen in one of the images of the living room)."

More of Anusha's Kerala connection can be seen in the display of the copper para with a traditional "coconut flowers" arrangement that is a part of various auspicious Kerala ceremonies. 

The intricate details of the swing can be seen clearly in the image above. Veshali tells me that swings like these can be recreated on request. So if you like what you see, do reach out to Veshali to make this a part of your home. 
The dining room is simple in form yet makes a grand impact because of the brilliant choices made by Veshali and her clients when it came to the accessorizing part. To overcome the space limitation, Veshali settled for the gantry effect to maximize storage and seating without overwhelming the space. The Pichwai art was originally used only as a reference point to present to the clients. But they loved it so much that it was specifically commissioned and it came out exactly the way Veshali had rendered it in her 3D.

A mix of bronze, brass and silver accessories are used to accentuate the gantry effect. The dining table, is a beautiful South Indian door that's converted to form the table top. I personally think it perfectly balances out the contemporary gantry as its backdrop.
All the cushion covers in striking color combinations were custom made with old kanjivaram sarees. And not any kanchi saree but those that belonged to Anusha's mom. A great way to repurpose and cherish precious things that belong to loved ones and an absolutely delightful outcome! 
A troupe of pickle jars sit pretty on the dining table adding that final vintage touch to the dining space. 
As you can tell that is the door to the pooja/ prayer room but it works more like a stand alone art object. In an effort to make each home personal, Veshali transformed an ordinary looking door that originally came with the apartment to a whole new level. She wanted to keep insync with the contemporary vibes evident in the rest of the home and hence only added cosmetic changes to the existing door. In addition to the stained glass panels and brass bells, she also went onto add Tanjore panels that she got custom made from India. These were then assembled in Singapore to create the grand and very unique door!
One look at this cozy nook and its apparent that the home owners are bibliophiles. That's one brilliant use of space! Functional yet design oriented and checks the box for the comfort factor. When I asked Veshali what was that one absolute favorite design element in this project, she had this to say,"Wow!! That is a tough choice as I personally loved the way every room turned out! But if I had to choose one, it would be the seating cum storage in the study.Credit for this goes to Anusha for inspiring new ideas to get this design done. We made use of the bay window and every available space to create storage for their huge collections of books that the home owners had amassed. But the one thing that we ha to ensure was that we never compromised on the brightness of the space. The design allowed us to achieve all that we wanted without compromising on the sunlight filtering in and keeping things bright. The couple are so happy with the space achieved!"
The master bedroom has a more of the contemporary vibes but Veshali brings in that touch of Indian with her choice of pattern play,"The space had to be defined in a way where it brings in a different tone and we decided to keep it simple yet very chic by going monochrome. Black was the chosen color and Anusha loved it. We finally settled on wall paper from Japan and patterned textiles to pull the look together. Love how the lights by the side of the bed and mirror complement the look."      
A snap shot of the mirror that's working wonders to give a sense of added space. All the rooms boast of large-paned windows. Veshali design plan has put this to good use by creating window seats that can be used without obstructing the splendid view.
Like the rest of the home, Veshali kept it simple and classy in the couple's daughter's bedroom. Here too carefully chosen accessories with comfortable and functional furniture pieces were the key elements in design. Taking it a notch up is the choice of lovely patterns for the room.
If the above home was not proof enough as to how thorough Veshali is with what she does, then this will seal the deal as to why I say she's a perfectionist. Quoting Veshali, "Almost all the time my aim to take on the stress of the homeowners so that they get to enjoy the home making process. Their utmost satisfaction is what I aim for. In this case, it was to give my best cause Anusha had put so much of trust and faith in my work. The onus was on me to bring it all together. Always ensured that she liked and approved it all like a 100%. Never executed anything if it was a 98% for her. I would go back to the mood board to re-look if that was the case.This is a beautiful home of a very beautiful couple. I have enjoyed every bit and have lovely friends for life!"

My Singapore based readers, should you wish to visit Prakalyam, please make sure to book your appointment right here or call (+65) 9008 3979. And for those of you not in Singapore, Veshali does online consulting too. Do write to Veshali at with your design dilemmas. 

Veshali thank you so much for choosing TECD yet again to showcase your amazing work. We wish you the very best in your creative endeavor and know you will be reaching new heights in the years to come! 

(Photo Credits & Image Copyright: Veshali Visvanaath for Prakalyam Gallery; : The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial use without the prior written permission of Veshali Visvanaath & TECD.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Settled in for a Lifetime (Home Tour)

I’ve always loved showcasing homes that are not forced to look good but have come together very organically over the years. And by that I mean a home that is not caught up in trends or imitating another's style but a home that has interesting layers of its own. Each layer replicating the personality, interests, style, aesthetics of its home owner and decoding the meaning of ever evolving perception of relaxed living. We have toured Hemangini’s rental pad earlier and now a year and a half later we get to take a tour of their very "own" piece of haven in Gurgaon. 

Dr. Hemangini Hoskote is a Consultant Nutritionist with a Ph.D in Nutrition and Mr. Hoskote is a senior leader in Quality and Business Excellence. They share the home with their teenage son who is quite the decor enthusiast. He has had his fair share of influence when it comes to his home's design and style. 
The Hoskote family wanted to embrace a design scheme that’s contemporary in style yet exudes warmth, elegance and simplicity. Infact, this design plan was advocated by none other than their teenage son. It seemed right in the context of the relatively modern apartment with high ceilings and a glass wall running through the entire one side of the apartment letting in abundance of sunlight for a bright and airy space.
The Living Room is furnished with pieces that have clean lines and a contemporary feel. A supporting cast of well edited accessories add the shot of color, pattern, texture, identity and make a cultural point with its design. But most importantly, I think they have cracked the code when it comes to the process of a home being relaxing visually, physically and mentally! 
Brass tattoo markers (the two thin sticks displayed on the wall) were found at a local weekly market at Lake Inle, Myanmar. Another unique element added to the wall display is an antique carved wooden kavadi that the family found during their Chennai stay. It was recently refinished and proudly made part of the living room.The black throw is a Ladakhi shawl and the Ikat one is from Java, Indonesia. The turquoise silver and leather lamp is Moroccan.
As a family, the Hoskotes love traveling and photography. They seamlessly integrated their interests into the design of the home by displaying pictures from their travels in different corners of the home. Majority of photographs are grouped into simple frames that are propped on white ledges in the living room that blend into the wall creating an almost floating effect. Besides bringing back memories of fun times, these framed pictures are great conversation starters! Hemangini makes sure to update the pictures in the frame every now and then with the latest ones from their various vacations and globetrotting expeditions. 
Here's what Hemangini had to say when asked about her decor style, "We have deliberately not followed any particular theme/style but primarily used a few hand-me-downs with travel finds. The thumb rule we follow is, one has to absolutely love it and it has to be 'hatke' (unusual/unique), before we buy it and bring it home. The apartment had white walls which are a perfect back drop for the colorful finds."
More from Hemangini, "We did not hire a 'contractor/decorator’ as we do not like the 'decorated' look with gypsum board ceilings though we had to go with the existing gypsum board ceiling in some parts of the apartment."
This corner has been personalized with wooden musician ladies that were picked from an antique store in Jew Town, Kochi, Kerala. The terracotta pieces are all from Goa, acquired over several visits from Potter's studios to antique stores. The Indonesian mirror was bought when the Hoskotes lived in Dubai. Accentuating the bench style seating are throw pillows that pick up the rust and terracotta hues from the gallery wall above.
One of the bedrooms was converted to serve as a media room. It's where the family spends most of their down time. Hemangini decided to have a collection of posters of their favorite movies framed to reinforce the theme and also clearly gives away that the family members are movie buffs!

The media room also serves as their library. With abundant display and storage space on the adjoining wall, books and other collectibles are neatly organised and provide a clutter free look. A diverse collection of musical instruments from Africa, Mauritius and Indonesia allows for a visual change of scene.
Lovely little corners are created using the family's collectibles and rightly shows the power of grouping things in varied heights and textures.The tribal Ganesha is from the Craft Museum, Delhi.  On the console table along with the brass statue of Radha and Krishna are vases and porcelain fishes that were brought home  from a pottery exhibition in Gurgaon. The pencil sketches featuring the horses were done by none other than Hemangini herself.
The dining area has an informal vibe and suits the family's relaxed style of hosting. The ta-da element in this space is the wall of masks. The collection was amassed from family vacations to North East India, Far East, Mauritius, Africa and so on.
A practical dining set works in tandem with the rest of the clean line vibe evident in the home. Clearly "comfort is everything" is a norm that takes charge with the decor in this home. Overlooking a balcony area, the doors are thrown open when entertaining on weekends or to enjoy those relaxed and laid back evenings after work.
Absolutely love the open kitchen-dining-living concept! Over to Hemangini for more as to why she prefers this concept, "It was a plan that I had always wanted in my dream home and am loving it. It’s so much more fun to chat with family n friends as one is rustling up a meal. And it works perfectly with our lifestyle. The cleanliness freak that I am, have to be a little more efficient in having the kitchen even more cleaner at all times! I opted for the open shelves as I wanted the kitchen to look light and airy. Upper kitchen cabinets would have made the kitchen look smaller n boxed in."
What a charming breakfast bar! I'd make excuses of having frequent hunger pangs just to enjoy this lovely nook, wouldn't you?
The Hoskotes were very clear from the onset that the maid's quarters would be converted to a home office for Hemangini. Hemangini shares, "This makeover did take the longest time and even though we had a relatively tight budget we didn't compromise on the look n feel of the office. In a space little over 100 sq feet,we managed to create a small, cosy office."
The walls of the office have SH Raza's prints and pencil sketches made by all members of the family.
The gallery wall in the Master Bedroom suite has a host of paintings and travel memories. The pencil sketches here too, are those done by the talented family members. The Copper n Gold art work, is a temple etching on rice paper, bought in Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
More pretty corners from their Master bedroom. The easy chair is an heirloom piece that was handmade by Hemangini's grandfather-in-law! The console in the master bedroom has baskets from Bali, Thai wooden bust, Myanmar lacquer bowls and marble plate from Goa. Love how the old and the new have together so effortlessly in this space.
And finally we get a peek into their son's room. Done up in shades of deep blue, the textured wall was what the young man decided on all by himself. This room is everything a teenager would want - practical, comfortable, low-maintenance yet stylish, masculine and totally lit!

I hope you enjoyed the home tour as much as we loved sharing it with you. Things to take away from this home tour : 
~ Skillful space planning, 
~ Visualizing the function of the space before executing the design plan, 
~ Include artwork to make the space feel more soulful and individualistic,
~ Mixing and layering the old and the new to create a classic vibe and
~ Visually linking the color scheme or decorating style of rooms that open onto one another.

Thank you Hemangini for trusting me yet again with your beautiful home to be showcased on TECD. We wish you and your beautiful family the very best! 

(Image Credit: Hemangini Hoskote, do NOT use the image/images from the blog without prior written permission of the homeowner and TECD)