Thursday, May 7, 2020

A Fresh Take (Home Tour)

It is believed that there are three responses to a piece of design - yes, no, and wow! Our consistent reaction to Veshali's designs have always been : WOW! Each of her renovation and interior design projects always tell a heartwarming and authentic story. In this Singapore based apartment belonging to Prashanth Nair and Manorama Singh, Veshali yet again successfully translates "their" story through her design process. To give you a brief on the young couple -  Prashanth is from Kerala while Manorama hails from Rajasthan. Veshali has incorporated subtle touches of both these Indian states throughout the 1,980 sq.ft. home without overwhelming the space. The end result being a home that creatively portrays the young couple's India connection while the finished look of the apartment has a decidedly modern feel. While it was a fun turn key project for Veshali, the 20 year old apartment came with a lot of challenges and guidelines. It not only required a lot of work in terms of changing the layout and the finishes but the most demanding client requirement was adhering to the rules of Vaastu Shastra. But Veshali worked closely with the homeowners and catered to every aspect to the extent that even the colors used on the walls were Vaastu friendly.  
Veshali as we know is adept at giving small spaces a big presence with bold, uncompromising design elements that get noticed. The entryway is proof of this fact. A beautiful painting was commissioned by the couple from Mona Biswarupa Mohanty popularly known as MonnerismsTogether with the Asian 4 door lattice cabinet it creates a strong focal point. The shade of azule was chosen to fulfill vaastu requirements and is the perfect backdrop for the fascinating painting that symbolizes the beautiful couple and the welcoming hand gesture of Namaste. To balance it all, Veshali teamed it with a pattern rich rug that emulates the happy colors in the painting.
The living room combines timeless style and modern comforts. It is anchored by a beautiful Kerala mural that was commissioned by Veshali through her gallery. To create the perfectly paired look, she has pulled the colors from the painting onto the Rajasthani glass work cushion covers. (Design Tip: Find a great piece of art and then build your colors around it.)
 The shade of poppy on the wall truly energises the space and balances the otherwise neutral setting. The oonjal (swing) that is so very significant with Veshali's south Indian decor style makes a comeback in this project. It is not only the couple's favorite spot to hang out  but is a huge hit with family and friends when they come to visit. The TV unit is another find from Prakalyam Gallery. The other furniture pieces in the living room were sourced by the couple in consultation with Veshali. Notice how the Kerala lamp and the Rajasthani turbans are a salute to the home owners roots. 
The coffee table was custom made by reusing the vintage doors from the home. Loving how stylishly livable this space is. By having off-white walls and a neutral floor, the details in the furniture  and the colors used in the space, really stand out and can be better acknowledged for their dramatic dimensions. 
As one can see, there are a lot of beautiful textures at play. The details of the oonjal can be better appreciated from this close up shot. Veshali excitedly adds, "The Oonjal has become synonmous with the gallery. It has been such a pleasure to see more and more homes in Singapore, incorporating the Oonjal. I am trying my best to avoid duplication of the designs and find myself experimenting to keep things fresh. This oonjal too was designed by yours truly to reuse a vintage panel as the back rest. I love how it has resulted in a contemporary feel to an ethnic piece." We couldn't agree more on how skillfully Veshali has elevated the look of the basic furniture piece with the beautiful details.
The grand doorway to the pooja/prayer room with the stained glass and intricate carvings was designed and fabricated by Veshali to match the original vintage doors of the house.  
If there's one word that succinctly describes Veshali Visvanaath's decor style, it's "Desi-chic." We can see the dining room undoubtedly echoing this individual style. There's brilliant use of textures in this room. From the woven blinds to the woven cane chairs, it all adds visual dimension to the space. Here too we see subtle references to the couple's individual roots. The Kerala boat is customized to serve as the light fixture while the Rajasthani block prints are framed to serve as wall art. She has managed to keep the look simple, intimate, functional and sophisticated, all at the same time.  
Another close up shot of this space from a different angel so that you can take in all the details. The framed art gracing the wall is a palla from a saree that belonged to Prashant's mother. What a beautiful way to personal a space and preserve a heirloom piece for generations to come! 
This beautiful functional corner is a clever combination of the very authentic Kerala urli used as the sink and  an ornate Asian mirror (that on first glance resembles like it was one picked from Rajasthan). The addition of the carved cabinets is cherry on the top.
The kitchen is definitely the zone where Veshali has pushed the boundary to include color and pattern. She tells me that Roma was always encouraging  when it came to the use of bold colors. The use of printed tiles in a combination of ocher and chestnut hues makes the kitchen a lively  and vibrant space like the rest of the home. 
Veshali in unison with Roma, decided to use glass to connect the kitchen and the dining areas together. The use of glass keeps the visual appeal light and airy. As for the decor accessories, the traditional Indian pickle jars, the Kerala "para"  (rice measuring container that is now used as a vase) and a few colorful ceramics (picked out by the couple from their travels) add the finishing touches to this space. 
This home has this charming quality where one could stare at it for a long time and find something new to love with every glance! Quoting Veshali's as we come to end of this beautiful home tour, "This was yet another home that paved the way for a tremendous learning experience. As always, loved the journey in creating a vibrant home for a lively and ever enthusiastic couple."

If you too wish to have your home designed by Veshali, you may reach her at (+65) 9008 3979 or write to Veshali at veshali@prakalyamgallery.com for design consultation. Should you fancy to visit the gallery, please make sure to book your appointment in advance. You could also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.

(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.) 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Color Pact ( Home Tour)

It brings me so much joy to feature another beautiful home that is a potpourri of vivid colors and an unpredictable mix of furniture pieces and decor styles. Designed by my very talented friend and decor diva, Veshali Visvanaath of Prakalyam Gallery. This Singapore apartment (belonging to Sheetal and Jayesh) was not entirely a tabula rasa project. Reason being the clients wanted many of their furnishings and accessories to be reused as part of the new design plan. Veshali on the other hand admits that it would have been easy to work with a blank canvas but perhaps not as interesting and challenging. She had to decide how to manipulate the shapes, textures and colors of the things that they already had in inventory to get a balanced outcome that depicted the individual personality and style of the home owners and ensured that the design plan delivered a certain lifestyle that they would cherish for a long time to come.
Sheetal was certain that she wanted a happy space that was loaded with color and yet she had her doubts when it came to color being used on the walls of her home. But as we know, she was in great hands. Veshali listened very carefully to the client's briefing about what they had envisioned for their home. She decided that the best way to go about this was to use color in a restrained yet unexpected way. Turquoise, red and yellow were summoned to increase the color quotient in the design plan. She spruced up side boards, benches, cabinets, accent walls and textiles in the selected hues to punch things up. 
Another trick that Veshali had up her sleeve was to use pattern to enliven the space. Especially due to the lack of elements of architectural interest in the home, she thought it would be visually interesting to bring in a stenciled effect. The end result, Mandala designs that have been placed so very aesthetically without creating a busy effect. 
The achromatic backdrop not only brings about a bright and airy feel to the space but it also exaggerates the height of the room and works as the perfect backdrop for the bold and fun furniture pieces.
The beautiful coffee table was sourced from Prakalyam gallery while the ivory tufted couches and planters style chairs were purchased from a different vendor keeping in mind that the clients wanted  a  contemporary-eclectic style living room. The yellow bench was a lucky find from an online marketplace on FB.  There are a few oriental touches like the turquoise cabinet (originally in a walnut stain was given a face lift to sport the turquoise color), Buddha painting and sculpture (belonging to the client). 
There's also a hint of Rajasthani vibe  to reflect Sheetal's roots - the "Jaipur City Palace gate" prints hung above the couch, blue jharokah and the wooden musicians. The jharokas and musicians adorned the balcony of the house earlier. Veshali felt that by moving them indoors, they would bring a lot more to the space. Just the right placement can do so much when it comes to interiors.  
Loving how the space is playfully eclectic yet has a sophisticated mix of design styles! Only Veshali can effortlessly pull off something as challenging as this.              
Another angle of the living room so you can fully appreciate the flow of space and how thoughtfully the placement of furniture has been considered to maximize the square footage while providing ample seating options. 
The turquoise book cabinet was previously used as a prayer alter. Veshali got the doors of the cabinet removed, painted it  in a shade to tie it in with the rest of the color scheme and used it to display the home owner's collection of books and curios. The ornamental doors were too beautiful to be discarded so she gave them a new lease of life as wall decor (can be seen in the vignette below).  
Veshali shares with me that she was pleased that her clients were so trusting of her vision. The home owners' earlier coffee table has been relegated to be a side table to complete this vignette. A few wall plates, half stenciled mandalas and the intricately craved refinished wooden doors (now working full time as wall art) complete this beautiful composition. In her modest tone Veshali says,"I always say that a home is a reflection of the owners. I just help them achieve that reflection."
The client specifications for this project included a designated prayer room. Despite the space constraint, Veshali made this happen. Doors to the pooja room are fitted with little bells for an interesting ethnic touch.   
As for the dining area, Veshali suggested that they go with low seating as the original dining table was taking up a lot of space and made the corner look heavy. Sheetal seemed to like this idea, so they cut the old table to fit into the new setting and got  little stools to create a fun yet chic and functional causal seating.
A close up of the dining with the protagonist color palette, turquoise. The semi-circle mandala design and the suspended lights add such a nice touch to the space!  
The TV/ entertainment room has splashes of yellow to tie it in with the adjoining living room space that's sectioned off by means of a sliding door (perfect solution to make more room when you have people over).
The opposite wall of the entertainment room is in the preferred neutral tone which sets off the bright colors in the room. It also shows off a collection of favorite family photographs, a perfect way to personalize the space.

The master bedroom echoes the simplicity seen in the rest of the home. Custom woodwork was undertaken to create a niche for the bed. The woodwork also hosts the side tables so that the home owners may conveniently place their belongings within arms reach.   The dominant color being red in the room, it brings a deviation from the turquoise making for a bold look in this private retreat.
The daughter's bedroom is done up in shades of soft blue. Custom built shelves flank either side of the bed and provide organised storage. Above the bed, the letters spell "Ananyaa" giving the room the final personal touch.
I absolutely love the fact that this home tour was a departure from the very South Indian Style homes that we've seen Veshali design. It is casual, eclectic and brimming with color! Veshali take a bow for you have done it yet again - another home with a soul. If you too wish to have your home designed by Veshali, you may reach her at (+65) 9008 3979 or write to Veshali at veshali@prakalyamgallery.com for design consultation. Should you wish to visit the gallery, please make sure to book your appointment in advance. You could also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.

(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.) 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Of old things and New (Home Tour)

When you think of merging traditional charm of aged beauty with a modern lifestyle, comfort with elegantly designed functional pieces, practical space with a warm welcoming vibe, it may seem like an ambitious proposal. It's not the case for Veshali Visvanaath of Prakalyam Gallery. She yet again proves with the renovation of this Singapore family home that classic essentials of ethnically Indian style is her forte and the difference between good design and great design is attention to detail!
The resourceful and very talented Veshali relishes a good design challenge. She took charge of the renovation of Soundara Nayaki Vairavan (published author and art lover) and Mr V. Vairavan's 4,060 sq.ft. home with the essential mind set to incorporate the trove of furniture pieces and heirloom treasures that the couple  had inherited to create an engaging space that is a repository of memories, history and their favorite things.
The homeowners originally hail from Chettinadu, Karaikudi. Veshali could instantly relate to their design ideology as she too shares the same roots. Even though the couple have lived in Singapore for a very long time, they couldn’t shake off the feeling of missing their home back in India. To recreate the familiarity that brought them so much peace and a sense of belonging, they decided to bring in certain authentic décor elements to play the part to create “a home away from home”. 

A lot of the pieces seen in the home are ancestral/heirloom treasures that was stored in the couple’s Karaikudi home. As these pieces were not being used to their full potential, Veshali and the homeowners decided that it was only right to have them shipped to Singapore where they would be restored and duly incorporated into the interiors of the home to bring in the authentic South Indian old world charm. But first that meant Veshali had the intimidating task of scanning and sifting through hundreds of photographs to select the pieces that would not only work with the design plan she had in mind but also enhance and compliment the couple’s personality and lifestyle here in Singapore.
With her diverse knowledge and understanding of south Indian architecture and décor elements she had a well thought out design plan and executed it successfully. For instance, no Chettinadu home is complete without the pillars! So she got these semi-pillars made to be used as part of the TV wall feature.
The essence of Chettinadu was further endorsed by using Kandaangi fabric (the weave particular to the area) as curtains and cushions. The checkered fabric picks up the accent colors used on the walls like the ocher and rustic red. Care was taken to include the Burma Paai ( Burmese mat) as the area rug below the coffee table. Veshali tells me that this is something that is  predominantly used even today in Karaikudi. 
The gorgeous Tanjore painting titled Rasleela is what set the ball rolling for the entire makeover of the living and dining room. The owners of the home had acquired this painting about a year ago. But they just couldn’t get it to work in the old setting. That's when they reached out to Veshali to come to their rescue to give the interiors a facelift and make it all work cohesively. And she as always, worked her magic!!!!! 
She also included elements like the kudam ( brass pots) that she's used as plant holders, the Manai ( tiled stool) used to elevate the height of decor elements in the room, the thottil (the cradle) used as a coffee table and the signature oonjal (that was custom made) to bring in the authentic vibe of a chettinadu home.
The brilliant looking chest box is a family treasure that is than 100 years old. The entire process of restoring it to it's original charm took them 3 weeks.
A close up of the wall with the chest box. Look at the details of that lock! Love this mustard wall and how it let's all the elements just pop against it. 
The cushions were custom made to synthesis with the color palette. I love how they mimic the rangoli patterns and add another subtle touch of the South Indian vibe to the space.
To deck up the dining room walls, she went  with the typical "Nadu veettu kolam" (popularly known as rangoli) which she used as art. In addition, brassware, vintage pickle jars, vintage spoon holder, brass kalasham, brass rice measuring containers etc. were brought in to accessorize the space.
Veshali chose to keep the color palette simple in the dining room so as to let the furniture pieces and other accessories shine through.  Those beautiful thalis are perfect to serve up Chettinadu delicacies like the stringy Idiyappams, fried fish, classic chettinadu chicken, tangy Kuzhambu to mouth watering Paal Payasam! 
With that we come to the end of another beautiful home tour from Prakalyam Gallery. Our take away from this home tour is:
~ how to use color to enhance the visual appeal, 
~ One only needs a few beautiful pieces to make the simplest of spaces feel well appointed and 
~ that something coming off an assembly line can never match up to the charm and elegance of vintage collectibles and antiques.
Thank you Veshali for entrusting me yet again with the task of show casing your amazing work. I'd also like to thank Soundara Nayaki Vairavan and Mr V. Vairavan for letting us take a virtual tour of their private abode. We wish you and your beautiful family the very best! 
(My Singapore readers, should you wish to visit Prakalyam, please make sure to book your appointment right here or call (+65) 9008 3979. You may also write to Veshali at veshali@prakalyamgallery.com for design consultation.)

(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.)  

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Southern Exposure (Home Tour)

When homeowners Latha and Ganapathy began plans for renovating their 1,860 sq.ft. Singapore apartment, they had a clear vision of what they wanted to see in their finished home but found themselves inundated by the many possibilities. That's when they decided that they needed an expert on board. They turned to none other than Veshali Visvanaath of Prakalyam Gallery. Her expertise proved to be invaluable on the project as she's well versed with:
~ smart solutions for tight urban spaces, 
~ flawlessly combining styles and
~ a resourceful person when it comes to presenting traditions in forward looking light. 
The end result is a gracious and tastefully done up home that inspires and comforts. 
Over to Veshali to know more about the turnkey project, "It was one of the most fun projects till date. To start with, Latha had an extensive collection of art and artifacts that she had amassed from the her various travels. She has a great eye and picks the most beautiful pieces. A friend of the gallery even before starting the project, I was aware of her aesthetics and keen sense of style. I really wanted to do justice to her collection. On the other hand Gana, is a very practical person and had very specific requirements that the home be vastu compatible and every thing have a dedicated space. Hence, began the journey of renovating their new home where I had to balance it all.
Though the couple have lived in different parts of the world, they have a strong affinity to Indian culture. As both Latha and Gana originally hail from Tamil Nadu so it was a no-brainer for Veshali to  include strong South Indian elements into the design scheme. 
Starting with the private lift lobby area of the home, Veshali has seamlessly integrated old pieces into the fresh design of the home. The addition of the majestic looking pillars was intentional to bring in the South Indian feel. The flooring had to be changed due to demolition of the lobby so this gave them an opportunity to introduce the checkered effect making for a very unique and grand first impression.
The living room is a delightful combination of the couple's large personal art collection,  sentimental treasures from their travels and custom made furniture pieces as well as curated decor accessories from Prakalyam Gallery.   


It's amazing how every piece has a place of importance and complements the scene without being distracting. Multiple seating options including the oonjal (or swing) aids in creating a bespoke space for respite from the stress of the daily grind.  
The indigo wall is a brilliant explosion of color with the addition of the hand painted kolam strip at the top. The flawless fusion of the musical instrument (veena), masks and art makes for a very impressive gallery wall. (In the above image, notice how the Kerala kasavu has been used in the upholstery of the furniture piece.) 
A closeup of the gallery wall with all its beautiful elements! It's wonderful how Veshali included the Veena so as to make the personal interest of Latha shine through. Latha is an avid music lover and is in the process of mastering the art of playing the Veena. She wanted it in a practical and convenient spot that would aid her in practicing regularly, so Veshali came up with this ingenious arrangement!
Absolutely love the colonial and period furniture pieces with its ornate spindles and curved lines. Well edited vignettes are scattered across the room along with bright pops of color incorporated by means of fabric choices, rugs and fresh flower arrangements in brass pots. All in all, a very charming setup with that inimitable Indian feel.   
The Oonjal or swing makes its appearance yet again in Veshali's design scheme. To which she has to say, "I have to confess that it is not me but the homeowners who want it. Makes me wonder if they come to me only cos I have access to a wide variety of oonjal pieces at my disposal. On a more serious note, I love using them as well because they bring out the nostalgic element associated with them."
The floor to ceiling book shelf had to be custom made to house all the books and other curios that the couple own. It not only provides a glimpse into the couples interests and travel finds but also cleverly makes room for stylish storage. 
The furniture, bronze artifacts, brass pots and lamps were curated from the gallery by Latha. She was spoiled for choice from the wide variety of curated artifacts from the gallery but managed to pick just a few favorites that fit right into her style.
What I find so interesting about this home is that every corner has so much to offer visually. The dark wood tones and bold color decor accessories are beautifully balanced with the neutral color on the walls and off white tiled floors. Another wonderful feature of the home is the large floor to ceiling windows lined on one side of the living room allowing for ample light to brighten up the space. Veshali kept the drapes in neutral tones too so to not overwhelm the space as the accent wall was already sporting a very bold color.
Veshali took care to see that she met the vaastu requirements of having the Pooja mandapam being stationed in this particular spot in the living room. She cleverly camouflaged it in this beautiful custom made cabinet that effortlessly blends into the rest of the living room decor. The  doors of cabinet in a combination of ornate wooden carving with green colored glass peeking through.
Keeping it simple yet classy is Veshali's inherent style. The dining space reinforces this fact with its very functional yet good looking dining set in warm wood tones and bright mustard placements to contrast it beautifully.
If you thought a balcony lies beyond those white drapes of the living room you were wrong. To maximize livability space, they enclosed the balcony area to serve as an extension of the living room. 
When entertaining, the doors are thrown open to make it one big space for their guests. The dark wood tones bring organic warmth to this space. Together with the well chosen accessories and furniture pieces like the Kerala mural art painting inspired table, the space is grand, elegant and inviting all at once.
Functionality is well-served in the master bedroom. There's nothing fussy about the furniture pieces in this space. It's simple clean lines all the way. Adding personality to the space is the bright shades of ocher and red. I think I can confidently say that the couple is never going to complain of Monday morning blues waking up in this bright and cheerful space.
With that we come to the end of the home tour. It's been a while since a home tour got me so excited!!!! I'm sure you are going to be here for a while taking it all in as there's so much decor inspiration to take away from this home tour. 
And now for some parting words from Veshali, "I take this opportunity to thank Latha and Gana wholeheartedly for trusting me with their home. With months of planning and construction, the real pay off was the happy smiles on both their faces and when the compliments come so effortlessly. It is then that I step out of the house feeling content and knowing that I will be remembered happily by them every day. "


Thoughtful design and creative interior choices make this abode a private oasis for the couple. Thank you Veshali, Latha and Ganapathy for allowing me to share this beautiful space with my readers. 

(My Singapore readers, should you wish to visit Prakalyam, please make sure to book your appointment right here or call (+65) 9008 3979. You may also write to Veshali at veshali@prakalyamgallery.com for design consultation.)

(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.)