Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Marrakech Retreat with a Global Flair!

Our wanderlust and quest for global decor inspiration, takes us all the way to Marrakech.....Today we tour an 18th century riad (courtyard house) that belonged to Chile's most celebrated realist painter, Claudio Bravo. Now renovated to its present glory , the riad is a getaway for one of his closest friends. Treasures (most of them original to the house) from Syria, India and Morocco fill the house to create a truly eclectic global-chic sanctuary. When Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami (head of Sardar Design Studio in Manhattan) was presented with the opportunity to undertake the renovation of the project with the request that the property maintain its integrity and serve as a tribute to their friend Claudio Bravo, he knew what he had to do. Sardar-Afkhami adopted the design ideology of the Chinese city of Suzhou that encourages the thought, "Each person would add a gentle layer without disturbing what came before." He made sure that the original design plan and inherited items of the artist were treasured and used to preserve his memories. 

Let's start with the impressive, pale green, solid door decorated with nailheads. It leads you to the entrance hall where a Syrian bridal chest inlaid with mother of pearl doubles as a console. The ornate gilded mirror is also Syrian. (Note: My new design crush - Syrian furniture:)   
The dramatic archways of the house echo the Islamic style of architecture prominent to the region.  With it's arcs and curves it not only provides an element of architectural interest but also perfectly frames the living room, pregnant with Syrian relics. "Look beyond form" has taken on a whole new meaning with Berber rugs adorning the walls and a banquet dish and stand inventively converted to serve as  a cocktail table.    
The cedar ceiling (original to the home), antique mosque lamp and the Uzbek Suzani - come together to create an ambiance that is a perfect backdrop for home cooked meals.
Another feature that I was personally drawn to was the windows and doors of the riad splattered with a Eucalyptus green paint that almost blurs the boundaries between the indoor and the outdoors.

And finally a look at some of the bedrooms in this sunlight flooded home! 

To see more images of this gorgeous home, click here. For a more detailed read of this fabulous retreat get your copy of May2015 AD today.

Images Copyright/Credit: Architectural Digest

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Holland in Haymarket - Festival of Spring

Juggling a hectic schedule on weekdays can drain you. My family and I decided it was time to slow down over the weekend and head outdoors to explore the "Holland in Haymarket - Festival of Spring”. With overcast skies and a sudden drop in temps, we went ahead with our plans anyway as we are big fans of supporting local businesses. Hosted by Burnside Farms in VA, the event is one of the largest pick-your-own flower events in the world! 
 With more than five acres of spring flowers in bloom, the sweeps of resonant colors were breath taking! Burnside is a darling little seasonal farm that offers a selection of both "conventional" fruits, veggies and local organic offerings. Also available at the market place are jams, jellies, pickles, and other "canned" foods. However, what interested us was definitely the colorful blooms of daffodils and tulips that carpeted the fields. 
You are aware of my fascination with tulips.....To see so many varieties of tulips on display was truly spectacular. The "Regular Tulips" (as I like to call them) were dressed in a consistent color and had a simple structure to them, while the Peony Tulips were grand in every sense of the word with multiple layers of petals. They also had the Lily Flowered Tulips that were getting ready to put on a show of their own in a day or two. My little guy wanted to be my helper and pick the flowers for me. So with our basket in hand and a quick read of “how to pick the tulips guidelines” we had our own little bouquet of flowers to bring home with us!
We spent a good two hours at this place! It was a welcoming change from the daily grind and the folks running the place made the experience an enjoyable one. They had a good system in place to keep the flow of traffic structured. The parking lot can get crowded on weekends I’m told but since we reached early on the scene, we did not have to deal with any such issues. It's a flower lover’s paradise and offers some wonderful opportunities to take some lovely family pictures. If you live in driving distance to this wonderful farm, make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity! (Tip: Before you head out make sure you check their updates about the blooms on their Facebook page). 
A look at the blooms that I brought home adding cheer to a corner of my living room......
Hope all that color helped to cope with the Monday morning blues! Have a fantastic week ahead:)

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

LALITA HAND-STITCHED SCARF from Craft by World Market finally arrived !

Wild mustard is back this season and I couldn't resist bringing in a few sprays of these delicately clustered flower to brighten up my home. With a riot of colors carpeting the landscape outdoors, I'm tempted to recreate that effect indoors too! Colors make me happy and the simplest way to do that is to bring in a bunch of flowers and layer your decor with textiles..... 
Seen in the picture above is the "LALITA HAND-STITCHED SCARF" from the July 2014 Collection of "Craft by World Market". The scarf finally arrived a week back after a long-long wait. But the wait has been so worth it. I love that the scarf is light-weight and yet manages to keep me warm in the chilly spring weather. The icing on the cake is the beautiful hand embroidered detailing and the different shades of aubergine woven into the design palette. With such pretty colors on display, I did not have the heart to put it away inside the cupboard and have it draped on the couch like a throw!
As for behind the scene updates from the TECD casa, I'm upto my neck with work and other commitments. However, I cannot keep myself away from the blog and I've managed to get some work done on some wonderful posts for you'll.One of them being a studio tour of a talented jewelry designer from India! So keep a watch on this space and stay connected!
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Art of Furniture Makeovers

Having understood the negative environmental impact of tossing away timeworn possessions and buying first-hand ones, I’m always happy to encourage recycling/up-cycling of redundant objects and furniture. By embracing styles such as eclectic and mid-century modern, it gives us an opportunity to weave vintages treasures and flea market finds into our homes with the upside being a personal and one-of-a-kind style. But sometimes things are a bit more complicated than just buying and incorporating it into one’s decor….there is considerable amount of elbow-grease involved to restore and refurbish a piece. This can be intimidating for people like me who do not have the DIY bone in them. But for folks like Deepika Dhoolypala, words like salvage, DIY, elbow grease, paint, scrub and the make-do ideology are very much a part of her lexicon. 
A lady after my own heart, bright hues and patterns happily find their way into Deepika's home decor. Love this chair that Deepika has upholstered in a Suzani -ish fabic!
A multi-talented lady with a background in the IT sector, Deepika claims to be a "typical Hyderabadi at heart". Currently based in Phoenix (AZ), she can be found in her painting gear, either busy painting walls, furniture or having her hands full with upholstering a chair (that is when she is not busy raising her two beautiful daughters). With a number of successful DIY projects to her credit, she has recently taken on selected commercial projects for a few clients. Today we look at the incredible transformations this lovely lady has been able to accomplish with creativity, paint and a considerable amount of sweat. 
Deepika worked her magic on this hutch that adorns her dining room! 
TECD: Hello and welcome to TECD Deepika! When were you bitten by the DIY bug and what is it about DIY that propels you to take on such adventurous projects?
Deepika : “Happy to be featured here on TECD Sruthi! I have always been creative and I have to give it to my husband for encouraging me and going along with me. DIY is a tedious process, sometimes more expensive than going out and simply picking a piece for your home and sometimes a lot of tears because a project fails and then all your hard work goes down the drain. But there is immense joy and contentment in creating something with my own hands. I love everything vintage and there is hardly anything in my home that is new except for our current dining table set and mattresses.”
Ikat style wallpaper used to line the back of the hutch elevates it to a whole new level!
TECD : What are the best sources to look for the DIY furniture pieces?
Deepika: “I have found a lot of gems on Craigslist and at thrift stores. Your local Swip Swap meets on FB are a rage now. Be Patient, You might not find anything for weeks or months and then suddenly a cool piece will pop up, simply grab it! Antique Stores are more expensive and if it’s an antique piece, I’d hesitate to paint it.”
Now that's what I call "bold use of color"! That electric blue sure makes a statement, don't you think? 
TECD : What kind of paints do you work with?
Deepika: “I use various kinds of paint depending on the piece I want to paint . I have used chalk paint for the blue dress , Milk paint for a few clients , Latex , Oil , Porch paint ( water based alkyd) . For my current project, I am looking at lacquer (which has the similar sheen to cars ) . I also use paper (decoupage) and Fabric.” 
A secretary's desk updated with a lick of paint. makes for a perfect fit for this home-office space!
TECD: I’d like for you to share your fool-proof tips and tricks for my readers who would like to take on projects such as these?
Deepika :
  • “Start Small and Look for a solid piece of furniture with good lines and bones and if you intend to paint it , stay away from laminate. Just because the paint will peel if you don’t use the right products ).
  • Look beyond the current state - As long as the damage is not structural and a can of paint can fix it, make it work.
  • Another great option , for people who are skeptical about Vintage furniture , is the unfinished pine furniture from Ikea like the RAST , TARVA lines . You can work wonders with it and they are not very expensive.
  • If you are buying vintage from Craigslist or swip swap , do not FORGET to ask questions like - Does the piece come from a pet free home ? and Does it come from a smoke free home?.( Personally, I would rather buy a piece from a seller who has pets and I keep away from the second , as it's very very hard to get rid of the smoke smell ).
  • If you intend to purchase something like a dresser/armoire go see it in person. Also inquire from the seller if they would drop off  the furniture at your home for a small fee.
  • Haggle and Bargain - Sellers sometimes ask 3 times more than what the piece deserves . There is nothing wrong in asking. You are going to put a lot of sweat into it.
  • After getting the piece of home, leave it in your garage/ patio and spray it well with a vinegar, water mixture or mild bleach and clean it thoroughly, let it dry and then get it inside.
  • Prepping the furniture before painting is the most important thing for a good professional finish. Use a liquid deglosser/sander and sand paper to sand it. If there is paint already on it, then use a paint stripper to strip it to the bare wood and then paint it. Use a good quality primer. Now you could go ahead and Paint and then use a protective finish.
  • There are various methods to paint. Always use good quality products, especially paint brushes and paint.
  • Chalk paint and Milk paint are non toxic and great options to use when you have children around. It also gives you the freedom to work indoors unlike oil paint/Spray Paint that require lots of ventilation and outdoor work spaces."
  • A few more DIY projects from Deepika's portfolio
To contact Deepika for custom furniture makeovers, head over to her blog “Saffron and Daisies”, FB Page or simply shoot her a mail at  Thank you Deepika for sharing your wonderful projects with us and we wish you all the very best in your creative journey!

As for you my favorite peeps, I hope you're inspired to take on your very own DIY project this weekend! Wishing you a wonderful Thursday!

Image Copyright/Credit: “Saffron and Daisies”

Friday, April 10, 2015

I could live here..........

Whether I'm flipping through a magazine or looking at the various home tours online, rarely am I over come with a feeling of I want to pack and  move to this wonderful home right now, if you know what I mean. These are all beautiful homes that have been curated very thoughtfully and are aesthetically very pleasing...... however, the feeling of a "good energy" flow through the home is also very important to me and I think I have successfully achieved that in my home. For many a time I have heard family and friends visiting us say that they feel so at home and love the positive vibes and good energy flow that they feel when at our place. And when I hear this, I know I've done the right things to put together a place called home!   

Given the scenario that I had to pack my bags and move to another home, it would undoubtedly be the home of designer, John Robshaw. I must confess that I've had the biggest design crush on this beautiful home for a long -long time! However, I now think I have another wonderful home to add to this list. The eclectically stunning home of actress-turned-holistic blogger, Shiva Rose! Shiva has championed the art of weaving vintage finds into her LA home together with travel treasures, global textiles and patterns against a neutral backdrop. This home truly embodies the concept of a "good energy" flow..... I love the organic style these images exude - such a homey vibe. Living here would be a soul nourishing experience for sure........
Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite:

To see more of this amazing home, click right here

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Image copyright/credit  :One Kings Lane

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Have you read the April 2015 Issue of Once Upon A Tea Time Magazine yet?

Priya Iyer and her delightful blog "Once Upon a Tea Time" (OUATT) need no introduction. Having lived and embraced the culture and environment of three different countries, Priya is steeped in a global-chic-bohemian style and her well curated blog is a reflection of this very facet. Her exceptional aesthetic for design, her passion for vintage textiles and her ability to discover inspiring people and share their soul stirring stories is what draws me to OUATT time and again. 
5 years into blogging, Priya celebrated this milestone with an anniversary issue. The issue was a huge success and it gave Priya a reason to take her penchant for writing and curating all things beautiful and inspirational to the next level! She indulged her readers with a monthly digital issue packed with stories of remarkable and inspiring people, weaving tales of textiles, enchanting home tours and so much more….12 issues later and a thriving, diverse, global readership, OUATT has launched its paid subscription issue that is now available on Joomag.
Reading a magazine is a great way to unwind. However, I also look for added benefits like being creatively inspired, finding a new perspective on issues and being better informed at the end of such reading sessions. When Priya reached out to me to showcase the subscription issue of the OUATT magazine on TECD, I was more than happy to do so as every previous issue has continually promised to deliver what it says "Amazing People. Boundless Creativity”. Their new April 2015 issue is no different and is packed with chock full of good reads with the highlights being a home tour of artist Jutta Rikola in Finland, newly decorated Once Upon A Tea Time studio and engaging conversations with creative entrepreneur Mili Suleman of Kufri Life and artist Pragati Sharma Mohanty

Make sure you get your copy today and devour it over a cup of chai........ 

Image credits/Copyright: OUATT Magazine

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hints of Spring Pastels!

Can you smell it in the air? That intoxicating and indescribable fresh spring scent…..
The harsh winter, ruthlessly drained the landscape of all the color but spring is working overtime in my part of the world to restore and repaint nature’s canvas. I love the changes this season brings with it…..
  • The frozen ground thaws and fresh shafts of grass begin to push through the soil to kiss the sun; 
  • The tinges of sweet fragrance and buttery radiance of daffodils together mixed with other spring pastels that breathe back life into the dreary winter gardens;
  • The musical orchestra of birds tweeting and chirping with the first morning rays of the sun;
  • Warmer, brighter and longer days that invite you to get your dose of Vitamin D;
  • Gardens centers becoming a bevy of activity and those garden pliers and shovels find themselves back in action;
  • Toe nails get painted and the boots get ditched for open toed flirty sandals;
  • Long lines that stretch at the car wash and you waiting impatiently to rediscover your car’s true paint color under all that winter grit and 
  • The April showers that make chai time that much more fun! I love it all!
Here are a few frames of the subtle touches of spring at home. I love pairing this soft, pastel, feminine hue with the luster of brass. 

When you find fallen flowers on your long walks, what do you do? Bring them home and float them.....

A new tea cup with those cherry blossom motifs, seemed like the perfect way to ring in spring…..
If you don’t see me here too often at the TECD blog, it only mean that I’m out there taking in all that there is to enjoy of this wonderful season:) I truly believe that if it wasn't for winter and the absence of it all, I may not be so receptive to all the wonderful changes that is happening around me……. 
Don't you think, floating a few Cherry Blossoms in a brass urli is a wonderful way to bring in a touch of spring to your decor? 
Happy Spring!

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Anthropologie's April 2015 Lookbook

Dropping in to say a quick hello and letting you know that Anthropologie's April 2015 lookbook is out. I love the product styling and feel that it captures - perfect blue skies with kites used to set the tone of a carefree and relaxed atmosphere. It would be amiss if I did not mention their March 2015 lookbook too. In my opinion, their March 2015 catalog is one of the best so far. The wanderlust theme and India inspired look, together with the play of textures and riot of colors, was all so tempting. If you haven't had a chance to peruse through it, do check it out here

Coming back to the April 2015 lookbook. Here are a few of my favorites from the decor section...... 

Have a wonderful Day!

Image Credit/Copyright : Anthropologie