Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blend and Create Style Perfected (Home Tour)

When I look around the Srirams' home, I can’t help but quote from Brideshead Revisited, “It was an aesthetic education to live within those walls.” – Evelyn Waugh. Based in the little town of Canton, Ohio, the Srirams' home is a veritable reflection of the home owners’ strong personalities, their fascination for music and art, their cultural roots, inspired details from their travels and life's explorations and an effort to enhance the everyday living. 

Sriram is a senior human resources professional, Divya - a leadership and executive coach and Rohan their 9 year old, 4th grader, who celebrates sports and geography in their myriad forms. Quoting Divya, “Sriram and I work with people a lot as part of our jobs and our personalities are aligned that way. We extend this aspect to our home decorating as well. We believe in learning from people and sharing what we have.” Having moved from Bangalore to Ohio only 3 years back, the Srirams have done a commendable job of putting it all together so beautifully in such a short time span. As you will see, their home is a manifestation of the core values that they believe in as a family, “One of the ways we build relationships is we stimulate meaningful conversations, discuss music, share our notes on inspiring books, promote art, energize with bright colors (along with lovely sunshine as our house is facing the east) and appreciate photographs of great memories. This is true for us as a family and also when we invite people home. These have been our core principles as we went about designing our home.”
Divya describes their style of decorating as "Blend and Create". “We appreciate different cultures and love India deeply. So we are constantly looking for bringing pieces together. I believe in maximizing the synergy and fusion.”And true to their style, the minute you step into their foyer, a fascinating assortment of Indo-Oriental artifacts welcome you. The black stone Hanuman statue takes center stage in the foyer. It's a tribute to Divya’s mother-in-law who was a devote follower of Hanuman. Traditional brass Kerala Villakus flanking the statue and the urli bring the South Indian touch to the foyer. The gallery wall of the foyer displays a custom made mirror that was designed by Divya and her Dad. The duo conceptualized the mirror from start to finish with the special touch being the addition of the Kanjeevaram saree border, making it a truly unique piece. Mini Tanjore paintings and wood carvings from Bangkok complete the look.

Some of the other pretty elements in the foyer, clockwise from left : (a)Divya loves collecting art made by friends and artisans.This elephant art is a special one made by a close friend and it turned out to be perfectly aligned with the flower vase which has the same color palette;(b)A Gajalakshmi Tanjore painting gifted to Divya by her parents finds a place of importance in the entryway;(c)An intricately carved Dasha avatar wooden sculpture, picked up at the Dastkar exhibition in Bangalore leads spruces up the way to the living room.   
Divya is constantly brimming with decor ideas and is a strong believer of 'storyboarding'. She does this as part of her job, when she works with corporates and extends this to her home decor design too. She says it’s all about creating a story! And boy, she sure knows how to weave an interesting one! To frame Kolam stickers  was Divya's ingenious idea.
The Sriram’s living room is a gateway to India. Tangerine hues pop against a neutral backdrop that is laid out with a variety of inviting seating options. Art from different parts of India, favorite books and meticulously curated artifacts create a cozy grandeur. Divya says, “Our living room is a place where we welcome guests to India, encourage conversations on books, showcase various coffee table books on India, music and art of India and can even play a quick game of Palan Kuzhi. Our guests have always felt energized in this room and the colors play a big role in that.”
A quick game of Palankuzhi (an ancient game of count and carry forward from Tamil Nadu) anyone?
Art is not only celebrated in the Sriram's household but it is a prominent factor in adding their individual stamp to their home. The color saturated Kerala mural painting of Nataraja was a recent addition  to their collection of art. Sriram is a huge fan of Lord Nataraja and is to be given due credit for his keen eye when it comes to art in the home. When asked who calls the design shots at home, Divya says, “Sriram was not much of a home decor enthusiast till we got married. I was always one, since I came from a family which appreciates decor deeply. Sriram followed sheepishly :) But is now a great design partner. We have our own strengths. Selecting art for the walls is always a joint decision and Sriram plays a much bigger role there to provide the meaning. He also chooses the books for the home to share with others and the music elements are chosen by him. I specialize in the color palette and conceptualizing the room design." 
I absolutely love this traditional seating option from Cottage emporium Bangalore. The Srirams were able to bring most of their favorite pieces with them from India.“We have been fortunate to have had Sriram's employer allowing us a shipment to bring our furniture all the way from India which was a huge benefit. We feel we could decorate our house to where it is today, thanks to the company which sponsored the move.”
On the opposite wall is another attention grabbing Madhubani painting. Divya says, “I love love Madhubani art! This one was custom made by an artist in Bihar based on the size of the wall that I wanted this to be showcased on. Made with acrylic paint, this art was my first one made for the home years ago. I have been inspired by TECD to align the colors of the cushion covers to the art work colors and that’s how this corner came about.”
A warm glow envelopes the room, when the lamps come on in the evening!
A view of the dining room from the living. Cushion covers from India Circus jazz up the off white upholstery. 
It's all in the details! Clockwise top from left: (a)A Bronze Nataraja statue; Another favorite of Divya's is a brass statue of Lord Karthikeya. Love the shades of deep blue and mustard in this vignette; (b)A copper kettle from Crate and Barrel houses a single stem of money plant. (c)A pair of South Indian wooden hand painted busts add the Indian flavor to this nook in the living room.  
Next up is the Sriram's formal dining room. Divya went with a calming blue in the sunlight filled space. As a contrast, she has used shades of pink and orange to keep things interesting. Pictures of extended family members, a chai corner and views of the lush green backyard, makes you want to linger long after dinner is over and have those long and meaningful conversations with family and friends.
Clockwise top from left: (a)Chai art print from the store Chumbak in Bangalore; (b)A print of Ravi Verma's famous painting "The Maharashtrian Lady" was sourced from; (c)Colorful table mats from Chumbak are a fun way to introduce the many delicious Indian dishes to their non-Indian friends and the pretty patterned seat cushions from World Market co-exist happily in the setting.
The breakfast nook near the kitchen has a casual vibe. This is where the Srirams connect as a family over breakfast and dinner. Cheerful colors and warm copper tones give this space its happy note. 
Divya likes to call this her Copper corner. The copper wiring pendant lampshade was a lucky find at a clearance event in a lighting store. Can you spot Coppre's Linear Tumblers? (Divya was the lucky winner of the Coppre giveaway hosted by TECD.)

Divya shares that several vignettes in her home have been inspired by what she sees on TECD. "TECD has been a huge inspiration! I have been following TECD for a while now and have been able to take away so much from the blog. I have observed the way Sruthi conceptualizes and takes pictures. Aligning colors at the background and foreground, placing flowers in brass and copper vessels, designing corners, placing vignettes on unique platforms like books, boxes etc. which is super innovative. My home is a testimony of what I have been learning from the TECD blog!" 

It is moments like these that makes blogging so worth-while! Thank you for your kind words Divya!
The Srirams practice the Lotus Sutra philosophy of Buddhism. A peek into their prayer corner!

The Srirams are a musically inclined family. Sriram plays the Mridangam and their son Rohan is adept at playing the piano. Jugalbandi is always a part of the weekend evenings. As the focal point of the family room,  a Kalamkari painting of Lord Shiva (also a Mrindangam player) is placed above the mantel.
The musical corner of the Srirams! Apart from South Indian Classical music, Sriram also appreciates jazz. The gallery wall in the music corner features a collage of his favorite Indo-western musicians and pictures of Sriram playing his Mridangam across different timelines.
Another one of Divya's favorite corners in the home,"Part of the dinette area, this room faces the east and captures the morning sun......all the colors in the room seem to come alive. We have some favorite magazines and books kept in this little shelf that we usually tend to discuss during our meal times." A Kalighat painting done by a dear friend, Dharitri Tripathy adorns the wall above the shelf.
Divya's work station is a functional and productive space with inspirational quotes and meaningful artifacts endorsing a positive and encouraging atmosphere. Quoting Divya, "My work demands that I be creative as I design coaching and team facilitation workshops. As a source of inspiration, I've surrounded myself with inspirational quotes, pictures of  people who give me strength and a few of my favorite things that make me happy like the Zentangle art made by a dear friend !"
As you can tell Divya loves her jewelry. Instead of putting it away in the closet, she prefers to display it, where she can see it and wear it often.

With that we come to the end of the wonderful home tour. Finally leaving you with the words that Divya shared with us about what home means to her, "Home is a place where you can collect yourself, sit in a quiet corner and read, enjoy the sun filtering in, fill the home with sandalwood incense, savor your chai at your own pace, dance to your favorite tune in your PJs, get energized with lovely bright colors, revive great memories with photographs of family and friends and pray everyday with your loved ones." 

Thank you Srirams for so graciously allowing us to tour your beautiful abode. We wish you'll luck, health and happiness!

(Image Credit/Copyright: Divya Sriram. The images may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the home owners.)