Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Laissez-Faire style of Decorating (Home Tour)

Based in Gurgaon(India), this rental pad is the home of the urban nomads, the Hoskote family. 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. Together they have a 14 year old teenager. Though the couple  have disparate professional backgrounds, they have an intrinsic liking when it comes to the topic of interior design and home decor. The family has lived in this place for about 6 years. Sprinkling it with generous doses of their personality and unique collections, their abode is anything but a regular rental home. Infact, as I write this blog post they are all packed and ready to set up base, yet again in a new home ! 

What struck me about the Hoskotes decorating style is its refined, laid-back, real and quintessentially global in appeal, each in the perfect proportion. Over to Hemangini to explain more about her style, "I'm as passionate about Home decor as I am about my profession in the field of Nutrition. Guess it’s a balance between the left and right brain activities that makes me happy! Am very fortunate that my husband shares my love for an aesthetically done up home and what we invest in, is often a joint decision. I love reading, music, travelling, cooking, pencil sketching and gardening and certain aspects of these are reflected in my home. As regards interior design, I dislike ornate décor as also too many heavy, dark pieces of furniture. I am not a fan of opulent or a kitschy look.The preference is towards a look that is natural, clean, uncluttered with an understated elegance. We pick up whatever we love and then mix it with our existing stuff. So it could be something during our travels or ancestral, we don’t believe in following any particular style because it seems like it limits our choices. But yes, we do hate the false-ceiling-decorated-look." We hear you loud and clear Hemangini, not a fan of it either!
When it comes to the subject of flowers, Hemangini is a lady after my own heart. She loves to bring the outdoors in with groupings of fresh flowers in every nook and corner of her home. For instance, on the coffee table, she has employed a brass container from a kabaddi store in Surat to house these radiant sunflowers. She also managed to salvage a coconut scraper from Jew Town, Kochi that is currently serving as a wooden tray! 
The entryway of the home, hosts a collage of the family's art. Batik Ganapatis were picked up from the first ever Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai. The Tanjore painting of Goddess Lakshmi casually propped against the wall, was a parting gift from a friend in Chennai. As you can see, the little console illustrates the style that follows in the rest of the home. The artwork is prudently paired with a stone sculpture of Ganapati picked up from Siem Reap, Cambodia. 
The living room boasts of a pared down, simplistic style with an underlying color scheme in an oatmeal shade. Chestnut stained furniture and warm bright hues are used as accent colors to add a little verve to this space. No-fuss surfaces and a conscious effort to edit their collection imbues the home with a relaxed, casual mood.  
In the far corner of the living room, the warm glow of brass seeks attention. The exquisite Radha-Krishna idols are from Bengaluru and made of an alloy of bronze and brass.
Thoughtfully put together vignettes are scattered throughout the home making it a visual feast for the onlooker. This beautiful vignette comprises of a Ram- Sita wood carving from Ubud, Bali, lac containers from Myanmar and a potted green for that splash of freshness.
It's commendable how Hemangini has played with textural variations. Tactile beauty at its best........Burmese sculpture of bell/gong ringers sourced from Myanmar is prudently paired with a Raphis palm.
Another grouping of treasured possessions - Buddha and disciples (originally part of a 7-piece set) from Myanmar, horse table from Jodhpur and recycled Spanish glass bowl with floating sunflowers.
This was the lovely lounging nook that I had seen on Hemangini's Instagram gallery that ticked off the entire house tour episode! Isn't it perfect!This is Hemangini preferred place to relax, "The Chaise Lounge is my favorite place to read, savor a hot cup of tea or simply relax." The Indonesian Mirror Frame was bought in Dubai, the teal vase is a Khan Market, Delhi find and the Chaise Lounge is from Ikea. 
You can't go wrong with a composition of books, fresh flowers and a teal mosaic teapot from Leh! Decor advice from Hemangini, "It may sound cliche but I absolutely believe in using/buying something I totally love. Then it’s easy to work it into my existing decor. Am a believer in "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”."
A hand-crafted Moroccan lamp is turned on to drive the evening gloom away! The bamboo-handled vase is from Auroville, small bowls from a local pottery exhibition and a pencil sketch inspired by Raja Ravi Varma's "The Milkmaid" was done by Hemangini herself.
The chair you see here is a prized possession of the family... a set of two, these were handmade by Hemangini's husband's grandfather over 80 years ago.Very fond of working with wood, he used his spare time to engage in creating beautiful creations out of this medium.
A grouping of earthen pots from Indonesia and Delhi make for a lovely corner. The Iranian Kilim bought in Dubai defines the living area and adds the much needed warmth to the cold Gurgaon winters.
A potpourri of African dolls, woven basket from Malaysia, seashell container from Dubai, another pencil sketch by he homeowner and some long stemmed Gladiolas make an interesting corner.
Antique dancing Buddha is another find from Siem Reap, Cambodia. More floating sunflowers in a copper urli from Coppre. Here's what Hemangini had to say about influences on her design style"My Mom has always inspired me to keep a beautiful home. She did a marvelous job at a time when decor stores in India were non-existent. I have always been interested in home decor and would devour all the fabulous decor books in the library right since my college days!"
A collection of musical instruments from the continent of Africa make for a rustic, global display. 
Masks brought back from a holiday to Venice are framed beautifully in an Ikea Shadow box. The Black-n-White painting below it was done by the 14 year old as a school Art class project. Hemangini managed to coax the teacher to part with it, now proudly displayed as part of the wall collage in the living room!
Clockwise from left: An assortment of Blue-n-white vases makes for an attractive display. The collection comprises of tealight holder from Jaipur, Delft pottery from Holland and more ceramics and glass finds that are part of the vignette as they come from the same color family of blue. A closer look at the Ganesha from the entryway; The copper container is from the bylanes off Juma Masjid, New Delhi and hosts a generous bunch of Queen Anne's lace; and musicians are from Vietnam.
Hemangini loves to swap out her decor accessories every now and then to keep the ambiance looking fresh and interesting. Here, the Indonesian masks from Java are replaced with a Turkish ceramic plate. The carved wooden plate is from Surajkund Mela, Faridabad and the vermilion jewelry box from Trivandrum, Kerala.
Hemangini says the rental pad posed many decorating challenges as the wall colors were boring, kitchen uncomfortable and dark and certain corners of the apartment such as the dining area do not get enough natural light. However, the challenges did not preclude Hemangini from creating an evolved, inviting and initmate space that downplays the negative aspects of a rental property and highlights the inhabitants personality, interests and their well traveled life.
The bedroom is a calming landscape done up in shades of white that oozes a hideaway vibe. The bedside table is uncluttered and organised, with a stem or two of fragrant roses to delight the senses. Describing what a home means to her, Hemangini shares, "A place which exudes love, warmth comfort and beauty. It has to have aesthetic appeal to soothe and calm one after all the stresses of the outside world."

With that its a wrap people! I'd like to thank Hemangini and her wonderful family for letting us tour their beautiful home despite their agenda to pack and move. We wish you all the very best and  another wonderful decorating journey in the new home:) 

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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Girl Thinks (Featured Artist/Brand)

Here at TECD, we revel in showcasing artists who push the limits of originality, dream big and venture to turn those dreams into reality! Today’s feature throws spotlight on a new-age jewelry brand that embraces more than just precious metals and thrives on the model of avant-garde. Our featured brand, believes in embracing the ephemeral quality of paper and has judiciously manipulated the so-called fragile material to create light-weight, vibrant, versatile, whimsical accessories with a boho-chic appeal. Introducing, “Girl Thinks” (GT) - a Gurgaon based jewelry brand that churns out fashion accessories with a distinct style! Characterized by combining paper, graphic designs and colorful beads/pom-pops, the term paper jewelry has a whole new meaning. Vivid pop art colors bring alive designs inspired by India – the lotus, pankha (handfan), mehendi inspired art, popular Indian Hindu deities and the traditional Madhubani art are just some of the core design muses that appear on these unique creations. 
Girl Thinks is led by mother and daughter duo, Aparna and Ananya Vyas. Though they come from different professional backgrounds, anything creative has always been their common meeting ground. Aparna hails from a prominent art family in Lucknow and is an artist herself. Combining her passion for art and her need to share her knowledge, she takes great pleasure in teaching visual arts. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Ananya too graduated with a degree in Fine arts and a specialization in Advertising. I had the opportunity to have a one-on-one with Ananya and talk to her about her foray into the world of design and learn more about their company Girl Thinks.
TECD: Welcome to TECD Ananya! Delighted to talk to you about your creative venture Girl Thinks! Let’s start by asking you what does the name “Girl Thinks” actually symbolize?
Ananya: “We always wanted to have a name that was an interesting one. Something that made people stop and wonder what it could possibly mean. Well, we’re a team of two girls doing it all. The best team that could ever be. We’re a mother daughter duo and Girl Thinks is our little company where we love dreaming of all things beautiful and work our best to make them happen.”

TECD: Do share more about your journey into the world of jewelry design? 
Ananya: “A few years back, a relative of ours was having an exhibition of her kurtas and sarees in Delhi and had asked my mother to keep a bunch of her handmade terracotta and paper earrings alongside her display of clothes. By the end of that one day exhibition we were completely sold out on all our paper earrings while we still had a lot of the terracotta ones left. We were beyond thrilled, it was a fun day and that was it. We did not see any reason to pursue it, until a few years later when I was working as an associate producer at an Internet based start-up and the work load was insane. Seeing me hustle so hard, it was my mother who suggested if I could do something of my own and put all that hard work for myself. Glad I took up on that suggestion and after endless sessions of scratching our heads in hope of finding an idea, we finally saw what had always been right in front of our eyes and it was the paper jewelry my mother did years back! That is how the idea fell in place and we couldn’t have had anything more unique to start off with!”
TECD: What according to you is the USP of your brand? 
Ananya: “Girl Thinks is our innovative little take at making pieces of jewelry that are exquisite and fun at the same time, a refreshing break from the kind of jewelry we’re used to see every day. The medium being Paper of course gets people fascinated and makes us get noticed amongst the massive jewelry jungle that’s out there. But besides it all, what we truly believe sets us apart are the designs that people have been showering their love upon. Bold, India inspired pieces with a dash of quirk and lots of color is how we do it. Keeping it all handmade in times of things being mass produced, we are so proud to be making it all, one at a time which adds a special uniqueness to each piece and keeps us different.” 

TECD: How different is it working with paper as a medium? What would you say are the advantages and challenges of working with paper from your experience?
Ananya: “We don’t consider Paper differently. It’s just like any other medium that comes with its own set of flexibility and challenges. What really makes the medium different is the way we’ve put it to use and we’re more than happy to be able to give it an innovative twist by making beautiful, long lasting jewelry and in the way invent a style that’s our very own. Advantages – Amazingly Light weight and hassle free. Jewelry that you can wear all day, every day. Disadvantages – Although we’ve made the jewelry moisture resistant, we still advise to keep it off water.”
TECD: I'm curious about what your creative process entails. Tell us more? 
Ananya: “We don’t settle down to create our jewelry piece by piece, but rather by a vision as to how we want the entire collection to look and create a theme around it. We’re seeking inspiration all the time, pinning ideas on the internet to jotting them down in diaries and mobile apps. Over the time we’ve learned to find inspiration in little things around us and living in a country like India- you really don’t have to look far to find something interesting and give it your own unique twist. Since we are handcrafting every piece, we are sharp on details. Be it a certain color, the size of a bead or the weight of the jewelry, every aspect is well thought of and has hours of brainstorming sessions behind it with layers of detailing underneath. It’s such an incredible and satisfying experience to see an inspiration form into an idea and travel a long way to finally become a product that becomes a part of so many other lives.“

TECD: Who according to you is your ideal GT woman? 
Ananya: “The ideal GT woman is someone who makes her own style rather than be trend follower. She loves color and a touch of culture to her personality. Bold and headstrong, she isn’t afraid to embrace something new and be different. But having said that all, we’d simply want every women to wear our jewelry!”
TECD: If you had to narrow it down to one memorable experience w.r.t. GT, what would that be?
Ananya: “When we look back to how we begun to how things are today, all we have in between are so many wonderful experiences. But the most precious one being of a day when I was travelling by the metro and a girl walked in wearing a pair of our Kathputli earrings! What a thrill that was, spotting someone flaunting our jewelry, it was just too much happiness to contain!”

TECD: What are your future plans for GT?
Ananya: "With our designs being the soul and strength of our company we are excited to be expanding into a range of other beautiful products, within this year, besides the jewelry, that will always remain an integral part.”
TECD: What is your success mantra as a small business owner? 
Ananya :"It’s not that we’re a pro at this, but here are a few things that we’ve learned along the way:
· Always remember why you started and let your business be an unapologetic reflection of your dreams.
· Failure is inevitable, so learn to take the blows and embrace them because they happen for a reason. 
· Make your products speak for yourself. Good products and a sweet word go a long way and have people come back to you for more. 
· Success doesn’t happen overnight, so learn to be patient. 
· Count your blessings and don’t even think of giving up!”
Thank you Ananya for taking the time to share your wonderful brand and your inspirational journey with my readers. We wish this very talented duo nothing but the very best! 

With summer here, team pieces from the GT collection with an ethnic sleeveless kurta, saree or a regular white tee and jeans. These pieces will effortlessly fit into your style and get all the lovely attention your way! To place your order, write to Ananya at To see their entire collection and stay abreast of latest updates on their upcoming collections, connect with them via Instagram and their FB page

As for you my folks, I hope you enjoyed this feature and have yourself a great week ahead!

(Image Courtesy: Girl Thinks)