Monday, April 30, 2018

The Drishti Collection from Mayil

Remember the ritual when mom used to rub her little finger against her kohl lined eyes and transfer a smudge of that to our cheek as drishti pottu or kala tika? Well, that happens to me to this very day, when I have mom around. I personally find the act very endearing and feel like I'm five again. So when I found out about the new collection "Drishti" from Mayil, it struck a nostalgic chord. I have blogged about Mayil earlier and have even featured snippets of Madavi Oliver's (the heart and soul of Mayil) home. Go ahead and give it a read if you haven't already
Today, however the focus in on their new collection Drishti. What I absolutely loved about the collection was the way in which Madavi had reinterpreted these traditional rituals and beliefs to cater to today's modern woman. You probably already know that, this belief of evil eye is not only evident in Indian culture but is also prominent in various cultures across the world. There are various remedies to nullify the effects of evil eye - the Hamsa that is popular in the Middle East and North Africa, Talisman and amulets in Islamic sects and then our very own lemon and chilli strung together used in North India or the colorful demon masks guarding the outside of the house in the south. 

Here's what Madavi had to say about how the collection came together and how it works, "I was inspired by memories of drishti pottus, drishti bommais and other rituals found in South Indian culture to design Mayil's drishti necklaces. An odd (albeit beautiful) bead for an asymmetry to deflect any drishti coming your way. While a black bead seems to fit in perfectly, I have also used copper, silver and coral beads as a variation in these necklaces to create a visually pleasing asymmetry as well."

These handmade neckpieces come in an array of colors and are a marriage of colored gemstones and silver pendants. My favorites from the collection being the Om necklace, the Celtic style mandala and ofcourse the the Ganesha neckpiece. Grab yours today to give your outfit a touch of the boho while it also works to deflect any negative energy coming your way. These are also a very thoughtful gifting option. Madavi also takes custom orders so reach out to her at To check out the entire Drishti collection click here. TECD readers get a special discount with the use of code MAYIL10 (a $10 discount) off all your purchases. Offer valid until the end of May 2018.

While you are virtually visiting the Mayil online boutique may I also suggest that you check out their range of colorful scarves and hand selected range of decor accessories

(Images are the property of Mayil/Madavi Oliver and may not be used without prior written permission.)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Adept at Layering of Cultures (Home Tour)

An elegantly edited Gurgaon home is a visual reminder of the homeowners' intrinsic love for diverse cultures and a life well lived. The Bondals have had the pleasure to travel and experience life in different countries as Jaishankar Bondal served as an Indian diplomat for 34 years. They've had the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy the sprawling homes that were bestowed upon them while in service but decided to downsize when retirement came knocking. Gleefully accepting a slower pace of life, Jaishankar and Nirmala (a professional singer and artist) moved to Gurgaon for apartment style living. More from Nirmala on transitioning from palatial bungalows to their current maintenance friendly and cozy home, "We came to live in our apartment, since July 2008, after my husband retired from Mauritius, as "The Indian High Commissioner". We owned this apartment a few years before coming to live here, so we were preparing in the last few years of my husband's career , to shrink from the big and beautiful houses, while my husband headed the missions in Canada, Tajikistan and Mauritius. Well, in all the years with our govt., serving as the proud representatives of our country, we both were very particular to showcase the best we have culturally. However with no preconceived strong likes and dislikes, we adapted very well to people, places and ideas. Always happy to imbibe all that was offered to us in a place that was home away from home.

With Chinese language and politics as Jaishankar's expertise, we naturally stayed the most in China with 7 years in Beijing and (3 more if you count Hong Kong).This rich culture with amazing artifacts was a big temptation to behold. We however never spent on very expensive objects,but had a keen eye for things which we would always enjoy. We always focused on getting light furniture with which we could play around and made it easy for the many moves. 
The entrance to the home is decked in aesthetic charm leading you to believe that the rest of the home is no different. A Shiv Parvati statue in the tribhanga posture (possibly modeled on the life sized originals in the caves at Kanheri, Mumbai) takes centerstage. Around the base, a grouping of traditional brass lamps from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and a "tree" lamp from Goa take the vingette to a whole new level. Placed above the pillar is a four headed Ganapati, the heads representing the four Vedas.
The instrument on the small accent table is from Tajikistan, in Central Asia. It traces its ancestry from Persia, now Iran. It is called dutar, a two string folk instrument and a precursor of Sarangi and the Sitar. By its side is a scale model of a medieval Japanese carriage (pulled by oxen rather than horses). Made of lacquer,it can be easily dissembled. Behind it is a miniature Japanese screen,painted in gold leaf traditional designs.
The bigger wooden chest was sold to Nirmala as a "cooling box". It serves perfectly to store all of Nirmala's table linen and useful dining paraphernalia. Nirmala reminiscenes saying that, "Exploring Chinese markets and unorganized, yet bustling bazaars, was a tremendous pleasure, as one unexpectedly came across mysterious and beautiful articles.Today,the Chinese landscape has become modern,but predictably dull!"
Lighting up this corner is a traditional bronze lamp with Chinese characters on the lampshade. This corner is also smattered with a collection of bronze objects - a Korean bell, the famous flying horse from the " Tang Dynasty" period, a "Chinte" lion from Burma[Myanmar] and the "Ding" a Chinese sacrificial vessel or urn on a tripod.
A contemporary looking display shelf from Sweden houses all of Nirmala's crystal glassware. The design lends presence without cluttering the space. To contrast the crystal ware, Nirmala has placed the miniature blue porcelain horses, made at a well known historical china ware factory with the "Jin De Zheng" designs. A pair of wooden monk statues originating from Burma reinforce the layering of cultures theme in the home. As a foil to all these is an elaborately constructed ,vividly colored Kathakali head from Kerala.
At the far end of the living room, what was once a good sized balcony is now enclosed and poses as an extension of the living room. This is where the couple enjoy their morning cup of tea in the company of plants. Nirmala has creatively used 2 vintage copper vessels - the big one as a centre table and the smaller one as a lamp. A Chinese cane basket holds reading material while a pretty patterned rug adds warmth to the floor.
A majestic China cabinet serves its purpose by holding Nirmala's collection of crockery. A copper Samovar (meant to keep tea hot) sits pretty on top of the cabinet along with a model of a war ship from Mauritius. The simple elegance of Vintage Ming Imperial-Style Chinese Chairs definitely adds the right amount of global edge to the living room. It is believed that these chairs are designed to provide relief and comfort to aching joints. The delicate collection of vases sporting the lotus design are antiques and sit pretty on the carved scroll table (the idea of  a scroll table being written scrolls used to be spread on top of such tables and used at the religious altar).
A beautiful cloisonne lamp (with busy patterns in enamel) lights up this corner, while a pair of Indonesian puppets engages the onlooker for some visual drama. Nirmala shares more about her decorating scheme, "With Delhi/ Gurgaon having hot summers and dusty winds, we do not indulge in heavy upholstery. We also enjoy playing around with our pieces, which refreshes us and breaks the monotony."   
The living room is mostly furnished with authentic asian inspired furniture like this mahogany opium bed. Behind it on the walls is a pair of lacquer wall hangings. The paintings have beautiful relief work that makes a strong design statement and complements the ongoing decorating scheme.
The pair of white and blue elephants was purchased by the couple in Hong Kong. With a glass top added to it, it currently serves as an accent table. At times, Nirmala has also used it to display her potted greens.
The dining room of the Bondals is slightly different as in it has Swedish furniture. On their posting in Sweden, the couple started admiring the straight lines and simple style of this style of practical furniture. The dining table with chairs in pine wood is a very stark change from the deep wood tones seen throughout the other parts of the home. The highlight of this space is the wall with masks! Mostly collected from the many places the Bondals have lived in or visited. Their vivid colors and variety draws everyone`s attention. Bondals children (now married) bring back souvenirs every now and then to add to their parents' collection of masks.
I hope you enjoyed this beautiful home tour that is a collage of diverse cultures. This home tour has been in the making for many months now. So glad it finally got to see the light of day! Thank you Bondals for letting us tour your lovely home and we wish you the very best! The one person who needs a special mention is Hemangini Hoskote. She not only introduced me to the Bondals but also took time off from her very busy schedule to shoot images for the home tour. I can't thank you enough Hemangini!!!

As for you my lovely people, I know how much you enjoy good home tours so am currently working on bringing you another one  all the way from Singapore. Stay tuned!

(Photo Credits: Hemangini Hoskote for TECD; Image Copyright: Nirmala Jaishankar Bondal. The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial use without the prior written permission of  Nirmala Jaishankar Bondal & TECD.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

An Intimate space as fresh as the Spring Greens

Today's bedroom in focus is a beacon of visual simplicity. Balancing the abundance of white and neutral shades in this bedroom are the pops of cobalt blue and cheerful fuchsia. With no dearth of windows and a view of the trees at all times, the light from the window bounces off the whites in the room making it bright even on a sunless day. This gorgeous room is put together by Pratiksha Tandon, an Architect and Interior designer, currently living in the bay area. Here's what Pratiksha had to share about her design aesthetics, "My design aesthetic has evolved over the years from living in different parts of north India then travelling to the east coast and now finally the west. Having lived in apartments throughout, I realized the value of having limited functional pieces of furniture which are versatile in their use. I personally like bright, clutter free spaces. I believe one can make any space beautiful by using things one already owns without indulging in expensive decor pieces, with a little bit of creativity and an eye for good composition. In addition to that I love layering different colors, textures, prints and fabrics in my styling."

Simple clean lines and a clutter free organised space allows the eye to travel unimpeded, bringing an instant calm and serenity that every private sanctuary should explicitly communicate.

As you can gather, Pratiksha believes in the art of mixing. Be it textures, colors or patterns she has a way with them. For the current bedding, she has effortlessly managed to intermix pieces from 3 different bedsets! A wicker basket from a thrift store finds a cosy spot on the nightstand as a plant holder. A few books and other tchotchkes complete this functional yet personality filled corner.
I'm not surprised when Pratiksha tells me that her favorite spot in the house has to be this little reading nook. Propped up with cushions in blues and whites, this corner allows one to be insync with the outdoors despite being comfortably seated inside.  
A bunch of very healthy succulent cuttings from a generous neighbor adorn the empty planters and vases. Prathiksha says, "I cannot imagine a home without plants. They infuse a space with so much life." I couldn't agree with her more.
With that we come to the end of this no fuss private sanctuary. Hope you took away some cues to see how you could infuse aesthetic charm and visual interest in an all neutral intimate space. Thank you Prathiksha for sharing your decorating tips and a slice of your haven with us on TECD. Should you wish to follow along with her on her decorating journey, connect with Prathiksha on Instagram.

(Image Credit/Copyright: Pratiksha Tandon. The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial use without the prior written permission of  Pratiksha Tandon & TECD.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Soft Landing (Featuring Freedom Tree)

If you follow me on Instagram you would know that I am very excited about my collaboration with Freedom Tree. Each of their products packs in so much. Energetic colors and strong print direction pump up the personality quotient of their products while their carefully selected materials and thoughtful design process unites great quality with authentic style. Their claim of "stimulating the freedom to have fun" is genuine. Freedom Tree’s incredibly stylish cushion covers truly made me leave my inhibitions behind and allowed the bohème in me to takeover. Damask Rose cushion cover from their latest collection aligns perfectly with the upcoming spring season. Feathery friends and floral patterns instantly bring the outdoors in. The Damask Rose cushion cover together with the solid kaki colored cushion made its way to our guest bedroom.
Decided to bring in more greenery and print, different materials and textures and top it off with some fun accessories. Result being a dowdy space was transformed into a mini-retreat in no time. (FYI – wall art is actually a plate charger and a woven tray.)

A close up of the fun prints and details!

Next, was the pretty blush pink silk cushion cover with the delicate red embroidery. The unusual color combination really got my creative juices flowing. I decided to design a whole room around this one. Added a lamp, a metal vase from Jaipur, books with spines in a coordinating hues, votive holders and Moroccan tea glasses and a touch of shine and shimmer through brass. 
The vintage brass Surahi is a cherished gift that a dear colleague/friend brought back from his homeland Azerbaijan.
For those of you who like exploring color options, experimenting with mixing and less matching and take delight in expressing yourself through your home, Freedom Tree is the answer to your décor queries. They also have a beautiful range of tableware, décor accessories, soft furnishings and furniture. A lot of their furniture pieces lean towards the mid-century modern style. However, they have recently launched a boho-licious collection with ornate carvings and all. The Bari bed  being a favorite!To browse their website or make an online purchase, click here.

(Image Credit/Copyright: Sruthi Singh. The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial use without the prior written permission of  TECD.)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

An Inextricable Indian connection (Living room tour of Sangita Pillai)

Recently I chanced upon Sangita Pillai's fabulous home via her Instagram gallery and immediately knew, I had to share it with my readers. So I reached out to her and what do you know! She obliged despite her very busy travel schedule. An engineer by education and an artist by passion, Sangita's intricate creations narrate her ability to combine her Indian influence with her global exposure. Sangita's penchant for color and experimentation is also mirrored in her beautiful home in Singapore. The home effuses a fantastic balance of color, aesthetics, inextricable Indian connection and captivating personal style. In Sangita's own words, "My decor style is a mix of the traditional with contemporary and a touch of eclectic. I love adding pops of color through my artwork and my furnishings.
Potted plants, brass artifacts, hand-embellished and other curated artworks, compelling pops of color and eye catching patterns together with tons of natural light makes this space a dream. The neutral backdrop is the best contrast for the darker tones in the room. Everything is so seamlessly integrated into this warm and family friendly place.....It makes me wanna jump right through the screen and hang out here for a while......... 
The Ganesha artwork displayed in the niche was a gift from a loved one. But the other framed art along side the Ganesha are Sangita's own creation. She tells me that recycling and up cycling things to make art is another one of her areas of expertise. Would you believe me if I told you that the trio of artwork was made by recycling magazine pages?? Make sure to hop over to her very vibrant Instagram gallery where she shares her art and very unique DIY projects. Her IG gallery is truly a testament of her creativity, tremendous patience and artistic vision.
Here's a close up of the details of the artwork just for you. 
(Decor Tip: Sangita's home is a fine example of how wall art should be hung at eye level.)
If you've been eyeing those henna inspired paisley cushion covers, they are designed by none other than our uber-talented Sangita herself. Should you want one for your home, Sangita retails these along with many other fun and vibrant products at Society6. Please click here to purchase or to see her entire collection. 
Thank you so much Sangita for sharing your beautiful home and art with my readers. We wish you the very best!

(Image Credit/Copyright : Sangita Pillai. The images may NOT be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the prior written permission of Sangita Pillai and TECD.)