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 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.)