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.)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Project Riwaayat by VB Design Studio - A nod to Color, Culture and Craftsmanship (Take a Tour)

Jaipur based Architecture and Interior Design firm, "VB Design Studio" has garnered a lot of attention lately for their newest project  - “Riwaayat” (translating to mean traditions). Lead Architect and Founder of VB Design Studio, Vipin Bakiwala (an alumni of MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur) is known to create spaces that are a true reflection of the Inhabitants’ soul. Assisting him in his various projects, is a seasoned design team comprising of young & enthusiastic architects, designers, artists and artisans. VB Design Studio was engaged by Mr. Ankit Chitlangiya (owner of Sapphire Fashions) to bring Project Riwaayat to life. Mr. Ankit Chitlangiya's business involves exporting traditional hand-block printed apparels and accessories [beach wear, tunics, bags, scarves, etc.] to a huge clientele across Europe. The buyers frequent his factory to discuss business and he was in dire need of a dedicated space to display his creations as well as provide a luxurious shopping and business experience for his clients. He strongly believed that bringing Vipin on board would bring vision, professional flair and a keen sense of style to this project. Without a doubt, Vipin's uncompromising commitment to detail from concept to completion, has created a space that is like none other!   
Located on the third floor of Mr. Ankit's factory, Project Riwaayat is a 3100 sq. ft. display space that encompasses two entrance lobbies, a sprawling display & discussion area, landscape, water body and four mockup areas- master bedroom, kid’s bedroom, lounge & dining. The project spanned a period of 24 months with VB Design Studio taking on Architecture, Interior Design and Product to create a style and culturally conscious space. From the very outset the team strove to seamlessly integrate the clients’ needs and design expectation with their own expertise in exploring and experimenting with different trends and materials with the objective of creating expressive and timeless designs. "The design language and vocabulary of the space celebrates the Rajasthani architecture, its many influences (mainly Mughal and Moroccan) and the art of block printing which was materialized authentically in both material and workmanship. The architectural inspirations expressed on modern lines such as ceilings with gardana, jaali, paan patta plaster moldings, lipai, mehraab (arches), chhatri (domes) and bageecha (mughal garden) give the space its key identity. Traditional portrayal of motifs of flora and fauna, are conspicuous throughout the space in art forms, wallpapers and upholstery. The space carries contemporary expressions of the traditional art & craft techniques- weaving with jute threads on khaat’, swarna patra work (gold leafing), arayesh work and hand crafted blue pottery tiles."
Starting off with the entrance to the lobby which is done in shades of sunset pink. Wall paper from Sabyasachi's collection adorns the ceiling and in-house designed iron lights dot the space along with intricate ‘jaali' partitions that mirror the old Rajasthani havelis. As you can see, there is a strong color play in almost all sections of Riwayaat. What's even more wonderful is that the design team did not stick to the age old adage of carrying a particular color family through out the space to make things cohesive. Infact, every room and every work area has been thoughtfully given boundaries via color, pattern and texture play.
The foyer entrance is imposing and makes for a great first impression with its Mughal inspired  cusped arch entrance (also known as the ‘Darwaza'). The ceiling with its sixteen domes representing a ‘Chhatri’ makes for maximum impact. Each dome is fitted with a custom made fabric light fixture brightening up the space with a welcoming glow.  Once through the doorway, the hand crafted wooden floor, earthy tone of the village inspired ‘Lipai’ (mud plastered wall) and a wide display unit with a movable assortment of the hand blocks talks of the teams effort to make a cultural point at every step of the way.  
The lounging area facing the fountain, addresses both needs - recreation for the buyers as well as a place to congregate and discuss business. Furnishing the space is a set of in-house designed sofa and coffee table. The rectangular table with intricate bone inlay work was sourced from Jodhpur and adds more visual drama. As for the fountain spouts, they are carved out of Jaisalmer yellow stone and Blue lapis stone. Birds sculpted from fiber and clay add life to it (look close, you'll see it). 
A set of twelve antique columns sourced from Jodhpur, of varying styles placed over the stretch of the Mughal inspired landscaped area & fountain, appeal to the panoramic vision of the viewer.
All eight chairs of the dining area are custom made and hand woven by the skilled local weavers based on the product design provided by VB Design Studio. However the icing on the cake is the ‘shamiyana’ ceiling in the dining room, making the dining experience a majestic affair!  
View of the dining and lounging area from a different angle.
Since, there are so many innovative and unorthodox design elements implemented in this project, I was more than interested in learning about the thought process and challenges that the team encountered in executing this project, "The 3,100 sq ft open space had abundance of sunlight and huge potential. It came to us as a blank canvas which called to bring out wildness of our imagination and think from a different and deeper perspective this time. After a series of day and night brainstorming, research, visiting villages, meeting craftsmen, learning about the methods like Arayash (fresco painting), lipai (mud like plastered walls), traditional khaat weaving, and so forth, we presented an entirely new experience to our client.  

The space lacked the palatial proportions so the design was at the risk of becoming obtuse. Also, there was a time, when we started playing with so many colors that it became difficult to find a symphony amidst them. But with deliberation, forethought, artists’ and client’s support, trial and error and experimentation with aesthetics, we were able to achieve the state of the art sophistication possessed by the royal spaces of Rajasthan.

VB Design team went all out to try and incorporate different wall treatments to keep the interiors looking fresh and interesting. The image to the right shows the inclusion of Indechine Promenade Wallpaper from Good Earth. This acts as the perfect backdrop for a collection of photographs from the client’s factory that are a token of gratitude to the workers and their skill. (Love how the plain white matting has been switched for a sunflower hue to make a bold statement!) To the left of the collage is another wonderful wall treatment. This is the result of traditional ‘Arayash’ work that was done by master craftsmen.
The display area on the left is the biggest that stretches the full width of the space. 
Display units with apparels stand close to the longer walls with changing rooms and storage strategically placed at the far end.
Mockups for the Bedroom and the Kiddos area are on display between the Entrance foyer and the landscape area. Softer hues dominate the kid's area with the client's product's being stylishly displayed without competing with the interiors.
The wall behind the bedroom mock-up is an interpretation of the decorative walls and facades of the many palaces that dot the historic city of Jaipur.
To achieve a VB Design Studio style vibe in your space, remember to follow these principal design mantras that they swear by: 
More Stunning displays from Riwaayat!!!
A close up of  some of the custom pieces that were designed unique to the client. My absolute favorite being the woven chairs.  

VB Design Studio undertakes a wide spectrum of work ranging from Architecture, Interior Design, Product Design, Art Consultancy (in collaboration with Sunividh Art to provide customized solutions & creative consultancy on various art forms, sculptures, paintings and artifacts), Project Management Consultancy and Turnkey Projects. The company currently takes on onsite projects all across the country. For professional design advice and project collaborations, please email VB Design Studio team at or call them at +91 141 272 9345/ +91 99291 08501 . You could also connect with them at their websiteFacebook, Instagram and other social media handles on their page. They are also on Houzz, do check them out! 

(Image Copyright/Credit : VB DEsign Studio. The images may not be copied or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purpose without the prior written permission from VB Design Studio and TECD.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Color Inspiration for Diwali 2017

With Dusshera out of the way, Diwali is next on the cards. My absolute favorite festival of all!!! But this year my spirits are dampened with all that is going on around us in our world. Hurricane, earthquake, shootout massacres....So much pain, despair and destruction. My family and I decided to refrain from over indulging this festive season and instead donate to a much needed cause.      
I feel blessed and grateful for all that I have in my life. Like always, I wanted to make it extra special for my family this festival season. On the decor front, rather than going out and buying things thoughtlessly,  I decided to make do with whatever I have and give it a few new twists. New color combinations, different placements and a whole lot of love have been the key ingredients in my festive vignettes this time.
Coming up first is a vignette with my pooja basket as the center piece. "My Lady with the Lamp" is always an integral part of my Diwali decor so I had to include her in this vignette. I usually don't like doing too much brass in one vignette. Instead, I like playing with a lot of different textures. But come Diwali time, "Brass Overload" is a must I say! So without a moment's hesitation, I filled a brass kaalash with flowers from my very own garden, a little height play for visual interest and cushions and diyas in coordinating color schemes to complete the look!  
And another shot, before we move from one end of the bold and brightly colored spectrum to a very neutral colored vignette in shimmering shades of gold and white!
As you can tell, I took this challenge way too seriously !!! Yup those are almost dried roses. But they were so pretty, they inspired me to work on this lovely color combination of gold, white and brown. Not a very TECD color formula but hey, if you've been with TECD long enough, you know, I almost always push the creative boundary. And this time, like I said, the challenge was to work with whatever I had!!! I mean seriously, I think it looks classy doesn't it! A winning color combination I say! 
The point of this entire post was to share that you don't need a whole lot to create a festive ambiance.  Even a bunch of withering roses can be made to look festive. A little creativity and an eye for beauty is all you need. Also make sure you take the time to pay it forward in someway this festive season. Along with lighting up a Diya, also make the effort to light up someone's face with a smile with your kind/thoughtful gesture! 

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Festive decor ideas from SMS Trading Company

My fellow desi-decor addicts in my part of the world,  if you are looking to switch things up a bit this festive season, I've rounded up some of my latest favorites from SMS Trading Company (yes, we've already toured their furniture gallery and Arti's home). Arti has a new loot of wooden musical Ganeshas and sculptures, carved wooden panels, ornate mirrors, wall art, pooja cabinets and the much sought after, signature collection of hand carved teak wood furniture. She recently shot these images exclusively for my TECD readers. Apart from lending that special desi touch to your home, some of these pieces would also make wonderful and very thoughtful gifts! So go on and shop your heart out. What's even better is that my TECD readers get 15% off with the code TECDSMS15, valid through October 9th, 2017. To see more of her collection, please click here. Also make sure to follow them on FB and Instagram. For an in house appointment, please write to Arti at or call her at +1 (678) 445-3756 (Landline). (SMS Trading ships only within North America.

(Incase you missed part 1 and 2 of the feature, please click here and here to see it all). Happy festive shopping !!

(Image Copyright/Credit : SMS Trading Company Inc. The images may not be copied or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purpose without the prior written permission from SMS Trading Company Inc. and TECD.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Going Back to the Roots (Home Tour)

Our next home tour takes us all the way to Edmonton (Canada). A couple's yearning for their roots, transforms a mundane builder grade home into a haven with a traditional Indian aesthetic. Pavitra and Siva's home "Anugraha" (translating to mean Divine Blessings) is everything that you would want an India-inspired home to be. Having worked in the financial services industry for over three years, Pavitra is currently taking a break to enjoy some downtime. Being a creatively inclined person, she keeps herself constantly engaged in DIY  projects, home styling and painting. Siva on the other hand is an Electrical Inspector and in his spare time is always happy to be Pavitra's handy manny for all her decor projects. He is also equally passionate about photography and Classical Indian Music and Dance. 

The couple tapped into their Indian roots for inspiration to tackle their interiors dilemma. The result is a home that is warm and welcoming with oodles of personally meaningful style. Pavitra had to say about going the desi way to decorate her home, "Our tradition and culture being very important to us, we wanted our Indian-ness to be reflected in our beautiful abode. Another reason why this was so important to us was to educate our future generations and leave behind a legacy so that they do not have a lost sense of identity when it comes to Indian culture. For example,  instead of the epic stories being restricted to only pages in a book we made the effort to convey it in the form of art through the Ramar Pattabhishekam Painting in the dining room.We also absorbed fragments of inspiration from my mom, Pinterest and The East Coast Desi to create a space that reflected us."
Come right this way to begin our tour...... In the entryway, a mango wood bench from Pier I Imports offers guests a place to sit comfortably as they tug off boots and shoes. Adding welcoming vibes to the space is a tall wooden standing Buddha, a pair of Thai angels and aurli that is always filled with fresh floating flowers. A touch of South Indian flair is added with the Eka Padha Lakshmi Tanjore Painting, embellished with brass bells on either side.
Every corner of Pavitra and Siva's home is steeped in interesting stories. Pavitra tells me, this lovely traditional Indian corner is the most adored corner of the living room. A collection of glistening, hand picked brass artifacts, potted plants and one of a kind Krishna statue pays homage to the traditional South Indian roots of the home owners.    
A closer look at the most revered piece in the house, lovingly called "The Laddu Krishna". Dressed in a short dhoti standing atop a lotus, this statue as you can see has the most intricate details to it. The Krishna Sculpture is a handmade Panchalokha cast by the artists of South India using the lost wax process, a skill passed on for generations since the Chola period. This statue exhibits the full beauty, elegance, grace and high artistry that is trademark of chola era molds.
Beside the Krishna is the ‘Ashtamangalyam set’ purchased during the couple's visit to Guruvayur Temple. (More on the Ashtamangalyam set - it is a portable tray holding sacred objects some of which are the lamp,  traditional Kerala kindi – vessel with spout for water, mirror replica, camphor/vermillion holder, bell and urli. All in all, it is believed to be auspicious and bring good luck to its owners.)
More from Pavitra, as she talks in depth of the influences on her decor style:
  • "Our backgrounds and our personalities influences the decor style in our home. Hailing from Bengaluru with traditions from Thanjavur, I wanted keep the 'Indian-ness' intact depsite us having to adopt a new country as home. As for Siva, he hails from a Palakkad tradition family, so we made sure to introduce the Kerala aspect too into our decor.
  • Color is an integral component of how we experience the world around us. As we conceptualized  the interiors for our home, we were sure of the fact that color would play a vital role in the interiors. 
  • I've always been fascinated by my mom’s decor in our Bengaluru home. Brass was always an essential part of the decor. And now I am here in Edmonton taking cues from my mom’s style. I am more than fortunate to own heirloom brass artifacts passed on to me by my mom. 
  • Last but not the least, I love vintage decor. I often go shopping for vintage brass and antiques while vacationing in India. I'm also all for handmade and hence a lot of the pieces at home were collected during our travels from local artisan markets.
The living room is the couple's favorite room in the house. After a long day at work, this is where they unwind. Being lovers of classical music and dance, the couple wanted this passion together with their undying love for Indian culture and tradition to be reflected in the interiors. Imparting symmetry is a pair of floating shelves flanking either side of the fireplace, with a collection of brass Ganesha playing different musical instruments and the other shelf displaying the majestic Nataraj and the enchanting Narthana (seen below in the picture). Color creeps into this space by means of colored cushions and cut blooms in vases.
More brass vignettes from around the home - A close up of the the divine ‘Oonjal Vinayagar’ paired with the glorious ‘‘Annam Vizhaku’ and a collection of tradional Kerala brass vessle called the Kindi. 
The Traditional Tanjore Painting of ‘Vastu Krishnar’ is engulfed in the warm glow from the crystal light from Pier 1 Imports. Another wonderful touch to this corner is the hanging brass lamp. 
In the dining area,  the magnificent Ramar Pattabhishekam Mural Painting steals the show. This particular painting was a custom order that Pavitra and Siva got made from Babeesh Aneela (a leading Mural Artist). They had an original painting that graces the walls of the an ancient Shiva temple at Kottayam, Kerala replicated by the artist. The original painting in the temple is several centuries old. Balancing the painting on either side is a corner shelf, showing off more of their brass collections and a golden pothos, cascading the entire length and breathe of the window. To add more Indian flair to the scene, Pavitra brought out her Copper collection.
Sigh!All that glistening copper!!! 
There is something so wonderful about a Pathos that has gone wild!
A closer look at the brass collections adorning the shelf in the dining space. 

Here are 3 decor mantras that Pavitra swears by: 
  • "A little sheen never hurt anyone - include brass, always classy and timeless. 
  • “Happiness is watching your plant grow”- Adding plants to the decor, adds not just beauty but also gives inner joy as you watch them grow. 
  • “Handmade items are made with love and have their own story” - Yes! I love anything that is handcrafted. The biggest inspiration to my decor was to use handcrafted pieces. I make sure that I buy handicrafts and support craftsmanship in India."

A corner of Pavitra's kitchen with more heirloom brass treasures occupying a place of pride and making the otherwise unexciting kitchen scene shiny and lustrous:) 
The kitchen island too has the special Indian touch! Bharani (pickle jar) is used as a vase.  A terracotta mini-hut, lamp and a colorful tie up add the necessary color and whimsy to this space. 

The other favorite room in the home is the "bonus room" that is just off the landing. Diwan style seating and sunny hues make up this a happy informal space. Pillows in contrasting shade of blue, add the extra punch of color. The couple spend their time here either chit-chatting with friends or making the most of some "me" time to catch up on reading with a steaming cup of coffee. Other finishing touches to the space include the colorful ottomans, the Chanapatna collectibles and the embroidered curtains.

More prettiness (clockwise from left): A hand-painted Madhubani vase holds a few fresh flowers; a brightly colored hand-painted pashu mask from Kerala; And a blissful Buddha dressing up the pathway to the home.

It is absolutely delightful to see people  stay connected to their roots despite the distance from their homelands. The little extra touches goes a long way in making our everyday living enjoyable. What a joy it's been to collaborate with Pavitra on this feature. I wish the lovely couple the very best !!! 

Happy decorating folks until we meet again!  

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