Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Wishes 2014

Wishing you Peace, Joy and Love this Christmas !!! May you have the most wonderful celebration with your loved ones.........
This is my last post for 2014. It's been quite a ride this year .....However, I have enjoyed every twist, turn and bump along the way. Every effort made for the TECD has been so worthwhile as my extended TECD family has grown by leaps and bounds this year. I couldn't be happier with all the love and validation that I have received from my lovely readers. Thank you !!!
As we approach 2015, it brings with it new aspirations, fresh avenues to discover and higher goals to achieve. These backed with optimism, enthusiasm and YOU by my side, I can say that 2015 is going to be fantastic !!!  So see you around in 2015 folks !!!

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.    

Friday, December 19, 2014

'Tis the Season to Sparkle (Holiday Tablescape)

A big chunk of my happy childhood memories are those associated with festive celebrations. Maybe it was because we had family and friends over.....extra attention was paid to decor......there was shopping for clothes involved.......or the simple fact that good food and a special spread was the order of the day. When it came to Christmas and food, my mom and nani would make the most delicious Christmas  delicacies, starting with the fruit cake, mazipans, cookies and kal kals to just name a few of my absolute favorites. While mom and nani would toil it out in the kitchen, my sister and I would be incharge of the holiday decorating. We would have fun experimenting and decorating the place to our hearts content.  Oh ! How I wish I could turn back time.......
Fast forward to today.....I do indulge in baking but nothing as fancy as back then. It's hard not to get caught up in the Christmas spirit around you. I try to make it special for my family in my own little way. I always prepare a special home cooked meal and enjoy it in a festive setting with my loved ones. The effort is so worthwhile when I see that my son is busy building his set of happy memories.......

But given today's time constraints, it does seem like a huge effort to be able to pull off something like this. My luxe tablescape looks like a lot of effort went into it but there lies the catch. 
Looking at your holiday decor through a new set of eyes always helps.....finding innovative ways to use what you have is the name of the game. This year my holiday seasonal swag found a new place to decorate. No, not the mantel above the fireplace or my stairway. It was placed along the length of my formal dining table to add to my Christmas Tablescape. I decided on working with the cream and brown color palette with gold and red thrown in for the luxe effect.  
You'll are familiar with my festive table runner. Like I've said before, investing in a neutral table runner always helps as you can change the other design elements and have a whole new look every single time. Neutral colored placemats sporting an almost herring bone like pattern in gold were pulled out from storage. Mixed it with my everyday plates and boom, things started to look good. A few special touches like the jeweled ornate candleholder with its antique gold finish and airy quality adds a timeless elegance to the setting....The new addition to my home this Christmas were these gorgeous looking colored crystal stemware. In shades of red, they bring in the much needed punch of color to the tablescape and break up the neutral color palette. 
Seasonal sprays find a whole new innovative use. Fresh flowers were swapped for a few light gold and antique pearl berry spray picks that were tucked into a crystal vase. I love how it turned out. Little boxes of my favorite chocolates have been gift wrapped and placed on each place setting to add that extra special touch.
And now for one final look:
Wishing you a wonderful and fun filled Christmas !!!

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

In the Christmas Spirit (Breakfast Nook Update)

My family and I tend to spend a lot of our downtime at home, in our breakfast nook. Transforming this space to complement the season's festive mood was just the thing to do. I started by adding a red natural woven chattai table runner to ground all the other elements of this setting. Next,  I switched my green lamp  with the terracotta red lamp from my formal dining room.  
Looked around in my stash of holiday decor and found these galvanized metal stars that were once part of my son's bedroom decor. When he outgrew the "twinkle-twinkle little star" phase, I stored them away thinking I could put them to good use someday. Glad I didn't get rid of them.  I think they add the perfect Christmas touch to the setting.

Adding more Christmas cheer to the breakfast nook console is a faux wreath from Michaels. I've let it rest informally on the console keeping in mind that the place is often used to relax and unwind. The chalkboard gets updated with little snow flakes strung at varying lengths with golden gift wrapping twine. "Let it Snow" seems the apt phrase to go with the wintry Christmas feel.  
A voluptuous wooden bowl (a flea market find) gets filled to the brim with Holiday ornaments in shades of green, gold and deep reds. Cookie box sporting a plaid pattern seems befitting for the occasion and is stocked from time to time with the  family's favorite cookies. A mug is kept handy for anyone who needs  milk or hot chocolate  to go with the cookies. 
You cannot have a Christmas setting without candles, can you ? My collection of votive holders in hues of shimmering gold, greens and reds are brought out to work their magic. (Tip: If you already don't own a set of mercury glass votive holders, make sure you get yourself a set. They seem to take a simple looking vignette to a whole new level). Some ornaments randomly strewn on the runner complete the look.

I put this vignette together in less than 20 minutes. The simplicity of the setting is something I love. I'm also thrilled about the fact that I worked with what I had. Just remember you don't need a whole lot to make things look pretty.

Coming up next, a luxe Christmas tablescape. You'll be surprised at how simple it could be to put together a glamorous looking tablescape for your Christmas party/dinner....

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Homey Home (Home Tour)

One look at Anupama and Aditya Gupta's home and we are immediately struck with the simple and relaxed beauty of the home owner's personal style. Embracing an open floor plan, their home in cosmopolitan Singapore is brimming with distinct character and uncontrived design spirit. Anupama has had a successful career as a communications consultant for nearly 15 years, spanning 3 different countries. She gave it all up for her two little angles, 7 year old Zoya and 2 year old Ira. She says , "As a mother of two girls, I feel I have learnt more from life than in my 15 years of work life." A new entrant in the blogosphere, Anupama blogs at "Wize and Other wise". A personal and inspirational blog, where she pens her experiences on making the right choices for leading the healthy life to her thoughts and perspective on being a mom. 

Talking about her style mantra Anupama says, " Well to be honest, we have never followed a particular style. What appeals to us most is that a piece of furniture, art or décor accessory should aesthetically ‘fit’ into our home. All our furniture and art have been bought over the years across different countries we've lived in or visited. The moment we see the piece, we know if it would fit into our home or not. The distressed blue book shelf in our living area was bought in Dubai (though originally it’s from Rajasthan), the boat-shaped bar is from Bali, and the red Chinese cabinet was bought from a store at Chinatown, Singapore.

As we can see, Anupama loves experimenting and moving things around. Paintings, furniture and curios get moved around every now and then, to give the space a new feel. Her decor must have is an alternative set of slip covers to give the place a spanking new look.

A new addition to their home, the dining table is an antique Rajasthani wooden door reincarnated to form the solid tabletop. A mix and match of chairs and you have yourself one-of-a kind place that is the workhorse of the house. 

The biggest decorating challenge that the couple had to tackle was moving from a 3,000 sq ft home in Dubai to a 1764 sq ft space in Singapore. Anupama says, "All of our furniture has been bought with a lot of care, we tend to be a bit emotionally attached to them.Our main objective while shifting base was to ensure that some of our favorite pieces of furniture found its rightful place in our new home. Knowing what pieces to include and what we had to let go was tough but thankfully in the end the home has a reassuring look of comfort and calm."

(Clock-wise from left: The Radha artwork by G Subramanyam is a collage of National Geographic clips. The lady painting by Shankar Kendale takes center stage in the dining room. A Bull painting above the red Chinese cabinet is by prominent Indian artist Sreekanth Kurva.) 

The couple are avid collectors of art. They were introduced to the colorful world of art and its possibilities by none other than Anupama's brother in law, Mohit Gupta (based in Bangalore). A passionate collector of art himself, he has played a huge role in promoting upcoming Indian artists over the last 15 years. "My husband and I take my brother-in-laws recommendations about investing in art very seriously. It has taken us over a decade to build our collection and we find them priceless now. Some of the artists we have at our home are Shankar Kendale, G Subramanyam, Basuki Dasgupta and Laxman Aelay. We absolutely love each and every piece of art we own and are always on the hunt to add to this collection.

The experimental streak in Anupama got the better of her and she was able to restore some old pieces of furniture and give them a new lease of life. "I experimented on restoring some of our old pieces for furniture about a year ago. Be it an old bench (originally wood color), which I painted into a bright yellow color. It now sits proudly right at our entrance. Also the balcony furniture- they were given an aqua blue shade and the table a white shade. All these pieces of furniture had been bought at a bargain from expats while they were moving out. Even the bookshelf in the kids’ room was a basic white Ikea shelf which I painted red. I feel each of these pieces have added immense aesthetic value to the style of our home."

The one feature that the couple love the most about their home is its idyllic location. It's not only the eastern sunlight but also the breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline at night, that makes it a great place to enjoy at all times. " Our home faces the east. So we get a lot of the morning sun, which is so refreshing. We tend to spend a lot of time in our balcony especially on the weekends with the kids. Also the kids’ room faces the bay, which makes it very breezy and cool. 
When we were in the process of buying our own apartment, we looked at several other options within the same complex, but decided to buy this place as it always felt ‘right’."

The master bedroom is consciously kept simple with a Lotus painting in shades of calming blue by artist Suresh taking center stage. A collage of family pictures completes this room. Anupama strongly feel that " a home should be a true reflection of the people who live in it. It’s not always important that every piece of furniture is perfectly co-ordinated. Sometimes, if planned out well, independent pieces of furniture, lamps etc actually blend in well together."

And we think Anupama has nailed it...........the home is warm and welcoming with personal style, comfort and relaxation being the over-riding considerations in this space. Thank you Gupta family for being so generous and giving us a tour of your beautiful home. 

Images Copyright/ Credit : Anupama Gupta. The images may not be used without prior written permission from the home owners.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Fancy Khullad

Virginia winters can be ruthless. But with a hot cup of my favorite brew - chai, the cold winter seems a little less fierce. My chai time has become a little more exotic and fancy these days with my new Khullad style tea cups. They momentarily whisk me away to India by conjuring up images of tea served street style. 
These organic looking handmade ceramic tea cups from World Market are available in a variety of earthy  tones.  Their subtle variations and imperfectly perfect ridges, make the cups one-of-a -kind. The handle-less cups not only warm your insides but also keep those hands nice and warm, a comfort during winter. If you have been raking your brains for gift ideas this coming holiday season, these kitchen staples make perfect gifts without breaking your bank. 

Have a wonderful day !!!

Image Copyright/Credit: 1 (Sruthi Singh), 2 (World Market) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Art by Aarohi (Featured Artist/Shop)

Designer yet affordable....quirky and kitschy yet explosion of colors and yet the whole composition works together harmoniously......traditional Indian motifs that appeal to the style and design sensibilities of the modern day woman......... all this and more describes the color saturated totes from the design label  "Art by Aarohi". Aarohi needs no introduction. The talented Bangalore-based artist has a number of laurels to her credit. The latest being her e-store launch, Art by Aarohi. 

With these wearable pieces of art that have been derived from Aarohi's original works, you can flaunt your fearless style and personality everywhere you go. 
With a distinct Indian flavor, these personal accessories are sure to make a statement. Aarohi has also very thoughtfully put together a style board that shows you how you could pair her a la mode creations to get the look right. With the gift giving season here, why not gift yourself one of these limited edition pieces that are sure to make heads turn ?

Image Copyright/ Credit : Art by Aarohi 
Styling/concept : Image 1: The Bold Creative, Image 2 & others : Aarohi

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Levart (Featured Shop)

Souvenirs hand-picked on our travels encapsulate more than a memory. To me they speak of a different culture, the remarkable craftsmanship, etch stories of far off market place and provide me the simple joy of owning and enjoying a beautiful piece of art for what it is. The Pune based store, "Levart" does just that. This home décor store believes in blurring the boundaries and bringing back art from travels to its rightful connoisseurs. 

The creative duo heading the Levart brand are Bhavya Srinivasan and Payal. Their passion for travel and a keen eye for all things beautiful and unique fueled the entrepreneurial venture “Levart”. Scouting the country for unique and quirky collectibles, the store offers its customers a handpicked collection of objects that are a great addition to ones home and are bound to be conversation starters. Levart also caters to bulk orders from corporates. 
Bhavya  says : "Levart to me is an initiative that has helped me live my passion for art and travel and hence the punch line - living art with travel. I personally think that Art as a form came into being because of the creative mind that is highly influenced by ones deep rooted cultural sense. Believing travel is knowledge, Levart strives to bring the art forms from diverse cultures to those who appreciate the creative forms. This entire process is personally enriching and satisfying as we feel privileged to be a  medium to encourage and showcase numerous artists and their talents."
Currently Levart retails via their Pune store and their Facebook page. You could also write to them at for product inquirers. (If you are in Pune, mark your calenders for the Pune Sunday Soul Sante happening on December 21st, 2014 - you can catch Levart and 150 other artists and stores at this event). 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of this quirky and unique store. Have a wonderful day !!!

Image credit/copyright : Levart