Inspiration on the Wall…

I have always been amused by the concept of having inspiration stare right back at you as you look at a previously empty space on the wall! Confused? Don’t worry I’m not referring to the paranormal, i’m in fact, wondering about wall decals that present themselves as inspiring quotes or phrases.

Though some of them look extremely well-placed, I can’t help but feel like i’m choosing a tattoo to be inked permanently into my skin. Most wall decals these days are easy to use and just as easy to remove. Nevertheless, even the little time they may spend on your favourite wall requires a certain commitment to the philosophy it portrays. Yes or maybe not really?

I’ve been contemplating having an inspiring quote on a the wall in my dining room or study for a long time now, but still trying to find my ideal decal! Here are some I find inspiring…

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fab951e92e21ad753ed56318b60204ef

35b87579dc3ade34a96a997a713d41bd

7b70643c98462d958f3b9d38c103a2b6

a20a2804eab4f1ff1dfe397bf4f3a3b4

e6b6b9a27964a095e32345f76caea636

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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and lastly…

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Would you like to have inspiring words cheer you up at home? And what would be your favourite quote on the wall?

The Key To Your Personal Space : Customised Products

The concept of personalising a space usually involves decor elements such as family photographs, home done art-work, family heirlooms and curios picked up on travels. But when I stumbled across this product, I knew it would make both a functional yet personal item at home.

 The Personalised Key Holder

I love the aquamarine ceramic tile at the center with our names digitally printed. The wrought iron frame sums up the look. We have it hung, right next to the front door for convenience, our keys don’t go hiding this way and it’s easy putting them back as soon as we get home.

key holder1b

key holder 2

Key holder with name

Made by Perfico.com, they have a range of personalised lifestyle products ranging from aprons to bath accessories.

Apron for himCustomised Aprons For Your Man (Image Credit : http://www.perfico.com/)

Kids Room Wall ClockCute personalised clocks for kid’s room (Image Credit : http://www.perfico.com/ )

Bath Set MonogramPersonalised Bath Accessories With Initials Monogram (Image Credit : http://www.perfico.com/ )

To know more visit their shop at http://www.perfico.com or here

Happy Shopping!

Glassy Beauty

Glass is beautiful. Stained or coloured glass is stunning!

I’m loving a recent trend of home decorating with stained bottles, coloured glass lamps and tea light holders. Glass vases have always been popular and even exorbitantly priced sometimes. But now the market has also made available, up-cycled glass bottles that might have held perfume or alcohol at some other time. The craftsmanship and detailing of these bottles that we might have ordinary overlooked is now brought to our attention.

Stained Glass Bottle

I bought some of these lovely glass bottles from Home Center. But what I enjoy even more, is up-cycling wine and other alcohol bottles that we buy ourselves. Instead of throwing away these bottles you can turn them into charming vases, some with their shape and graphics exuding a vintage and rustic feel, some modern and edgy and most others just bright and beautiful.

A lot of beer bottles and even wine come in green glass bottles. When it comes to glass there is something magical in the usage of colour green, I think it bodes well with the  home interiors and exteriors alike and also is any season friendly. It looks fabulous in summer light, mellow and fresh in the monsoons and holds its elegance even during the winters.

Here are some that is making my home cheerful, at no cost at all!

StainedGlass b4

 

stained glaa b3

I’m looking forward to using more of these in my terrace garden, the lovely green bottles also look great when teamed up with money plant creepers. The bonus being they are so easy to grow, you just have to fill the bottle with water, break a branch off the creeper and immerse it in the bottle. Happy Decorating!

(Images : All photos taken at my home)

 

An All Encompassing Room

Does the concept of living in a single room that may be small or big, seem too confining and terrifies you? Well, with constantly evolving careers, city-hopping and ever increasing real estate costs, you might have to look at making your home in a single, mostly undivided room. This concept known popularly as the studio apartment is very successful in most of the bustling cities of the world. However in India, it is a concept that is still trying to capture homeowner’s attention. In India we like our rooms segregated, no matter the area! But emerging concepts, advances in furniture design and trendy accessories are making life in a studio apartment, a LOT of fun!

studio apartment 1

So if you are looking to move into a single room apartment, here are some elements you should look at retaining regardless of the space.

1. The Living Section : Be it a single room or a four bedroom home, the living section is important. In a single room it plays even more importance, as you don’t want your home to be just the bedroom! Plan the space in your mind or better yet draw a plan on paper to get the maximum from your studio apartment. The living section must have your comfort furniture such as a couch, some ottomans or a bean bag. If the space is very limited, you can opt for sofa beds. They play the role of sofa during the day and expandable to bed at night. If more space is involved, look at a couch or loveseat, they come with storage options as well.  And if you don’t need storage space, clean minimalistic design will add visual space to your small home.

2. The Kitchenette : It is tough to eat out everyday, and you will want to make yourself a simple or even elaborate meal from time to time. This requires an equipped smart kitchen. Look for wall storage and collapsible options. Modular is also a great idea, especially if you need the kitchen counter fixed. However if the place is not going to be permanent for a few years, then you will have to get creative and look for cost-effective options. A kitchen cabinet and a sturdy table can comprise your kitchen and can go with you when you shift again.

studio apartment 4

3. The Study : Regardless of how small the home, I believe that working  from the bed or the couch is less effective. It is always good to have a table to sit at, especially given that modern day laptop usage has given rise to many posture related health issues. A small table  or a wall mount table, that can be closed and folded back, with a chair that is good use anywhere in the room , surrounded by a book cabinet makes for a practical and cozy study area.

4. The Bed : They come in all sorts of variety these days, with storage options, beautiful headboards and that can be easily dismantled while moving again and single beds that can be extended to form a double bed. If you are keen on separating the bed area from the living and other sections of the room, elements such as partitions, sheer curtains and maybe even shelves can provide a visual sense of separate areas while also ensuring privacy.

studio apartment 3

5. The Colour : Consider one bright wall in the room to cheer up the decor or you can go pastels all the way to ensure visual space. Go with what you like, do not stop at experimenting just because it is a single room. However avoid dark colours that dominate the space and make the room look claustrophobic.

6. Use The Walls : Wall mounting of shelves for storage or display, of TV and other knick knacks is a great way to liven up the space without taking up floor space.

Studio apartment 2

7. The Green Influence : No matter how small the space, adding some greenery to the decor helps cheer up your home. Keeping s few small indoor plants can provide you decor as well as health benefits.

8. The Outside : If your single room apartment has a balcony or a terrace outside, make good use of this space as well, as a green spot or lounge area. If the view outside is drab and boring, dress up your windows to make it look cozy from the inside.

I love the way a studio apartment was converted to a cozy and colourful home in the movie Wake Up Sid. Just watching some of the scenes in the movie where the transition is made from a raw empty space to a home makes me happy! So go ahead and create your own room of happiness!

Wake Up Sid _ Studio ApartmentThe Studio Apartment in the movie Wake up Sid (Photo credit : fulltimefilmi.blogspot.com)

Images : All photos taken from Pinterest

Quick Fix Weekends

Weekends are great for getting done quick fix projects around the house. It is awhile since I did these simple changes in my kitchen and have finally decided to share this successful fix.

Have you ever found some decor/architectural issue around the house that seem to need a permanent solution that might require calling carpenters and masons and waiting for them endlessly? Well, I had a similar problem in my kitchen and I decided to fix it myself. It is not the perfect, permanent solution, but that is what I like about it, the ability to be creative and maybe change the setting later.

The problem : The modular kitchen chimney.

The fitting by the vendor was done in such a way the chimney metal could be seen protruding over the wooden border. This sight made more unsightly by the fact that the house was built on split level, which meant climbing the stairs to the living area, the protruding chimney and pipe outlet was more prominent.

 Kitchen Before1

The Solution : A few spare wooden panels and a chai matki set!Chai Set wood panels

I just placed the wooden panels, the plain rectangular one seen in the photo above, over the protruding part of the chimney and used to support the Chai Matki set and the shaped panel as the facade of this quick fix.

The outcome

final

Well it was the easiest way to solve my problem and the chai matki and kettle stand out rather beautifully against the bright yellow kitchen wall!

Small and Beautiful

DSC_0152Kathakali (classical dance form originating from Kerala) and traditional cow head fridge magnets done with such eye for detailing.

Sometimes while doing up our homes, we realise that it is the small things that capture a big place in our hearts. Like maybe our kid’s doodles / pets’ paw prints or our parent’s black and white photographs or even the simple fridge magnet picked up on travels!

Here are two beautiful fridge magnets we picked up on Jew Street, Cochin. It is true, small is beautiful.

And in my personal opinion, nothing quite like revisiting travel memories 🙂

Turning 26…

I could not have asked for a better birthday week. I simply had it all; family, travel, scenic locations, picnics, spa, games, cycling, yummy cakes and shopping for curios! After spending a few days at my parents house in Coimbatore, we started early morning on May 1st for our first stop of the vacation – Munnar. We were headed to this very scenic hill station for the first time and I must say the reviews for this place is underrated. It must be seen to be believed! Long winding roads in the ghat sections that seemed to go on forever, tossing us left to right and right to left as we desperately tried to soak in all that lush green beauty around us! The tall trees with massive trunks that might be a few 100 years old, sprawling tea estates that resemble a patchwork lawn you just want to lie down on and beautiful birds flitting about, Munnar indeed has plenty to share.

greenery1Sprawling Tea Estates

We stayed at Sterling Resort in Munnar, the rooms were cozy, but what interested us more were the outdoor activities. Playing games, cycling, taking long walks and having hot cups of ‘Kattan’ ( black tea in Malayalam) made us forget that back home summer was actually causing havoc!

flower thumbprintedColorful Flora

greenery2

On visiting the spa at the resort, I was pleasantly surprised to see Kerala wall murals adorning the reception area. I love this vibrant and ethnic form of painting that one can see across many parts of Kerala. We saw more of this in Cochin as well, but more on that in my next post.

mural1Kerala Wall Mural Depicting Lord Vishnu 

mural2

Another element of decor caught my eye in the spa, something I had not seen before. Coconut shell lamps; the intricate patterns drilled into these shells threw sparkling light all around. And since they were small with low wattage lamps, more of them were used to adorn the ceiling here to make the room appear brighter, providing a spectacular arrangement.

coconut shell lampsLovely Coconut Shell Lamps

And lastly before we left for our second part of the journey to Cochin, we did some yummy shopping at the Tata store in Munnar. The well laid out shop offered plenty of choice in tea, flavored tea, strawberry preserve (one can get this only here in Munnar, I think the rest is exported). The highlight for me is the wholesome strawberries soaked and preserved in lemon syrup and my favorite lemon tea! We have stocked up enough to last us a few months 🙂

preserveStrawberry Preserve Manufactured By Tata

Kattan ChaiLemon Flavored Black Tea

As we prepared to head out again, the only thing that made leaving behind this beautiful  hill station for the hot and humid city of Cochin bearable was the prospect of visiting a tiny area called Jew Town, which I first visited in 2009 and loved at the very first sight. More on Jew Town and its precious curios in my next post.

Traditional South Indian Homes

I recently visited a more than 150 year old traditional home in Narayanavanam in Andhra Pradesh. The family has been traditionally  involved in the silk saree business for many generations and follow the joint-family system with grandparents, sons, their wives and children all living and growing together. As a recent home owner myself and all the quality concerns I continue to face, the first thing that truly struck me was, wow this building and many parts of it are more than 150 years old, built by the great great grandfather! There is extensive use of wood for the ceiling topped by tiles that are as old, walls made of mud and burma teak pillars. This house has stood through years of climate change and seen generations of the family. It was truly beautiful in my eyes.

wp_002506 wp_002507Early Morning Sunlight Streaming In Through The Central Atrium

The current generation of the family however are eager for change, they find the old home difficult to maintain and want to tear down the old structure and build a more modernised structure. When they proudly told me of the changes they had already begun to make, I could only think of how beautiful the old structure is and how one could modernise for convenience without disturbing the original style. There are some key features across South Indian traditional homes be it in a small village in Andhra or a Chettinad mansion or a traditional Tharavad home in Kerala that I would simply love to live around and wish more modern homes had these.

1. The Thinnai or Verandah at the entrance of the house. This may also be referred to as Muggapu in the Chettinad homes. This typically consists of raised platforms to sit on, spanning the breadth of the house structure, with pillars either made of wood or stone or mud supported on the outer verandah wall. During functions both good and sad, these areas of the homes were used to seat guests. The thinnai or muggapu was also used to play games and relax with neighbors and friends who came calling. The most appealing part of this structure is that while it is connected to the main structure of the house, it still is mostly in the open.

thinnai 1A traditional village home and it’s simple verandah  (Photo credit :https://www.flickr.com/photos/50815727@N05/7227807368/)
thinnai_photoppurtunistA more opulent traditional verandah with stone and wood pillars ( Photo credit : photoppurtunist.wordpress.com )

2. The central courtyard : These typically rectangular homes lead from the verandah through the main door into the living section of the home which has a central open courtyard. This is surrounded on all four sides as the living areas of the family, with kitchen, storage areas, bedrooms for each of the sons, bedroom for the head of the family and the passage around the courtyard used commonly by all as the living area. The courtyard is again surrounded by pillars in wood or stone.

Kerala_courtyard_with_planterA typical and simple central courtyad, with passage and rooms on the sides (Photo Credit : wikipedia)
courtyard2A more elaborate central courtyard with stone pillars and open areas (Photo credit : http://www.pinterest.com/pin/165014773820027301/)

3. The traditional flooring: Houses those days enjoyed vibrant floors in the form of  red oxide flooring with intricate drawings of Kolam (done with rice powder or paste), they are designs made by connecting dots and used to be one of the favorite activities among the women of the household. The floors may also have intricate patterns as provided by the Athangudi tiles in Chettinad homes. Bringing in geometric or floral patterns and a range of bright colours. In some Kerala homes the flooring was also done in wood while other village homes even extensively used stone in certain parts of the house.

red oxideBeautiful Red Oxide Flooring in Traditional Setting ( Photo credit : http://kismitoffeebar.wordpress.com/tag/anantha-heritage/ )
athangudi21 karthik vaidyanathan_prismma.Traditional Athanagudi tile flooring in Karthik Vaidyanathan’s Chettinad inspired home in Bangalore (Photo Credit : http://www.prismma.in)

4. The traditional roofs: The traditional roof structures were made extensively from wood and clay tiles with different levels of intricacy and shapes. While Kerala homes have more grandeur and woodwork showcased in the ceilings. Traditional homes elsewhere might just have simple wood beading and tile work, complete with sealing of tiles on the outside with Chunambu (slaked lime).

anandabeachhome roofTraditional Kerala roof with clay tiles for the exteriors, they in more opulent settings are made in intricately carved wood (Photo Credit : anandabeachhome.com)
 athangudi tilesA traditional Chettinad home with wood and tile roofing, central courtyard and Athanagudi tiles. (Photo credit : http://www.prismma.in)

5. The exquisite woodwork: Traditional craftsmen and availability of wood made old traditional homes not just sturdy but also a work of art. The woodwork across the pillars, the jannals (windows), the doors and even the roofs, could be carved out intricately to tell stories of mythological characters or emphasize local beliefs, motifs and structures. Jalli work in the wooden roof structures allowing the play of light around the courtyard or the massive doors with their painstakingly done carvings are all reminiscent of the glory days of traditional Indian architecture.

traditional doorsTraditional wooden hand carved door ( Photo credit : sam.aminus3.com)
woodwork in roofIntricate wood work in the roof of Puthe Maliga Palace in Trivandrum ( Photo credit :  https://www.flickr.com/photos/timtom/3475636297/ )

I sincerely hope that these ancient village homes are preserved in their traditional settings. Even if urban dwellers had the inclination and the funds to build such homes in the city today, the lack of yesteryear workmanship and lack of availability of certain type of products makes it very tough to retain this kind of architecture in our current homes. It however is some consolation to know that certain crafts like the Athanagudi tile making is still alive and available for anyone that wants to have unique and beautiful flooring in their house, against which vitrified tiles are no match. And certain traditional carpenters still available in pockets of Kerala and other regions who create exquisite wooden furniture and doors to custom orders. So that we may use some of this in our homes to retain a little of the yesteryear glory, because a certain beauty and grace only comes with age.

DIY – My Try At Up-Cycled Bottle Art

Got plenty of empty glass bottles lying at home, why don’t you up-cyle them to add to your home or garden decor? There are many ways you can up-cycle bottles, you can make lamps with them, candle/tea light holders, paint them or do thread work around them. I love this particular form of work and the bottle has a unique look with different threads be it coir or wool or yarn. Here I’m going to show you how I did mine with multi-coloured thread.

 1. These are the items you will need. An empty bottle with cap, ring, stickers and dust removed, yarn/thread spools, fevicol or glue, spoon or brush to apply the glue, cloth to clean up excess glue.

DSC_00482. Pour out the glue in a small container or as I have on plastic sheet, and use the brush or spoon to start applying glue to the bottle in parts. You could do this with your hand as well, but I suggest not, as it ends up dirtying the thread with glue as you progress.

DSC_00533. Loosen some thread from the spool, get comfortable to start wrapping the thread slowly around the bottle, starting at the base.

DSC_00494. Starting from the base ensure no gaps between the lines of thread and keep wrapping around the bottle, re-applying glue for the fresh areas.

DSC_00565. The base which in this case is a regular cylindrical shape is easy to wrap without space between threads, but as we reach the base of the neck, you will need to use the back of the spoon to keep pushing the thread back in place without spaces.

DSC_00616. Keep wrapping all the way to the mouth of the bottle, or you can stop short as in my case, since I plan to have the mouth of the bottle cut, to give it a better look overall.

DSC_00717. Use a wet rag to clean up the excess glue on the threaded bottle, however wait a day before you do it so you don’t move any threads. Then use it as you will, to just brighten up a drab corner or have some flowers or a money plat set in them.

DSC_0077Hope you enjoyed this simple DIY. Got more ideas? Do share it with me!

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