The decorator's den

A new series and label

1:22 PM

During the course of my Summer hibernations, I remember one reader suggesting I do more posts about Interior decorating tips, and I remember thinking it was a good idea, and would be doable over the Summer. The problem is as you might have noticed, the heat floored me, my inspiration went up in steam, my motivation probably vanished the same way and before you know it I was sweating at home feeling hardly coherent enough in my mind to even be able to operate kitchen appliances, much less put two thought together to really write anything deep enough.
Beside if I am going to start writing about decorating tips, I should do it the right way. I am after all a trained interior decorator specialised in upholstery and soft furnishing (sofa making, window treatment, wall to wall carpet, wall covering…) So much so that writing about home decor stuff should not be done in a heat induced semi-coma, not for me, not ever.
Now the monsoon has started, my daughter is back to school, and I am back to having 2 whole hours of total peace and quiet mid-day. All I need to feel blog productive enough. Plus the monsoon caused me to do this when it arrived 2 weeks back :

2013-06-12 11.35.07
I wanted to blog about that and just that, as a monsoon cosiness celebration thing. But really the reason I did put “mirchi lights” (fairy lights, Diwali lights, Christmas light…) was that the small under the cabinets light we use when the kitchen gets a bit dark broke, not the bulb, the whole light, and there is no way to take it out and fix it without damaging the cabinet. So in an effort to get back that small light in, which both DH and I found handy and less harsh than switching on the tube light when all we want to do is prepare a bowl of cereal and wash 2-3 dishes, I decided to get the Diwali/Christmas light used again.
These strings of lights are quite cheap in India and many barely even survive Diwali, this one is a die hard one, it has survived Diwali, a month of Christmas tree, a move, and is still going strong in my kitchen after 2 weeks. Once it breaks I won’t feel too bad, knowing I can replace it easily too.
But back to the topic at hand. I wanted to do a whole blog post on these silly lights, but that would have been a short one, and beside that is just yet one of my other small decor idea I get into regularly. That thought got me thinking that while back home you still find a few (not many though) magazines that gives you creative decor idea you can do yourself, with pictures of stuff that you can totally live in, or replicate. India has none. for a while BBC Goodhomes India shared some tips and few DYI projects, but like Better Interiors, and other decoration magazines it gave in to showing designer homes, homes of people that own their place rather than rent, picture perfect living rooms in pristine white marbles with not a single item out of place, all white houses that makes you wonder if real human being actually truly live in them, and of course lot’s of ads and shopping pages, but just about zero tips about HOW to get a liveable space and make your home look good while actually living in it (and having kids…and oh a life!).

These magazines are giving in to mass consumerism, leading you to think that you need only designer furniture's, posh marble, state of the art kitchen, colour coordinated kids bedroom, palatial bathrooms, but fail to tell you that a) that comes at a price or b) that you’ll spend all your free time keeping it tidy and clean and well maintained instead of enjoying the space. Not to mention they seem to think only those who actually can afford to own a place will be worthy of having a pretty home. Leaving a lot of tenants living the rental life frustrated because we don’t just want to see comparative spread on wash basins, window panels, and see pictures of houses we will never really be able to replicate. Or when we finally spot a cover saying “Tiny space special” only learn that we can create more space by breaking down walls (not possible in rental).

Apartments in India usually pose a space management challenge, most of the flats I have lived in over the years were bigger surface wise than their Swiss equivalent, yet storage in them was a problem like never before seen in any place back home, there is something that after nearly a decade in the country still elude me in the apartment department. DH noticed it too and commented on many occasion that most of the apartment kitchens he saw in my homeland were compact, far more so than the kitchens in India, but somehow he never really faced the storage issue we faced in every single kitchen we ever had living together in India, modular or not.
Our flats…or rather decor and furniture is fairly Westernized (see pictures on my blogs FB page), we actually both feel more comfy with that type of furniture, and my creative bone helped make the place a cosy, liveable, enjoyable space over the years. And the truth is that a space that feels good is not even too difficult to get, even in rental accommodation, and it doesn’t even cost that much money either. My plan in this new series label is to give a few room specific pointers, share home decor pictures of my own place.
I have of course written many entries on home decor over the year, but I am not going to spend hours fishing them out of the archive to include them in this new label. I am sure I will end up re-sharing some of the old pictures in new blog posts to illustrate certain points anyway. 

And without any further ado, here is the new label that will pop on my blog among the others : The decorator’s den


  1. Beatrix7:59 PM

    But seriously. I know what you mean.

    I was looking at this really neat article on a US blog about making curtains out of an old sari- why wouldn't that work in India?

    Just recently a new Thai furniture company set up shop in Kathmandu- they are called 'Index' and I guess they are like the IKEA of Thailand.

    Everything comes 'broken down' in boxes just like IKEA. Nepalis aren't really into DIY (like Indians) so Index sends a 'design team' of 3 guys to deliver & assemble your stuff.

    We bought a computer desk, an office chair, an L shape sectional sofa, 2 bookcases, & some bedding. Index's styles are fun, contemporary, stylish & practical like IKEA but with a bit of a Thai accent in colors. Oh yes, & they're also scaled smaller like what you'd want in a flat.

    The 'design team' delivered the items in boxes & assembled everything quite quickly, then they vacuumed the floor & cleaned up all the packing materials! They even artfully arranged some 'bonus' decorative pillows on the new sofa!
    Such great service, I was shocked!
    Rock on Index furniture!!
    Wish they had an Index in Delhi!

  2. Oh yeah! IKEA is urgently needed there, because there is no no frills simple scaled to fit small apparetment furniture solution in India. You find a few pieces here and there but that is it. I wish the companies that sold furnitures in boxes in India would tell their design team to clean after them, most of them look at ou strongly offended when you ask them to take all the empty boxes and plastic wraps back with them, even had some refuse, because they don't have the space to take them back, since the guy that delivered the stuff came an hour or so before the assembly team in most cases, that usually mean the assembly team came on a bike! So yup all up to me to trash boxed, get abused by the security officer in the building for putting them in the hallway for the garbage disposal team to pick it up. Garbage disposal team that will then crib the next day because it's too big for them to put in their collection bin, whcih leads to the boxes to stay there for days causing everybody to crib in the end. ANd all the store had to arrange was for the assembly team to come along with the delivery guy to do the assembly, pick up their trash and be done!

    As a decorator myself, I worked on client sites, doing some heavy work at time, the rule number one on the job: Leave the client's home as clean and orderly as you found it when you first arrived. So if we had to drill holes that meant cleaning the dust, if we laid a carpet, that meant taking the adhesive tape wrapper and empty rolls back with us and trash it at our workshop. That meant not even leaving a single stray screw behind and if we moved other furnitures around to do the job, to put everything back as it was. In India, it was I the client who ended up trashing their crap, cleaning the drill dust, and putting back moved furnitures into place...sigh!

  3. Beatrix10:28 AM

    Yes, I know.

    I remember after we first moved to Nepal when we had AC installed in our house.

    I had no idea the AC guys would make such a mess & leave it.

    They had to drill 4 inch holes through the brick & concrete walls of our house.

    Brick & concrete dust, bits of wire, the boxes & packing from the AC units were EVERYWHERE.

    The brick & concrete dust was impossible to get out of the carpets.

    If I had known they were going to make such a mess I would have covered all the carpets with newspapers & the furniture with plastic bags....UGH!!!

    Every workman we've had here in Nepal & in India has been the same. A MESS!! (and sometimes they even for get some of their own tools in the mess)

    Anyhow here's the link to the DIY sari curtains-

    She simply chopped a sari in 2 & used clip rings to hang the curtain. Seems like a great idea for renters in India & some cheap & cheerful DIY decor!


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