Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sensational Spaces VI - 15' x 15'

"Have nothing in your house you do not consider to be useful or beautiful'~ so said William Morris, the English textile designer, artist and writer.

This is not new to many of us in the design world, we've all heard this and would like to think we aspire to this. I have things in my house which are useful but ugly, and then I have things that are utterly beautiful but absolutely useless. And then I have those that are both beautiful and functional. We all do.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled (yes, I literally did, as I was oohing and aahing over the lovely spinach growing in the backyard) into my maid's one roomed house this morning and saw simple uncluttered beauty and function living hand in hand!

{A little background here - for those living in India, I do not have to explain about a maid; but for those living outside the country it may be new...so let me explain that anyone who can afford to have a maid, or some sort of domestic help, usually has one. Sometimes they live in quarters within the house compound, sometimes they come in to work from elsewhere. Our maid and her husband - our general factotum watchman/gardner/errand man/car and window washer/dog walker - live in this one roomed house, within our plot. They are a family of 4 including a 14 year old daughter and a 8 year old son.}

 From her work ethic, (she's a gal after my own heart and loves to clean and scrub) I knew without a doubt that she keeps a neat and tidy home, but I was so amazed by what I saw when I fell in, I asked her if I could take pics to share with my readers. She squealed and protested, but I persisted and she finally agreed.

I have written previously about design in rural India, to show the pride with which the village people display their everyday household articles.....cooking utensils, storage items, bed linens, toiletries. A sensational space is not just a beautiful home filled with lovely objects, fabulous artwork and gorgeous furniture - that's easy to do when you have the means. It's more about making your space your own, filled with items that remind you of your heritage, showcasing your creativity, and most importantly keeping it beautiful and functional - as our friend WM said above - on a tight budget and a tighter space.

So without further ado, I share with you these pictures....of a humble, 225 square foot room, personalized by the people who live there.

Everything in its place and a place for everything...organization at its best!
Walls plastered with images of gods, newspaper articles, Bollywood celebrities, design ideas, rangoli patterns
Pictures from old calendars used as wallpaper.....
Shiny steel utensils in a utensil holder in the window niche
Grains and pulses, their daily food
 Water storage
A shelf with flowers and incense for the Hindu gods and goddesses....a tribute to their Nepali heritage
 Bougainvillea in a glass bottle....I love this pic the best cos I think, I hope...this decorating idea was inspired by me!
Water storage and a stone mortar and pestle
Veggies...probably the ones they cook most often
Plates, spoon holders
 A Nepali calendar on the wall showing important religious and festival dates
 The keys to all of their possessions
I guess it just proves without a doubt that good design sense and principles, can exist in the most unexpected of places!

28 comments:

Patricia Torres said...

oh my gosh!! so so lovely... Isnt this what character is all about... Her home is filled with so much love, warmth.. and a lot of character..

So so neat and clean... everything in its place.. Obviously shows.. that you dont need a huge space.. to a make a home.. its truly what you put your heart into..

My best wishes coming her way...

Sudha said...

great looking room (home)...having grown up in a three room home, i am sure i appreciate space and cleanliness...aptly said..everything in its place and having just those things which matter :)...frugal living is beautiful

GB said...

Beautiful---there is a LOT of beauty in the simple roots of our culture. (not talking just design here.)

GB said...

PS: Loved that she stores her upturned "chakla" on top of the gas cylinder--my mom stows her garlic there (in a pretty basket).

Loved the flowers for the gods--how happy they look, even without fancy frames.

Emreen said...

such a lovely post kamini.... Love the way she has kept her home neat and with less clutter in such a small space.... The place is soo thoughtfully organized for practical purposes too...!! Hats off to her....

Sharon said...

so very true! loved, loved this post Kamini! I think she can teach us a lesson or two in good home design! look at the way she has arranged her kitchen stuff - I especially loved her shelves and the hanging spoons!:)

Shanthi said...

KUDOS!!!! kamini. These are the people on whom our lives literally depend upon when we are in India. I too had similar experiences of Awe when I just walked past into their homes - sometimes just by the road side or in a village or in the compound. They deserve all this attention.

Rupa said...

Love you more for putting up this post....you should tell her that its a gorgeous space....and so neat and clutterfree....its inspiring....this makes me say once again...style is innate....

Travel Bug said...

Her house is so organized and clean, I see houses here in the US and they maybe be million dollar home and have the best the world has to offer but it lacks a warmth. Her home has more soul than most homes here.you are lucky to have somebody like her.Wow, her kitchen reminded me of my moms. she always said, "after you are done cooking, it should look the way it did before you started"
Cleaniness is Godliness. I wish people had such civic sense outside in India too. Compliments to her.

Bedazzled said...

wow! so organized and clean..such a vibrant space ! Love the newspapers she pasted on the walls. Love it !

purplehomes said...

Kamini..this is the best home tour ever...i mean it. Lots & lots of wishes for the family the "home" belongs to. Women I tell you..can make a bare room so warm, so well organized and those personal touches...wow

Shalini said...

Wow, what a fantastic post. I love how neat and organized it looks and how they have created a design that really functions, like the dish rack in front of the window and the plate display rack on the side wall.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

so neat and organized! I wonder what is under the blue plastic sheet on the other side? Also, I was kind of wanting to see what she had done with the entrance!
Anyway, please do let her know how much your readers appreciate her sense of aesthetics!!

Anu@My Dream Canvas said...

Wow, I am super impressed. Please pass on my compliments to her. A lovely post Kamini. Her little home is a treasure house of creativity and simplicity!!

PreeOccupied said...

What neatness in that small space. I am ashamed of the way I keep my kitchen. What's her name? Is she the one who also did Rangoli during New Years? Pictures from such homes any day over wealth-oozing grandiose and ugly looking homes with crystals and chandeliers. Thank you for sharing.

Vinita said...

Kamini,you are a true decorator to recognize how a simple, clean lined, minimum furnishings,will make your readers swoon with oohs and AAhs. So firstly a big thank you to you. As they say talented people like you see art and beauty in places we may never think of looking. We may pass by it but unless someone points it to us and opens our eyes to it we may not even recognize it. And that's what you have done.

Its very easy to keep a big house clean and uncluttered and takes minimum efforts but to keep a small place clean, organized, functional, beautiful and peaceful takes more efforts. This young lady has just done that. For her it may just be a way of life but for us its a peek into a different world .

On a lighter note, you must be paying them really well...lol


Vinita

Eterna said...

I really love this space..Utmost simplicity and beauty!

Kamini said...

Girls...I will be conveying all your wonderful comments to my maid, her name is Chija! It was quite a thrill for her just to see the pics on my computer, telling her what you all said will be a greater thrill!
Pree - she was one of the three who did the rangoli.
Vineeta - re: your lighter note comment - I don't know what "paying well" these days is, I think I pay her more than what the "locals" will pay (by locals I mean those who have lived here as opposed to people like me who have relocated from the US), but I do know that at any moment another NRI can tempt her with more and take her away! I think I pay her and her husband enough to be able to afford to send the 2 kids to good schools and eat 3 decent meals a day with onions, potatoes and tomatoes (their staple food) selling at 50 plus rupees a kilo! I know that w/o her I'd be dead in the water!!! :-)

Charu said...

wow. A live (and lived-in) portfolio which speaks tonnes about her work and work ethics. Anybody would hire her in a sec after just seeing her house photos.

And what a big reward from her boss(profiling her in your design blog along with world famous interior designers).

Loved this post and loved her home.

charu

Ambika said...

This is brilliant! Kudos to you for thinking of peeping into your maid's home and showcasing it. Many of us wouldn't have thought of how wonderful their ideas can be and how beautifully they could keep homes! And kudos to your maid who has such a vibrant home, its full of life!!

I enjoy reading your blog!

Ambika (www.ofheavenandthespirit.blogspot.com)

Chrysalis said...

Loved it...the potential of design and its scope..this post of urs breaks many stereotypes :)
Congratulations to the woman of the house...she has done a marvellous job!!!
Love love love ur blog! Its a sight for sore eyes...hreatwarming too.

rk said...

Beautiful home with such peace and tranquility! Simple is best isn't it. Easy to preach, harder to follow :) Please give my kudos to the lady who has great taste and more importantly, that sense of cleanliness/organization. A lady after my heart too :)

Vinita said...

Kamini... Yes that fear/thought is always there that someone other might lure her away. But for this family to afford a well constructed home( and not having to live in a make shift slum type dwelling which is so common in pune and mumbai)girls getting a good education, neatly arranged stainless steel pots and pans, wooden beds etc. reflect on your generosity too . I am sure you will object to the word generosity but thats what I meant that you are taking good care of these people. You have also provided job for the husband and wife together and they have mental satisfaction of working for good people. There are so many people in this world who won't hesitate to take advantage of poor people with their money and power and there are so many who go out of their way to make sure that this does not happen and treat everyone fairly. You are one of those people who lives life consciously and always tries to do what is right. This is what I feel each time I read any of your personal posts and I wanted to acknowledge that.

Once Upon A Tea Time said...

I am visiting after a while and looks like I have missed quite a bit (including the giveaway :)! This home is so beautiful. It's full of character, personality and abundance. I loved this post, Kamini!

Kamini said...

Vinita - thank you :-)

pRiyA said...

This is truly a sensational space. Warm and friendly.
I once saw a picture of a kitchen in Kerala neatly organized but the wall were plastered with bright film posters. Once they got black with soot they were removed and new ones were plastered across. The space looked fabulous.
Needless to say, I am hunting for film posters...

Dita said...

it's no doubt a beautiful space...but even more beautiful is the idea of sharing the space with your readers Kamini...it exhiberates the love with which the humble home has been set-up

mamaroses said...

You know I have been ogling, oohing and aahhing on Brocante pictures. I have been looking at faded French decor and thinking that my taste probably has some strange association with France.
Simultaneously I had one tab open with your blog posts. I landed on a chai wala picture and seeing the chai caddy I said 'Hmmm...that almost looks like the zinc bottle caddy I've been looking for'. Then I see other pictures and discover what my 'taste' really is!
Now, I stumble at your maid's room pictures and say 'Gosh, that is Brocante!'.
I am seriously looking for your home tour just to get some inspiration. It seems you've moved out some of the pictures due to size constraints. Need some motivation here since my color scheme is quite in-line with yours!
Your blog's keeping my aesthetics alive in the dim daylight days in Sweden:).