Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Calling all artists.....!

I am so thrilled at this,  I simply HAD to share it with all you creative folks out there - my fellow bloggers and designers, artists, wannabe artists and napkin sketchers..! Whether you are a serious world renowned artist or a conference room doodler...this is for you! I'll let you peruse the website and get all the information for yourself! I have already signed up for hurry up..!

Lofty Living - Part I

Legend has it that around the turn of the 20th century, all real painters lived in tiny garrets under the eaves of the Paris skyline. This, it is sometimes said, led to their paintings being on the small side, especially painters such as Paul Klee and Van Gogh! The main transformation in painting around the second half of the 20th century has been the change of scale, and much of it may be due to the artists' shift in residence from attics and other small studios to spaces formerly used as factories or warehouses, or what we refer to these days as lofts. To paint a 150 square foot canvas, a large studio is unavoidably necessary.
Even today, after the loft has ceased to be the exclusive prerogative of the artist, and has become an acceptable, alternative form of housing, a large percentage of those living in lofts are painters, photographers, architects, publicists and other sorts of creative, design, media oriented professionals. Since lofts are predominantly old industrial buildings, they will not be found in all districts of a city. It is an unconventional way of living, but loft architecture is in a sense, a significant form of recycling and reuse - critical concepts for the new century.
Lofts are generally large, open spaces with no fixed notions of a bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and so on, and usually the structures and installations are left exposed. This allows for flexibile spaces that can evolve according to the needs of the poeple living there. The exposed brick walls and typically hardwood floors, make them warm, cheerful living spaces.This has made them popular and they have now become prized real estate. When I lived in Seattle, I was enchanted by the idea of living in a loft, but the astronomical price was enough to convince me otherwise!

If you ever thought living in a loft - an abandoned industrial building converted into a living space - is not for you...take a look at these gorgeous pictures of loft living! I for one would trade my home for a loft in a heartbeat! You can see why they are so popular and in demand!

An old chemical factory in Barcelona, converted into loft living
A sign making workshop converted in Born, Barcelona
Soho, London

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Power of paint!

OK, so I know this is now on every design blog out there, because it is just so you can skip by this entire post cos there's a good chance you have seen it. I just needed to record it somewhere for my benefit, so I can see it anytime I want to get inspired

I especially love the series of 5 stairwells...ranging from red to orange!

Thank you, Gracias, Shukriya!

To Patricia Torres for doing a post on my wall art and featuring it in her lovely blog. Thanks a lot Patty, it is much appreciated!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Doggies need good design too!

OK...anyone who knows me or has met me even briefly....will come away knowing these 2 things about me. I love design and I love dogs (am especially partial to beagles and daschunds, but I love all dogs)!!! Dogs are amazing creatures....they are loyal, affectionate, intelligent and sensitive (one day I hope to do a post just on how sensitive they are to sick people and how therapeutic they are for old people - I have seen complete irrefutable evidence of both). But for now...I am focussing on doggie design! And by that I mean not only designing our homes so that they are pet friendly but also showing you furniture that has been designed JUST FOR POOCHES! YES! Finally someone realized that dogs are just little people with fur and deserve as much, if not more, than we humans do!

So, make your home a happy place for your dog by following these rules:

Skip the wall to wall carpeting-pet fur gets trapped and pet oils get embedded
Make sure that any upholstered furniture in the house is soft and comfortable for every member of the family. Avoid tall beds that require a large leap to get onto, or provide a step if your dog friends are of smaller breeds.
Match the color of your upholstery and bedding to your pets fur color-yes, the fur will still be there, but it won't show as much.
Buy attractive, patterned area rugs that are easy to clean-the pattern in the rug will hide the fur better. This isn't an excuse not to vacuum regularly, but it may reduce the frequency.
For pet lovers aspiring to a higher level of animal/aesthetic integration, Ikea has introduced a range of designer pet furniture. The company that once told British homeowners to chuck out the chintz is now exhorting us to chuck out the mangy old dog beds and chipped feeding bowls that clutter up our homes.
The new Bastis range consists of animal accessories with motifs such as the spotty Dalmation, through the organic rattan and up to the regal black-on-red print of the Bastis Krona selection, which includes a Lilliputian chaise longue for the quadruped with a taste for smoking jackets.

The Bastis Krona dog bed is reasonable value and could look rather charming in the right home. But I have no idea how anyone could induce even the best-disciplined of pets to sleep on it. Even if your pet is so obliging as to recline as requested, how long before the Bastis Krona is matted with fur or has its legs scratched to shreds?

The BÄSTIS KRONA line features a red and black palette and a crown motif on a variety of cushions, pillows, rugs, beds, even a CHAISE fer cryin’ out loud! Talk about treating your pets like royalty!

For the pet owner for whom price is no object, a trip to Pets and the City ( is a must. Their chrome and leather Modernist sofa wouldn't look amiss in the most minimalist of pads.
How about a wool dog blanket for Fido from
OK, so it's all a bit ridiculous, though. Your dog won't know the difference between high-concept design and an old plastic tub. I for one am quite content to have my dogs sleep on my bed with me...keeping my feet warm, snoring lightly and hogging all the space!! No doggie bed for them! But it is gratifying to know that designers out there are keeping our furry four footed friends in mind while designing furniture.....!

Doggie images via various media resorces, furniture pics via, and

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mosaic Monday - Bangle Bling Bling

We Indian girls like our bling bling. Ask any self respecting Indian girl and she'll tell you without hesitation that we like our earrings and necklaces and "choodis"...oh yes, the bangles. Bangles are the perfect accessory for an Indian outfit.....they come in all iridescent colors of the rainbow, in gold and silver, in glass, metal, lac, beaded metal, studded with stones, encrusted with pearls and diamonds....any which way you want! Glass bangles are generally the most popular...they are inexpensive and beautiful and easy to replace if one breaks - and that happens very often. They are often worn in increments of 6....a dozen, 18, 2 doz.....sometimes a bride will wear them all the way from the wrist to the elbow.

Now a girl needs a place to keep these bangles. Bangle stands, like bangles come in assorted shapes and sizes. My grandmother gave me her beautiful old antique leather bangle box - kind of looks like an English hat box from the outside. It is old and worn and a bit tattered at the edges, but that's what I love about it and I have no plans of getting it repaired and "made new" again! In addition to his I have this sculpted metal wall mounted bangle stand and another one that sits on my today for Mary"s MM, I am showing them all.

Thanks again Mary for hosting Mosaic Monday!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I've found my Dream house!

I think I've found it! My dream house - not a vacation home, but an actual home in which I would like to live, breathe, eat and sleep forever for the rest of my life! The house is perfect, the location is perfect...its just PERFECT! I am talking about this 250 year old home in Colombia near the Caribbean Sea, a historic home that was restored and redesigned as a vacation getaway for businessman Jean-Claude Bessudo and his wife Daniele! Even their names are so perfect...Jean Claude...Daniele!

Of the 250-year-old home's restoration, French-born Jean-Claude Bessudo says, "It was a difficult construction. It had been turned into a bank—very different from a Colonial residence in Cartagena. We tried to return to the original design in a modern way." A mix of Spanish Colonial and French-influenced Republican styles, the house had been poorly restored decades ago, explains Burckhardt, the architect hired . "Almost everything that had been added had to be demolished." After the discovery of what were believed to be the original plans for the 13,000-square-foot home, the yearlong project began in earnest.

Inside, the vacation home is a vision of simplicity and comfort. With a minimum of materials and decoration the house is perfect for their children, their companions and their five grandchildren. Furnishings are simple and decorated with local handicrafts, like the hammocks typical of Cartagena. The minimalist approach to the interior complements the home's open feeling, a requirement in the humid climate. Burckhardt is especially delighted by the relationship between the architecture and nature, crediting Belgian native Danièle with special touches, especially plants near the pool. "The pool is my favorite area," he says.
Here are some incredible images for you to salivate over....

Brick archway covered with pothos vines
The Historic facade
The Reflecting pool
Another peaceful pool
Corraline Stone Column
Casual Relaxation by the pool
Rustically Modern Style
Hammocks by the pool
Sleek outdoor style
Soothing indoor style
Cool and crisp bedroom
Balcony and balustrade
Master Bedroom
Terrace with a tower view
Sigh! Oh was fun to daydream. Maybe I should change my name to Carmen (more dreamy and romantic and suited to this place than "Kamini") and apply for a job as maid/cook/cleaner...? I'd be happy to cook and clean all day long if I could have a view of the ocean as I was dusting and mopping! Even a small room by one of the pools will make me happy.

Images via

Friday, June 25, 2010

Let's keep it short!

He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend,
a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself,
as in all weathers, as in all fortunes.
~ Barrow ~
Smart man this Barrow! But we don't need Barrow to explain to us the joy of finding a good book, curling up with it - especially on a rainy day with a cuppa nearby - and diving right into it! I can name so many books that have so enthralled me, I have read them in one sitting.....The Fountainhead, The Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, the Harry Potter series. And these are not small books by any means, the pages run into hundreds and you cannot be in any hurry to finish them. But if you are looking for a quick shot of fun and don't have time or patience to read a novel from cover to cover, then short stories are your answer. Short stories can be as engaging as long novels, and they are instant gratification. No waiting to find out what happens at the end - you can be done with one story in 10 minutes, maybe less.
Of late I have started reading short stories only because I don't find the stretch of uniterrupted time I need for a longer novel ( I think my blogging addiction may have something to do with it?). And for a nice read before bedtime, nothing like one or two short stories. So...right now I have 3 collections by my bed on my nightstand, all fabulous but different in their own way, so I can pick and choose who I want to read that night.....
Friends in Small Places by Ruskin Bond
This book is a compilation of anecdotes about the colorful people of a small town called Pipalnagar. Keemat Lal, a reluctant police inspector; Uncle Ken, an overgrown bully; Bhabiji, a formidable matriarch of a Punjabi family and many more quirky characters are part of it. As Bond points out, each story is about the not-so-famous people who have yet to attain their 15 minutes of fame! Written in his trademark simple, feel-good style.
The Best of Roald Dahl
This collection of  20 stories brings together some of Dahl's finest works including his well known tales such as Parson's Pleasure, The Visitor, Dip in the Pool, And Madama Rosette amonst others. Each story has that perfect satisfying twist in the tale that makes Dahl the master of the bizarre. Sure to delight your dark, wicked side!
The return of Khokababu by Raindranath Tagore
A neglected wife gains strength from the tragedy of another woman to break free from her own misery in one, while Kabuliwala loves another's daughter as his own in another. A servant gives away his own son to his masters to replace their lost child in the title tale. All stories are sensitive tales of human emotions.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Waka Waka - this time for Africa

Africa has always been known to activate the senses like nowhere else on earth, long before FIFA and long before Shakira put the country in the spotlight with her rousing Afro-Latin rendition of Waka Waka in her Zulu skirt! Its colors and smells are so vivid - much like India - that the visitor carries them around long after he or she has left the African soil! African tribal art is so primal, passionate and unfettered, it is easy to understand the excitement caused by it.

African interior design has gone unnoticed until recently when it burst out of its slumber with vivid colour, bold pattern and hand made detail. Natural wood, woven baskets, burlap sacks, fabrics such as cotton and jute – these natural, organic materials are a part of any safari and translate well into the home. Likewise, the animals and the lush vegetation that are central to a safari – these elements are often used in African safari interior design as well. To get the look in your home consider these - large, dark wood furniture pieces; jute rugs on hardwood floors, when possible; animal prints, like zebra or cheetah for fabric choices; combining both real and artificial plants to give your room the jungle feel. Palms and grass plants are especially ideal choices; accessories with unique touches like mosquito nets on the wall and traditional African art; a safari scene mural to add a striking touch.

The color palette is sophisticated. Colors taken directly from nature - subtle shades of ochre, red, pure white, off white, and light gray. and green which is reminescent of stone found in the riverbed. Flora and fauna found near the river – grass, leaves, stems, flowers, roots, shells, nuts, wild fruit, papyrus, and gourds- these are accessories to this creation of natural fashion.

African interiors are all about people, tradition, culture, symbolism and celebration. The rich culture of Africa home accents comes from proud generations of people. These working people take the spirit of nature contained in the wood, clay, stone, metal and other natural materials. Next they give back by chiseling, crafting , and polishing beauty from the piece of wood, clay, stone, metal or other natural material they've taken. It's predicted more will grow to appreciate and use the exotic interior themes and elements to enhance a space or room in their home.
Here are some images to inspire you.....
Colors of South Africa - black, yellow-gold and green
Adapting ancient traditions to new methods - colored bowls made from telephone wires
African style along with other ethnic pieces - a Thai temple dog and English fireplace tiles
An African "basket" jug made from painted bottle tops filled with porcupine quills
Abstract cushions made from mud-resist Mali fabric
Lustrous gold on the walls, a cardboard and rattan basket and artwork on the wall using African river mud, ochre oxide and Reckitts Blue!
The natural beauty of dried pods and leaves complemented by the exquisitely balanced color scheme of the embroidered antique cloth from Syria!
An ostrich egg incribed by Namibian bushmen against the carved ridged texture of a wooden grain pestle, Zulu mat holder and Ndebele bracelet
African baskets and Afghan pottery in perfect harmony
Rough woven textiles, the smooth tactility of age-worn wood and beadwork are all to be found in tribal art!

Images via Ethnic By design by Dinah Hall