Monday, 22 August 2011

Home Libraries

"Wear the old coat and buy the new book"

When I was growing up my father got transferred to a lot of different places, but no matter which army station we went to, however remote, two things were always there - a swimming pool and a library. No wonder my favourite pastimes were swimming and reading. We were allowed to borrow four books at a time from the library and I would always issue my full quota. My earliest memory is that of inhaling the musty smelling paper, sitting between those tall, never-ending shelves and eagerly flipping the pages to discover whole new worlds.
It has been 15 years since I stepped into a library but my love for books hasn't changed. The only difference is that now I buy, because I don't like giving up a book even though I've read it.

A lot of my friends share my passion and I know that if there is one thing that a book lover loves as much as reading the book itself, it's to display those books. It's their pride and joy. And you have to agree that there is something about rows of colourful books stacked together that creates an immediate atmosphere of warmth and comfort.

Here are a couple of my favourite images. You'll know exactly what I mean, no words needed. 

Bookshelves of Halldor Laxness

from coco+kelly

creative designs
from chotda
from Jasmine

Lloyd's of Kew Booksellers

from oh food

from Jeezny

This last one is a most extraordinary design. It's from a London apartment where the owners have ingeniously built in the bookshelf into a staircase that leads up to their loft. Image on the left is from the bottom, looking up. And the one on the right is from the loft, looking down.

Hope I have inspired you to look for new and unusual spaces in your home where you can build your own libraries. It does not need to be enormous or pristine or co-ordinated. In fact the messier it is, the more fun it is! Happy reading.

*I have done my best to link the images to the right sources, but a special mention goes to RobAroundBooks from where I got a lot of my leads. Staircase bookshelf images from Apartment Therapy.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Measuring c(up)

I've been in the mood to bake for a while and after seeing these gorgeous measuring cups I am feeling even more inspired! For me the whole experience of cooking is as important as the final dish itself. If you surround yourself with beautiful objects, you're bound to produce something beautiful, right? OK fine, there will always be exceptions. But wouldn't you just love to have something like this in your kitchen rather than matching-matching plastic or plain glass ones?!

While we are on the subject of baking, can someone recommend a good oven to me? I need to replace my tiny, ten year old OTG! Don't have space for anything built-in so it will have to be a counter top. Looking forward to hearing from you!

PS - Aren't these spoons the most beautiful? Just like a piece of art!

*All images are from my ongoing crush, Anthropologie 
Layouts designed by yours truly

Thursday, 11 August 2011

An out of work artist, at work

Remember the third room that I talked about in one of my earlier posts, the study-cum-studio? One of the reasons why we moved to a larger house was so that I could have a dedicated space to indulge in all my creative pursuits and channelise my energy. Going by that logic, it's really strange that it's been three months and it's the only one room in the house that remains untouched! I wonder if it's a sign. I have been dragging my feet over it, even though I spend hours labouring over the layout, look, furniture etc. I'd like to believe that perhaps this is the one part of the house that's most important to me, therefore I want it to be perfect. And perfection for a procrastinating perfectionist can take forever!

So let me share with you my thought process behind this room rather than the room itself. 

The colour that I have chosen for my central wall is a shade of terracotta. I wanted the palette here to be richer, deeper...something that would ooze energy and yet be earthy. Here's the wall being painted by my painter, Vijay. It looks a bit orangey in this image, but it's not so.

I figured that getting my thoughts on paper would help me set up the place better (note, I'm not saying faster). So I did a bunch of drawings and they did help me in figuring out the limitations, but didn't really help in cracking the layout. I guess a lot will get sorted once I have my final piece of furniture in the room...a storage cabinet that I am designing. Don't go by the bland sketch below, it's going to be quite quirky and fun. And don't worry if you can't read my scribbles, it's just to convince you that I am working really hard!

Here's a mood board of all the things that inspire me while I go about setting up this space...

1. A visual that I came across in one of the blogs, don't remember which one but if you can identify it, I'll be happy to post credit. I had saved it for inspiration. Adore the furniture, the painting, the floor, the colours, the bottles...just my kind of thing!
2. I love cubbyholes. This one is a design from Pottery Barn.
3 & 6. Images from past web searches, again can't remember source. I'd love to surround myself with colour and art (I am brushing up my painting skills with watercolour classes these days!)
4. The sewing machine desk that I designed for gets the pride of place in this room.
5. A chalk board cum magnetic board cum clock! I am waiting to get my hands on can find it in Tappu ki Dukaan.
7. A couple of handles that I picked up from my last trip to Anthropologie. I'll be using them on the cabinet that I am designing.
8. 'Organising Your Craft Space' by Jo Packham - a book that I flip through occasionally for inspiration. You can find it here.

In case any of you are looking to set up your own creative work space, I'll leave with you some more inspiration from the Pottery Barn collection...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Kitschy Kitchen

A wind chime in the kitchen
The kitchen in my previous house was rather tiny and if someone happened to be standing in the passage between the counters, the other person would literally have to walk sideways to get through. So when I moved to this house, I was rather relieved that at least now people would stop rubbing against each other in my kitchen! Don't get me wrong, it's by no means massive but it's double the size of the previous one, nevertheless.
The weird part is that even though the kitchen was larger, the storage space had gotten smaller. The built-in cabinets did not even have a bottom shelf, one could see right through to the floor! I wonder how the previous occupants were managing...or did they just walk off with all the bottom shelves?? You never know.
The good part is that I was forced to give away tons of random things that I had been stowing away in overhead cabinets without having used them even once in the last ten years! So feeling lighter and brighter, I set about the task of giving the poor cabinets a bottom shelf and creating some extra storage. However there were quite  a few constraints when it came to building new storage:
1. It had to be wall mounted, there was not an inch of floor space left
2. The only wall space available was over the sink, but it had a window right next to it
3. Making a cabinet would mean closing in the space and cutting off the natural light 
4. It had to accommodate my numerous mugs and jars

Thus was born the idea of the floating shelves. They were perfect as they met all of the above criteria. I even built some into the window without compromising on the light, in fact the glass objects placed on the window shelves looked even prettier with the light passing through. And I am still able to open and shut the window with ease...
I like my mugs to hang from hooks coz they add so much colour to the space, it'd be such a pity to hide them in cupboards. Besides it's not even practical...each one is a different size and shape, making it impossible to stack and would only eat up precious shelf space. 
Isn't it wonderful when practicality meets aesthetic?

Another corner that I love in my kitchen is the crockery shelf. This nook was probably meant for a refrigerator or a washing machine but it was not large enough for my fridge, so I decided to put my wooden shelf in there...
Here's a closer look...

Another part of the kitchen is covered with a wall-mounted Ikea unit that serves well to hold all the daily knick-knacks...

On the whole it's quite a compact space and everything seems to have found a place for itself. 
For anything new that comes in now, something else will have to go out. Maybe that's best for someone like me, it keeps my life clutter-free!

Hope you guys enjoyed this coz I had a great time putting it together for you!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Where do you go to my lovely?

I am back with the long promised before-after pictures of my home. The first up in the series is the bedroom simply coz it's the only room that is fully done up. I never imagined it'd take me so much time to get the place looking the way I want it to. But I guess patience is a virtue, right?

So without further ado, here it is...

My favourite part of this room is that it has three large windows that give us lots of natural light. The trees outside not only add a beautiful element of green but also keep peeping Toms at bay. It's also perfect these days to watch the monsoon rain splash around.

I painted one of the walls in the room ochre and the rest is off-white, so the windows have been dressed up in a yellow Benarasi fabric with off-white motifs on it. The effect is absolutely brilliant. This palette also acts as a base for me to bring into the room, other earthy shades that I love, without sticking to a rigid colour theme.

The bed and the bedside tables have been designed by me. 
The headboard has different kinds of wood inlaid in teak to create a simple striped pattern that's natural looking. The bedsides are both side has an open shelf because at any given point I am reading at least three different books and I like to keep them close at hand, without cluttering the table top

The table on my husband's side has a louvered door that has been polished in different natural shades to match the headboard of the bed. Besides, to keep my own sanity, I didn't want to give him any shelves that were open and clearly visible for all to see

The image below shows the entry way into the room, before we moved in. The blank wall adjacent to it is the one where I have created a little dressing space and a gallery of family picture frames
There wasn't too much space in the room once the bed and bedsides were placed so I had to create a wall mounted unit using a large mirror, few shelves and a narrow table, quite similar to what I had in my previous house. I do miss not having a proper dresser to stack all my trinkets, jewellery, make-up etc. 
Now I just have to be very neat and keep everything stashed away in my wardrobe. 
The glass cups hanging from the side of the mirror, hold a couple of my everyday items like clips, bands, rings and earrings. Its one of my favourite DIYs using just a jute rope to string together a bunch of glass cups/ jars...

One of my prized purchases is an antique styled wooden chest with iron clamps and hinges. It sits by the bedside, against the ochre wall and is used to stow away quilts and covers

Last but not the least, is my family wall of fame. I have shared it in one of my posts before. It's a bunch of different coloured photo frames that I have collected from different places, and I just love how all of them come together.

So that's a wrap for now. I do hope it has been worth the wait and that you guys enjoyed this part of my home. I will be back with more soon, meanwhile I'd love to hear what you think about it.
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