Monday, 19 December 2011

Life in a Living Room

Growing up in an army household this room was what we refered to as the 'drawing room' - a rather formal looking place where my parents entertained their guests over luncheons and cocktails. (As an aside, did you know that the name 'drawing room' was derived from the term 'withdrawing room', more commonly used in the 16th century? Well, that explains why you don't have to be an artist to have such a room in your house). However, today this room has quite a different connotation for me; my guests don't come in chiffon saris and I don't have rows of crystal showcases, so it made sense to quickly adopt the more casual nomeclature 'living room' instead.

We spend most of our time here sprawled on a bean bag or lying on the couch with feet propped on the coffee table and very often carry our dinner plates to eat in front of the television. Oh yes, the fact that the television is here pretty much explains why my husband, Pawan, likes to spends his life in this room. I've always maintained that the idiot box should be kept out of the bedroom, hoping to build a healthier atmosphere with conversation and books. Little did I know that no TV in the bedroom also meant no husband in the bedroom. Anyhow, the point is that we do end up spending most of our life in the living room.

This is also the only space in the house where I have been magnanimous enough to accommodate Pawan's desires in terms of decor, which in one word was 'comfort'. It would have been all good had it not been the very antithesis of style, but I was determined to find a meeting point between the two. So out went the low lying furniture and the straight back bench and in came the lounge chair and more relaxed sofas. However, a line had to be drawn somewhere...NO lazy boy and NO fat couch would set foot in my living room.

Let me take you through my redecorating journey. Here's what the room looked like when me moved in, a nice open space with lots of sunlight streaming through the large windows and balcony doors.

The first thing that I did was to lay a wooden flooring over the tiles. The idea was to make this large space look more inviting and less formal, besides I wasn't a big fan of the tile pattern. And that one thing changed the whole mood in this room.

Next came the curtains. The area that had to be dressed was a large 9x14 feet frame. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted here - it had to be off-white with an element of fun on it; any other colour would fade away in no time plus I didn't want a huge block of colour cutting up one whole wall of the room. To save the off-white from becoming plain Jane I turned to my fashion designer friends, an extremely talented duo who own a label called Black Sheep. They had never designed curtains before but were happy to take on my assignment. I rattled off some of my favourite things for them to work with - embroidery, mirrors, paisley, polka, brocade, gota, sequences etc. and give it their signature style. After some rounds of brain storming and trials, this is what we ended up with...

While the curtains were getting done, I decided to bring in some fresh energy into my old furniture by reupholstering them. I had had an orange and fuchsia palette on these for quite sometime and was ready to embrace something more subtle, leaving the colours for the curtains, cushions and rugs.

Last but not the least was dressing up the space and allowing our personalities to shine through. Every piece and corner has it's own story and I would like to believe that it all comes together to create a room that speaks of us and not just a showcase of our possessions.

So all put together, this is what our living room looks like...

We are also fortunate to have a balcony attached to our living room, a luxury not very easily afforded in Bombay. The cute little pots that you see in these pictures are thanks to a place my friend Upasana took me to in Delhi. They have the most fabulous garden accessories; I shall do a feature on them soon.

Hope you guys enjoyed this journey. I'm off to bring in the new year now, see you all on the other side with many more exciting stories. Happy New Year everyone!
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