Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Wishes 2014

Wishing you Peace, Joy and Love this Christmas !!! May you have the most wonderful celebration with your loved ones.........
This is my last post for 2014. It's been quite a ride this year .....However, I have enjoyed every twist, turn and bump along the way. Every effort made for the TECD has been so worthwhile as my extended TECD family has grown by leaps and bounds this year. I couldn't be happier with all the love and validation that I have received from my lovely readers. Thank you !!!
As we approach 2015, it brings with it new aspirations, fresh avenues to discover and higher goals to achieve. These backed with optimism, enthusiasm and YOU by my side, I can say that 2015 is going to be fantastic !!!  So see you around in 2015 folks !!!

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.    

Friday, December 19, 2014

'Tis the Season to Sparkle (Holiday Tablescape)

A big chunk of my happy childhood memories are those associated with festive celebrations. Maybe it was because we had family and friends over.....extra attention was paid to decor......there was shopping for clothes involved.......or the simple fact that good food and a special spread was the order of the day. When it came to Christmas and food, my mom and nani would make the most delicious Christmas  delicacies, starting with the fruit cake, mazipans, cookies and kal kals to just name a few of my absolute favorites. While mom and nani would toil it out in the kitchen, my sister and I would be incharge of the holiday decorating. We would have fun experimenting and decorating the place to our hearts content.  Oh ! How I wish I could turn back time.......
Fast forward to today.....I do indulge in baking but nothing as fancy as back then. It's hard not to get caught up in the Christmas spirit around you. I try to make it special for my family in my own little way. I always prepare a special home cooked meal and enjoy it in a festive setting with my loved ones. The effort is so worthwhile when I see that my son is busy building his set of happy memories.......

But given today's time constraints, it does seem like a huge effort to be able to pull off something like this. My luxe tablescape looks like a lot of effort went into it but there lies the catch. 
Looking at your holiday decor through a new set of eyes always helps.....finding innovative ways to use what you have is the name of the game. This year my holiday seasonal swag found a new place to decorate. No, not the mantel above the fireplace or my stairway. It was placed along the length of my formal dining table to add to my Christmas Tablescape. I decided on working with the cream and brown color palette with gold and red thrown in for the luxe effect.  
You'll are familiar with my festive table runner. Like I've said before, investing in a neutral table runner always helps as you can change the other design elements and have a whole new look every single time. Neutral colored placemats sporting an almost herring bone like pattern in gold were pulled out from storage. Mixed it with my everyday plates and boom, things started to look good. A few special touches like the jeweled ornate candleholder with its antique gold finish and airy quality adds a timeless elegance to the setting....The new addition to my home this Christmas were these gorgeous looking colored crystal stemware. In shades of red, they bring in the much needed punch of color to the tablescape and break up the neutral color palette. 
Seasonal sprays find a whole new innovative use. Fresh flowers were swapped for a few light gold and antique pearl berry spray picks that were tucked into a crystal vase. I love how it turned out. Little boxes of my favorite chocolates have been gift wrapped and placed on each place setting to add that extra special touch.
And now for one final look:
Wishing you a wonderful and fun filled Christmas !!!

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

In the Christmas Spirit (Breakfast Nook Update)

My family and I tend to spend a lot of our downtime at home, in our breakfast nook. Transforming this space to complement the season's festive mood was just the thing to do. I started by adding a red natural woven chattai table runner to ground all the other elements of this setting. Next,  I switched my green lamp  with the terracotta red lamp from my formal dining room.  
Looked around in my stash of holiday decor and found these galvanized metal stars that were once part of my son's bedroom decor. When he outgrew the "twinkle-twinkle little star" phase, I stored them away thinking I could put them to good use someday. Glad I didn't get rid of them.  I think they add the perfect Christmas touch to the setting.

Adding more Christmas cheer to the breakfast nook console is a faux wreath from Michaels. I've let it rest informally on the console keeping in mind that the place is often used to relax and unwind. The chalkboard gets updated with little snow flakes strung at varying lengths with golden gift wrapping twine. "Let it Snow" seems the apt phrase to go with the wintry Christmas feel.  
A voluptuous wooden bowl (a flea market find) gets filled to the brim with Holiday ornaments in shades of green, gold and deep reds. Cookie box sporting a plaid pattern seems befitting for the occasion and is stocked from time to time with the  family's favorite cookies. A mug is kept handy for anyone who needs  milk or hot chocolate  to go with the cookies. 
You cannot have a Christmas setting without candles, can you ? My collection of votive holders in hues of shimmering gold, greens and reds are brought out to work their magic. (Tip: If you already don't own a set of mercury glass votive holders, make sure you get yourself a set. They seem to take a simple looking vignette to a whole new level). Some ornaments randomly strewn on the runner complete the look.

I put this vignette together in less than 20 minutes. The simplicity of the setting is something I love. I'm also thrilled about the fact that I worked with what I had. Just remember you don't need a whole lot to make things look pretty.

Coming up next, a luxe Christmas tablescape. You'll be surprised at how simple it could be to put together a glamorous looking tablescape for your Christmas party/dinner....

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Homey Home (Home Tour)

One look at Anupama and Aditya Gupta's home and we are immediately struck with the simple and relaxed beauty of the home owner's personal style. Embracing an open floor plan, their home in cosmopolitan Singapore is brimming with distinct character and uncontrived design spirit. Anupama has had a successful career as a communications consultant for nearly 15 years, spanning 3 different countries. She gave it all up for her two little angles, 7 year old Zoya and 2 year old Ira. She says , "As a mother of two girls, I feel I have learnt more from life than in my 15 years of work life." A new entrant in the blogosphere, Anupama blogs at "Wize and Other wise". A personal and inspirational blog, where she pens her experiences on making the right choices for leading the healthy life to her thoughts and perspective on being a mom. 

Talking about her style mantra Anupama says, " Well to be honest, we have never followed a particular style. What appeals to us most is that a piece of furniture, art or décor accessory should aesthetically ‘fit’ into our home. All our furniture and art have been bought over the years across different countries we've lived in or visited. The moment we see the piece, we know if it would fit into our home or not. The distressed blue book shelf in our living area was bought in Dubai (though originally it’s from Rajasthan), the boat-shaped bar is from Bali, and the red Chinese cabinet was bought from a store at Chinatown, Singapore.

As we can see, Anupama loves experimenting and moving things around. Paintings, furniture and curios get moved around every now and then, to give the space a new feel. Her decor must have is an alternative set of slip covers to give the place a spanking new look.

A new addition to their home, the dining table is an antique Rajasthani wooden door reincarnated to form the solid tabletop. A mix and match of chairs and you have yourself one-of-a kind place that is the workhorse of the house. 

The biggest decorating challenge that the couple had to tackle was moving from a 3,000 sq ft home in Dubai to a 1764 sq ft space in Singapore. Anupama says, "All of our furniture has been bought with a lot of care, we tend to be a bit emotionally attached to them.Our main objective while shifting base was to ensure that some of our favorite pieces of furniture found its rightful place in our new home. Knowing what pieces to include and what we had to let go was tough but thankfully in the end the home has a reassuring look of comfort and calm."

(Clock-wise from left: The Radha artwork by G Subramanyam is a collage of National Geographic clips. The lady painting by Shankar Kendale takes center stage in the dining room. A Bull painting above the red Chinese cabinet is by prominent Indian artist Sreekanth Kurva.) 

The couple are avid collectors of art. They were introduced to the colorful world of art and its possibilities by none other than Anupama's brother in law, Mohit Gupta (based in Bangalore). A passionate collector of art himself, he has played a huge role in promoting upcoming Indian artists over the last 15 years. "My husband and I take my brother-in-laws recommendations about investing in art very seriously. It has taken us over a decade to build our collection and we find them priceless now. Some of the artists we have at our home are Shankar Kendale, G Subramanyam, Basuki Dasgupta and Laxman Aelay. We absolutely love each and every piece of art we own and are always on the hunt to add to this collection.

The experimental streak in Anupama got the better of her and she was able to restore some old pieces of furniture and give them a new lease of life. "I experimented on restoring some of our old pieces for furniture about a year ago. Be it an old bench (originally wood color), which I painted into a bright yellow color. It now sits proudly right at our entrance. Also the balcony furniture- they were given an aqua blue shade and the table a white shade. All these pieces of furniture had been bought at a bargain from expats while they were moving out. Even the bookshelf in the kids’ room was a basic white Ikea shelf which I painted red. I feel each of these pieces have added immense aesthetic value to the style of our home."

The one feature that the couple love the most about their home is its idyllic location. It's not only the eastern sunlight but also the breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline at night, that makes it a great place to enjoy at all times. " Our home faces the east. So we get a lot of the morning sun, which is so refreshing. We tend to spend a lot of time in our balcony especially on the weekends with the kids. Also the kids’ room faces the bay, which makes it very breezy and cool. 
When we were in the process of buying our own apartment, we looked at several other options within the same complex, but decided to buy this place as it always felt ‘right’."

The master bedroom is consciously kept simple with a Lotus painting in shades of calming blue by artist Suresh taking center stage. A collage of family pictures completes this room. Anupama strongly feel that " a home should be a true reflection of the people who live in it. It’s not always important that every piece of furniture is perfectly co-ordinated. Sometimes, if planned out well, independent pieces of furniture, lamps etc actually blend in well together."

And we think Anupama has nailed it...........the home is warm and welcoming with personal style, comfort and relaxation being the over-riding considerations in this space. Thank you Gupta family for being so generous and giving us a tour of your beautiful home. 

Images Copyright/ Credit : Anupama Gupta. The images may not be used without prior written permission from the home owners.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Fancy Khullad

Virginia winters can be ruthless. But with a hot cup of my favorite brew - chai, the cold winter seems a little less fierce. My chai time has become a little more exotic and fancy these days with my new Khullad style tea cups. They momentarily whisk me away to India by conjuring up images of tea served street style. 
These organic looking handmade ceramic tea cups from World Market are available in a variety of earthy  tones.  Their subtle variations and imperfectly perfect ridges, make the cups one-of-a -kind. The handle-less cups not only warm your insides but also keep those hands nice and warm, a comfort during winter. If you have been raking your brains for gift ideas this coming holiday season, these kitchen staples make perfect gifts without breaking your bank. 

Have a wonderful day !!!

Image Copyright/Credit: 1 (Sruthi Singh), 2 (World Market) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Art by Aarohi (Featured Artist/Shop)

Designer yet affordable....quirky and kitschy yet explosion of colors and yet the whole composition works together harmoniously......traditional Indian motifs that appeal to the style and design sensibilities of the modern day woman......... all this and more describes the color saturated totes from the design label  "Art by Aarohi". Aarohi needs no introduction. The talented Bangalore-based artist has a number of laurels to her credit. The latest being her e-store launch, Art by Aarohi. 

With these wearable pieces of art that have been derived from Aarohi's original works, you can flaunt your fearless style and personality everywhere you go. 
With a distinct Indian flavor, these personal accessories are sure to make a statement. Aarohi has also very thoughtfully put together a style board that shows you how you could pair her a la mode creations to get the look right. With the gift giving season here, why not gift yourself one of these limited edition pieces that are sure to make heads turn ?

Image Copyright/ Credit : Art by Aarohi 
Styling/concept : Image 1: The Bold Creative, Image 2 & others : Aarohi

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Levart (Featured Shop)

Souvenirs hand-picked on our travels encapsulate more than a memory. To me they speak of a different culture, the remarkable craftsmanship, etch stories of far off market place and provide me the simple joy of owning and enjoying a beautiful piece of art for what it is. The Pune based store, "Levart" does just that. This home décor store believes in blurring the boundaries and bringing back art from travels to its rightful connoisseurs. 

The creative duo heading the Levart brand are Bhavya Srinivasan and Payal. Their passion for travel and a keen eye for all things beautiful and unique fueled the entrepreneurial venture “Levart”. Scouting the country for unique and quirky collectibles, the store offers its customers a handpicked collection of objects that are a great addition to ones home and are bound to be conversation starters. Levart also caters to bulk orders from corporates. 
Bhavya  says : "Levart to me is an initiative that has helped me live my passion for art and travel and hence the punch line - living art with travel. I personally think that Art as a form came into being because of the creative mind that is highly influenced by ones deep rooted cultural sense. Believing travel is knowledge, Levart strives to bring the art forms from diverse cultures to those who appreciate the creative forms. This entire process is personally enriching and satisfying as we feel privileged to be a  medium to encourage and showcase numerous artists and their talents."
Currently Levart retails via their Pune store and their Facebook page. You could also write to them at for product inquirers. (If you are in Pune, mark your calenders for the Pune Sunday Soul Sante happening on December 21st, 2014 - you can catch Levart and 150 other artists and stores at this event). 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of this quirky and unique store. Have a wonderful day !!!

Image credit/copyright : Levart

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Featured in The Ideal Home and Garden Magazine !!!

I've had the most wonderful start to this month !!! I'm thrilled about the fact that I've been featured in the December 2014 Issue of "The Ideal Home and Garden Magazine". December being the month for parties, I was asked to chip in my ideas, tips and tricks for a perfect "Winter Soirée". 

We all know that good food, wine and wonderful company makes a great party but what's also important, is to realize that without good decor to add to the right mood for the party, it could be a bummer. Here is how my contribution to the December edition shaped up: 

I wish to thank Riddhima for reaching out to me and the Ideal Home and Garden team for such a  wonderful opportunity. The magazine is out on the stands so go grab your copy today !!!

Image Copyright/ Credit: Ideal Home and Garden Magazine

Friday, November 21, 2014

When life throws curve balls at you ………

First things first, big bear hugs to all those who have been writing in to check on me and have made me feel like my absence from the blogging scene does make a difference to them.……the feeling is mutual and I've missed you’ll too.
I've been away cause life has been hurling curve balls at me and I've been busy trying to get through this rough patch…..Most of you’ll living abroad will agree with me when I say that the entire ordeal of living away from ones family is demanding and exhausting to say the least. You can chat on the phone, Whats App and Skype all you want, but the bottom line is there are days when you just miss “them”. The one thing that I dread the most is to wake up to a call (from back home) at an unearthly hour…….you know something is wrong. A month back, one such call woke me up to the news that my mom had suffered a heart attack and with multiple blocks she needed immediate surgery. This came as an absolute shock to my family and I cause she’s one of the most disciplined people that I know of, when it comes to health and eating right. 

So the past couple of weeks have been stressful. But all’s well that ends well. The surgery was a success and my brave lady is recovering well. This entire experience has not only made us stronger and wiser but has also made us realize the importance of the many things in life that we take for granted!!!

With me having to rush off to see my mom, my husband and son were left all alone to manage on their own. They did extremely well but the down side was I had some damage control to take care of when it came to the home front – the place looked like it had been hit by a tornado (but then again,boys will be boys ;). Another thing that was looming large was my final semester exams. But I’m done with all the studying and late nights and am back to my everyday routine, blogging and breathing regularly. From now on, we have our stream of cheerful vibrant posts coming your way. So stay connected and until next time keep warm!!! 

Images: Clicked by Sruthi Singh. Please do not use without prior written permission. 
Images are the property of Sruthi Singh and subject to copyright.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jaypore Giveaway Winner !!!

It's time to announce the winner of the Jaypore giveaway !!! I'd like to thank Jaypore and all those who participated in the giveaway and made this giveaway such a success.

And the winner is, drum roll please :
Chitra Visalakshi, please write to me at with your contact details (email and address) so that we can ship you the Dancing Ganesha Brass Oil lamp at the earliest:)

As for the rest of you, enjoy your weekend and the festivities !!! And a quick update, unexpected travel plans have me gone for two weeks or more............However, I've managed to schedule my Diwali Wishes post for my lovely readers. So do drop by the blog and miss me while I'm gone.......... 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Banwarey (Featured shop)

If you think you've seen it all, wait till you see the creations from the design label "Banwarey". An unorthodox approach to design, contemporary yet quintessentially Indian, unique and artistically appealing and most of all - made with love.....all this and more aptly sums up the essence of Banwarey. A quartet of artists (as seen in the image from left : Shruti Joshi, Apurva Nayal, Shrishti Jain and Ajay Singh Rawatt) and the culmination of their passions for art, design, aesthetics and desi fervor has resulted in a brand that's as unique as the artists themselves. 
Banwarey offers a range of clothes, jewelry and fashion accessories that are hand crafted with an inherent organic feel. Colors, textures and patterns come together dexterously in each of their creations. The products speak for themselves but I also found the way the products have been styled and shot was engaging - rustic, raw, full of spirit and personality.........

This is what the talented bevy of artists at Banwarey have to say when it comes to their mission statement, "showcase and market handcrafted merchandise which brings out the magical mystique of India. A shared cultural viewpoint and sense of style bonds the members of our group together. Our apparel and allied portrays the way we think, behave and view the world and we express our style with an overriding commitment to a feeling which is very much Indian. 
Our practice of crafting merchandise is executed with a raw approach rather than heavy processing which essentially makes it a first- hand experience for the customer.We weave the Indian soul into everyday style and fashion ranging from anything casual to pretty intricate…Our designs are very much hip, contemporary and at the same time not detached from the earthy roots of our culture that is seemingly perishing in the process of over refining in productions. Our sense of design is intrinsic to the expression of our culture. We make our products with love...and a little madness!"

They currently retail via  Tatsat and Teaatro Dogra. They can also be reached via their Facebook page . What are you waiting for go ahead and get your share of  the Banwarey love and madness !!!

A gentle reminder, the Diwali festive giveaway is on until tomorrow........make sure you enter to win a fabulous dancing brass Ganesha from Jaypore.

Image Credit/Copyright : Banwarey

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sophisticated Simplicity

Prrithviraj and Uma Singh's Gurgaon (India) residence perfectly resonates with Leonardo Da Vinci quote, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Carefully chosen ingredients like antiques, heirloom treasures, travel trophies and diligently curated art integrated with the effortless chic personal style of the home owners has resulted in a home that exudes tranquility and timeless elegance.  

Being the Director and co-founder of "EastBound Travels" (one of the premium Destination Management Companies in India), Prrithvi's work requires him to travel extensively. The globe trotter fancies coming home to a place that is seductively peaceful and provides a restorative background to his jet setting lifestyle. His wife Uma, with her discerning eye for detail and keen design aesthetics, is the perfect accomplice in hunting down exquisite and rare gems to create a home that is simple without being stark and is sophisticated without being punctilious. Talking about their sense of style, the couple says, "We were not drawn to any particular genre of design or style. The only prerequisites that we listed out before we started furnishing our home was to forge a look that was uncomplicated and relaxed yet chic." 
The checkered entryway is adorned with a beguiling combination of family treasures and new finds. It aptly sets the tone for what lies ahead. A plethora of lit diyas (in brass and terracotta) cast a warm glow, while blushing rose petals in brass urlis glamorize the entrance to the home and incontestably announce that the Prrithviraj residence is all decked for the upcoming festivities.
A cornucopia of brass artifacts displayed in the entryway introduces us to the couple's penchant for brass and antiques. Uma further asserts this love by saying, "Faded treasures and antiques are great not only for their excellent craftsmanship and beautifully aged patina but also because they impart soul to a home with their inherent sense of a bygone era." Uma's signature style of housing fresh potted plants in antique brass containers can be observed in every vignette in the home. 
Once in the foyer, you can tell of the couple's love for books and art. Uma has a weakness for antique fabrics. A treasured piece of antique fabric from Rajasthan has been framed  and displayed in happy conjunction with other favorite Tanjore paintings.
The juxtaposition of an acrylic on canvas by eminent artist Jagdish Dey, the antique statues - a travel find from Malaysia and the crimson glass vases on a contemporary style console, make for an appealing display.

The living room is unburdened and is given an opportunity to breathe with greater ease, in sync with the gusts of wind that freely waft through large windows. With a neutral color palette serving as the backdrop, splashes of color are added through paintings, soft furnishings and other decor accessories. The couple's zest for entertaining also played a key role in designing a space that echoed an open floor plan. Having considered various seating options, they finally settled on the L-shaped couch  that  perfectly optimizes the use of space. 

When wintry Gurgaon weather rolls in, the couch is a perfect place to take afternoon cat naps and offers a seductive inducement to settle down with a good read and a nubby throw.

Uma's decor mantra that she lives by, "A style like ours requires judicious editing. Though I love all my pieces, I bring out only a few at a time. This process of rotating my treasured pieces not only gives me an opportunity to mix and match things and come up with new vignettes and displays every single time but also keeps things looking fresh and interesting." That is one important decor advice, as one needs to know when to stop adding pieces to a room or may even require subtracting a few pieces to achieve the perfect balance to a space. 
A close up of some of the simple Diwali touches that Uma has put together for this festive season.
The couple is also passionate about collecting antique silver artifacts. Most of these are sourced from Rajasthan and Gujarat, while the others are heirloom treasures. Every festive season, Uma brings them out from storage to add to the celebratory ambiance in their living room.
A few close ups of the treasures that came home with the couple from their various travels: Clock wise from left - An intricately carved Buddha statue from Ladakh. Top right hand corner - A woven antique bamboo box from Bhutan (it's more than a 100 years old). Uma fell in love with it and had it brought back to Delhi and got it professionally restored to its original glory. Middle picture on the right -  A few brass heirloom treasures displayed in the kitchen. Bottom right hand corner - Prrithvi unearthed this antique metal jewel box from a shop in Jewish town in Cochin.
Adding a touch of Indigo and red to this corner of the living room is Prrithvi's find, a Krishna painting by Suva Prasana. 
Form and function come together beautifully in this dining room. The minimalist design concept adopted by Uma and Prrithvi is yet again effectively put to work in this space. Prrithvi says, "We wanted good food and great company to be the focus of our dining. We deliberately did not include too many elements that would vie for our attention.

And finally a peek into a few other corners of their beautiful home :
Fresh cut plants in vintage brass containers make a decorative statement.

A collection of  semi-precious stone Ganesha Statutes, an antique brass Kamakshi lamp and an exquisite Tanjore painting of Radha and Krishna completes this vignette.  
A Buddha statue from Srilanka and more potted plants, makes for another charming and tranquil display in the entryway to the master bedroom. 
With that we come to the end of our tour of Prrithviraj  and Uma's charming and serene residence. I was excited beyond words to showcase this home as Prrithvi and Uma are none other than my wonderful uncle and aunt:) Their home not only encompasses their warm and wonderful personalities but is also a manifestation of the fact that form and function can come together to create a space that is both stylish and refined. I'd like to thank them for being such a sport and throwing their doors open to the readers of TECD

Images: Clicked by Prrithviraj. The images may not be used without prior written permission from the home owners.