Friday, July 12, 2019

Under the Deck (Tour of in-built BBQ)

As I write thisI am sitting in the late afternoon sun gleaming on the gazebo on our deck. Sun’s rays are warming my face as the crooning of birds in the surrounding ravine and the gentle occasional breeze are accompanying me. It’s a cherished moment of calm that is making me feel that I am in heaven literally and literary. The only side effect of summer is, I catch myself smiling more and feeling increasingly carefree during the longer days of the season.  
Summer is at the very heart of any Canadian, just because we have only handful weekends to enjoy summer here in Toronto. And to make the best of it, we spend pretty much every minute possible outside in our staycation (a.k.a. our backyard). This year also, with the hint of summer, we have been totally plugged out with our outdoor surroundings on our deck. 
But to extend the time we spend in the fresh air; we have created the ultimate outdoor oasis under the deck including an inbuilt BBQ station with an actual hammock because sometimes the simplest summer pleasure just come from swaying away on the hammock outside after dinner ;) . Never did I think I would enjoy an outdoor project as much as I have worked on our interiors but looking at it now, it is our perfect private spot to unwind. 
As an extension of our household, investing in the backyard of our dreams has enhance our quality of life and the value of our home. For our easy bare feet walking we have invested in stone interlocking from the front drive way to most of the backyard.  
One of my favorite thing about summer is to take advantage of the beautiful weather by dining outdoors! Given a chance I leave no stone unturned in styling my tablescapes, be it indoors or outdoors. Let the creative juices flow and make this summer the best summer ever for your outside entertaining.
Since summer style is all about ease. I have fun with no rules approach while creating tablescapes by mixing with colors, patterns and not to forget food and wine.  
When planning an outdoor space, it’s important to think about your own lifestyle and how you will be using this space. You should think of your exterior space as an extension of your home. We like to layer our outdoor spaces in a way that feels comfortable and practical for personal use or entertaining friends. For the very same reason, designing an outdoor in-built BBQ was an exciting moment for us. 

At times dealing with it seemed like a myriad of decision and rules so daunting but thankfully my expert BBQ loving husband tackled the task with ease. For smoky and flavorful meals, we also installed a smoker/broiler. For handling food or cleaning up as the party unwinds the built-in sink is just perfect in our outdoor BBQ station. 
Who says we vegetarians don't enjoy BBQ? Here is just a glimpse of our veggies getting ready for grilling. From grilled veggies to hot dogs and from garlic breads to burgers...our outdoor food fare runs till quite late.   
Now with a practical, livable space under the deck our outdoor entertaining is a breeze. No matter if we are having some family over for an impromptu BBQ party or are prepping for a Canada Day bash for the group of friends, the pleasant weather under the shade of our deck and relaxed vibe gives us the chance to interact and connect.  

I am honestly not much of those green fingered types who love to tend to their flowerbeds all afternoon. I am in tune with throwing down a pillow and soaking up some rays with a good book here taking the advantage of the surrounding scenery and the view...so if you need me I am all settled here for this summer :). Until we meet again dear friends, enjoy your summer just because summer is too precious to spend indoors....toodles!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bold and Personal (Home Tour of Vineela Reddy)

Decorating is a completely personal thing; you just have to be confident in letting it shine in your home. In many cases, the creativity of decorating goes way beyond the choice or arrangement of furnishings, some projects do take incredible vision and foresight – and not to mention determination. Our today's home tour is a testament of those skills and good judgement of its owners where each corner is peppered with museum worthy stunners and garnished with heirlooms making it a dream home for any decorista.   
Uncompromising, homey, inviting and full of both - small pleasures and big investments, our today’s home tour is a visual gluttony. I assure you that your eyes will not have a place to rest just because there is plenty to indulge the senses

Meet Vineela, beauty with brains, is a bold, influential and positive individual who loves challenges and with high-spirit accepts them. An empty nester of two young adults enjoys her home and time with her husband Mr. Reddy, where they both give a free run to their more adventurous design inclination. Vineela has generously opened the doors of her home that will inspire, inform and let’s be honest, give us some serious house envy...let’s jump in. 
Sitting snugly in the dramatic landscape of Hyderabad city is Vineela Reddy's homeSimplicity isn’t really the name of the game here at her home where almost everything is ornate including the outdoors. 
Using every possible surface to express exuberant creativity, Vineela has treated outdoor with the same consideration as indoor. The aesthetically engaging and beautiful decorative statement on her porch gives away the first experience of her personal style.  
While modern air-conditioning rooms may have made those porches of the past unnecessary but design savvy Vineela has decided to expand her passion through her porch. It is a clear indication for any visitor of what to expect inside. Vineela adapted her own style by adding lush greens in heirlooms, Buddha and Ganesha to welcome guests and a bench to enjoy a cup of tea or a book while waving to the neighbors.  
You will be left stunned with the visual extravaganza upon entering inside. The Indian traditional décor tone that was set outside her doors is carried forward indoor. Riot of repeating patterns and rich colors are all executed with her meticulous attention to detail. Every wall, nook and cranny are kept grounded by making sure each element is well edited.  
A connoisseur, a collector, an antique restorer and above all a very good old friend Osman Garu is the man behind major restoration work in Reddy family. Vineela counts on his artistic skills for any transformation. Most of the successful restoration projects around home are achieved under his keen eye. He owns a store named Wood Style Furniture in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.   
In one bold statement, the couple is able to convey the philosophy behind the design of the entire home. Her masterly vision of seeing this giant Tanjore painting to its glory was gratified when they decided to make it a focal point by glossing the walls in tangerine tango shade. Going with her designer’s suggestion, they also added the wooden beams on the ceiling to give the space an unexpected jolt. If a genie will ever grant me three wishes...this painting will be the first on my list Vineela ;).  

Vineela gives the entire credit to her Pondicherry based sister-in-law Kavitha Veeraraghavan for hunting down this gem of a Tanjore painting along with many others for her home. This painting was acquired by chance some 15 years ago. It had giant doors which they removed to use as a frame. The painting is believed to be a century old piece that Vineela proudly possesses.  
With a breathtaking display of her astonishing collection, her every room articulately nods to the traditional emblem of a South Indian home. Skillfully incorporating pieces of her collection added another personal dimension to her home. Vineela coins “I have been collecting from a very long time. To make use of our masterful collection, just after buying this home, we hired an interior designer. After seeing all my collection, she suggested to follow a theme of ‘Chettinad’ throughout the home. That’s when all the collected pieces and paintings came to a limelight.” 
Vineela’s inclination toward the traditional décor started at a very young age. Her stay at her Grandma’s home in childhood, didn’t just give her a taste of home décor but it also shaped her appetite for decorating with heirlooms. Smitten and profoundly influenced by traditional décor style, Vineela has heighten and hone the creativity in every square inch of the home.   
Most of the dramatic pieces of furniture and columns around the home are made out of architectural salvages from vintage Indian homes. The couple sees the original grandeur underneath the holes and water marks. Through some remarkable restorations under the guidance of Osman Garu, the couple has promptly uprooted many salvage pieces around the home. Being said that, these two grand pillars of the swing are actually from Vineela's old pooja room which they re-used and made a swing...how brilliant!
There are a lot of things to love about her home but her common interests revolve around antiques. Vineela has amassed vintage pieces from every different  era. 

The creative brain and champion behind Indian Antiquest, Sridhar has also played a major role in Vineela’s collection. Sridhar's keen eyes for antiques and his addiction to hunt genuine pieces takes him to the sources like estates, homes, temple auctions, yard sales, renovation sites, government auctions from where he digs down the best pieces for homes like Reddy’s.  
These well edited touches of palatial furniture only augment the seriousness of couple’s admiration for our culture and traditions. Paying total homage to their roots, their little act of restoration is incredibly rewarding but it also includes their consideration towards the act of preservation. In the process, they both truly advocate to help save the environment in course by recycling/up-cycling the trash into treasure. 
Giving free run to her more adventurous design inclinations, Vineela manifested and updated the temple room with a personal spin. Pooja room is the beating heart of Vineela’s home as declared by her: “Me and my husband are both spiritual people and spend a lot of time meditating here. It just soothes and enriches our souls. For me, this room is very special or should I say the most important room in the house.” The story behind these handsome pillars is equally interesting. While hunting for old pieces, Vineela found these big wooden panels on the roof in one of the shops in Pondicherry and the pooja room idea planted the moment she laid her eyes on them.
Perfect balance of decor lives between two extremes: new and old, precious and found, humble and exquisite. Howerver, Vineela credits her sister-in-law Kavitha for hunting down such unique artifacts and vintage Tanjore paintings. 
You are greeted with yet another cheerfully decorated outdoor space behind the temple room. The space is grounded by distinct pops of greens paired with heirlooms that harmonizes with traditional theme of the home.
Unafraid to combine color, art, pattern from an old era, Vineela’s explosion of wit and confidence has resulted a space that reflects a truly compelling person that she is. This well-orchestrated collage wall of Ravi Varma oleo graphs is a testament - that if something makes your heart dance, you deserve to live with that delicious feeling every day. The wall should inspire anyone who has ever considered going bolder and breaking design ideas. Masterful use of frames proves the theory that all hues can happily cohabitate if just given the chance and the right placement.

Vineela celebrates her whimsy and personal style over predictable safe looks with this collage wall. Combined with a traditional mirror (another restoration project from a door) and perked up with stylized amalgamation of brass, the corner is perfectly balanced. Speaking about this collage wall Vineela says: I am an ardent admirer of Ravi Varma and always wanted to have his collection. This wall took almost ten years to complete to collect so many oleographs and lithographs. 
If given a theme, Vineela has a habit of going into miniature details of everything and that obsession is very much visual in the entire collection of the home. Of course, like rest of the eclectic furniture pieces in the home, there is a story behind this staircase railing that triggered Vineela to inspire a new design from left over project material. Vineela muses: “After completion of the house my husband and designers were so exhausted that they decided to use glass railings for the stairs but I didn’t budge. The railing was the toughest make over in the whole house. We used the old house main door panels for the railing. I literally had to sit for a week with the carpenter to implement my idea of using these pieces. Each piece is different and we ended up having this railing using 14 pieces all together.” I bow you lady for injecting different period and styles mixing with such a great effect.
Just like the rest of the uprooted furniture pieces, this dining crockery unit is also a very old piece which was acquired from a very rich family in Hyderabad, which was modified to befit Reddy family's needs. It now neatly hides all dining room necessities in this room. 
Options when embarking on a new design can feel over whelming but not with Vineela who loves the thrill of watching major transformations unfold. Another lying around window in a Pondicherry antique shop adopts a new avatar of a mirror. Rest of the furniture pieces are also promptly uprooted under the keen eyes of Osman Garu. 
Stunning and highly personalized pieces around the home reflects home owner’s explosion of imagination and creative confidence. Just like big giant pieces the smaller accessories are also given the tweak with Vineela’s wit. The round coffee table was actually a ‘chakki stand’ which is converted into a center table. The square stool was also transformed into a conversation starter piece by adding vibrant blue talavera styled tiles on the surface.  

Vineela has extended her experimental sensibilities to her kitchen also by creating a bold show. Vineela played with an unexpected hue in her kitchen highlighting her creative energy and artistic vision. Heirlooms and greens are distinctively scattered to create an aesthetically pleasing and practical interiors. I am sure it is a pleasure for her to be in and linger a longer while making those delicious dishes.
Placing values on the deeper ties Vineela says: “I love heirlooms and my love is very much in evidence in our bespoke kitchen. I have mostly been brought up by my grand mom in childhood and they used to stay in a village. The old house was huge and filled with brass and old wooden furniture that’s where my passion for antiques started. My husband is also from a big joint family. My husband’s great grand-father had started a small hotel with the above coffee filter and that was the beginning of their business. I am very fortunate to have this piece of family history with us. I believe, it is the main reason behind the family success and for starting of my passion of collection.”
Vineela is not shy in showing off her visually dramatic washrooms. With a smaller commitment, Vineela has achieved delightful payoff in these rooms. 
Elegance extends to the family bedrooms also. Striving for comfort and restfulness, Vineela played safe in the bedrooms. 
The family owns a business of theaters and to provide a true cinematic experience at home, family decided to dedicate a room specially for the theater.  The well equipped room has been built within the home for the purpose of enjoying movies, sports and gaming. As with everything, the devil is in the details in this room also. The room is religiously grounded by distinct pops of famous movie posters which have been played in their theaters. The last collage shows off another gallery wall of memories in Vineela's home. 

Having direct access to a terrace oasis is an investment in their lifestyle where evening life is accompanied by a gentle harmony of birds. I bet lounging here can be a particular pleasure. While the outdoors alone can create a wonderful atmosphere, Vineela’s special styling is an added benefit to this. Along with glass pergola Vineela points out to the doors hanging on the wall that are fond memory of her husband’s old home that he carried for years in his heart. 


As we end this glamorous home tour, my profuse thanks and admiration extends to Vineela for getting ready in a heart beat to feature her home on my blog. A big thank you from the bottom of my heart Vineela for showing us how to be bold and personal with our design choices.

The home tour was admittedly over due but as I said, the good weather in my part of the world is the culprit behind not completing the tour on time, but hey, I kept my Pinky promise :).

Off I go now to enjoy the Canadian summer, so until we meet again, stay connected, toodles!


(Images are from Vineela's home. Please do not use the images without the prior written permission of the home owner and Pinkz Passion however, you may re-pin them from Pinkz Passion's Pinterest account)