Monday, March 27, 2017

My loots of India

‘India’ and ‘shopping’ phrase seem so obvious. I still love the ritual of India shopping and it’s the oldest con I still fall for ;). How many of us haven’t surrendered to the lure of Indian shopping. There is nothing quite like walking along the old streets where nostalgia strikes you again and again. Taking in the window display at your local favorite stores, pausing at your favorite ice cream 'adda' or gobbling a sandwich at that local street vendor whom you still remember, surprisingly bumping into friends along the way and ultimately finding the perfect piece you were looking for. I feel euphoric...there is something so pulsating and hearty about India that makes us miss it deeply when you live for me tops the list that I look forward on every trip.
Since I have many readers asking the sources of my shopping and brass, I thought it would be apt to let you in and see all of those loots I lugged away on my recent visit.
Along with our vivid memories, our beautiful Indian attires and jewelry many new things followed us from India to our home this visit also. The very first stealing the show is the new handsome lantern from a central mall of Baroda (my home town). The place was brimming with many glamorous pieces that I would have love to add in my collection but controlling my frisson of excitement, I did not give into the impulse buy and excitedly bring home those big pieces that I liked. However, there was no wavering about bringing this perfectly stylish tiny lantern shaped candle holder with symmetrical design and glossy texture. The impeccable intricate work was just perfect to mingle with my traditional brass. 
The most classic ‘Lassi Glass’ was a very hard find. Being it on the top of the list, I wouldn’t have left any stone unturned to bring it home. Though, in a state of ‘CHHAS’ lovers, finding a Lassi glass seemed like a herculean task :). Finally rummaging through old stuff at ‘Bartanwala’ (utensil seller) I lucked into bumping this unique and timeless piece which he handed me over for Rupees 300 only. I definitely had a smirk on my face while homing these tulips in it.
Road side vendors on the streets of the city are the best bet for you if you are eyeing to add any reasonable brass collection in your home. There is always something I have picked up from them. Interestingly edged and etched brass plate and bowl ended up being mine for styling my vignettes. The decorative approach of floating flowers with candles is a breeze to pull off when you have such elegant décor accessories.
The shape and mini size of these brass pots sold me at the same vendor. From the minute I have got them, they have been my  muse and taking several turns on my Instagram feeds as well. After all, it is not necessary to inherit an antique or brass to love it and make it your own...there are many pieces that will just instantly connect with you and your surefooted and confident when you include them in your collection.
Treasure trove of priceless pieces in your ma’s or grandma’s attic is your best bet on your next visit to India. Dusting off that old hand me downs and instilling them in your living space adds a sense of charm, warmth and soul. Each piece in my mother's khazana tells a family story and opens up to an imaginary world to us. Bring a bout of that old fashioned sense by packing away those heirlooms. When was the last time you stumbled upon a spittoon? Here is mine…proudly a heirloom piece with a reasonable twist and shine pleasantly adding a splash of modernity in my living room despite of its age.  
For me, these heirlooms jog a memory of someone special and it provides a sense of both cohesion and intrigue in my décor style. Here is one more of those heirloom that I stole away from my mom- a German silver glass, thoughtfully integrated housing my flowers. There is not any standard recipe to fit these heirlooms smoothly in your surrounding décor, but with some simplest approach they win to add that historic charm in any décor style you follow.
And if you have missed these two beautiful pieces on my instagram feed that I happen to pick up on our travel to they are!

A prabhavali is a disk or circle of light (a halo) shown above or surrounding the head of the divine to represent their holiness and feel the peace emitting from the creator. It was checked off in my shopping list after stumbling online. The piece was sadly biting the dust in one of the Kerala store and upon the request (pretty please always works) the shopkeeper gave it away for 100Rs. (For him it was a broken piece and of no use). After showing some love by framing and affection by cleaning, it seems ready to be added on my next gallery wall :). 
Nothing is quite like revisiting travel memories. And our recent trip to Kerala has made us own a treasure box of memories. Beside abundant scenic beauty, Kerala is a place to get spoilt for the choices with exuberant art pieces. And if you are wondering how much damage this caused our wallets, not much really.... due to our weight restrictions we could only carry back a few quaint items and not nearly as many as I really wanted to! Here is the last piece of my loot. The smallest but the prettiest wood panel I could lug away in my suitcase.
Finally, I could layer these treasures and share with you all.  Specially for those readers who were keenly looking out for my India loot. Signing off the post hoping my shopping rant will eventually wend its way to some possibly useful tips for your next trip to India. You all have a great week ahead and stay connected on my Instagram and Facebook pages until we meet again here at the blog world, toodles!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Marvels of a bygone era (Prakalyam Gallery)

A lifelong obsession with antiques and natural affinity of a bygone era resulted into a recipe of a healthy business for Veshali Visvanaath. With cultivated taste and deep passion, Veshali is spreading her love of authentic and genuine antique collection far and wide through her online venture - Prakalyam gallery- one stop stomping ground for handmade antiques and colonial furniture hunters in Singapore and beyond.
When I found myself unapologetically glued on the collection of antiques and colonial furniture on Prakalyam Gallery online, I knew at an instant that it has a script-worthy story to share with my readers.

Nestled in the protective arms of Veshali, Prakalyam Gallery is an opulent place dripping with riches of antique collection that echoes India’s expertise and artistic excellence of master craftsmanship in colonial past. With chiseled to perfection pieces Prakalyam Gallery is creating a stir with their glam collection of wooden furniture, antique silver, glass and other artefacts. Each of these unusually exclusive pieces are a fusion of Indian craftsmanship and the styles of an olden colonial era.
It was a different ballgame when Veshali was hunting antiques for her home, but when the shopping game gone overboard for her home; Veshali translated her years of experience of curating antiques in steering a business empire of Prakalyam gallery. Though the name ‘Prakalyam’ may sound a bit challenging to pronounce, it has the perfect meaning and essence of what Veshali was looking for. It is a Sanskrit word which denotes “all things beautiful”. The word is an amalgamation of two Hindi words...pracchin and kaal which literally means ancient times.  
Accomplishments and accolades come at an easy trot for Veshali in a short span of three years.  A desi soul and a lover of simplest things, Veshali innovates with an eye to what is meaningful in her client’s beautiful homes. When it comes to products, Prakalyam is committed to suffusing its gallery with the most genuine antiques. Each piece has gone through intelligent and deliberate design process under Veshali’s supervision and care. Veshali is steadfast and has a clear blueprint of what Prakalyam Gallery should provide. With an eye for antiques and her addiction to hunt, Veshali is keen to rethink the very essence of what she puts in the gallery. Veshali personally goes through the grind of endorsing every unusual and rare piece for the gallery from India. Important pieces in the gallery are secured through auctions and personal contacts of Veshali. Keeping the line of design close to the colonial era, off lately, Veshali is also bringing a few reproductions upon request. Veshali’s business breaths on –“Being true to everything I do”.  As she firmly believes that the only thing she is answerable is her own conscience. No wonder, the uniqueness in Prakalyam brand is an expression of Veshali’s individuality and personality that has begun to cast a major influence for anyone who loves to blend classy and exclusive pieces in their homes.Prakalyam has prospered in keeping the spectacle and marvels of Indian era alive through their gallery. As we sign off, wishing Prakalyam all the very best for all future accomplishments. Do take a trip down the nostalgic lanes of a long-gone era by visiting the gallery of Prakalyam here. Follow along Prakalyam gallery on Instagram here and Facebook page here. If you ever step your feet in Singapore or you live there to drop in the physical store of Prakalyam by appointment.

Until we meet again, stay connected on Facebook and Instagram feeds of Pinkz Passion, toodles!

(Image Courtesy: Prakalyam Gallery. The pictures can not be used without a consent  from the store owners, however, you may re-pin them from Pinkz Passion's Pinterest account) 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rang Barse....

Sending wishes for Holi with Indian style eye-candy. Celebrations don’t end at my end if they haven’t given some traditional twists with my sparkling brass.  May your Holi is filled with moments as sweet as ‘motichoor ladoo’ and memories as colorful as the colors of Holi.

Happy Holi to all the readers of my passion family.

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Home with Grace and History (Home Tour of Shobha Ramesh)

In a game of decorating, there are times when sentiments trump everything. The very presence of sentimental treasures in our home not only adds authenticity and a character but also makes our home an exceptional one. And when heirlooms and hand me downs are given new gravity and functionality, it makes you feel connected to people and experience long gone. Gracing our home tour today is one such home where hand me down treasures are given far more value – both aesthetic and emotional.  
Away from the madding crowd of Bangalore is a "Green Home" of Ramesh family, that is individual, imaginative and inspiring.
The entire 3500 square feet, three bedroom home is designed by the lady of the home - Shobha. She proudly acclaims that the house was built meeting the standards of “Green Building” requirements. The environmentally responsible home is built using stone and wire cut bricks around the home instead plaster walls. It aids keeping the home cooler by four to five degrees and family doesn't need air conditioner anywhere. I was impressed to learn that home is also using solar energy for their heating and lighting purposes.

Flexing her decorative muscle Shobha preferred to venture in following her passion and hobby of interior designing in spite of being a horticulture graduate. It’s almost 20 years now since Shobha started her interest into a profession. Her talent was fast noticed and offers for interiors started to pour in without any advertising. She also proudly holds television shows in the local language about her work of interiors. 
Making a statement about Shobha and her home starts as soon as the door opens. A mishmash of unrelated things are pulled together to make a gorgeously eye-catching, fashionable and a very livable scheme at the entrance of her home. Make sure to chew on the practical hints and tips as you go about this home tour.  
Shobha is a sentimental pack-rat and instead of tossing old, damaged and dull heirloom pieces away, she has transformed them into sassy and trendy pieces that truly enhance her home. One such piece is this cabinet which used to be a grandfather clock of ancestors. Instead of tossing it away she gleefully added in her current décor giving a little tweak to better suit her design style. Now it proudly holds a collection of Ganesha just at the entrance. A portrait of a tearful young boy is a reproduction of a famous painting “crying boy” by Shobha. The four cow heads posing above the cabinet are also heirloom pieces of the family as I was told by Shobha.  
Expertly planned yet packed with ambience and a dash of drama Ramesh family’s living room attributes unifying thread of different era. Along with all the classic accessories, Shobha has a given a modern twist via exposed brick wall in the room. The layered texture of rough bricks provides a pleasing contrast in the room giving a feeling of warmth and coziness.
Shobha self-effacingly claims that other than few paintings, souvenirs and mementos from her travel, rest of all home décor accessories are from her in-laws. 
The living room is brought to life by the painting often referred as “Lady with a lamp”. It is a glowing piece of art by Shobha’s dear friend which mimics a remake of Mr. S.L.Haldankar’s ‘Glow of Hope.
While the room is overlaid with personal collection, she has employed Kerala boat in the middle of the coffee table championing a fresh and eccentric approach. The boat resonates plenty of sentiments with the couple as it was fetched during their honeymoon 28 years back. The boat now takes pride of a lifetime striking a pose in the middle of the room.
Some retro knickknacks have a funky but nostalgic vibe that makes a lovely addition in her home. 
And here is the full view of living room.The one of a kind Chinese styled sofa set in the room was also designed by Shobha herself which really gels practically and decoratively with rest of the décor accessories.
Here we are at my favorite room of the home - Shobha’s Pooja Room. It definitely declares her ingenuity. The room is a blessing for the family and to all those who enters. In the busyness of life, stealing a moment here with the supreme divine is a pure delight for the family.
The spiritual ambience falls perfectly in the rhythm with tall brass diyas and decals of Lord Shiva flanking both the walls. Perfect amount of natural light is flooded through the stained glassed skylight, which adds brilliant colors and gorgeous design in the room. 
The family room is a total chill out zone in Ramesh family and affords perfect flow of family activities. All the happening things like reading, watching television and occasional eruption of loud cheers take place in this very room. Along with style and comfort the room also proudly holds vintage bits and pieces that have a joyful vibe.
You are bound to encounter with obstinately eccentric pieces around Shobha’s home because she was determined that bequeathed pieces are too meaningful to usher to the curb. With creativity and willingness she mends and improves these pieces in her current décor style. 
Decorating with red bricks wired around indoor may sound challenging for some but Shobha has tackle this deal brilliantly. The family room stretches to the dining room along the other end. With an added touch of green, the niche here provides visual interest and tactile appeal. It’s Shobha's hide-out adda for all extra crockery and stacks of kitchen dry goods. Inherited prized family antiques hold very high regard with Shobha. Many decades down the line her romance with these antiques haven’t ebbed.  Breaking the stodgy looking set, Shobha has inserted 150 years old inherited four-poster bed in her bedroom. The serene presence of ambient lightings and cocooning textures are dreamy enough to put anyone’s head in the clouds in Shobha’s private sanctuary. The age of the bed hasn’t withered her prospects. By giving a touch of airy drapes she has taken this old bed to a better height.Shobha’s truly believes that comfortable and good quality furniture is worth its weight in gold and can be wonderfully revived adding authenticity and character to a home. Following her own gut she has coaxed out quite corner in her bedroom incorporating these handed down furniture. 

By now my readers can attest that Shobha believes in breaking décor myths and creating her own. Similarly – though not less effectively Shobha has created her master bath into a tropical themed garden space mixed with earthy touch. The skylight above allows sunlight and fresh air throughout. It looks as good as taking a shower in rainforest ;).
Another heavenly space - their backyard garden which includes a range of  tropical greenery adding a bright green glow indoor as well. The couple catches a brief moment of calm here after the whirlwind of a monotonous day. The swing and the main entry door are replicas of family's ancestor home and both were created by their village craftsmen. 

Clearly Shobha has aced decorating her home with grace and history. She knows how to strike the right balance mixing pieces of many eras and styles, a fret few of us are not able to achieve. 

Though for me, the temptation to have heirloom pieces in my décor is very strong and I have always find myself succumbed to the lure of those pieces of a bygone era. For those of you who yet haven’t practiced incorporating the family hand me downs in your decor stories, it’s about time to dig down your family treasures; you never know what you might find.

And as we close our today’s home tour, I would like to thank Shobha for putting up with me on exactitude of photographs. I enjoyed connecting with you and wishing you and your family loads of love, luck and happiness today and always!

For those of you who would like to connect with Shobha for any interior service may contact her via email.

Until we meet again with new décor stories, stay connected on the passion page of Facebook and feeds of Instagram, toodles!

(Image Courtesy: Shobha Ramesh. The pictures can not be used without a consent  from the home owners, however, you may re-pin them from Pinkz Passion's Pinterest account)