You’re an artist and you love all good design, but what is it about interior design in particular that you love?
Interior design and home décor gives me the opportunity and freedom to think like an artist. And that is imperative to me. It allows me to see the many possibilities and potential in my surroundings. The fact that a combination of design elements can come together to create spaces that are varied in styles, personality and character with the ultimate objective being to enrich the lives that inhabit these spaces, is fascinating to me. I’m always reminded of Alice Water’s quote, “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”
Moreover, my profession (financial consultancy) calls for accuracy and following set standards, where 2+2 always and must equal 4. But when it comes to a creative arena like interior design and décor, I have the liberty to not stress out about perfection and accuracy but focus on the process itself which is personally very therapeutic to me.
How would you describe your personal style, which clearly influences the kind of content you feature on the blog?
If I had to tag my personal style, I’d have to say global-eclectic. My roots being distinctly Indian, I find myself time and again drawn to the vast repertoire of history, culture and art that our country is so rich in. But that being said, my travels and my home away from home – the US, has also had a strong influence in broadening my perspective and understanding of people, places and their culture. And that I think shows in every aspect of my life.
You’ve been living in the states for a while now and yet you still remain so connected to your Indian roots. How has your relationship with India stayed so strong, despite the distance?
The irony is in the fact that the distance makes me yearn for the comfort of familiar surroundings! Having being born and brought up in India and lived there for 25 years, my eyes seem to be drawn subconsciously to all things Indian. I’m also one of those people who thrives creatively, when I’m surrounded by things that I’m able to associate myself with and absolutely love. This aspect to a large extent influences the content on my blog and the design process that I have adopted to create my home.
What is your favourite home, art or artist find and why?
I am not going to be modest when it comes to this question. I am going to say my very own home! My home has grown to be exactly what I had imagined it to be. A place that is the perfect juxtaposition of family heirlooms, thoughtfully curated treasures and stories from our travels. I love the fact that the home reveals itself slowly and by that I mean – on the first glance, it has a global appeal but when you spend more time in it you can tell that it has a predominantly Indian soul.
But if I had to pick another home it would have to be John Robshaw’s place. The play of colours, textiles and eclectic travel finds is perfect to the T!
What is your proudest DIY/design idea?
From a design perspective, hands down, it would have to be my living room. I totally love how this space has come together. Every piece in the room has a story to tell, a sentimental value attached to it and is the result of patiently waiting for the right piece to come by, for us to fall in love with it and then bring it home. I take pride in the fact that art and artefacts from all corners of India and our travels find their collective grove to create a space that truly inspires and restores our soul.
And now coming to the DIY, I’d have to say creating the Souvenir Du Tibet Wall Art. Having seen one at Pier 1 Imports and falling hard for the artwork but not the price tag, I decided to recreate it myself. With 25 Buddha silhouettes adorning the painting, it was a back breaking process but well worth the time and effort!
What are your dream sources for furniture and home decor?
The list is long. For big ticket items like furniture, there is no compromising on quality. Pieces like the couch and the likes take a beating everyday so I look to Restoration Hardware, World Market, West Elm and Home Goods to furnish my home. But when it comes to décor accessories and art – my travels, the flea markets and auction houses are my favorite haunts. Whenever I’m traveling, I never miss a chance to scout for local arts, crafts and markets. It does not get more authentic than this. Interacting and buying directly from the artisans gives me a high and it always results in a story to tell. I also enjoy rummaging through my parent’s home whenever I’m in India as they have a treasure trove of antiques. It’s wonderful that they are generous and let me lug back pieces that I love! From time to time, I also include products from labels like Fab India, Good Earth and India Circus as their designs are aesthetically engaging and seem to fit right in with my style.
What advice would you give to interior design enthusiasts looking to decorate their homes?
- Take your time and discover your personal style. The process of home making is a journey in itself. It is an ever evolving process so don’t rush it.
- Accessorise with personality. Don’t fill your home with things that get your attention for the sole reason of surface seduction. Go for pieces that have a personal meaning to you and are irreplaceable in terms of sentimental value.
- Mix not match. I personally believe that the eye and soul delights in diversity. So don’t be afraid to mix the old with the new, traditional with the modern, chic with the kitschy and the high with the low!
- Find beauty in everyday things. Even if it means investing in a tea cup, take the time to pick one out that you love! Starting the day off with a thing of beauty will sustain you through the whole day. After all, it is the spirit in which the things are collected that make it extraordinary and add character to your home.
- When in doubt trust your instincts. Nobody knows the needs of your space more than you! So if you love it, it will work in your home and result in a space that is as distinct in personality and style as your thumb print.
What does the future hold for The East Coast Desi?
The East Coast Desi is a fairly new blog. Hence efforts are being made to reach a wider readership. I want The East Coast Desi to be synonymous with:
- Global décor ideas with an Indian soul
- Inspiration on real living spaces that are filled with personality and style but without the side effects of creating a hole in one’s wallet and
- Positive vibes and snippets of pretty imaginary to momentarily escape the daily grind.
The East Coast Desi is my creative identity. TECD has opened up a number of creative territories for me. The latest being product styling. I seem to enjoy this and would like to take it to the next level. Thoughts on writing a book and owning my own décor label have also been brewing for a while now.
When can we see a tour of your own home?
The home in its entirety has not been featured on my blog. But readers of my blog, who have been with me long enough have had a peek into various corners of my home. But I am working on my home tour feature that should be out very soon.