In military aviation, mêlée has been described as ‘an air battle in which several aircrafts, both friend and foe, are confusingly intermingled in close combat’ with each other. Mêlée is, I hope, the first thought that comes to one’s mind as you enter this monochromatic Coco Chanel inspired living room, with its black and white striped walls. A look that seems to have tumbled straight out of a magazine. But unlike those houses that inspire in those glossies, this is in India and not Paris! Welcome to my home :)
What inspired me was my wish to use my living room to display all the Indian antique brass utensils that I had inherited from my mother-in-law and maternal grandmother. But at the same time I didn’t want my decor to be too Indian or traditional. Also, it was essential that I could mix in all the other memorabilia from my collection to create a harmonious medley.
So, I started by polishing and lacquering the old brass pieces. Then a stock sheet was made of what went well together. The industrial pieces of furniture that I already owned set the tone for a French inspired look from an are gone by. The new found bright gold hues of the polished items begged for a monochrome backdrop to stand out against. After much contemplation I decided on black as the one colour that would rein supreme over the painted white walls and the shimmering gold.
So why stripes? I wanted a very clean, refined look and not the usual grungy industrial feel,which could complement the accents around the room. With parats and porcelain plates hung on walls, old brass pots of various sizes as flower vases and interesting umbrella stands, tea pots along with glass cloches and decanters, all of these blend together to give a rich French mansion feel. Tea lights and decorative boxes in a variety of designs and old English hardbound books brought in a modern European parlour look.
I used strategically placed mirrors in an attempt to harvest the sunlight. Different shapes and sizes of mirrors have been used to brighten up the monochrome look along with a splash of red. Cushions have been used as an inexpensive and easy way to change the profile of decor. Adding to the colour quotient is my old antique teak wood dining table that has been deco painted in German red, and stands majestically in the dining area along with acrylic chairs and an antique teak wood elephant bench, all singing their medley harmoniously.
Sourcing the console, buffet table and the other furniture was my biggest challenge. Options available that matched the look were either too expensive or too ornate to fit in with the existing clean lines. But thanks to online furniture stores and other seller classified websites, I was able to find pieces that worked and the rest were refurbished. Multiple trips to the local electrical market was an entire journey of discovery and when I found lamp shades in that same black and white stripes, I knew the universe was conspiring to bring them to me!
As I finally settle down and sink my feet into the rich zebra patterned rug, my eyes are tired but not bored from travelling everywhere and in every direction. I still crane my neck out to see if I missed any corner and secretly dream of visiting Paris one day. But till then I hope to enjoy my own French inspired medley.
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