There are some who hesitate to adopt a pet citing lack of space. And then there is Rubina Dhankar Qadir Din, who insists that her home in Gurgaon belongs to her 46 dogs while she and her husband share the space with them.
“Life has a strange way of working out.” Rubina says as we meet at her Barsati (terrace), which has been converted to a Living cum Dining space of their house. “I was married and living in Mumbai with my first husband for 14 years. At that point I was a journalist with NDTV and Times now. After my marriage ended I moved to Delhi with my mother and started working with JJ Vallaya as a brand manager,” she continues while sipping her herbal tea. After a few years she moved back and started an ad production company. During this time she dabbled in Interior Design for friends. Finally in 2012 Rubina moved back to Delhi where she met my current husband Abdul Qadir, a fitness instructor and Dog lover as she discovered. “Soon after we started living together in my condo in Gurgaon we started adopting street dogs. No one wanted these dogs and most had terminal illness’s. We started with 12 dogs who have now slowly gone up to 46,”
In the beginning of 2015 they decided to put the condo on rent and look for a larger house with open spaces for the dogs. She shares, “It was getting expensive to take care of them on just my husband’s income so I tried to figure career prospects too. Meanwhile, I put up images of the condo at various sites looking for people to rent. People started complimented me on the space and design. Soon they started asking me to design their homes.”
The ground floor of the villa was also styled by her, but as the dogs grew in number the space appeared more lived in. As a result they decided to focus on a living space at the Barsati. The Barsati has two basic rooms, converted as a living and dining area with the open space offering outdoor seating. The two rooms in fact have been left as raw as possible, with just single brick layers of the walls, tin roofs and aluminium doors.
Despite the almost raw sense of style, the space appears inviting. In her own words, “My style is very rustic chic and that is the style I am comfortable with. A lot of the furniture you see here has been designed by me, I believe in reasonably priced furniture but I’ll splurge on accessories. Fortunately my husband is also very house proud. He loves to gift me gorgeous home accents from different designers and stores. As a result, I have a collection of plates from Good Earth and some accessories from Oma. However, the two pieces which have stayed with me from my first house, is the Nepalese Tara statue and the Limited collection Fab India cabinet,” Perhaps due to the overall sense of bareness, we can’t help but notice the trunks. She confesses, “My husband is a hoarder and since the ground floor is devoted to the dogs, we had to find a creative way to store his t-shirts. To find a suitable storage solution, I sourced traditional trunks and made them work as part of the décor.”
Along with the trunk another very noticeable element is mirrors. There are at least three-four in each room along with posters and frame. For Rubina the use of mirrors came naturally, as she loves them, “I think they add character to a space, so I use them a lot. But most people can’t tell how many there are, as I place them in unique ways, each reflecting something unique, for instance the one in the living space reveals the reflection of the chandelier,” she shares.
When she initially started her business, Rubina would request clients to provide dog food as payment for her services. However she soon realised that people could be quite unfair. Sometimes, she would receive only two bags of dog food as payment for the whole house. “That experience shocked me. So now I have a transparent fee structure for my interior styling services. My business really picked up after eight months of styling homes. In fact, now I am tie-ups with different designers such as Sarita Handa, Elvy and so on.” she explains.
With 46 dogs living at home doesn’t entertaining guests pose a unique challenge, we wonder. She agrees, “We used to be sociable, but now with the dogs we rarely go out and even if people come over we hang out at the Barsati. However, my husband and I are both very content with the direction our lives have taken for both us and our babies,”
Diwali is a festival of love and warmth that gets even more sparkling with the magic of diyas that light up the horizon. Diwali also brings together family and friends for celebration, cards parties and dinner. So this Diwali indulge yourself further by turning your diwali into a special decor moment.
For colours we recommend you either stick to traditional hues of sindoor red, haldi yellow and rani pink but in a complete modern avatar, keeping the prints simple and classy. Reflect the festive spirit on your dinner table as well. Go in for dinner ware that reflects the oriental sensibility, blend the two traditional hues of gold and silver to add panache to the celebratory meal…..Like making the tone on tone flower setting in a precious silver vase, a treat for the eye. Also set a colour coded card table infused with the sheen of silver. Strew an array of rich, colourful cushions to sink in and enjoy the gambling. Serve smartly in crystal and silver bowls.
Food Indian mithais are so integral to the Diwali experience. Set the spread well. Cover the table with a rich textile that you fetch from your treasure trove…A brocade silk throw will work as well. Spread small, silver foiled pieces of mithais made of dry fruits—they look the prettiest on a precious silver platter or brass platters. Add marigolds, the most auspicious flowers to lend a sense of vibrancy to this yummy setting.
DIY Not all the décor changes need to be expensive. As much as we discourage bursting of fire-crackers, we love using them in décor. Stack a bunch of silver ‘phooljaris’ in flower vases along with actual flowers. Use old Diwali cards for a collage and place them on cards tables with lamination on top. This looks festive and is cheaper than more expensive table cloths. Don’t just use fairy lights for windows, use them is vases to create inexpensive lamps, use them along the table runner to give a Diwali effect. Be careful though, they get hot so use the ones with fabric coverings.
Mostly be safe and have fun. A very Happy and Prosperous Diwali to you!
Mirrors can be used for a lot of significant roles in the home. It is not vanity alone, mirrors make for great statement pieces and are a great decor accessory which can add flair to any room. There are tons of ways you can use mirrors to enhance your space, here are a few.
Create Illusion– Yup! Mirrors are a great way to create illusion of space or make a dark room seem brighter. Have an entire wall cladded with mirror if you have a small space and want to create illusion of space. To increase brightness, go in for a large decorative mirror on the wall opposite the light source. It will reflect the light and add brightness to the room. Wall Art– If your budget does not allow you to invest in expensive art work, mirrors work as great statement pieces. Get a large mirror with an elaborate frame and place it above a console in the living room or hall. Another idea is to put mirrors of different sizes in different shaped frames on a wall in either of the two rooms. Another way, create an antiqued mirror wall and then hang smaller mirrors in various frames on the wall. Dramatic Statement– Instead of hanging the mirror or mirrors on a wall, you can also place a large mirror with a carved frame on the floor. This is perfect for the Dining room and Living room. But be careful while angling the mirror so it shows only the best reflection in the room. If you really want to experiment you can also have the ceiling covered in mirrors or mirror mosaics. In the bathroom, why not have a dramtic mirror placed above the Bathtub instead of just the washbasin. Out of the Box– Besides the wall mirrors can also be used as accessories. Create a tray out of an old mirror, or use mirror to clad old furniture, for instance the top of a coffee table or side table. Think convex mirrors in various sizes instead of usual flat ones to give the space an attractive appeal. DIY Ideas– To give an old mirror a new lease to life, you can do some stencil work and paint a border around the mirror. Or wrap a ribbon around the frame. Another suggestion, stick small mirror pieces or shells on the frame.More ideas here
Even though I am not superstitious, atleast no more than the average person, I still feel there is no harm in listening to what Feng Shui has got to say about the placement of mirrors. Since mirrors play a large part in Feng Shui “cure”. (Inputs courtesy http://www.feng-shui-vibes.com/feng-shui-mirror.html)
Choose clear, non-distorted mirrors (no ripples) and no mirror tiles. Tiled mirrors break up energy and add confusion to the reflected image.
Clean your mirrors frequently to ensure a clear image.
Make sure that your mirrors reflect beautiful surroundings. Position mirrors to pick up pleasing views of the outdoors whenever possible.
Place a Foyer Mirror to the side of the Front Door – never directly across from the Front Door. A mirror placed across from the Front Door represents strong repelling energy and can push anyone entering there right back out the door!
Place square & rectangle shapes for balance; Octagonal shapes for power; Circular shapes for unity.
Hang high enough to see your entire head; no chopped heads or the viewer may be challenged with a negative self-image.
Place behind the Kitchen stove. A mirror hung behind the stove top burners magnifies Wealth.
While working in the Kitchen, the cook should be in the Command Position, that is, able to see all entrances. If the cook’s back is to a Kitchen door, hang a mirror over the cook’s workspace so that anyone coming through the door can be seen right away.
Use sparingly in the Bedroom for better sleeping; cover at night if the mirror is large or placed on your path to the bathroom.
Avoid hanging mirrors directly across from each other.
Hang above your desk or computer if your back is facing a door.
Decorative mirrors are most effective when placed in a positiion to capture the reflection of a beautiful scene or object. With careful Bagua irror placement, you can enjoy a lovely view twice – the actual image and its framed reflection
Each time we think organic and eco-friendly we instantly think recycled paper, natural fibre like jute and other such material which is branded eco-friendly.All of which sounds good on paper but feels like a very tedious task to actually go ahead and incorporate in our lives. But, doing our bit for nature in terms of recycle and reuse may not necessarily be a tedious task or involve a major change in our lifestyle. Even small things can be done to recycle and revamp our space.
Here are a few examples of how you can reuse and recycle normal household items to revamp your space:
1.Left with single pieces of crockery and cutlery?
Fill the soup bowls and cups with wax to make your own candle’s, which can be remade anytime the was gets over. They make great display pieces and can be used on consoles/dining tables. To learn how check here.
Single left over forks can make for great note holders. Just hang them in the kitchen wall upside down to make note displays.
Left with single pieces of plates, convert them into wall art. Pick a wall in your house to display all these plate
2. Want to revamp your furniture?It does not have to be a long and expensive process, a few tricks and you can revamp it on your own
To change your headboard, you can use leftover fabric swatches to make a cushioned fabric panel. To see how click here.
You can also add fabric or paper at the back of shelves to give a new look to old cupboards and shelves. The same can be done on drawers
Cover your side-table top with a coloured mirror, this will instantly make the piece look new and good.
Have an old shed door lying around? Use it as a mirror frame and have a beautiful mirror as your living room center piece.
3. Other ideas to recycle, reuse and revamp your space
Left over wine bottles-Use them as planters and hang them on your balcony (you can do the same with old light bulbs). Else put fairy lights in them and make them a light display in your living room. Finally, you can also coat them with bright paint and use them as a cluster of vases in different colours
Make memory jars– You don’t have to spend a bomb to buy expensive accessories for your home. Simple food jars can be filled with momentos of your travels and places together to make interesting accessories, they make for great conversation starters as well
Handpainted ceramic tiles-All you need to do is add felt to the bottom and you have beautiful coasters ready for use.
Old car tyres– These can be used as base for your patio tables.Place two tyres on each other and keep two such sets at a distance. Simply place a sheet of acrylic on them and you have an outdoor table
Art work– This does not have to be an expensive investment, one idea is make panels of various sizes and cover them in fabric them place them on a wall. Else use old greeting cards in floating frames and place them on the wall.
Blue Pottery is one traditional indian craft that looks extremely elegant. Room Therapy has its latest collection of Blue Pottery. This collection of vases and jars is made of the finest quality porcelain and is available in a plethora of contemporary styles with each piece being an embodiment of elegance and perfection, with patterns and designs so unique and fresh.
Room Therapy’s blue pottery collection is designed to make you happier and inspire your own creativity — whether you fill a room with bunches of flowers, put a single bloom in a vase, or let the jars and vases stand on their own. Enhance your decor with stylish handcrafted pieces of pottery to make your home look spectacular.
This one is a sure winner. Besides the comfort and luxury of a hotel we do like to go for meals for our special occasions. And ofcourse all of us know that besides the expense sometime after a tiring day at work you just don’t want to get out of your home. Here Small Luxury Hotels of the World(SLH) help us to create a romantic meal for two at home complete with serving wine like a Sommelier
“It’s all about first impressions, get your table set correctly and have a wow factor element – whether it be a pot of fresh herbs on the table, a personal name card with secret message or a special bottle of well selected wine ready. Match it with soft background music and candlelight and you’re on to a winner!”
“I have many guests order a bottle of wine that they are familiar with and have enjoyed at home. It is amazing how many times the guest will comment how much more pleasing the wine was here at the restaurant. There is infinitely more that goes into the tasting of wine than just the actual flavour – it’s the temperature, the stemware that it is served in and the feel it has on your hand, the visual presentation of the wine, the food you are enjoying with the wine, the surroundings in which the wine is being consumed, and the company that you are sharing.
The first step in wine presentation is making sure your bottle of wine is at the correct temperature. The temperature will be different for whites and reds, as well as for wines with different weights. Once the bottle is selected and you have the correct temperature, I like to present the bottle of wine. Tell your guest which wine you are serving, including the year. When pouring, twist the bottle about 180 degrees and wipe against a napkin so that no wine is spilled. For white wines I will typically ask whether they would like the bottle kept on ice or on the table. Some of your heavier whites (chardonnay) will benefit from a little warmer temperature. Make sure you top up your guests’ glasses throughout the evening.”
To check out more tips on How to Create Hotel style in your home click here
Choosing Art work for the house can seem like a very daunting experience. Especially since art is an expensive investment and a very impactful one at that. Noone wants to make the wrong desicion. Here we have a few people from the team of Small luxury hotels of the World (SLH) give us tips on how we can choose the right art work for our house, particularly the living and bedroom.
“The moment they step into the lobby here at Pudi Boutique Hotel, guests feel as if they are staying in an art gallery. We mix oil paintings and sculpture from young Chinese artists with a modern style. Guests may purchase these art works and take them home to add to their own collection. A few tips I’d offer when choosing art for your own home – choose a painting the width of your mattress to hang over your bed for dramatic effect in the bedroom – pick out colours from the painting in your cushions and bedding too. It is well worth investing in special lighting to highlight your artwork. And I like to choose one colouras a central theme and select pieces incorporating this colour to draw my whole art collection together – at Pudi Boutique Hotel red copper is featured in most of our artwork to add a strongShanghai feel.”
“In the bedroom you can use symmetry for maximum impact with matching lamps and cushions and a bigger bed head or panel with a horizontal frame to create a dramatic and stylish effect. Use neutral colours throughout with a pop of colour in each piece of artwork to make it stand out. It’s also effective to use one theme (like a region, or era – here at The George our themes include iconic images of our city in the guest rooms and NZ artists throughout the hotel) and then have different types of artwork based on the same theme including photography and pieces from different artists throughout your home. Choose matching frames in a row to pull your artwork together and use spotlighting to highlight each piece.”
To check out more tips on how to create hotel style at your home click here
When Slumdog Millionaire released, most of my Indian friends were quite mortified by the portrayal of India in the movie. I never really got down to watching the film, besides bits and pieces when it came on television. And I am certain if I were to watch the whole movie I really would not have been offended. What I have been noticing though is the major influence India has been making in the design and fashion circuit since the movie. I mean earlier Indian inspiration came only in form of prints and a few graphic symbols like Laxmi or Ganesh on T-shirts and Bedcovers, which came in the category of street fashion or hippie fashion, or there would be a one-off India inspired piece. Whereas now, there are full collections by renowned fashion and design houses which are being inspired by India. And I don’t blame them, in terms of design India has got a whole lot of inspiration, from natural beauty to the fabrics and colours and most importantly its vast history and tradition.
It could well be said that this is because luxury markets have taken a huge hit in Europe and America, while in India it has seen a steady growth. Whatever the reason I am quite kicked by the fact that India is inspiring so many people and collections. After all, I don’t know how many more time I can answer “So do you travel be elephants?” or be known only for snake charmers. The answer to the question by the way is, no we don’t travel by elephants most of us have cars and snake charmers are just one of the market side appeals of the country, no one has pet snakes at home. Here are a few Luxury brands which have showcased Indian inspiration in the recent past.
INDIA INSPIRED FASHION
This year Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld delivered his India inspired collection at the Chanel Metiers d’Arts 2012 Pre-Fall collection titled “Paris-Bombay”. The collection features intricate embroideries, raw silk and other extravagant materials characterise an exquisite combination of delicate Indian handcrafts and Parisian fashion. Models both men and women were adorned with accessories including head-jewellery and turbans. In Lagerfeld’s words “it is the Paris version of the idea of India”. The colours were from Fuchsia, to ivory-white to gold and silver. Louis Vuitton made headlines in the past when they came out with their collection of bags inspired by India and even changed the window display of their stores by displaying an artwork of Hindu goddess ‘Laxmi’ during Diwali festival. LVMH even launched a collection ‘L’ame du Voyage’ which is inspired by travels in India and the range consists of handbags, travel bags, jewelry and accessories. Hermes another iconic fashion brand, had recently launched its limited edition Sarees which are an extension of the famous ‘Hermes’ scarf. A silhouette which dates back more than 1,000 years has now been accepted as a ‘must-have’ drape in the fashion world. These Sari’s begin at $6,000 and since most of Hermes clients are Indian millionaires it is considered quite a steal. They also did a whole India inspired collection of scarves with bright colours and motifs like the elephant.
INDIA INSPIRED PERFUMES
In terms of beauty product and scents India has a vast history. There are a variety of materials which originate in India and have inspired designers over the years, like Sandalwood, Jasmine, Cardamom and many more. But over the years more and more Luxury brands and indulging in bringing out India inspired collections.
One of the best and oldest perfumes of great success was Shalimar by Guerlain produced in 1925. Shalimar was inspired by the love of an Indian Emperor for his beloved wife. The love story inspired Jacques Guerlain to create this masterpiece named after the Gardens Of Shalimar where the two Indians found love. This perfume is suitably exotic, blending fragrant floral with sensual notes of patchouli and amber to create a powerful love potion. Shalimar’s recognizable scent has captivated women and their admirers for almost a century now. Jaipur by Boucheron, is another perfume that invites you to discover mystic and enchanted Orient. The bottle is shaped as a bracelet which is considered a lucky charm in Rajasthan. This rich floral bouquet with sweet fruity notes was created in 1994. Jean-Claude Ellena, Hermès’ in-house perfumer, drew inspiration from Kerala– for Un Jardin Apres La Mousson (“Garden After Monsoon”) This perfume captures the quiet yet natural beauty of Kerala with its blue-green bottle and the smell reminds you of the romance of monsoons.
INDIA INSPIRED MAKE-UP
In terms of Make-up too alot of brands have come up with India inspired collections. They have been inspired by the earthy tones, metallic sheen as well as the bright hues of India all of which goes perfectly well with the Indian skin. Chanel’s ‘Bombay Express’, designed by Creative Director Peter Philips are meant conjure up “a specific vision of India”, from “Surreal princesses from an idealised empire” to “the scent of jasmine” and “lavishness of the Maharajas”. Clarins a Paris-base cosmetic company that designed one of their fall collections based on Indian colors called Enchanted. Holi, a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus, inspires the colors in this collection. The Enchanted line consists of an eye shadow palette with a very Indian inspired packaging design. The collection features lips glosses named Pink Jaipur and Nude Delhi as well as a kajal eyeliner that Indian women have used as one of their makeup staples for centuries.Guerlain has come up with a mineral base collection called Terracotta which is supposed to be inspired by the earthy richness found it India. It has lip glosses by the name of Beige Bengali, Rogue Sultan and Pondicherry. It also has a Kajal mineral coal in Black Fakir.
INDIA INSPIRED ACCESSORIES
Christian Louboutin launched his gorgeous India inspired shoe collection earlier in 2012. This collection draws inspiration from India and Bollywood in particular. Earlier this year, he also opened up his first outlet in India. His love for India and its culture dates back to the days of 70s and 80s. He appreciates the diverse crafts and splendour associated with vibrant Indian culture. In his own words – “If India was a shoe; it would have to be a bright coloured sandal with some gold”. The collection has received a great welcome since its launch, its available in multiple colours, and have embellishments in studs and sequins reflecting the grandeur of Indian craftsmanship. Judith Leiber has a definite affinity towards India. Besides the India inspired collection of Ganesh, Elephant and Camel they also has Indian fashion designer Suneet Varma design bags for them. Though I am not certain how I feel about carrying a Ganesh in my hand,as pretty as it looks I am certain I will offend some religious person (besides the fact that I doubt I can own the $6,000 piece)
INDIA INSPIRED FURNITURE
Furniture has its own place in India, so where we usually associate Indian furniture with heavy oriental or classic pieces, in the recent past designers have infused Indian traditional pieces with European styles and created a fusion collection. For instance Eames did a limited edition Indian inspired chair. In fact even Indian furniture designers like Alex Davis have come to their own whereby they have been taking inspiration from India and creating furniture collections.
After their presentation of the Charpoy collection Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien continue their partnership with Moroso in the shape of two new products, My Beautiful Backside and Princess. Like Charpoy, these display a fusion of two worlds, India and Europe.My Beautiful Backside has a lacquered wood base frame with large cushions fixed to it to form the backrest. The cushions are covered with Indian textiles and decorated with very large, extremely beautiful buttons. Fabrics include silk and cotton and a Kvadrat wool cloth designed by Giulio Ridolfo which is woven like an Indian silk, the warp and weft are of two different colours.The Princess version, so-called for the Princess and the Pea fairytale, has five mattresses one of top of the other with variously coloured edges
INDIA INSPIRED FABRICS AND WALLPAPER
Indian prints have been great inspiration for fabrics all over the world. This has been going on for years in forms of fabrics and wallpapers. For instance Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s Jaisamand wallpaper for Graham and Brown. He named his line in honor of one of India’s most spectacular natural landscapes and used Rajasthani-inspired colorways. Or Morris & Co. which has had its own Indian design section for a long time. But there are also designers like British design Tricia Guild whose main inspiration for design has been India. She has lived in India and wandered all over taking inspiration and creating designs inspired by India and for India. Her latest collection Amarapali for instance is a beautiful collection with bright flowers.
INDIA INSPIRED FOOD
The French who are undoubtedly the best pastry chefs also took inspiration from India to create the Laduree Bollywood collection. The collection does not extend to flavour as much as the colour and shape. Sold in a box of four, the collection kind of looks like a box of sweets from India: Indian pink being grenadine strawberry, citrus green is mint chocolate, canary yellow is citrus lemon and ivory-white are coconut raspberry balls. The collection is also a slight departure from the usual macaroon recipe. Each ball consists of a biscuit garnished with cream and coated in a very light meringue.