Simplicity.

I love how the word simplicity rolls off the tongue.  It is such an  unassuming word with such a depth of significance.  I’ve found myself moving towards simplicity in decorating and other aspects of my life. Decorating with simplicity doesn’t mean living a spartan life. Simplicity to me means living with what you love.  Creating beauty at home is the ultimate luxury.  Simple cut flowers from our tiny garden, a lit candle, a favorite record playing…these are the things that make me happy.

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Kiran cut and arranged these flowers

I’ve been a collector of stuff for a long time.  I collected photographs, notes, books, furniture and almost anything else that I found sentimental or beautiful.  In the last few years I felt a tug to let go.   I have emptied drawers, closets (we don’t have a lot of closets) and the basement.  I mercilessly threw out or donated anything that I didn’t use, wouldn’t use or wasn’t beautiful.

Everything now has a place.  Our drawers are generally half filled.  Jai + Kiran get Ikea boxes in which to store their paintings/drawings and notes and we label them with a date range.  Really nice art gets framed and goes up on the wall. Similarly, I enlarge photographs that we like, frame them and add them to the wall. I display the photographs and art work in ad hoc arrangements. I especially like hanging things low to the ground so that Kiran+ Jai can enjoy them.

This is a photograph of Jai’s room.  He picked which pictures we hung over his bed.

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Jai’s Room

This is our living room wall.  One day I would like to buy a white wall hung T.V.  For now I try to hide the T.V. in the surrounding pictures.

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Living Room: photographs and paintings

On a recent trip to Greece Kiran + Jai collected  rocks, pebbles and large pieces of bark from olive trees.  Instead of just storing these I made  rock mobiles and hung them around the house.  Displaying treasures allows us to appreciate them everyday.

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making a rock mobile with jute thread

A clutter free home allows us to enjoy our time at home. Before we head out in the morning, however constrained we are for time, I tidy up the living room and dining room.  I fluff the pillows, put stray objects away and clear the dining room of breakfast dishes. This ensures that when I walk in from work I can relax and enjoy my time with kids.  When I put my key in the door I am always filled with joy and anticipation to be home.

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Living Room on a dark rainy day

 

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Hallway on a Sunny Day.

The second floor hallway does not get much natural light.  The only light the hallway gets is from Jai’s room, the master bedroom or bathroom if we leave those doors open.  However, at certain times during the day, in Fall and Winter, the hallway is unusually flooded with light streaming in from the third floor hallway window.  This was one of those days:

The light in the house changes with the seasons.  The reason for this sudden luminescence in this dark hallway in Fall and Winter is probably because the sun is lower in the sky for us during these seasons.  This causes the sun rays to come streaming in through the third floor window into the hallway.  More information about the sun and its position during the Winter can be found here.

We painted the railings recently in Benjamin Moore paint in Onyx  and chose a high gloss finish which is perfect in high traffic areas.  The print is from this shop on etsy.

Not Thrifty…

…but  worth every penny.  We bought the Darjeeling dining table from CB2 after almost a year of considering whether it would work.   We sold our old dining table a few months ago but I still couldn’t commit to buying the table.  If you’ve been following this blog for a while you already know that most of the furniture in the house is vintage and inexpensive.  I won’t use the word “cheap” because vintage furniture is generally much sturdier and of better quality than new furniture.  Anyway, about a year ago I first saw the Darjeeling table on the CB2 website and I fell in love with it.  I also knew based on the reviews that it was a sturdy table and well made.  the only issue was that it was almost $900!   I hesitated to buy it also because  it was almost 15 inches longer than our old table .  Our old table was only 65 inches long but seemed to take up the entire dining room.  It was also very wide (45 inches) so it seemed massive.  After a year of living with duct tape on the floor outlining the dimensions of this table (80 inches x36 inches) we finally took the plunge and bought the table.  It is more amazing that I had imagined.

It is made of Sal wood reclaimed from old Indian railroad ties. What is great about old wood is that it is much sturdier than the wood used these days to make furniture. The older wood was harvested from older more mature treas which means that it is much  stronger than wood that doesn’t get a chance to mature.

Since getting the dining table the whole room looks different. I painted our old dining room chairs which somehow makes the dining room look a little bit sophisticated.


The table arrived unfinished and I applied several coats of beeswax to protect the table. The table will probably need a new coat of beeswax every year.

I was worried about the length but it fits perfectly in the dining room. I have always said that larger pieces of furniture generally make a look larger than smaller pieces. The dining room doesn’t look like a corridor any more and we use it a lot more to just hang out. Also the table seats 8 but we could squeeze 10 which is great for parties.

I’ve hung more “art” on the walls and the room looks a lot more cozier than it used to.  Kiran uses the table to do a lot of his art projects and I generally work at night from this table.  What makes a home comfortable is having furniture that works for you.  This table fits that bill. 

The fashion drawings to the left of the picture above were done by Scott’s mother.  The picture of the girl on the grass is by Tierney Gearon (purchased from 20×200) and the pink swirly painting is also from 20×200 and is a print by Jennifer Sanchez.  The nude charcoal drawing is also by Scott’s mother.  The black and white painting to the left of the picture above is a collage Kiran and I did with Indian Ink. 

I look these pictures in a hurry and I didn’t get a chance to clean off the table.  That big piece of paper in all the pictures in this post is a painting by Kiran.  I love the muted greys, pink, blue and green.  I was in the process of framing it when I took the pictures of the table.  Another reason why I love this table it is a great place for me to do lots of projects in addition to eating. 



Ending Summer and Beginning New Projects.

I haven’t done many new projects since my last post.  I spent some time organizing drawers, cleaning out my closet, and in general clearing out cluttered drawers, cupboards, etc.  Summer has officially ended and I’ve started  a few projects.  My first project was framing some “Art.”

“Art” means a lot of different things to different people.  For me everyday objects, shells, letters, notes, photos and Kiran’s paintings are all Art.  I like to include these personal mementos with more tranditional works of Art that I’ve bought at auctions, on eBay or at thrift stores.  Art can be anything that evokes a sense of beauty and nothing does this better (for me) than objects that evoke beautiful memories.

I used to scour eBay and thrift stores for old frames which generally needed a lot of work.  So framing things would always be very time consuming.  Then I discovred the Ribba frames at Ikea and framing is now a snap! The smaller sized frames are made well, come in a variety of sizes and include a great matt.

So here’s what I framed yesterday:


The painting to the left is something Kiran did last week using blue acrylic paint and some water.  He doused the paper with a lot of water and then lifted the edges up and watched all the water roll off onto the floor.  I love this painting because I love the way it looks and also because it conjures images of him squealing with laughter and delight when the water kept rolling around on the paper.

The painting to the right is a drawing I found in my father-in-law’s attic.  It is a drawing by Scott’s mother in 1966.  While it is sad that Kiran will never meet Scott’s mother (because she passed away when Scott was young) it will be nice to have her drawing in the house so that Kiran will at least know something about his paternal grandmother through her drawing.

The Dining Room (update).

I  haven’t posted many new pictures of our house because I can’t seem to take good pictures even with my new camera! Also, every time that I am ready to take pictures the sun disappears so my pictures end up looking really dark.  Anyway here are some pictures of the dining room.

My favorite reading spot

We bought the table and buffet from a neighbor about 10 years ago.  I really want a new sleeker and longer teak credenza but we are keeping this one until we find another one.  I bought the chairs on Ebay (two separate auctions from two different sellers).  I love the juxtaposition of the chrome with the wood table.  While we have been looking for a new table I am pretty sure that we will end up keeping this table.  It has four additional leaves and seats twelve people really comfortably.  Also the table is solid wood and indestructible.  I recently bought the yellow enamel lamp on eBay for about $45.  It works and it is great to have a task light because we use the dining room table to read, write, draw etc.  Also, I think the bright splash of color really livens the room.

Click here to see pictures of the progression of the dining room.