Thursday, 31 October 2013

D.I.Y- Adding some Pizzazz to a Dull, Old Bookshelf

You all know how much I love book shelves. I love them piled high with books, little knick knacks and an assortment of tiny trinkets that are collected through the years. They say that you can know a man by the books he reads, well, I often think that when you look at someones bookshelf, you get a glimpse into their soul, into who they are, their likes and dislikes- basically, what makes them tick.

We picked up this bookshelf from a tiny store on MG road, when we were setting up our flat. I think it was, in fact, the first piece of furniture we bought. So it has a lot of sentimental value. Its a wooden bookshelf, with a walnut varnish. But as our home has slowly taken shape, it was has started looking a bit old and dull. It needed to be spruced up! Nothing that a touch of color couldn't fix!


So with the hubby away over the weekend, I scheduled some major D.I.Y bookshelf painting to revamp this beloved piece of furniture. Off I went to the local paint shop to get the necessary items and also some advice on how to go about it correctly. (I would have asked the painter who works on all my sites, but he is always horrified that 'madam' is painting her own furniture and he insists on doing it himself. And this kinda defeats the purpose of D.I.Y!)

At the paint shop, the uncle behind the counter looked just as appalled when I explained that I would be painting. Although I think in his case it had more to do with the fact that I was a woman, and a relatively small one at that. He did reluctantly tell me what was needed and how to go about it. He also cautioned that the process of sand papering to remove the varnish was really tough. (mental note to myself, listen to uncles who give you advise... he was right, it was really tough and I have a sore shoulder from all the sanding!)

I love D.I.Y paint jobs. Sometimes they come off really well, others not so... but I enjoy the fun of trying and also learning from the mistakes I make. I was sorry though, that I did it when the hubby wasn't there. Not because it was really tough doing all that sanding (although it was and I could have really used some muscle), but because the two of us have great fun doing these things together. We laugh and joke and argue about who the better painter is.

The entire process itself took about 2 days. As you apply more paint, it takes more time to dry. I ended up applying four coats. I think if I had used a wood primer before applying the paint, it would have required only three, but the uncle insisted that the primer wasn't necessary. A mistake, and I should have known better! (mental note to myself... don't always listen to uncles who give you advice, especially when you know better)

Overall I was quite pleased with the results, but my biggest disappointment were the patches in the paint, which happened because I didn't have the muscle to remove the polish completely! But its not very noticeable since most of them are hidden behind books.

So ta-da! The big reveal... here's the revamped bookshelf with a splash of cobalt blue, tying in with the blue photo frames we have up on the wall. Next project is our boring side table, which are also going to get a coat of blue paint!


So do you like the new look? write and and tell me what you think. Would love to hear from you!

If you want to add some pizzazz to an old piece of furniture then here's what you will need...

1. Satin Paint
2. Turpentine
3. Paint brush (about 3-4 inches)
4. Sand paper (medium grit)
5. Sand Paper (fine, for smoothing)
6. A clean thin cloth for dusting and wiping down the surface

And here's what I did...

Step 1:
Sanding... Warning!!! make sure you cover up your mouth and nose before starting! 
To begin with I used a medium grit (quite abrasive) sandpaper to remove the coat of varnish. This is really, really tough so I would suggest you get 'the one with the muscles' to do it. Its really important to ensure that all the polish is removed. COMPLETELY! If you don't, like me, you will end up with dark patches where the original polish is and it will look quite untidy. Also, ladies, if you want to give it a go, use gloves! I had rough hands for days :)

Step 2:
Sanding with a fine sandpaper (I used no. 815) to smooth out the surface. This part is much easier!

Step 3: The uncle at the paint store didn't tell me to use primer, and even though I knew better, I was a bit lazy and decided to paint without priming the surface. This was a mistake! Please, Please don't skip this step. The paint will take for ever to dry and the finish won't be as neat.

Step 4: Using paper tape, tape the boundary of the surface over which you don't want stray streaks of paint. Like in the image below.

As you can see, I could have done a better job of removing the varnish

Step 5: Paint! You will need to apply 3 coats, if you use a primer. Allow the painted surface to dry completely between each coat of paint.

Step 6: Once the paint is dry, peel away the tape and clean up any spots of paint with turpentine.

Good Luck!!!

[All images- Shalini Pereira]

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Featured! My Design Firm, SPDA's 1st Feature in the Print Media

I guess Diwali has come a little early for me... and I'm so, so chuffed to share this news with you! 

A while back I posted images from my recently completed Noida site, Govindam. And I got such an amazing response from all of you guys...And now, I'm thrilled to say it has been featured in 
Society Interiors - the Special Diwali Issue! Yay! 

This is SPDA's first feature in the print media. I have to admit, quite unashamedly, that when they first told me they were planning to feature this project, I danced a little jig :) 

Want to say a big thanks to all the team at Society Interiors, and especially to Trisha Mahajan for the amazing text! 

Click Here to see the images!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Leaf House, Alibaug by SJK Architects

I came across this rather spectacular house designed by Mumbai based firm, SJK Architects, in Dezeen Magazine and thought it was interesting because its form was so different from the usual straight lined, cuboid shaped houses that I am drawn to and tend to feature on the blog. This house is modern, contemporary and minimal, but its also organic, and so graceful. 

This family home in Alibaug, is divided into 5 individual living spaces that fan out around a central courtyard. Each space is covered by concrete, leaf shaped canopies supported by angled steel columns. The house is nestled in greenery and the beauty of its architecture is that it really celebrates this beautiful setting. 

So as not to outdo the simplicity of the architecture, the interiors are minimal with white walls and polished concrete floors throughout. 

Take a look and tell me what you think.... 

[All Images via Dezeen Magazine]

Friday, 25 October 2013

Nominated! Please Vote for your favorite Blogs...

Blogging is not as easy as it looks. You spend a lot of time constantly on the look out for interesting stuff- there's research and running around, making things and then photographing them. Then there is the writing and editing and re-writing, as well as dealing with times when inspiration is hard to find. But its kind words from amazing readers and recognition for your hard work that make it all worth it.

And so I am absolutely chuffed to say that the amazing people at GoodHomes Magazine India have nominated All Things Nice for the GoodHomes Awards 2013 under the Most Inspiring Blog Category! Yippee!

I want to say a very big Thank You! to all my amazing readers for their love and support and all their kind words and positive feedback that makes all the other craziness worth while. And also a big, big thanks to the GoodHomes team for considering me. I'm so proud to be included in the same category as these other two talented ladies whose blogs I love.

Voting has started, and if you want to vote for your favorite blog, then click on the link below, browse through the album of nominees and hit like on the image you want to vote for! Its that simple so I really hope you will take the time to vote and make all of us bloggers a happy bunch of gals.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Recycled Silk Chair set by Meb Rure

When I chanced upon this set of furniture on the Contemporist, my eyes lit up in glee. I want them... its definitely going in my wishlist. 

This set of chair, stool and ottoman, designed by Istanbul-based designer Meb Rure, are just, well, so cute! They are vibrant and bursting with color- ethnic and yet so very contemporary. They would work so well in a contemporary, minimalist setting, since they would add a burst of color and, I think, humor. I mean come on, don't they just bring a smile to your face?

The structure or wooden frame is made from American White Oak and the seat and back consists of sponge balls covered with waste silk fabric. All three pieces are designed so that they can be easily disassembled by unscrewing the legs so that transport is easy. The intention behind this being, to reduce the carbon footprint. 

So tell me what you think. Do you like this set of colorful furniture as much as I do?

[All images via Contemporist]

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Feature- Usine Studio

I am absolutely thrilled about featuring Usine Studio as part of my Young Indian Designers series. Established in 2010 and headed by Jiten Tosar and Yatin Kaviya, this dynamic duo are slowly making a name for themselves in the design scene in Baroda and Gujarat. The three of us go way back- we were 'partners in crime' in DGA, a leading design firm in Baroda. 

Usine is known for its contemporary design aesthetic with a slightly minimalist bent and a strong focus on detailing and finish. Their work has also been published in some leading design magazines like Inside Outside & Better Interiors.

Here are a few of their works...

[All images courtesy Usine Studio]

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Going Minimal with Ethnic Accents

I love that feeling I get when I see a space I like. Think it’s like falling in love, or maybe eating a delicious chocolate dessert! It’s a warm, happy feeling in your soul J 

Well that’s what happened when I came across this lovely home on Pinterest.  The image was originally from photographer Kimberly Genevieve's website. The best way to describe its style is, I think, a sort of Minimal-Rustic. The Asian and African accents go wonderfully well with the contemporary setting.

I really like the fact that it maintains its simplicity, and in doing so, is honest to its architecture. But I also like that through accessorizing, this minimally styled home takes on a warm, lived in feel that is so reassuring and comforting. There is a sense of casual, laid back style that makes it my kinda space.

Take a look and tell me what you think… Is this your kinda space? I’d love to hear back from you…

[All images - Kimberly Genevieve]

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Our Apartment's Story- How We Changed Our Dull Plain Apartment and Made it Home

I've been wanting to do this post for ages now, but I have to confess that I've been a bit lazy. Actually a lot has been going on, and so I just haven't been able to put my mind to doing this. But I'm finally feeling kinda inspired and decided to get right down to it before the mood passes. 

You've probably seen pictures of our place, which was featured on Aalayam a while back(Thank you again Deepa!). But you haven't seen the process of its transformation. That's the idea behind this post. The inspiration for this came to me when I was looking through some old images, and found pictures of our place taken when we just began renting the place. In fact we hadn't even shifted in. It was really one of those moments! Staring at those pictures, I just couldn't believe it was the same apartment! 

Sometimes, when you see a place day in- day out, you don't really register the dramatic way your presence impacts that space over a period of time. We slowly stamp ourselves onto the blank canvas that is our dwelling place, sometimes deliberately, sometimes without even realizing it. We claim it and make it our own. A lot of us live in rented homes, and I'm pretty sure most of us want to make these home 'ours', in a manner of speaking. But how do we go about doing it?

The problem about renting a place, is that it's not yours, so flexibility is very important. Money is also a big factor... I mean who wants to spend a bomb on a place that isn't yours? Am I right? In fact, most of the things you do, need to be reversible and relatively inexpensive. So I thought to myself, rather than giving tips and droning on and on and on with a list of 'dos & don'ts', why not share the story of how we made our place our home.

That's why when I saw those old pics of our place it was a sort of Eureka! moment. They were ideal, for a sort of 'before & after' concept to illustrate my points. The problem with just looking at the end product is its difficult to comprehend and take in things that have been done. Which is why I love the concept of 'before & after'. Having a stark contrast there, visually right in front of you, is a wonderful and really dramatic way of looking at how spaces change.  So here goes...

Here are a few before pictures to start off...

I liked this apartment because it was bright and totally a blank canvas. I liked this because I knew it would give me total freedom when it came to a color scheme. I also didn't have to worry about any horrid looking pieces of furniture and hideous light fixtures that I'd be forced to work around :)

Stage I... 
When we first moved in, furniture was the topmost priority. We wanted our place to be livable, especially since we knew our parent's would visit us quite often. So we got the furniture sorted before anything else. This was our first home, so we invested in making a nice sofa that seated three. It was quite contemporary, so it could be matched with other bits and bobs which I 'borrowed' (or stole as the hubby likes to say) from my parent's home. We also bought a few pieces from some cheap antique furniture stores. Overall, I wanted a style that was contemporary, but one that was also inspired by Indian style, and our furniture sort of reflects this.  

Then came the fun part... accessorizing and decorating! 

Once we had all the furniture in place, which took about a year (we went from most important to least important), the next step was color, color, color...  

I tried to bring in color with soft furnishings like curtains, cushions, throws and some art. Its amazing how a simple curtain and some colorful cushion covers can transform a house into a home. Along with this came plants... I don't have the greenest of thumbs, but I bought a few hardy, easy to maintain plants to liven up our tiny balcony. Another thing I did was replace all those horrid white CFL bulbs with warm white ones! Voila! Instant and dramatic change just by changing the color of the lights. We also picked up a few table lamps to add to the mood lighting. they are great when we have friends over.

Stage 2...
This was more complicated because I had to convince my very stubborn DH to get some walls painted. The hubby did not want to spend money paying a bunch of painters. After a lot of arguing,  ranting and I'm ashamed to say several tantrums, I won! I suggested that we take it on ourselves and we made a fun DIY weekend of it. Although tiring, it was actually good fun and really satisfying! And the green walls made a huge difference.

Stage 3...
This is still a sort of work in progress. I keep making small additions, adding knickknacks here and there. Things I've collected from my travels, in India and abroad. Art work, vases, picture frames- a few months back we got our picture wall done and this is my favorite thing in the whole house till date. A wall of family photos in colorful frames. Its a real favorite with people who visit. 

Another new addition that I'm very excited about is the addition of a blackboard in our dining area. I have been waiting a long time for this and can't wait to get it hung up!

So that's our place and how we made a plain, dull apartment into our home, a place I think is warm and welcoming and a place that has seen a lot of happy and fun times! I hope this helps and gives you loads of ideas when it comes to how you can spruce up a boring wall, or do up you rented place.

[All images- Shalini Pereira & Ujwala Menon]

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Julianne Moore's West Village Loft

I haven't done a 'celebrity home' post in a while now so I'm absolutely thrilled about this particular one because Julianne Moore is one of my favorite actresses. This Oscar winning actress is always the epitome of style. Even in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, she carries herself with grace and elegance. Something I really admire about her. 

I found these images in Elle Decor and it came as no surprise that the West Village loft that she shares with her husband, Bart Freundlich and their two children, Caleb and Liv, is perfectly in-sync with her persona. Its modern, stylish and has an understated sense of elegance. But it definitely doesn't scream 'movie-star diva' and there is absolutely no in-your-face glamour that's you tend to see in so many Hollywood homes. 

The loft has been styled and revamped by Bart's architect brother, Oliver Freundlich and before anything, it is a home. I really like the simplicity of the spaces within this home. It acts as a perfect foil for the lovey designer pieces of furniture, artwork and pottery. I also love the sense of openness and the light that streams into this loft. 

Take a look, and tell me what you think...

[All images via Elle Decor]

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Parisian Apartment - When Minimalism and Vintage Meet

I adore this home! In fact, when I first saw pictures of it on Coco Lapine, I sighed in envy and wistfully dreamed I lived there. These pics are definitely going in my folder of images titled 'Inspiration for the new place'. I'm hoping that by the time we're ready to start doing up our new place, I'll have saved up enough for a polished concrete floor similar to whats done here!

What I so love about this charming home is the way the owners, a writer and an artist, have managed to put their own stamp on this basically minimal apartment space. And in doing so, they have created a home which is playful, fun and eclectic. 

The vintage touches gel so will with the minimal, blank canvas that the original architectural features provide. Take a look... tell me what you think.

[All Images via Coco Lapine]

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