Traditional Indian Interiors: Archaana Aleti
A decade or two earlier, life was simpler and meaningful. Traditional arts and crafts were cherished by homeowners, but rapid urbanisation, economic development, a fast-paced life, mushrooming of malls with an array of products making shopping easier and above all, the desire to ‘fit in’ has changed the scenario. Traditional Indian Interiors
The so-called perception of being urbane and sophisticated and the ‘feel good’ factor created by modern and imported commodities have resulted in the slow departure from our traditional sensitivities and cultural heritage that permeated our lifestyle.
I wanted to revive our Indian identity, which I felt was on a desperate decline! Achyut – my husband, refuted the idea of investing in an apartment in the city as “home” for him ideally means free flowing spaces in sync with the surrounding natural elements, as it is in his native village in Kolanpak in Andhra Pradesh.
Given that living such a blissful life in a village was not a possibility; the challenge for me was to integrate all the suitable elements into our typically confined urban apartment.
The functional modalities of a couple engaged in the corporate world with frequent travels, wanting to get back to a welcoming home with elements of Indianness is something that we truly believe in and value.
‘A creative mind finds its own ways to interpret ideas’ – undoubtedly, our inspiration was drawn from our love for the rich heritage of traditional arts and crafts of India.
The only freedom that we enjoyed in terms of structural changes in our 1500 square feet apartment was to play with the internal walls – segregating spaces, creating an element of drama and connecting indoor spaces with the outdoors to receive the warmth and light of the sun.
These changes also enabled us to incorporate some concepts of traditional Indian architecture into the overall design.
We installed ornate Chettinad columns on a raised platform between our living and dining area.
These antique rose/teak wood columns and brackets were handpicked from a small town named Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu and are intricately carved by the local artisans.
To go with the traditional ambience in our living room and to create the feel of a verandah seen in typical village dwellings, we fixed a low seated swing (jhoola) in front of the Chettinad columns.
This has become a favourite spot for our guests who enjoy sitting here and chatting over cups of coffee, all the while enjoying the view of our mini terrace garden which overlooks the space.
Our enduring love for Indian arts and crafts is evident throughout the interiors of our home.
The ‘treasures’ are sourced from lesser known local artisans during the course of our travels.
Our carpenter who was keen to promote run of the mill designs was bewildered at our take on the wardrobe design.
Our wardrobes have plain glass panels showcasing beautiful textured textiles and block printed motifs in various hues.
The glass panelled wardrobe doors enabled us to project our love for Indian textiles and designs as well as create an optical illusion of spaciousness.
Similar designs have been executed in the study, for the TV table and dining table – panelling with clear glass that could be backed with beautiful textiles or textured paper.
This design enables a change in the look whenever desired.
Some of the woodwork is executed with restored teak wood brackets and panels.
These intricately carved pieces add to the overall traditional ambience of the home.
Handmade Athangudi tiles with traditional motifs and floral patterns are a part of our décor and ranks among my favourites.
Fixtures and handles have been chosen with care to showcase traditional designs.
Furnishings are custom-made using old silk sarees and pretty dhurries (rugs) made by tribals.
Home is usually a realisation of our cherished dreams – dreams that we have nurtured for a long time.
In today’s fast paced world it may not be possible for every individual to realise this dream entirely.
By incorporating little cost effective elements into your living space at least a part of the dream may be realised.
Our guests appreciate and relate to the spaces that we have created incorporating elements from our rich traditional heritage.
Impressed, they often ask – “can we accomplish something like this?” Our encouraging reply is, “of course you can, if you believe in it!”