Monday, May 30, 2016

Is your home Elder Friendly? Home Design makeovers to make your home safe for the elderly

News of senior citizens tripping, falling and injuring themselves at home is nowadays something that one hears of quite often. Such injuries often result in altering the quality of life of the elderly, sometimes even affecting longevity and self esteem.

As a designer I have felt that a number of such domestic incidents are avoidable with good interior design, minor home makeovers and an eye for detail. I have been wanting to write on this topic for some time however for one reason or the other have been unable to do so. With the IPL final on in the backdrop tonite and RCB getting a good drumming from Hyderabad (Cutting just knocked the ball out of the stadium ...ughhhh) and not much to look forward to ...or so it seems, thought that there is no better time to pen this one down.
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If you have an elder member at home below are the design elements that you can introduce into your home to make it safe for them. I will go room wise rather than giving you a laundry list as that would be easier.

The Bathroom: This is the "room" that sees the maximum number of accidents by far. Apart from using anti skid floor tiles it is important to have hand rails next to the WC and in the bath area as seen in the pics below




The other thing that you would have observed in the pics above is the tall stool, another must have in the bathroom. Most bathroom stools are NOT full height and for the seniors just the process sitting on and getting off these is inconvenient and risky, a tall stool to sit on when taking a bath is therefore a must have.

It is also recommended to have a hand shower in the bathing area as it is easier to take bath with a hand shower compared to a bucket/mug or an overhead shower.

(Ok..so Virat Kohli just got out at 54....more ughhh)

Talking about bathroom fittings, in case you are "making" a bathroom for a senior person at home and have the flexibility of choosing the tiles then it is recommended to have the floor tiles to be a couple of shades lighter than the wall tiles as that provides better visibility, in addition the height of the WC should at max be 16 inches.

(BTW... ABD also out, now really not looking good for RCB)

"Just outside the bathroom" is another space that one needs to pay attention to. With wet feet falling on slippery tile/stone, this is another place that sees a number of accidents. It is hence necessary to ALWAYS have a good heavy foot mat just outside the bathroom, it is also recommended to have good lighting in this area.

The elder friendly design elements in the other rooms are few hence unlike RCB, we will pick up the pace here

The Bed Room
It is recommended to maintain the height of the bed at around 18 inches (including the mattress), in addition its important that the mattress is not too soft as getting out of a soft mattress is difficult.
Another recommendation is to have a night light in the bedroom. Nowadays there are battery operated motion sensor lights available in the market that do not need any wiring, these are also useful if the elders are used to sleeping in complete darkness and an "always on" night light is not an option

The Kitchen

For senior citizen managed Kitchens, much to the chagrin of my customers, I recommend having NO wall units. Wall units are difficult to reach and most accidents happen when someone on a stool/ ladder tries to pull something out of the top most shelf. If one needs the additional storage space it makes sense to have a large tall unit instead of the wall unit.

(talking about ladders, RCB just fell off one just now and my daughters are howling we loooost, we loooost, need to take a short break, will be back in a min)

Ok, back now. The last bit for an elder managed kitchen is the height of the kitchen counter. For the typical Indian height a counter height of 32 inches is recommended for an elder managed Kitchen i.e. lesser than the regular modular kitchen counter top height of 36 inches.

The living room

When optimizing the living room for the elderly look for walking spaces that are bereft of furniture. One may not realize this but furniture gives holding support while walking and if you watch closely you will notice the elderly taking active support from furniture as they walk around the home. Furniture bereft spaces typically include the foyer area and the passage from the living room towards the bed rooms. There may be more such spaces in your home depending on the floor plan and the furniture placement.
In such "furniture barren" spaces it is recommended to have hand rails that the elders can hold on to and take support of as they walk.
Another good practice is to have floor level lighting mounted along the skirting in the passageways and staircases as these would make the floor clearly visible and the step more firm, one can use sensor based lighting as mentioned above for this as well. In general for the elderly the home needs to be well lit.

Lastly, if you have rugs and mats on the floor you would do well to firmly stick these to the floor using Velcro as loose mats may just slip & cause a fall.

That covers it I guess. As always would welcome your comments, feedback and any additional thoughts on aspects that the above write up did not cover.

Signing off

Nandita


Friday, March 18, 2016

Objects of Art for the Home




My article above was published in Deccan Herald today. You may read it here http://www.deccanherald.com/content/535128/art-homes-sake.html

However.....since, as readers of this blog, you are special - I am posting the unedited, original and the much cooler version of the same article for you below. 

As always, will welcome any thoughts, inputs & suggestions
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I remember my elder sister, long number of years back, never coming back empty handed from any of the home improvement fairs that used to be a regular affair in our neighborhood. Be it tribal art, handicrafts, monkey faces made from coconuts, wall hangings, stone carvings from Orissa, we saw it all.

You may ask what this bit of family history has got to do with our topic on Art for the home. When I started thinking through the topic I went back to the core question of what defines “Art” for one’s home and the thought that resonated was that it’s something that gives a certain “character” to one’s home…be it the MF Husain that the rich amongst you hang on your wall to that tiny water fountain you bought to put under the staircase, including all those coconut monkey faces, handicrafts and stone carvings that my sister collected and dutifully showcased in her home all these years.  That definition also makes each one of us an Art Collector … ladies & gentlemen - welcome home to art.

Aligning with the theme of your home
When choosing art work for your home it is important to think through the “character” or the theme that you are looking to give your abode – is it contemporary or is it traditional. If yours is a villa or an independent home then the theme is highly dependent on the overall architecture. The theme decides the kind of artwork it can accommodate. Just to give you an example – terracotta vases would go well with a traditional theme while a contemporary theme would need classic white ones. I recall a customer who got this beautiful madhubani type painting done from a well-known artist in Bangalore. The home on the other hand was designed all contemporary with straight line and minimalist furniture. We struggled placing the painting in different parts of the home as it just did not gel in. In the end we had to redesign the bedroom in traditional brown with curvaceous and flowery light fittings just to accommodate the painting.

What goes where – the fitment puzzle?
Pieces of art find a place just about everywhere in the home - from the foyer till the balcony, the walls to the ceiling and the flooring. At the same time over doing it may make your home look….well, overdone while under-doing it may make it look barren. Below a guide you can use to decide what kind of art work goes where in the home.

The main Door-The place where it starts:  One might argue that the home starts with the front porch and the entry gate. However the architectural style of the home is not part of its interiors and hence not covered here, maybe part of a separate discussion. Coming back to the front door – There are 4 things to play with here – the door itself, the door knobs, knocker & the name plates. If you are not builder dependent and do have a choice to customize your front door then both hand carved as well as slick machine made doors are available in the market today to suit your character – you can even get customized carvings done on the door. Based on the style of the door one must select the handles and the knocker. On top of this an arty name plate gives your guests an idea of what to expect when the door opens.

The Foyer – This is the hi-traffic part of your home and the place that creates the first impression of your abode. Depending on the space you have the foyer can have anything from carved murals & paintings on the walls to sculpted artwork in metal or stone in spaces specially created for the same. Artwork encased in glass with proper lighting looks especially appealing. Murals in metal and stained glass are also becoming popular nowadays, a lot of these are good old China imports. At the same time there are local artists in Bangalore doing their own works in metal and glass that might appeal.
Hand painting the foyer wall is another option, if there is an artist in you then this may be the best place to showcase your talent, if not then there are artists who can hand paint it for you. Though expensive, this does create a unique “creative” signature for your home.

The Living Room – The living room can really take all you’ve got, from Jaali work on the ceilings to Mosaic and marble cut work on the floors – nowadays with artisans available in Bangalore from Rajasthan and other parts of the country, there is exceptional beauty and creativity that can be laid out especially on the floors. At the same time artwork on the floors typically requires large spaces over 20X20 feet, in small sized Living rooms the look may not be noticeable and the outcome may not justify the investment
The quieter walls of the living room - the ones along the line of sight such as the passages & internal staircases can be done up with the family photo album while the prominent ones should host your collectibles or paintings to your liking. In general a showcase for curios from travels and all those impulse purchases (recall the coconut monkey face…) is also recommended in the living room.
The corners in the living room are places that can host sculpted artwork in wood, stone or glass. Make sure to highlight these with appropriate accent lighting

The Bed Room: While some may like their bedroom to be arty I somehow feel that too much art in the bedroom comes in the way of a good nights sleep, maybe just a painting to undo the barren-ness of the walls is enough. I remember this hotel room that we checked into sometime back that had these carved faces in wood hung on the walls. The kids felt that someone is watching them and could not get any sleep in the night. The next morning we had to ask the hotel staff to take the faces off.


The Study & the Hobby Room: If you have the luxury of dedicating a space to your hobby - could be a full room or just a space in your study – then do up the space in the theme of the hobby – this could be sports, music, dance, philately, coin collection, even software, electronics, architecture, woodworking, pets … the list can go on. I know of a friend who in his younger days used to collect matchbox labels – I just looked it up on Google and found that nowadays it is recognized as a formal hobby called Phillumeny. I myself had a collection of soft drink bottle caps. Haven’t each of us collected pebbles or sea shells…. I guess what I am trying to say is the each one of us has something that we feel or have felt passionate about at some time in our life. As Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day once said…”Take the photographs and still frames in your mind, hang it on a shelf in good health & good time” – that to me would be true art for your home – of your self, by your self and for your self -  the “Character” of your home that we discussed earlier….your Character.

Signing off
...Nandita

Monday, October 12, 2015

Feedback from The ET Acetech 2015 Bangalore

If you have been on Bangalore roads in the last couple of weeks you would not have missed the huge posters of Shahrukh Khan promoting ACE Tech 2015, in fact the newspapers have been ringing with full page ads of the exhibition as well. One wonders what has Sharukh got to do with the Construction and Interiors industry :-P, perhaps this came about via his wife who is a known Interior designer herself. A Google look up on “Gauri Khan Interior Design” throws up a 2012 Bloomberg video that says “Gauri Khan turns interior designer”… huh – how does one "turn into" an Interior Designer?? I got to go and watch that video now :-).

Enough pun on the Khan Khandaan for now, back to Acetech. It has been among the largest exhibitions in the Construction and Interior design space, professionally organized and at one of the better venues (BIEC) in Bangalore. This year they had invited almost the entire Architect & Interior Designer fraternity in Bangalore to stand jury for their awards to honour the best exhibitors at the event. As “eminent jury” yours truly got deep-er insight into the products/ concepts on display with detailed presentations from the exhibitors.



Apart from the regular stuff like tiles, countertops, hardware on display a few themes stood out this year and possibly are representative of how the market and demand around interiors is shaping up for the future

1. LED Lighting is now standard fitment: With LED’s now available in all shapes and designs with a drastic drop in prices they offer a competitive alternative to regular lighting. A number of vendors also had fuzed LED lighting with unique designs in Glass to create a stunning effect. I have mentioned this earlier – lighting if used tastefully can drastically alter the feel of a home be it that of positive energy or relaxing comfort. LED lighting along with its rendition in glass take that effect to the next level

2. Home Automation: While we are still some time away from the refrigerator ordering grocery replenishes on its own, home automation has already come a long way from offering remote controlled switches, curtains, blinds etc. to controlling devices via your smart phone or based on a set time schedule - imagine your sprinkler or water pump automatically switching on at the designated hour, controlling the lighting in your home from a remote location, or your home security system setting off the intrusion alarm on your cellphone and all the while being able to monitor your overall energy consumption via the app on your tablet.
With more than just a couple of vendors offering solutions along the lines above, and mind you - these are not imported, some are in fact being manufactured in our very own Bengalooru, it is evident that Home automation is here to stay. So get ready to install that smart phone controlled cuckoo bell for your home during your next renovation ( …heee)

3. Ready-made partitions and wall murals: Home makers and designers usually have had to manufacture those partitions and panels for your home to make it stand out, no more…
Vendors now offer readymade but built to size partitions for your home. These can also be customized for your specific wants and desires and are available in different material and finishes – from brass, steel or wood.
Additionally a number of vendors are nowadays importing extremely pleasing wall murals from across the world and making these available at your doorstep. With the demand growing for these our desi manufacturers have also picked up steam to make these in country. Check out some of the pics below



4. Skylights: Last but not the very least, with Villa living in vogue nowadays customers are looking for skylights for that classy look to their home and to help bring down energy costs. For lack of better options a number of my own customers have had to compromise with installing fabricated and flimsy skylights for their home during the construction phase. While this may still not be run of the mill, there was at least one vendor that had ready-made skylights (both fixed and retractable) on display at the exhibition. With prices starting from 3000 per square feet these still may not be for the mass market but it is good to know that the option exists.



Signing off for now, as always would welcome your feedback and inputs

Nandita

Ohhh....how can we sign off without due regards to the King...so here goes


** Image attribution - ABEC Events/ ACE Tech 

Friday, September 11, 2015

My "Expert Corner" in Deccan Herald - Starts today

Deccan Herald has started an "Ask the Expert" section in their Friday Homes & Interiors segment where I will be answering reader queries. They possibly got inspired by the over 1600 Q&A on this blog :).

The first Q&A got published this morning - have pasted the snipping below. This gives you one more channel to write in with your questions ....and comes with the advantage of seeing your question in the "Newspaper" which is kind of nice.



Will look forward to more interaction through this new channel

Signing off for now

Nandita

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Some more pictures of home interiors across Bangalore @ Purva Atria, Brigade Courtyard, Salarpuria Silverwoods, Greenage, Chaitanya Smran, Mahaveer Rhyolite, Chartered Beverly Hills, Samruddhi Lakedrive & more

Hi,
These pictures have been lying around on my phone for a long time, finally ended up posting them on the Facebook Page. For the first time I could appreciate FB for the ease that it offers for posting pictures without which these pics may lost their way on the cellphone ... super like :)

Posting them here again for the readers of this blog. Here goes...































That's it for now. As always will welcome your feedback

Signing off

Nandita

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tips and tricks to convert your rental home into a place of your own


This one is for readers who have or are in the process of renting out a home. The simple tips below should help you get your home to reflect your lifestyle and your style without cashing out your wallet.
This article also appeared on the home page of Deccan Herald - Homes & Interiors this morning...happy reading
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While you may not be able to do much about your nosy landlord, there is lots that can be done to make your rented house reflect your lifestyle and make it feel like “home” without cashing out your credit card.
Each of us has lived in a rented accommodation at some point in our life whether it be due to moving cities, the need for a bigger place or just that it was not yet time to afford a place of one’s own. While a new place comes with its own quota of excitement, doing it up to suit one’s taste and lifestyle is a bit of a tug of war between balancing the costs against the desire. The simple tips below should help you balance this equation.

Before you zero in on your rented home
Make sure that the place you are renting has the right amount of fixed furniture. In the minimum, the place should be fitted with the Kitchen and the Wardrobes in each of the rooms. These are your CORE storage spaces and without these, no matter what you do, your stuff will be found lying around in places where it is not supposed to be, giving your home the typical “rented home” look
Also press upon your landlord to install a decent enough chimney in the Kitchen. Without one, sooner than later you will see black soot accumulating around the cooking area which will be a “no-win” both for you and your landlord.

Just before you move in
There are things that need to be done that need the house to be empty hence a bit of planning may be required for this bit. At least one day before you move in with your truckloads get the floor cleaned – acid washed if it’s too dirty. Additionally get a round of pest control done through a reputed company. Doing this in an empty home is better as you can reach into every crevice and corner, secondly your kids don’t suffer the inconvenience and the poisonous fumes.
You may also want to get the curtains resized according to the window dimensions of the new home in advance so that they are ready to go from day one.

Now that you have moved in
Let’s start with the curtains where we left off. If you already have them ready then they will define the colour theme of the home, else if you are planning on getting new ones and don’t want to spend a bomb then you can look at some of the ready - made ones available in the market. With a broad colour theme in place as defined by the curtains decide on the bed linens. Your existing sets of linen will mostly do, however look at adding small cushions in different finishes and colours to either merge with, or to contrast with the colour theme.  Once you are done start adding other things

The Highlight Wall: Look at highlighting one of the walls of each room, including the living room in line with the colour theme. You can do this by painting, using wall paper or wall hangings & photo frames. Wallpaper and paint may sound difficult but nowadays it takes not more than a few hours to do up a single wall nor is it too expensive. Just this single investment will go a long way in adding a fair degree of the desired warmth to the new home.
Depending on the space available you can look at adding designer shelves for showpieces or books on the other walls. Nowadays there is a wide range of such shelves available to purchase online as well.
A Dash of luxury on the floor: Rugs and mats will add that bit of a luxurious look to the place that you need. Look out for ones that go with your colour theme. With the weather in Bangalore you can have the rugs on 365 days however be careful not to overdo it since rugs everywhere may make the space look smug & small.
Lighting: This is again a small investment that will make a big difference. To most people lighting = having enough light in the room to be able to read which is the equivalent of using a space shuttle to go to Mumbai when it can take you to Mars. Depending on the living space, proper lighting can either make the place feel warm or full of energy and affect the mood of the inhabitants accordingly. In a rented home though you may not be able to do much about the light fittings that your landlord has provided you can definitely enhance the same by changing to warm white LED/ CFL’s and  adding floor as well as table lamps. A dimmer on the lamps can help you adjust the brightness in line with the mood you want to set and the time of the day. Do also remember that yellow lighting, also called warm white, will make the space feel warm and cozy while white light will make it feel more efficient. In well-designed homes you will hence find warm white in the living rooms and white in the study
Greenery: Plants, both indoors and outdoors add colour as well as style to the living space. If you have the luxury of a large balcony or a terrace then take help of the local nursery to identify the right plants that will thrive in the given space based on the direction of the sun and have a combination of flowering, fragrant as well as fruit giving varieties. For interiors there are a number of different plants available including bamboo, parsley & ferns that can be arranged in regular pots as well as in vertical stacks available nowadays. Some of these indoor plants also have air purification properties ensuring good health along with a plush look.
The Doors: If your rented place is passing its middle age then the doors will mostly have a worn down look. One may feel that not much can be done about it - nevertheless there is still hope. First – scrub down the doors with a good cleaner – you will not believe the years of accumulated dirt that will come off them. Now that you have them done and dusted get small trinklets that you can hang from the door knobs. Doors of kids’ rooms can also have some catchy posters. The resulting clean and catchy doors will bring in a substantial change to the overall look of the home.
Once you are through with the above changes you will surely have a place to call your own, hopefully you have a long enough rental contract with your landlord to ensure that you enjoy it for a long time to come.

As always, will welcome your feedback and comments

Signing off
NM

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"The Studio" - now on Facebook : A photo palate for interiors in the "Indian" context

Over the last few months I realized that I have been accumulating a good number of  photographs of interior work - both ongoing and finished, on my phone and nearly none had found their way to this blog. The prime culprit - the thought that I will "one day" get a good photographer to cover "finished" interiors of the entire project/s and then put the best ones out here .... a "one day" that is yet to come :(

There is a lot that pictures communicate, not just how good (or bad) the interiors look but also insight into what goes into creating good designs - thus initiating and invigorating the viewers' own thoughts & ideas. What I also found was that while the western world has its  Houzz.com's and other websites, there is hardly ANY place that has insight into home interiors in the Indian context...let me explain what that means.

As Indians our needs are fairly unique and these need to be factored in while designing homes - things such as gas cylinders in the kitchen, a place for storing slippers in the foyer and a provision for people to sit and put their shoes on, false ceilings that need to take care of accommodating the ceiling fan (ask a westerner what a ceiling fan is and watch his expression), storage spaces in the kitchen for lines of boxes containing different spices - the small - small boxes that we have quite similar to the ones in the paan shop :), the puja unit, the jhoola in the living room... I could keep going on and on but I guess you get what I mean by design in an "Indian" context.

So back to the point - if you look around for ideas and pictures of designs that cater to our Indian needs you will hardly find much on the Internet. The facebook page of The Studio is an attempt to fulfill that exact gap - apart from getting all those photographs out from my phone that is :). It is also a forum I am experimenting with for a more continuous interaction with my readers (you).

I will be glad if you visit the page (it's at https://www.facebook.com/homedesignbangalore) and give me your feedback - a "like" if you like it or a comment if you see something amiss and want it added. Just be a little considerate as the content on the page is only what was added this afternoon after the page was created. Based on your feedback it will grow over time.

While it's said that a picture says a thousand words, sometimes those thousand words need to be written down for the best impact. Therefore this blog will continue to be THE medium for exchanging thoughts, questions & ideas. The Facebook page will serve as a medium of conveying some of those ideas through pictures. And both this blog and the Facebook page will interlink to bring you the best of each. Also, if YOU have any picture that conveys a unique idea/ thought or lifestyle then do please share and I will be more than happy to put that up ... just ensure that it is not copyrighted.

As always will welcome your feedback

Signing off

Nandita

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Experts you need when making your home - My recent article in Deccan Herald

The article below was published in Deccan Herald last Friday. The free text is pasted below. Happy reading

Cheers
Nandita



The role of an Interior Designer & tips to get the best out of your Interior designer for your home design project.

If you have a house getting ready for possession in the next one year or are looking to do major remodeling in your current home you are sure to have spent ample hours already Googling for an Interior Designer.
A quick Google search for “Interior Designer in Bangalore” yields 3.39 million search results (in 0.47 seconds). This is not surprising because everyone from an Architect, Civil Engineer, Carpenter to a Plumber nowadays informally calls him/herself an Interior designer and sometimes vice-versa, so let’s first start with what is the role of an Interior Designer and how is it different from that an Architect and a Civil Engineer.

The Architect: He is the one responsible to plan the overall internal layout & exterior elevation of the building. This is based on the (1) law of the land - the offsets, Floor area ratio etc. demanded by the authorities (read BBMP, BDA etc.) (2) The needs of the owner such as the room sizes, direction, external elevation etc. and (3) the physical, and design constraints such as the slope of the land, the bathrooms being next to the plumbing lines, the columns need to be straight etc. etc. The Architect is also qualified and expected to do a sanity check on what s/he has designed can be constructed and will be livable.
As an analogy - if one were to be making a human being -  the Architect’s role would be to define that the head will be on the top, hands on the side and the feet at the bottom with a body in the middle  so that the human can function in the best way possible
The Civil Engineer: He is the person who will take the Architect’s designs and construct the building based on hardcore principles of engineering such as the load on the walls, the thickness of the columns & beams to take the load, the type and amount of material to be used etc. Your Architect and the Engineer hence need to be in constant touch to ensure what has been designed 1. Can be constructed, 2. Is being constructed and 3. Any construction constraints that come in are discussed and changes factored into the Architect’s plans based on your agreement
In our human analogy the Civil Engineer will be fitting out the different organs within the body and determining the material that each part will be made of

The Interior Designer: Now that your home is constructed and ready comes in the interior designer. S/he will take the space available and make it livable in line with the needs, lifestyle and the outlook of the owner and the “feel” that one would like to give to the space. This would include the space planning , colour schemes, lighting, furniture, furnishings, woodwork including build versus buy decisions for the furniture etc.
Again – in the human analogy the Interior designer will determine how the person will look, talk and behave….and that better be good
In a continuum extending from Science on the left to Art on the right, the Civil Engineer will mostly stand on the Science side, the Architect in the middle and the Interior Designer on the right. That however does not necessarily mean that anyone with a good sense of art can do an interior designers job since there are technical aspects within interior design that one needs to know and be good at… more on that later.

The Value of Interior Design and why you may need an Interior Designer
A well designed home is EXACTLY like a well designed car – you just know that’s its well done when you drive/ walk into one, you may not be able to pin point specifically what the difference is but while the car feels great when you drive it, the home just feels "nice" when you enter. I remember this interesting episode of a home owner  who commented “you know whenever the neighbors come in they say that my home somehow feels different and more balanced” – in that project the interior designer had changed the position of the fans in the drawing room to go with the symmetry of the overall interiors of the room. And it does not stop there - things like deciding whether the shutter flap will be a pull up or a pull down, the drawers will be to the right of the kitchen hob, the left or right under based on whether the user is left handed or right, the material to be used in case the home is self managed or maid run are key things that the Interior Designer will plan for while designing.
Colours & Lighting add an interesting dimension to interior design and is perhaps the most under-rated & under thought design element and one that Interior Designers spend considerable time and effort on. An extremely well designed home can look ordinary if the colour selection & lighting is not done properly and a fairly simple home can look extraordinary with the right colour selection & lighting.
In addition to the above when designing the furniture the Interior Designer would incorporate the limitations of both the material, hardware and the workman to get the desired output. While the limitations of the workman can be managed with over-communication or by getting someone better, it is extremely important to know the material & hardware that will bring the designs to life. With the huge Hardware range that’s available in the market today & the Hettich & Hafele Hardware Manuals running into some 1560 pages, this is one area of technical expertise that the Interior designer has to be conversant with to do a good job … remember, our science versus art discussion earlier.
Due to the above reasons having an Interior designer by your side is helpful especially when doing “Home” Interiors because a Home needs not just to look good but also be built specific to a lifestyle & need and has to be live-able for years to come.

Finding the right interior designer:
This one is never easy. Even with the most thorough search, going through profiles and past projects etc. I have seen client - designer relationship go bad & the project bearing the brunt of it. Finding the right designer is much like an arranged marriage, beyond how the person appeals to you in the first meeting and the matching of the wavelengths there is not much that can be determined which will have real bearing on the success rate. The only other thing you may want to check while looking for a designer is whether he has been around for some time and has some grounded experience, whether he will be personally available to you and be directly involved in your specific project and whether he can get the job done within your time and budget constraints.
Getting the best out of your Interior Designer:
While every client, project and designer is different there are some core do’s and don’ts to ensure a healthy relationship so that the project gets the best treatment from all concerned.
  1. Have the detailed scope, payment terms and overall timeline clearly defined and stick to these as the project proceeds
  2. Once you have provided your inputs and documented the scope & budgets trust your designer to deliver and do a good job. The Type X Management style may work with the local carpenter but with the designer it’s got to be Type Y
  3. Don’t visit the project site every day and unannounced. … Imagine how you would feel if your manager peeps into your desk 3 times a day and the kind of respect such a manager will command. Set up work inspection days in advance with mutual agreement of your designer. This will create a general atmosphere of positive management.
  4. Avoid mid work design changes. Think through all your needs and discuss these with your designer before finalizing the designs. Last minute and on the fly changes are always messy. Sometimes these lead to scope creeps resulting in time and budget creep and heart burn. At the same time if there are key changes that HAVE TO be incorporated then ensure that these are discussed and any accompanying budget and timeline changes are agreed and documented
  5. Due to the unorganized and unprofessional nature of the labour market in India your designer may not be able to give you a project plan with weekly timelines. However you should expect that the general pace of work is nippy and there is visibility of the work being completed in time. If not then raise this during your scheduled site visits.

The above should mostly see you through, warm and happy, in a fully furnished home built without any mishaps and within your budget and timelines

Happy Home making

Nandita Manwani is a designer & founder of The Studio, Bengalooru.