Sunday, August 21, 2016

Additional Home Interior Images - Concorde Napa Valley

These ones have been taken in daylight and reflect the true colour of the home




















Just Launched - www.thestudiobangalore.com

Today being an auspicious day we formally launched www.thestudiobangalore.com. It is a master site for The Studio Kitchens, The Studio Wardrobes and www.homedesignbangalore (this blog).

Do also go through the Kitchens section on www.thestudiobangalore.com - this is a new website launched for the Designer Kitchen Range.

Do wish me luck as I embark on this next level forward. As always would welcome your suggestions and comments on the new website.

Signing off...
Nandita

Some photographs of my latest home interiors project at Concorde Napa Valley Bangalore


























Friday, July 29, 2016

Maintenance tips to keep your home running like a well oiled machine


Here is something that I had written sometime back that saw the light in Deccan Herald today for the benefit of the many who are yet to be readers of this blog :).

As always the unedited, uncensored and the full version of the article is below for the special ones who follow this blog ... hee. Would welcome thoughts comments and feedback especially on this one as I am sure each person, especially the women, have their own household tips and tricks to keep the home spotless and well groomed.

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Home Interior Maintenance Tips

After spending a bomb on interiors it’s appalling to see things starting to fall apart even before the home celebrates its second birthday. The simple maintenance tips below will help you keep your interiors in top shape and you feeling great about your now not so new but “matured” home J

1. The essential “Yearly” carpenter visit: Like how we need an annual health check up, your woodwork needs one too. The hardware that’s used nowadays (zero crank hinges, hydraulic lift ups, sliding systems etc) tends to gather play with regular use. You would have noticed the space between the shutters either becoming bigger or smaller with use – sometimes the shutters may clash, rub against the adjoining panel, wall or slab or bend/ get damaged if the issue is not arrested in time. The carpenter will tighten things back & it will take him no longer than a few of hours to do it – “quality” time well spent with your home I am sure.

2. The over enthusiastic scrubber: The maid under guidance from the super clean madam sometimes, in her enthusiasm, scrubs away the grouting along with the dirt. Grouting (for those not so enlightened) is the filler that’s put in between tiles/ granite slab or between the slab & the sink to fill the gap. The purpose is to (1) fill the gap aesthetically and (2) to prevent water leakage in wet places. A scrubbed off grouting is the single biggest kitchen killer known to man woman & child – it leads to water seepage from the sink, into the woodwork underneath leading to sure death. Also – the “artificial rain” in your bathroom due to the seeping ceiling is probably because of the over enthusiastic scrubber upstairs.

As you may have guessed already a scrubbed grouting has a simple solution – (1) Check for its absence on the floors (especially bathroom floors), between the kitchen slab & sink and where the slab meets the walls and (2) put the grouting back.
You can in fact do it on your own using white cement for the floor and silicone gel for the Kitchen


3. The “stuffed” drain pipe: Imagine yourself in the Kitchen drain pipe’s shoes….no, throat, and you will feel its bane. A monthly “drainex” down the drain (literally) will help avoid the quarterly choke providing respite to the woodwork around it.


4. Formal - formal pest control: So many of us come under the spell of the humane (to the cockroaches) herbal pest control guy or are busy lining our homes with numerous “lakshman rekhas”. Trust me, nothing (with an underline) works better than a formal pest control treatment. Depending on the size of your place it costs between Rs. 3000 – 10000 annually and is worth every paisa. The black “sand” that the cockroaches leave behind in your cabinets and drawers is their droppings – not only does it look messy, it also find its way into your utensils, cooking etc. etc.……you know where I am heading with this J. Fix it before it fixes you.

5. Vinegar, Lemonade & fizz for your bathroom fixtures: With use, you will find a frosty white film settling on your bathroom fittings. It’s a pretty stubborn piece of flab which, when attacked with regular cleaners, leads to the chrome itself getting damaged. The solution – a tiny yellow lemon. A scrub with lemon juice or with vinegar will melt away the film and bring the shine & smile back. If you are out of lemon then (this one is awesome…) use Coke…yes “Cocoa Cola” – in fact Coke works better than Pepsi for this one. A sure Thumbs up to Coke for winning this Cola war.

That’s it for now...wish you all happy upkeeping.


Nandita Manwani is an Interior Designer and the founder of The Studio, Bengalooru

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Essential Bangalore Home Buyer Handover Checklist - Things to check on before you take possession of your apartment/ villa from the builder - Version II



The regular readers of this blog would have come across, in one of the earlier posts, this list of things to check on before taking full and final possession of one's home from the builder .

I was updating this checklist sometime back for my own use and felt that this is something that all of Bangalore's home buyers can make use of. With that thought I bounced this off with folks at Deccan Herald and lo and behold I see it published on the front page of DH Homes & Interiors today :).


The DH team has done a great job of putting pictures and formatting the list around different sections to make it easier and fun to read.

Do take time to go through. The unedited free text of the article is below
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Villa / Apartment Interior Readiness & Handover Checklist: Things to check on BEFORE you take the formal handover of your dream home from the builder.
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In interactions with home buyers one of the topic that frequently comes up is things that one needs to check before taking handover of the house from the builder

A thorough check before housewarming helps avoid the Tom & Jerry show of tracking and chasing down the shadowy builder later. Even if you succeed in catching Jerry the mess that the rectification creates is enough to drown the “high” of the new home.

What you will find below is a comprehensive but simple checklist of things that you need to tick off before you say that conclusive “I do” to your builder and keep your spirits flying high

Let’s start with the doors, here goes :-

DOORS
  • Check for gaps between door frame and wall. Push the frame to see it is anchored firmly
  • Check for hinge fitting, ensure there are screws in each of the screw ports.
  • Check door catcher/ stopper for proper functioning
  • Check door knobs & locks for smooth closure & functioning.

ALUMINUM/ UPVC DOORS & WINDOWS

  • Check Lack of alignment if any. Ensure that the doors open and close easily.
  • Check rubber beading for hardening, cracks
  • Check if the grills are properly painted
  • Ensure that the door/ window frame has drain holes
  • Check that the shutters lock properly
  • Ensure that the glass is fixed properly and the beading is intact and not coming off.

WALLS & CEILING

  • Check plastering quality, there should be no uneven-ness. Ensue that there are no cracks
  • Check for excessive dampness in the wall (if any)
  • Check false ceiling in bathrooms (if there), ensure that it is properly fixed with no cracks.
  • Check tiling even-ness & grouting. There should be no cement marks on the tiles

FLOORING

  • Check for any cracks or scratches
  • For Bathrooms, Utility and Balcony check the floor tilt to ensure correct water flow into the drain and that there is zero water accumulation anywhere.
  • Ensure that there is no hollowness in the floor. Tap each tile or bounce a ball on each tile to check for the hollow sound. A hollow sound indicates that the tile is not set properly & needs to be replaced.
  • Check for proper grouting of the tiles/ stone slabs especially in bathrooms

ELECTRICALS

  • Check for working of light points/switches (carry a zero watt bulb & tester if possible). Especially check the AC points, builders sometimes leave the AC points dummy (with no wiring)
  • Check each point has cover plates & there are no cracks.
  • Check availability of light, telephone and cable TV points as per plan.
  • Check that all the plates are horizontal and not tilted
  • Plates should be clean and free of paint marks.
  • Check every circuit breaker. Switch off : Should switch off with a slight touch, Switch on: should not switch off while switching on.
  • Check each switch for correct contact and springiness. Click should be clearly audible and not muted when switched on and off.
  • Insist on getting the wiring diagram pasted on the inside of DB door Also check that the wiring of the home matches with the circuit diagram on the box.
  • Check that the smoke sensors work. An agarbatti will help to awaken the sensor :)

SANITARYWARE/ PLUMBING

  • Check the sanitaryware (Wash basins, Sink, WC) for any scratches or cracks
  • Ensure Kitchen Sink is grouted properly and that there is no leakage.
  • Check the chrome fittings - ensure that there is no corrosion. 
  • Check whether the towel holders, faucets, toilet paper holders are provided as per plan.
  • Check pipes for any leakages
  • Ensure there is no blockage in any of the drains - I have personally struggled with flooding of the apartment due to this
  • Ensure that the flush works properly

That should cover it. Hopefully your builder passed with a distinction, if not, then he is back to his job of perfecting your new home.

Nandita Manwani is an Interior Designer and founder of The Studio Bengalooru







Monday, June 20, 2016

2000 FAQ's on Home Interiors and Interior Design Best Practices

Imagine a repository of 2000 Frequently Asked Questions and how to's on interior design and home interiors....how cool would that be. 

Well, surprise surprise, we crossed the 2000 Q&A milestone on THIS blog last week - look through the comments under each of the blog posts. The content in there put together is probably richer than whats there in the blog posts themselves.

So do take time to browse through and if not all then you may find most of your questions on home interiors and design answered in there. In the unlikely event that you don't find an answer to whats pressing on your mind, then, as always, feel free to pop it across.

Keep chiming, signing off

Nandita

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