Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"The Google of Home Designing" - First ever Masterclass on Best Practices in Residential Interior Design in Bangalore

Finally did it!!! yoo hooo. This Nov the 17th our objective was to go beyond the written word on this blog and do an actual show and tell of Residential Interior Design Best Practices in front of home makers at our experience centre. We spent a month collecting & preparing samples of material, paintwork, finishes etc. On top of that the experience center is wired to customize lighting based on different moods, moments and times of the day to showcase the importance of lighting in interior design – we put all this together and more as part of the Masterclass to some raving reviews from the audience … here is one

Your session provided important insights into various aspects of interior designing like the right material to choose for woodwork, different types of lighting, painting process, common mistakes, key design elements to take care for "second childhood friendliness", wardrobe channels and so on. You are indeed the Google of Home Designing”.

The Google of home design…hee – I really liked that one!!

Ok...what we DID NOT do during those 2 hours, which actually extended to 3, was that we forgot to take any pictures L. What I can share though are some pictures of the samples and props that we used at the Masterclass … here they are.

Different types of wood & how to choose the best one based on application.

Different finishes for woodwork

How to choose colour for your walls from the 1000's available

Wood finishing options

Choosing the right countertop based on application and use

Edge management of wooden panels

Tools & techniques to make your home second childhood friendly

Painting best practices - How many base coats and finish coats are needed to get the right finish

We plan to continue the face to face conversation with the next masterclass being planned some time this January – the dates and the registration link will be out soon. This time the plan is to focus on Home Lighting & Automation and we are looking to get some of the most innovative folks in the field of home automation to physically demonstrate live in front of the audience what automation is capable of … so watch this space.

Signing off


Monday, October 29, 2018

Taking blogging to the next level - My Interior Design Masterclass

Since now I had a big enough place at the new experience center I thought why not!!! SO...we are taking this blog to the next level by ACTUALLY inviting home makers to the experience center and doing a show and tell of residential design principles, lighting, furniture placement and all the things that we have been talking about during the last 8 years on this blog. So if you have anyone who may be interested then do encourage them to attend. The registration link is here or you could just drop me an email.

There is a small registration fee just to keep the free boarders away and ensure serious attendees, the fee will cover regular chai pani type expenses and the objective is NOT to make money from the masterclass. looking at the response I might make future workshops free.

This is another first that I am trying out in my interior designer journey - a wee bit nervous too ... so wish me luck



Monday, October 15, 2018

Interior Design Project at Sarjapur Road Bangalore - Some Pictures

Here are some pics from a recent project at Sarjapur Road Bangalore. Hope you like them.


Bar Unit

Crockery Unit & Partition

Dining Room

Entertainment Room with Low Seating and Rope Partition


Daughter's room in Princess Theme

Living Room - Contemporary Vibrant Theme



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Some Pictures of our Interior Design Experience Center

We recently started hosting clients at our Interior Design Experience Center and it is a whole new feeling to do an actual show and tell the Interior Design best practices that I have been speaking of all these years. Below are some initial pictures of the Experience Center Interiors.

Decor at the Interior Design Experience Center

Example of Lighting at the Interior Design Experience Center

Wall Decor & Lighting at the Center

Wall Panel Lighting

Murals and Staircase Beautification at the Interior Design Experience Center

I look forward to seeing you at the center. Meetings are by appointment, feel free to call and schedule a visit


Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Home Makers Guide to Painting your Home in Bangalore - An Interior Designers Perspective

This has been a topic that a number of readers of this blog have been requesting for since quite a while. Was finally able to pen this down over the weekend.

Painting of the home has been a major area of grouse and confusion for home owners. Grouse because vendors have started charging per sqft. rates and no longer work on a labour only basis. Due to this overall costing has sky rocketed. And Confusion because there is too much choice in paints and wall finishes available in the market – much more than what an average human mind can evaluate & fathom. The increasing cost of paint has made options of good quality wallpapers viable adding further to the confusion on whether to use paint or wallpaper.

Net-net customers are struggling to balance their budgets with the coats of Putty, Primer, Paint and Paper that it will take to give their homes that desired look.

To demystify this home painting problem lets first start with the basics i.e. what is the painting process. We will then get into best practices, rates, options and so on.

 The Painting Process:

The Painting process  can be summarized as a step of P’s …and now this is starting to sound like a Poem by Philip Kotler (Google him if you don’t know who he is :)). Let me explain – Painting has 2 main steps – Wall Preparation and the Paint Coat. The Wall preparation itself includes alternate coats of Primer and Patti/ PoP. The coat of Patti is to even out the damaged surface and to smoothen the wall while it’s the Primer that holds everything together. Without the Primer the whole surface will flake and fall apart.

The Painter would start with sanding the wall. Once its smoothened, the first coat of Primer is applied. Primer itself is of 2 kinds – Water based and Oil Based…more on that later. Once the Primer dries out, usually in about 12 to 14 hours , the damaged portions of the wall are repaired with the putty. In case the wall is uneven then a coat of PoP (Plaster of Paris) is applied followed by sanding. Once that dries its back to another coat of Primer, another 12 hours of drying time and another round of sanding. NOW the wall is ready to be painted. Usually two coats of Primer separated by one coat of Putty/ PoP is enough. Painters will tell you that the wall needs 2 coats of each but that is usually and overkill with no effect on the final output and can be avoided to save cost.

Remember we spoke about Water based and Oil Based Primers – these exist to add to the overall confusion. Most top coats (Paints) are fine with a Water Based Primer, however some top coats – such as enamel or Textures, do better on an Oil based primer. In addition, say if you are applying wall paint on a plywood, something that you should do only under expert supervision, then an Oil based primer is recommended. Net – net, when you choose the paint , check with the paint vendor on the right Primer to be used as that directly impacts the longevity of the paint.

It just started raining outside and fortunately that reminded me of something that I missed. If your wall or any portion of it is damp or algae/ fungus infested then it will need waterproofing or algae treatment before you venture into the Primer Putty & Painting bit. While Waterproofing is a bit complicated and requires an expert ‘s attention, algae/ fungus treatment just needs the chemical to be mixed with the Primer and applied to the wall. If you have any such issues on your walls then be sure to bring it to the attention of the Painter so that he treats the wall appropriately.

Now that the wall is treated and ready it’s time to Paint. Any paint that you buy will need to be diluted (usually with water) in the ratio given in the tech specs of the paint. Once the paint is diluted the process is simple and something that all of us learnt in Kindergarten. Dip the Brush (or roller) in paint and apply. Usually roller finishes are better and more even compared to a brush hence it is recommended to use rollers. The painter would evenly cover the wall with paint with a W shaped motion (thank God it’s not a P again). There are a number of videos available on You Tube on the W motion and you can refer the same. Each coat of paint needs min 8 hours of drying time, however in Bangalore weather its best to wait 12 to 14 hours before applying the second coat.

Usually 2 coats of paint are enough to mask the Primer completely and give the desired colour, however if you want it darker a third coat can be applied. Do however be careful because the Paint colour usually deepens with time, you are therefore better off with a shade too light rather than a shade too dark. If even after 2 – 3 days it seems too light for your taste only then consider a third coat.

Home Painting Rates & Options:

Home Painting rates in Bangalore vary. The cheapest way to get it done is to find someone who charges for labour and you provide the material, howwwever - there good reason why that wwww is longer than what good English demands - it is impossible to find someone who would do that….I mean pick up the contract without the material. Even we designers nowadays are forced to give out our paint contracts on a “with material” basis due to this issue.
Typical rates would start at ₹ 14 psft for Tractor Emulsion (or Equivalent) all the way to ₹ 30 PSFT for Royale or equivalent. If one is on a budget then Premium emulsion at around ₹ 20 PSFT is something that you will settle at.
Between ₹ 30 to 60 PSFT the option of good quality wall paper also opens up. Wallpapers are strong contenders for theme and highlight walls since specialty textures in paint cost approximately the same. Additionally, wall papers offer more variety, ease of use and time savings. The only drawback of wall papers is that they cannot be applied on a wall that has even a bit of dampness, hence exterior facing walls that face the direct brunt of rain are a no – no.

That completes it I guess. There are other best practices around masking the skirtings and door window frames before painting, how best to paint on the wall edges by alternating between a brush and a roller etc. You should be able to Google those and find out. Do also refer to the websites of Asian Paints, Nerolac and Berger where loads of details, best practices, technical specs, application processes for EACH of their range of paints etc. is available.

As always would welcome your comments, questions and feedback

Signing Off


PS: Here's me now Pushing the Publish button....uggghhhhhh!!!

Friday, March 30, 2018

The 5 Elements of Interior Design and what separates good design from the not so good

A lot of people wonder what makes a well-designed home different from, well, one that is not. I have dwelled over this question for many years and have finally concluded that there are 5 key design elements that each home needs. Each of these 5 need to be blended together in balance to get that warm & nice feel that some homes have. While making their home, most home owners usually consider just 3 or 4 of these elements and most often than not find it difficult to bring these together in unison.

To dwell further into these elements let’s give you a glimpse into what goes on in a designer’s brain as she does a recon of your home to create a visual in her mind that finally leads to the design blueprint and the final output.

So …broadcasting live, right from the studio in the designer’s mind…10…9…8…7… goes.

What do I see…I see space, empty space, it needs furniture. What theme should the furniture be in, how do I place it to avoid clutter. There is a French window…cannot block that with furniture. The light from the window is causing a shadow…light…how did I miss that.
Light, what’s the direction of the house, is there enough natural light. The living room is well lit…can use dark colours for wall finishes & furnishing. But not in the master bedroom…it hardly has natural light, will use lighter shades in the bedroom. The living room will need a false ceiling for the spotlights.
Big empty walls…maybe a painting, ledge, recess or wallpaper on them…will need to highlight … more light points on the wall for accent lighting.
Kids room, 10 years old, hmmm. Bunk bed here? Maybe not, the kid will grow over it in another year. Hobbies? Ok, cricket theme then. Avoid clutter - Place for school bag, books…space for lots of books
Parents room, what age? 70 plus – needs to be elder friendly

I could go on, but I guess this gives you a broad picture. If you were observing, each of the five essential elements needed to design a home are mentioned in the commentary above. Now that you are bleeding with desire to know what the 5 elements are … here goes

The Five elements of good interior design

1.     Furniture
2.     Lighting
3.     Painting/ Wall Finishes/ Floor Finishes
4.     Furnishing
5.     Décor

But wait…. there is an elusive sixth element. An element that is most often overlooked in the hunt for a good carpenter or readymade furniture. And that ladies & gentlemen is - you. Yes …YOU - your lifestyle, age, habits, hobbies, aspirations and needs. A good designer would weave each of the 5 elements around YOU to create a space that you are most comfortable living in and proud of.

Each of the 5 elements is an independent field of study within Design. Take a simple example of furniture – it includes the shape, material, colour, theme, placement & size. In relation to YOU and your lifestyle one would add height, comfort, kid & elder friendliness and more.

The field of Lighting on the other hand includes how much total lighting is needed for the space to ensure that the home is comfortable (ambient lighting), places that will need more lighting or dimmable lights such as next to a study table or a lamp at the end of a sofa set (Task Lighting) and spaces that need to be emphasized with focus lights – such as wall paintings, décor items etc. (Accent lighting)

Similarly painting/ wall & floor textures – just entering some of the fancy tile showrooms in Bangalore can send your head spinning with the volume and variety of material and finishes on display. Natural lighting in the home as well as the overall theme planned for the home play a key role in choosing the right wall colours and textures.

Most folks plan the furnishing and the décor right at the end by when budgets have overshot the initial estimates and any expense seems heavy on the pocket. I missed mentioning this earlier but balancing out the budgets to cover the last mile details with zero budget creep is another trick that designers learn early and something that DIY home designers need to imbibe.
Back to the furnishing and décor. As the designer is creating the interior blueprint in her mind, the furniture is resizing itself, the walls creating the recesses and the spotlights aligning themselves to accommodate the décor items. What I want to convey is that décor is a forethought and not an afterthought. I remember this episode where we re-arranged just 2 pieces of furniture and added some décor to a living room and the output turned from ordinary to stunning.

So, in summary, the next time you are out doing up your new home remember to look beyond the furniture on how you want to play the 5 elements around your life and lifestyle for that complete home

Signing off

PS: An edited version of this article appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 30, 2018. You can read it here