Friday, December 5, 2014

Selecting the "right" sofa for your home. My article in Deccan Herald today

The subject article was featured in Deccan Herald today. You can also read it at http://www.deccanherald.com/content/445623/selecting-sofas-safe-way.html. The free text is also pasted below

Thank You Deccan Herald team for helping spread the light :)

Deccan Herald Dec 05, 2014

Full leather, Half leather, Fabric, Cane, Wooden, Reclining, Sectional, Tuxedo, Chesterfield, Camelback ….whoa, the choice is almost limitless & often one is lost selecting which sofa will be “right” for one’s home. Since buying a sofa is a fair amount of investment & stays with you for almost a lifetime it’s important to do a bit of homework before choosing this companion for your home. The next few paragraphs will attempt to provide simple tips on things to consider when deciding the “right” sofa for you.

Thematic Alignment:

 You would have noticed some homes have a nice warm feel to them and surprisingly,  the reason for it is something that you really cannot pin point – such homes have what I call a “thematic alignment” i.e. they have each piece of furniture, lighting, colours, textures etc. that aligns with an overall theme of the home. The theme can be anything from Contemporary to Rustic to Victorian, the key is blending everything to this central thread; sounds something similar to notes in a musical symphony doesn’t it?
When selecting a sofa set, thematic alignment is perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind. The sofa should blend with the overall theme of the house and not clash with it. For example a Sectional (L Shaped) sofa may look great in a contemporary styled home but will be an eyesore in a traditional themed one. Similarly cane or wood sofas go well with traditional Indian as well as a laid back modern theme while a Camelback or Chesterfield with a Divan will be great in a Victorian or a traditional English theme. Thematic alignment just doesn’t end with the design of the sofa but extends to the choice of fabric and colours as well. While silken fabrics go well in a traditional theme, you may be better off with cotton in a classic or woody theme and with leather in a modern theme. Similarly if your living room is in a contemporary western theme with white & light grey walls you may go with a sofa in a darker colour just to add some balance.

Size

As the bean counters will tell you, always measure. The wrong size of the sofa is the most common mistake that folks make during selection. This makes the living room look either too crammed or too empty.  A person sitting on a sofa seat occupies approx. 7.5 square feet of real estate – 2.5 feet in width and 3 feet in depth. Add to this a center table and sides. As a rule of thumb the square/ rectangular area where your sofa set is kept should have minimum 20 % open space. Additionally when going for recliners do measure the total stretch size of the recliner to ensure that you have enough space both in the front and behind the recliner
If on the other hand you have a very large living area, be sure not to overwhelm the space with the main sofa set. A good idea is to use a combination of seats by throwing in some puffys, a divan, high back chairs or a couple of low seats along with the main sofa set.

Traffic and usage

Is the sofa meant to house the teenager who loves to spend oodles of reading hours on this couch, your husband watching the match along with his plate of food or just the occasional twice a week guest that comes in – that’s what I mean by traffic and each kind will need a different perch (missed mentioning the 9 year old looking for a trampoline).
The traffic will primarily determine the type of fabric that you need on the sofa and trust me, the choice is not easy. While cotton may be the most comfortable, it wrinkles & fades quickly, leather looks great and can withstand a lot of abuse but is expensive and difficult to repair, artificial leather or vinyl will resist stains & spillage but starts to peel off in a few years. There are fabrics that attract dust and those which resist moths and no matter what you choose it will have both its advantages and its drawbacks.
Cognizance of “The Traffic” that your sofa needs to host will help you determine what matters most to you and to zero in on a fabric which delivers on that while being light on the negatives

Build and durability

Last… but not the least, it’s about the basics. If you visit the local sofa maker and see the wood that’s used for most sofas you will have second thoughts on whether your money is well spent. Though it’s next to impossible to make out what has gone into making the sofa once it is finished there are some basic checks to confirm if all is well inside.
Sofas that use good quality wood should “feel” heavy, so when you are at the furniture shop, try & lift one up by its corner if it feels light then this is not the right one for you. Also when you lift the corner by some distance, the adjacent corners should also lift up – if that is not happening that means that the wooden frame has too much play and is not constructed well or with the right wood.
If you are looking at leather sofas – look for the quality of the stitch and any open knots. In half leather sofas (leather on top & art leather on the bottom) check the quality of the art leather by looking at the seam where the art leather meets the real leather – the art leather should not be peeling in places around the stitch. And if you are looking for sofas in Fabric – check whether the fabric is thick enough & can be removed for dry cleaning. If you are the lazy recliner type, ensure that you check and recheck that the reclining mechanism works smoothly and effectively before cutting the cheque.
And just to ensure that you are covered even when you have not covered checking on everything or for any defects that pop up despite all the checks  - look for the fine print on the guarantee card. Ideally any defects, if found, should be reparable on – site rather than you having to ship the sofa all the way back to the store.

I guess this is as comprehensive as it gets, happy shopping and wish you a lifetime of comfortable hours on your new pew.

As always, will welcome your inputs & comments

Signing off
NM

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Villa / Apartment Interior Readiness & Handover Checklist: Things to check on BEFORE you take the formal handover of your dream Apartment or Villa from the builder.

Lately in a number of my projects I found lacunae left behind by the builder and the customers running around struggling to get these rectified by the builder.

To help avoid this run around I have tried to compile a checklist of things below that folks should run through with their builder and rectify BEFORE they take formal possession of the residence.

If you find anything missing then please feel free to leave a comment and I will add for the benefit of all our readers

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's it from me for now. Happy CHECKING :)

NM

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: On Nov 15th we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website. The Q&A interface on this blog was unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting - you would have noticed being unable to  scroll down to a question once the number of questions below a certain post increases beyond a certain limit. 
Hence if you have a question then please post it at  https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/ 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The "missing" REAL value of an interior designer.

Sometime back on this blog I wrote on a couple of topics, one around whether you really need an interior designer and another on the "design" element in interior design. Interestingly, last night I came across an old TED talk that takes the above expression even further

The talk (it's more of a conversation) is between Saul Wurman (the co-founder of TED) and Frank Gehry one of the legendary architects of our time. The crux of  Gehry's talk is around the fact that most customers miss out on the real value of an architect.
I feel this is something that applies equally to interior design, when the customers expect just "carpentry" while the game is really about personal expression.

Gehry says & I quote

"Most architects when they present their work -- most of the people we know, you get up and you talk about your work, and it's almost like you tell everybody you're a good guy by saying, "Look, I'm worried about the context, I'm worried about the city, I'm worried about my client, I worry about budget, that I'm on time." Blah, blah, blah and all that stuff. And it's like cleansing yourself so that you can ... by saying all that, it means your work is good somehow. And I think everybody -- I mean that should be a matter of fact, like gravity. You're not going to defy gravity. If you don't meet the budgets, you're not going to get much work.

But my point is that ... and I call it the "then what?" OK, you solved all the problems, you did all the stuff, you made nice, you loved your clients, you loved the city, you're a good guy, you're a good person ... and then what? What do you bring to it? And I think that's what I've always been interested in, is that -- which is a personal kind of expression. And I think that's the issue, you know; it's the "then what" that most clients who hire architects -- most clients aren't hiring architects for that. They're hiring them to get it done, get it on budget, be polite, and they're missing out on the real value of an architect."


That's it from me for now
Signing off

Nandita




Friday, May 2, 2014

A few photographs of the Eco Package (Budget Interiors) executed recently at Purva Highlands Kanakapura Road, Bangalore

I wrote about the Eco range of interiors for 2/ 3 BHK apartments sometime back. Here are a few photographs of the Ecopackage executed recently.

PS: The photo credit for these go to "yours truly" and to Samsung Cameraphones :)

Master Bedroom Wardrobe & Dresser - Purva Highlands 
Master Bedroom Wardrobe - Purva Highlands

Wardrobe Interior

Guest Bedroom Wardrobe - Purva Highlands

Wardrobe Interior

Purva Highlands Kitchen - Shutters are in Hi Gloss

Purva Highlands Kitchen - Another angle

Note that the Kitchen, while it looks modular is actually not a "modular" kitchen. It has a hand made carcass and factory made shutters. While this does not give 100% "modularity" it does help bring down the overall cost.

To know what a modular kitchen really  is please read http://www.homedesignbangalore.com/2010/06/so-what-is-modular-kitchen-and-some.html

Signing off
NM

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: On Nov 15th we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website. The Q&A interface on this blog was unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting - you would have noticed being unable to  scroll down to a question once the number of questions below a certain post increases beyond a certain limit. 
Hence if you have a question then please post it at  https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/ 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Master Checklist for Home Interiors: All the things that are part of a complete Home Interior project

I have often found that a number of things get left out when folks plan interiors for their home. This either leads to a budget creep or a last minute scramble to get everything in order before moving in and some of it gets left out altogether.

I have hence tried to compile below a master list of things that one needs to consider during the interior design phase. Am sure I would have missed out a few myself :), so if you do find anything off, do let me know and I will add so that everyone can benefit from it.

Here goes

Kitchen
Cabinets
Tall Unit/Pantry
Specialty Corner Units (Magic corner, Peanut Corner…)
Tiling
Countertop
Appliances (Hob/Chimney/Dishwasher/Microwave/ Refrigerator)
Size of the appliances - for space planning
Breakfast Counter/ Island
Tall Chairs/ Bar Stools
Light based enhancements (LED's etc)
Sink

Utility
Counter & Sink
Plumbing work
Storage Units

Living/ Dining Room & Entrance
Foyer Unit
Crockery Unit
TV Unit
Television/ Size of the TV for space planning
Pooja Unit
False Roofing
Wall Paneling
Sofa Set & Center/ Side Tables
Dining Table & Chairs
Bar Unit & Stools

Bedrooms/ Entertainment Room/ Study
Wardrobe (Sliding or Hinged)
TV Unit
Television/ Size of the TV for space planning
Dressing Space
False Roofing
Cot with Side & Head Units
Study Unit
Book Shelf
Sofa Cum Bed/ Couch
Children’s bed/ Bunker Bed

Bathrooms
Storage units
Mirror
Shower Partition
Bath Tub/ Jacuzzi
Other Sanitary-ware (Towel Hangers, Hooks, Faucets etc.)
Tiling & Flooring
Side Rails (for the elderly)
Electrical Work
Geysers & Fans
Air Conditioners
Light fittings
Changing location of the electrical points
Painting
Wall Painting
Textures
Wall Paper
Artwork/ Handpaint/ Themes
Wall Cladding
Other Miscellaneous
Staircase beautification
Storage/Play Area under the stairs
Specialty Pillars
Flooring - Wooden/ Granite/ Tiles
Landscaping
Grill Work
Furnishing - Curtains, Upholstery, Display Pieces, Wall Hangings
Curtain Rods
Air Conditioning/ Ducting
Sound Proofing
Security Systems

Whew...that's all I can think off for now. Shall look forward to your add-ons

Signing off

NM



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FAQ's on Home Interiors in the Comments Section: We crossed 1000 comments this week

Just to let you know - we crossed the 1000 mark in comments & questions under the 25 posts on this blog. These FAQ's on home interiors are probably as rich in information and inputs as the posts themselves and the best part is that these have come up through "live" issues & questions raised by "you".

So if you haven't done so already then I would strongly suggest you browse through the comments section of the posts.

Happy Reading

NM

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My New Logo - The Studio: Homes, Kitchens & Wardrobes

Finally after long deliberations & doodling with friends and family the logo for The Studio is out...yooohoo :)


Based on customer needs, the brand will have 3 ranges of interior options under it

1. The Eco Range - Pocket friendly home interior packages for 2 & 3 BHK apartments
2. The Classic Range - Complete home interiors in good quality material and workmanship
3. The Studio Range - Hi End stuff - Complete Interiors or individual Wardrobes/ Kitchens

As always would welcome your feedback and inputs

Signing off
Nandita