About Me

Hi! I’m Deb. I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago where I decorate, paint, photograph, design things, and write about design from around the world. Many DIY projects that I share with you here have a global spin.

Deb at Amal Center in Marrakech

I was very happy to be in Marrakech! A design, decorating and shopping paradise! I may have bought a few dozen too many tassels.

At Taj Mahal

And India! If you visit around this blog, you’ll see I have close ties to India.

Before this blog was called the Nomadic Decorator, it was called “India pied-à-terre*” for four years. This blog was originally about the construction and decorating of our “second home” apartment in Chennai, India. I’m interested in cultures and design from all around the world, and even our apartment in India is decorated with things from everywhere. So I changed the blog name to better fit what I share here.

My true dreams — the things that I love to do — are always about travel, design and creating and making things. So I talk about that here at Nomadic Decorator. Design ideas and many DIYs that I share here are inspired by global style. And in our house, my decorating style is to mix up things from around the world. I’m lucky and grateful to have the chance to do decorating DIYs on opposite sides of the planet.


That gold skeleton key there is the actual key to the very special main door of the India pied-à-terre* — how cool a key is that?!

* What is a pied-à-terre?

46 Replies to “About Me”

  1. Hi Deb.

    This is Manny from Sharrell’s blog. Yeah..are you an interior decorator yourself? You blog looks like it. :)

    Yeah.. I went to Vel’s website but it looks like its under construction. Any advice on how I should go about getting my Kitchen done before I contact Vel?

    Thanks for you help


  2. Hi Manny,
    No I’m not an interior decorator, just a hobbyist or very interested person for decades now! Here’s Vel’s site: http://www.velsinteriors.in/ which I can see right now. I really don’t have advice on getting a kitchen done before contacting them, because that is what they do — they can design and install a kitchen. So we are not doing it ourselves, as we cannot from such a distance — we are working with them to do the kitchen and bathrooms.


    1. I just wanted to add for the record here, in case anyone comes across this while researching Vel’s Interiors — we had problems with them and I do not recommend working with them.

  3. Hi there, I just found your blog and I love it. I moved to Chennai after I got married and though we already have our dream house, it really needs a make over, however, we have just started our business and are short of cash. So till we make enough money, I have been collecting bits and pieces of inspiration. Your blog really speaks to me and I’m going to be a regular here.

    Btw, there’s a similar door in my aunt’s house and it’s from an old temple. Is that similar to your?

      1. A blissful escape awaits just around the corner at the nearby spa. As you step into this serene oasis, a wave of tranquility washes over you, leaving behind the stresses of everyday life.

  4. Hello m’am Deb. I note with interest your love for hand block print textiles. We are wholesalers /exporters of 100% cotton hand block printed ladies kurtis (tunics). I’ d love to talk to you. If interested you can email me on lotusfashions23@gmail.com. Thanks.

  5. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. But thank you for your comment!!!! & I couldn’t find an email to send this to, so I thought I’d write on your blog. Very fun and colorful! Let me know when you do this- send me a photo or your blog post!!!

    Cheers, Jamie

    In Response To:
    This is a fantastic idea! I saw it on a link party. I’m absolutely going to do this — never thought of using candlesticks to make the tiers. Thanks for sharing it! By nomadicdecorator.com on MISSONI {for Target} Tiered Serving Trays on 11/13/11

    1. A blissful escape awaits just around the corner at the nearby spa. As you step into this serene oasis, a wave of tranquility washes over you, leaving behind the stresses of everyday life. The gentle hum of soothing music and the subtle aroma of essential oils create a cocoon of relaxation where time seems to stand still.

      Indulge in a pampering session that rejuvenates both body and mind. From invigorating massages to revitalizing facials, the skilled therapists at the nearby spa are dedicated to enhancing your well-being. Feel tension melt away as expert hands work their magic, leaving you refreshed and renewed.

      After your rejuvenating treatment, take a moment to bask in the peaceful ambiance of the spa’s lounge area. Sip on herbal tea or infused water while soaking in the tranquil surroundings. Let go of worries and distractions as you embrace this opportunity for self-care and inner peace at the nearby spa.

  6. Deb-I love your eye for detail. I live in Chicago and am originally from India. It is stupid, but I have been so intrigued as well as felt excited at the same time that I have wished to see you in person. I do understand the space needed between virtual and real and therefore if it is an asinine request please ignore it. I love your page on pinterest and follow it all the time. Regards.

    1. Hi, thank you so much! I have met a few people “in real life” through this blog and am always happy to do so, some in the Chicago area too. Email me at india.pied.a.terre “at” gmail.com and we’ll see what we can do! I do keep myself more private online than many other bloggers, mostly because my purpose for this blog wasn’t to put myself out there publicly online. But it’s always fun to meet people with common interests here!

  7. Hi there, You’re an inspiration to me hearing about the travels. I love your idea about the dirt in the spice jars. Where did you find spice jars like that. I would like to find myself a set just like yours.

  8. HI Deb…..love your blog! We also travel to India (and other parts of Asia) and own an Asian Import Store in Orlando, FL. In fact, my husband will be in India on a buying trip next month. Check out Washburnimports.com. Also, our stores convert to bars at night (The Imperial at Washburn Imports or Imperial Wine Bar), as so many people wanted to rent them out for private functions. In person it’s much better than the website! If you make it to Orlando for any adventure, I’d love to show it to you. I love your style and sense of adventure.

    1. Hi Suzanne, I’m so glad you enjoy the blog! I love Southeast Asia too in addition to India. Now your store is definitely more of a wonderland destination for me than Disney! I do get to Orlando about once a year for conferences – it’s so popular to hold them there. I will definitely remember you and contact you when I’m in Orlando next. The pieces you have are so beautiful and I love the older looking styles. And the opium platform bed – my husband has talking of wanting a platform just like that for our apartment in Chennai! Thank you for contacting me Suzanne, I’ll let you know when I’m in Orlando. Deb

  9. I was thinking about you this weekend. I was in Bahrain and we stopped in the souk to look at a pearl dealer. Across the alley was an amazing indian restaurant hole in the wall with fantastic food where we had a snack. As we were walking out of the souk we passed one of those local art/crafts shops that had afghani wedding headdresses outside, and the guy in our group went in to look at them, which is always bad news for me because, you know… that’s one of those situations where money suddenly flows out of my hands in a way I simply don’t understand…. :) Anyway, while in there I found these GORGEOUS stamp/seal rings from afghanistan. They’re heavy silver with decorative metal or stone work on them, and they have huge stone heads with seals carved into them, apparently family symbols for marking documents. One even looks like a dragon, some are script, or horses. Girl… I cannot control myself. I bought 10 of them plus an amulet/pendant with a seal, for $480. I love mini-collections of unusual things like this (and I haven’t seen them anywhere here before), so couldn’t help myself. Immediately thought of you. :)

    1. Hi Andrea! Oh I applaud you!! I would have done the same thing, including the OMG-what-did-I-just-spend afterwards. Display them in really cool way so you can enjoy them all the time! :) And when you look at them, they’ll remind you of your trip and the food and the souk … That’s why I like traveling and buying things that way instead of from a catalog. It’s more worth it! This is so weird, I just got a delivery from etsy, I ordered a stamp/seal from China! From a woman who traveled there decades ago and said she had to really finagle the shop to sell them to her. It’s like the little red seal you see on antique things shipped out of China. Mine has a sitting Buddha on it. So funny, we probably have the same taste! These things will only appreciate in value, that’s how I justfy it. We were recently told that a carved Indian temple door with kama sutra scenes we got about 17 years ago has gone up in value 5X and will only keep going up because you can’t get those things out of India nowadays. That’s better than some of our retirement investments have performed! So, hey, go for it if it makes you happy! I hope you had lots of fun in Thailand too! Deb

      1. Hi! Glad I checked here, since WordPress on my phone never gives notifications to me anymore… Did you post the Chinese seal? I’d love to see. Ill send you a pic of the rings. I can’t wait to get sealing wax and see how they transfer. One of them rattles, like there’s something the size of a marble inside, and another huge trapezoidal shaped one has heft that makes me suspect its build over a wood frame. Love stuff like this, I could explore these shops endlessly!

  10. Hi there! First, I love your blog, you have done a wonderful job with it! Second, I am heading to India in 2 months and am on a mission to find things to decorate, decorate, and decorate some more! So, just a couple quick things. How have you gotten fabric/rugs/pottery back to the states? Second, how much would you pay for rugs and fabric? I know that is vague but maybe just give me a basic idea. Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Hi Lauren, I’m excited for you for your trip! So far we’ve purchased things that will fit in our suitcases – bronze pieces, fabrics. My husband many years ago purchased silk rugs and had them shipped. If the shop is bigger and reputable it’s usually okay to have them ship. Take a picture of the item first before you leave while staff are there, so they know you have a photo of what you purchased. We had some bigger things shipped from Kochi to Chennai for our apartment in Chennai, and they arrived fine! They got delayed because of some paperwork issues when crossing the border between states from Kerala to Tamil Nadu. For prices, it depends on quality and where you’re buying of course. I have purchased a really fine hand-sewn silk pillow cover for only US$5 from Nalli in Chennai, and a tussar silk block printed sari that will become curtains from a Silk Mark Expo in Chennai for about US$50. I got poly saris with gorgeous patterns woven in them for $15 from Nalli in Chennai, for home decor. Six yards of unique fabric for $15, hard to beat that! Just for comparison, my sister-in-law thought that US$5 for the silk pillow cover was so ridiculously expensive, that I was uncomfortable buying it in front of her, despite explaining how we’re on such a different economic scale. So I went back the next day and bought it! I’m going for 2.5 weeks next week and can report back on prices including rugs. My husband bought rugs 20 years ago for GREAT prices – silk handmade rugs! But surely they cost a lot more now. Also the big stores near the pricier hotels will be more expensive than doing some footwork to uncover stores where westerners don’t shop as much. Good Earth has stores throughout India and I’ve bought really nice pillow covers there, but for about US$30-40. Not a bargain at places like that, but high quality and beautiful. We’re also wary of any store that a rickshaw driver wants to take us to, usually they get kickback which is factored in the price. I’ll collect more info about pricing in the next few weeks! Actually would make a good post here, about quality vs pricing, and where to find things for different price points! Deb

  11. Hi Deb,
    We haven’t talked since I moved to Chicago! Hoping we can get together before I move back to California. (I could drive north and meet you somewhere convenient for you…) and exchange info on indialove, working it on the internet, and other things of mutual interest. The Tiger’s Armoire is going to stay online for now, but…I still have hope for bricks and mortar.
    When are you next in Chennai?


    1. Hi Carol, absolutely, let’s get together! We just found out our niece is engaged to be married in September, so I’m going to India in Sept. Probably will stay in Chennai to make some progress on our apartment. We just need one working bathroom, and hook up the gas and water for the kitchen, and it’s habitable. Have you been to Devon Avenue yet? Lots of Indian restaurants and shops there – might be a good place to meet? I just connected with you on Facebook, let’s set a time! Deb

  12. hi Nomadic Decorator. I found a fabulous set of black/white morroccan-style dinnerware, and my 86 year old mother would love them!! I tracked them back to your site. Do you know what I’m referring to? If so, how can I purchase a set? Please let me know. Thanks so much.

  13. Hello Deb. I just wanted to tell you I have had a quick look at your blog. I don’t follow blogs I find I don’t have the time I normally just look at Instagram nice and quick. Well I have had to make an acceptation. The pictures I have just seen in your post about olive are beautiful . I am really looking forward to more
    The Preppy Boho

  14. Hi Deb,

    I have just found you and I love your blog. More, I am loving the metal printing blocks you show here..love them….is there somewhere I can buy these lovelies? I also love that door, WOW…beautiful.

    Many thanks, keep the love,

    Ian & Zizi.

    1. Hi Ian, thank you so much! I am not sure what metal printing blocks you are referring to — I don’t see any on this page. But, I have bought some metal printing blocks at Anokhi stores in India. If you Google “inlaid brass printing blocks” you might find what you’re looking for. You can also search for them on Etsy and eBay – they’re often for sale on those sites. I’m always tempted to buy so many of them! I hope this helps! Deb

  15. Namaste

    I am very much interested in Jewelery. I saw on the google some staff….what are you having?
    May you send as well abroad? To Switzerland_?

    I am looking forward to hear from you.

    Thanks a lot

  16. Your collection are too good I am to fascinated by the wardrobe large handle.where can I get one and the size.please let me have yr email. And are u from Bengal andfrom St Vincent’s School Asansol

  17. LOVE the designs! Was looking for some stencils when I came across these! I may have some pieces I want to stencil later and would like to ask your advice when I get ready. Would that be ok?

    1. Hi Rebecca, I love to talk stenciling and would be happy to help! I also guest blog at paintandpattern.com – check it out, lots of good tips there about stenciling too! Deb

  18. Hello bloggers…
    I am in Marrakech and am selling my entire collection of antique and unique doors of Morocco…if anyone is here in Marrakech, sourcing old doors and grill work windows, please contact me. 212-677-573143

  19. Dear Deb
    You probably get a lot of emails like mine but here goes. I have always been very creative and created various design projects by figuring them out. With no formal training I can design and sew complicated projects. I have a background in Anthropology and was a registered nurse for some time, all the while writing which is my passion and gift. Also I have always had a passion for India, her colours smells, and delightful people. I retired from nursing 10 yaers ago and took to writing, for personal enjoyment. Then as life would have it a professional freelance writer read some of my work and not only him but many others convinced me I could make a living doing it. Also I have 5 works in progress that could be books. Iam 58 and in great health and feel I should understand the business side of writing I can only find in writing schools. If I do that my first book should be ready by next fall. I would move to India tomorrow if I could afford it. I thought I could help with my nursing skills, or become an assistant to someone like yourself . I would love to work in design even if it’s just painting sewing or anything that could be useful. I loved your website, but mainly your description of a Nomadic decorator and especially when you said “if you can envision it, and find away to make it happen. Even if there is nothing you can offer me , your knowledge of India and the life there would be like gold or a colourful block printed fabric, and all the enchanting details that make India so captivating and desirable. Any bit of advice would be worthy of the above. I live in Toronto Canada and am always available by email or phone 647-860-6093,
    Thankyou so much for your time
    Colleen Powell

  20. Hi Deb,

    I stumbled upon your blog and thought of connecting. Having started Amouve, the first-of-its-kind certified organic bedding brand in India (www.amouve.com) I’d love to connect with you to see how we can work together. I did drop you a mail. If it interests you, please do let me know.


  21. Salam,
    This is a treasure-trove of ideas! FB posted an expanded photo of your top DIY stencil photo of the Moroccan enclave (blue wall, shutters, blue stenciled pillows)…and a curtain/drape. It’s just stunning. Where did you find it? Also, I spend a lot of time in Morocco and want to incorporate the colours and homestyles in my new place…suggestions? I can buy fabric etc the next time I’m there.

    1. Hi Julie,
      I painted the pillows and cushion myself to make the Moroccan nook. I used stencils to make the patterns. Here are links to posts about it: http://nomadicdecorator.com/2015/07/13/magical-moroccan-closet-nook-a-diy/ and http://nomadicdecorator.com/2014/03/24/diy-indian-inspired-reading-nook/ Lucky you to be able to spend a lot of time in Morocco! I will go back there some day! I’d say pillows are a great way to incorporate the colors in any room. And also, rugs. Both should be easy to bring back on a plane if you don’t want to ship. Paint also goes a long way. Paint walls and even wood furniture in the colors that you see in Morocco. I hope this helps! Deb

  22. Hi Debi… I just found your incredible blog! I raced to sign up…I was instantly, overwhelmingly inspired! I would consider myself somewhere in between an advanced beginner to an intermediate in the arts of home decor, paper crafting, DIY and crafting. I have been a seamstress for years, specializing in home decor sewing; drapes, bed linens, pillows and nursery decor. I also sew formal sorority dresses for several sororities at the local university. For some reason I never had the confidence to try my hand at anything else, I assumed I would fail miserably. Recently, I’ve developed an interest in making decorative fiber tassels, I’ve found it a bit challenging. I’ve looked at your tutorials and I think I CAN make these…with your help. One would think with all of the huge chunky traditional drapery tassels I’ve made, other tassel making would be easy. Not so, the construction of drapery tassels is a completely different science, not calling for too much creativity. I prattle on; I’m so excited to have found a kindred spirit in you, I couldn’t let it go without telling you. Your artistic eye and wild creativity is magnetic! Have a peaceful evening.

    1. Hi Judy! Thank you so much for reaching out! I am so happy that it inspired you — that’s the sole reason that I blog and share here, to hopefully inspire others to discover what they love to create and do. So it’s wonderful to hear when people are inspired! I know what you mean about worrying about making something new. I have made some tassels that didn’t turn out well — they’re more like pom poms, big “Moroccan blanket pom poms” that are like huge fluffy tassels on steroids. But I didn’t post a tutorial because once I was done, I didn’t think they were that great. And I’m not even sure what to do to change them and make them great! Ah well. I donated them to Goodwill and hope someone will like them. At least I didn’t waste time making them. I was watching movies on Netflix that I would have watched anyway. I can suggest, just try, and if you like what you do, you like it and that’s great! If you feel like you failed, well, no one knows and it’s a learning process so you can try a different process next time. I hope that I can continue to inspire you with a mix of our common interests – sewing, home decor, paper, DIYs! Deb

  23. Hello Deb,
    I saw your Pinterest group Patterns of India and landed on your blog. You have a keen eye for designs, patterns and palettes, so obviously your posts are very impressive. I run a Lifestyle, culture and travel blog, and was wondering if I could contribute to your Pinterest group. If you think that is feasible, please let me know the group rules. Either way, keep up the great work.

    1. Hi Somali, thank you so much! Please send an email to me at nomadic.decorator@gmail.com with the email address that you use for your Pinterest account. Then I can add you to the Patterns of India group with your email address.
      I apologize if you already sent a request to my email and I missed it. I’m currently getting an avalanche of requests to join the Patterns of India group, from many profiles that show no interest in India and they all have the same strange profile description (they are all “zombie advocates”)! It is obviously spam and there are so many of those requests, it’s overwhelming and I started ignoring recent requests to join the group. That’s just stuff we face behind-scenes that people don’t see! So I am sorry if I missed you. I would love to have your participation in the group and will watch for you! Deb

  24. Hi Deb, Had a read though your Silk stencilling project and it’s really impressive. I am planning for such a project and hence forth I have some questions to you.

    I know you did using a brush. Is there a reason why you didn’t use a paint roller ( High Dense Foam Roller)

    Also, I recall you said about slippery silk surface. Why didn’t you use a adhesive film. I have done a couple of stencilling work on a a cotton cloth and I am pretty happy about it and I want to transform it to a silk fabric and hence any lessons learn from you is highly appreciable.

    I had one failure using a PP Poly Polypropylene sheet as there was excessive bleeding and hence I want to use only a 10mil Mylar sheet.


    1. Hi Vinodh – I do not use paint rollers for stencils because it is too easy to load too much paint on a roller. And it’s too easy to push too hard over a stencil with a roller. When there’s too much paint, paint will bleed under the stencil and make messy blurry edges on the design. Some people can use foam rollers and get good results. I personally get better results with a brush. But everyone paints different and a foam roller might work okay for you. I’d suggest to do a sample first on extra fabric — try both a roller and a brush and see which works best for you.

      I think bleeding is caused by having too much paint on a brush or roller, more than the thickness of the stencil sheet. The brush or roller should have only a very small amount of paint, like they should be almost dry, for best results with stenciling. I find it’s easier to control the amount of paint when you use a brush than a roller. Although it takes longer to stencil with a brush than a roller.

      I did not use adhesive because I didn’t want to risk the adhesive damaging the silk fabric. I think all I had available when I did that project was a strong adhesive, and I didn’t want to run to the store for a weaker adhesive! :) Again, you can test adhesive on scrap silk fabric and see what happens.

      I hope this helps! All the best with your project! Deb

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