Doin’ the DIYs and Painting in India this Summer

We’re booking our next long flight from O’Hare to Abu Dhabi to Chennai! It’s gonna be a scorcher of a trip. We’re visiting India in late July/early August — the hot summer months I never before dared attempt in India. We’ll be cranking the A/C, as we won’t be lounging with books and cabana boys to bring cold drinks for us. I can’t do vacations like that. I gotta keep moving. I’ll be painting and fixing things up in our apartment in Chennai, the India pied-à-terre.

I’ll be adding color, like this photo of vibrant Indian color shared on Facebook to the Roots of India group:

Painting in India Roots of India Facebook

So now the prep begins! The paint color samples. The piling of stuff to pack in suitcases. The weird things we take on vacation! Drills, sandpaper, wood glue, sewing machine, nails and screws, lighting hardware, paint brushes and paints.

Here’s my local paint dealer in Chennai. They see me coming and know I’ll order 5 samples of similar colors that they argue are the same, but they are definitely not the same!

Asian Paints T Nagar Chennai

They’re just a 10-15 minute walk away from the India pied-à-terre. Don’t let the looks of the street fool you. There is good stuff here and you can do a lot of wallet damage on the way to get paint! On the way to and from Asian Paints, I can cover my arms with 24K gold bangles in another shop, and buy a vacuum cleaner and Bluetooth BOSE speakers in another. I really want the BOSE to crank up the music in the apartment. If I kept walking past Asian Paints, I would reach the silk saree shop for celebrities.

First thing I’ll do is finish the “headboard wall” in the master bedroom — a stencil feature that will serve as a floor-to-ceiling headboard. Here’s the inspiration:

India pied-a-terre Master Bedroom Wall Inspiration

Here’s the current status, as I left it in September 2015:

Gray read lavender on the wall. Oh no! It did pick up some gray/lavender in the floor tile, but it’s not the color I wanted as a base. So I covered it with Asian Paints “Silk Route” color — the perfect name for this nomadic abode.

We will get this finished! It’s gonna happen this time! A really low platform bed has been delivered, and we’ve had a queen size mattress for awhile (sitting on the floor). So we’ll have the proportion of very low vs very tall in the inspiration photo. And I found two small black Chinese cabinets on our last trip to Chennai. I was surprised to find Chinese furniture in Chennai, but there you go, we now own them and they will flank the bed as nightstands.

Second thing I’m doing is painting this stencil in the living area:

I’ll be painting this stencil with inspiration from the mud hut paintings in Gujarat, like this image from FabIndia’s Flickr — with raised patterns, beige on white, and mirror or silver — and add a little crumbling dilapidation into the mix because I like that sort of thing:

And oh, wait until you see the curtains, and the cushions … so much to do …

Beyond all the DIYin’, I’d love to squeeze a trip to Pondicherry in search of some old furniture for the apartment, loading up on block print caftans at Anokhi and Soma, and trips to the best hotels for restaurants (wine & cheese please) and something tells me I’ll be needing a spa …



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