Entrancing Entrances and a Fresh New Year

What is it about unique doors? If you’re enthralled by interesting doors, you’re not alone — there’s dozens of Pinterest boards about doors (including my board).

I think it’s because we as humans wonder what’s ahead, what’s there that we can’t see yet. Similar to a new year, doors are an entrance to new experiences. What lies beyond them? We can’t see but we can imagine. We can hope that it will be better than what we have and what we are today. So we are drawn to the doors, literal and figurative doors. We want to open them and enter what lies beyond.

The thing about entering a new year is, this year could bring our wishes, this is the year we can make some of them happen. After all, every year shouldn’t be the same, should they?

In a similar sense, we would be bored if all doors were Home Depot six panel stock variety. We’re drawn to the unique doors that feed our imaginations, hopes and dreams. The funny thing is, what’s unique to us is commonplace to the people who live with those doors! Right?

Here are some wood doors I’m drawn to …

Storybook door by Bob Simmons Design:

Storybook House Door via Bob Simmons Design

Antique Chinese door via NYJPW Chinese-American Arts & Culture Association:

Antique Chinese Door via NYJPW

Not all doors have to be opulent. I just wonder about the stories with this one. Door in Turkey by Flickr user jamyl:

Door in Turkey by Flickr jamyl

And there’s about, oh, 660+ doors here on Pinterest.


Now given the chance to finish a new apartment in Chennai, India — starting with a plain box of white concrete walls and floors — one of the first choices we made was to get a unique main door, an antique restored Southern Indian wood door carved with image of Krishna:



It’s so heavy, it took seven men to carry the door up the stairs! The door makes us feel excited to step into the space. Even the key is cool:


And the doorknocker:

Doorknocker on South Indian Main Door

Krishna carving above the door:


More carving above the door:


My husband has resolved some family issues with our apartment and we now feel free to proceed and finish the place. That has lifted a heavy weight, just in time for a fresh new year! I plan to make every door in the India pied-à-terre enthralling and entrancing … beckoning you to see what lies beyond!

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Video: First Steps into the India pied-à-terre

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xrH0-cH3Oo?rel=0&w=450&h=259]

Here is my first peek into the Chennai apartment which my husband has visited several times during construction, but this is my first visit. I’ve been working on it from afar, from Chicago. You can learn about the antique door here.

Inside it’s still a construction zone. More to come about finishing it!

Meanwhile I’m sharing non-design travel-related stories on a new page here: India Travel Memoirs. Check that page once in awhile for updates on what it’s like to be here.

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Contemporary India Interior Design

This book arrived from Amazon yesterday:

How was it? Well, even my husband took it before I could finish flipping through it! He found some ideas he liked for the India apartment.

Most photos are not as austere as the cover. But the cover is what drew me to the book, because I haven’t seen much minimal Indian design. It seems the “contemporary” in the title may be more about design “of today’s times” than contemporary style.

One hallmark of homes in the book is a global influence. Homes that surely must have Krishna and Lakshmi also have a Sukhothai style Buddha from Thailand. Chinese furniture mixes comfortably with Indian furniture — a look I’ve always suspected might work. Now that I look around, the simple shapes of a Chinese cabinet and an old Chinese trunk used as a coffee table look good with more decorative Indian things in the room I’m in.

A few more images from the book:

The biggest idea we got from the book is interior doors made of scrolly iron grates backed with frosted glass. Couldn’t we get that made for us? And instead of glass, you could back the grates with wood. Or you could do a metallic paint effect on the glass instead of frosted. At any rate, that’s a crazy idea that would look horrible in our Chicago house, why not try something different in Chennai!

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Very Special Main Door

It should feel special to walk into special places. And a place that takes 24 hours to travel to is a special place indeed. Here’s what greets you when you arrive at the India pied a terre:

Here’s the story about the door: It is about 100 years old and came from a residence near Kanchipuram. Its height is low, in keeping with the tradition to bow your head as you pass through the door. On the top, in the middle, is a carving of Krishna with his cows playing a flute. In this role he is known as “Gopala,” or cow herder. The door was renovated by Muthu Handicrafts on OMR road on the outskirts of Chennai. The doorknocker is solid brass and is weighty — two pounds!

The side of the door facing the interior of our apartment looks very different. It has a country feel that fits with the design and decor that will be coming as we keep working on the place:

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