Pin Up Girl Friday: Decorating Inspiration for India Apartment

Each Friday, I invite you to a Pinterest Board that I hope opens a world of inspiration for you. What I love about Pinterest is it makes sharing so much easier — and clears a little room on our hard drives too.

So today, welcome to the images that inspire decorating ideas for our India apartment in Chennai:

As of today, there are 280 images of rooms, furniture, accessories, textiles, walls, paint effects and various other things with something that struck me as inspiring for our place in India. But I’m always pinning more, so follow along there if you want more images in the future!

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The India pied-à-terre and its Hardware

Those following along here for awhile may see I took a break from blogging about completing the Chennai, India apartment. There has been no progress since mid-December, honestly, when we returned to the States from the last trip. We’ve found it’s difficult — really difficult — to get quality work when we’re not there supervising in person. We’d rather stop the work than rip out and re-do.

The apartment is stuck in a pergatory state between finished enough to be nearly habitable, but still uninhabitable. For example, we got to the point of installing a copper farmhouse sink in the kitchen. The whole kitchen is nearly done. But we had to leave before essentials like hooking up faucets, toilets, etc.

There are stories to tell about why we’re stuck at this stage — stories of trust issues, disappointment, even dismay. I’ve hesitated to speak those stories, but will soon because they’re part of the process, and good to know for anyone else who dares tread where we’ve now been.

One part that makes me happy is simple: hardware! We’re choosing unique hardware. I think of it as jewelry for the place.

It starts with the hardware on the antique main door. The doorknocker:

The lock and the skeleton key. Yes this really is the key, and it’s a big thing to haul around; you’re looking at only about a third of it sticking out here:

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Cher’s Indian Fantasy Home

Attn: Cher! Will you adopt me? I’d love to be a baby in this “crib!”

OK that’s the end of trying to be hip here. I’m now gonna go all ga-ga slobber all over this place. This is exactly how I see the India pied-à-terre when it’s done! It’s (for me) an ideal mix of natural colors, just enough patterns, Asian and western, new and old. Comfortable and just a little bit luxurious. Just enough nomadic feel. Carved wood. Symmetry.

This is Cher’s Hollywood penthouse, designed by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and featured in Architectural Digest’s July 2010 issue. They called it an Indian Fantasy. They got that right!

If Cher is not going to adopt me anytime soon, I need to buy this back issue so I can live with it forever.

Oh, perfection
You drive me crazy with perfection

     – Cher

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Living Room Furnishings Found in Chennai

We’re about a year away from fully furnishing the India apartment. Meanwhile we have fun looking for ideas! While in Chennai last month, we visited Good Earth, Kian, Lifestyle Homecentre and other stores, and we visited Crafters in Cochin. Here are snapshots of things we saw (and some we purchased) and where they could go:

It all looks very brown and beige right now, and yes neutrals will be the foundation of the open living/dining area. But there will be color, yes, there will be color! Soon, I’ll show you some of our colorful finds from Good Earth in Chennai.

Regarding the room layout, the TV location poses a challenge. The electrician provided everything needed for a TV on a smaller wall that’s right next to a large window. This set-up would have made more sense on the opposite larger wall. I think our electrician set it up so we could see the TV from the kitchen and dining area. But this also makes for an awkward living room furniture layout, plus awkward viewing with light streaming through the window only two feet away.

You may think, just change the location. Well, as I have learned now seeing construction in a concrete/brick structure in India, when you want to change any electrical, this is what happens:

In person, this looked worse — like the dust cloud coming after Tom Cruise in Dubai in Mission: Impossible 4! And yes we ran away from this dust cloud, right out the main door and down the stairs. I went shopping after seeing this, just to see something nice again. Literally, retail therapy. You can see more photos in a previous post where I tried to find beauty in the dust and crumble.

So regarding the TV location, either we could mess up walls (and the entire apartment, really) yet again before more things move in, or we could leave it as-is. The mission is ours if we choose to accept it. We may walk away. Instead we’ll look for black-out blinds for the big window next to the TV, and a smaller rather than bigger living room sectional.

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