About the India pied-à-terre

Before this blog was called the Nomadic Decorator, it was called “India pied-à-terre” for four years. It was originally about the construction and decorating of our “second home” apartment in Chennai, India. But because we live near Chicago with busy lives, it took awhile to finish the apartment. The construction is done, and now we’re decorating, as much as we can in 2-4 weeks a year spent there!

The India pied-à-terre story began when my husband’s family decided to replace their single-family house in Chennai’s T. Nagar neighborhood with a building of flats. Here’s a rooftop view from the former house:

Much change has happened there. Once-stately homes with wraparound porches, sheltered from the sun by coconut, banana trees, bougainvillea and jasmine clambering up posts (just like in the photo above), are no more. Lots are now filled to the brim with multi-story concrete structures. We’d shake our heads at what was lost.

It wasn’t easy for them to make the final decision. The big rose garden would be gone. Another piece of old Chennai would be erased. Life would be disrupted. But much would be gained: A carport, bigger rooms, new kitchens and bathrooms, homes for extended family to be close. There would be two big terraces for gardens, more garden space than ever before.

Groundbreaking was in April 2009 and by summer 2010, families were settled in their new homes.

We have an apartment on the top floor. So now we are completing our getaway place in India, our second home or pied-à-terre, for vacation or when visiting South India for business.

Here’s a sample of our floor plan:

Here’s a moodboard for the foyer area. That door you see here is the real, rustic 100+ year old door that you step through into the apartment:

Moodboard for India pied-a-terre Foyer

Follow this Pinterest Board to see my decorating inspiration for the apartment:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board India Apartment – Decorating Inspiration on Pinterest.


Here was my first peek into the India pied-à-terre, in November 2011:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xrH0-cH3Oo?rel=0&w=500]

The door is about a hundred years old and it’s so heavy, it took seven men to carry it up the stairs. It has a story too, you can see it here.

19 Replies to “About the India pied-à-terre”

    1. Hi Anamika! :) So funny, I certainly don’t want to be haunted in my dreams! I am happy I’m one of the blogs you actually read! I know what that’s like- I follow lots too and who can read all the blogs out there? Again thank you Anamika, Deb

  1. Your travel life is enviable. I will be traveling to India for the 9th time on April 1st and with my daughter and grand daughter. We cannot get enough of India
    . We call ourselves Luxury Vagabonds and arts and crafts people. Your blogs entice us and we follow your doings there.

    1. Oh Lillian, you travel there more than I do! :) Where are you going this time? What you say is maybe a “sign” – I’ve been thinking recently of re-naming this site, for several reasons. India pied-à-terre doesn’t accurately capture all that I’m doing and there’s so many people who don’t know what a “pied-à-terre” is, thus just from the blog name they may think this isn’t for them. And painful as it may be to think, not everyone is so interested in just India. And my interests are also more global. I’m thinking along the lines of exactly what you say – something that captures the love of travel, global things and crafting. Even when we get back to the India apartment, many of the ideas there will be DIY and crafted ourselves, so a new name still fits. Hmmm … I do believe in “signs” …

  2. We are back. Two grandmothers, two 15-year old grand daughters, and one mother. Once again it has been Rajasthan and its exotic and wonderful arts and crafts. This time it was a palace trip which I would recommend to anyone. It was magical to stay in these wonderful heritage hotel palaces. A once in a lifetime experience.

    1. Hi Lillian, I must get to Rajasthan again and see so much more there. I love the heritage hotel palaces too! We were supposed to stay in one in Jaipur during a previous trip. But we never got to Jaipur. I forgot where I was and drank tap water and got really sick. It messed up our whole itinerary for that trip. Will see it in the future!

  3. Hey, I’ve been reading but not posting, shame on me. I’ve been in Oak Park for a year, and am in India right now bringing back treasures for The Tiger’s Armoire, currently online only, as the winter almost did us in….hope things are good with you…

    1. Hi Carol! It’s good to hear from you! Yes wasn’t winter awful last year. I found your Tiger’s Armoire Facebook page and am following along. Can’t wait to see what you find! I think we probably like similar things. I’m going to Marrakech this week and doing some shopping there. So fun!

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