How Do You Want to Feel?

I already notice an internal struggle as I imagine what the India pied a terre should be when it’s complete. What do we want it to bring to us? What will we need from it? Beyond the daily necessities of living, of course. How do we want it to make us feel?

This last question is where one struggle lies. While searching for inspiration, I’m loving two opposite things: 1) loads of deep and saturated contrasting colors, and 2) soft colors like layers of beige, griege, and whites punctuated with natural woods and metals.

These two options bring entirely different feelings to me. One brings great energy. The other brings restfulness.

For now I will search and share inspiration down both paths. But eventually, someday, a choice will need to be made. One way to think of solving the dilemma could be to think about the outside surroundings and the requirements of daily life:

  • Where do you go during the days and nights?
  • What’s there?
  • What does it look like, sound like, smell like?
  • What is the pace like?
  • Who is there? How many are there?
  • What do you do?
  • How do you feel most days?
  • What do you feel like you want to get away from?
  • What do you feel like you want to move toward?
  • What do you want more of?
  • What feeling do you need when you return home?

In our Chicago area home (we’re actually about 35 miles outside the city but unless you live near where we are, you’ve likely never heard of our village), we have much space and peace. We have separation from many people. We’re surrounded by mature trees, gardens and pleasing views. We chose this home specifically for what it is surrounded by. Because getting here has very relaxing elements that make you feel like you’re leaving the world of work, crowds and traffic behind — things like narrow roads and big trees creating arches over roadways, curves in roads and slight hills, winding creeks of water — once you pull in the driveway, you’re already breathing a little easier. Here, I feel like I want color in the house to deliver energy, because the surrounding environment is already slower paced, somewhat isolated, quiet and relaxing. Our living room has oranges, greens and browns. Our family room has red, black and antique golds. Contrasts. A guest room is painted paprika color. Love it!! Most walls are currently lighter and  neutral but I very strongly want to slather them with deep colors. Someday, I will.

Right now, my gut instinct is that I’ll seek more peace and restfulness in the India apartment. The stimulation of everything outside the apartment feels so great to me because I am not used to it. Although I would expect if I were in Chennai for awhile, I’d naturally acclimatize to it. The energy of the world outside the apartment may make me not want objects and colors delivering such energy inside the apartment. Then again, maybe a lack of color and energy would feel jarring and discongruent with the world around it? I don’t know, it’s all envisioning and trying to guess our needs right now. We shall see …

Actually I have collected numerous books about vastu shastra over the years and there may be some insight there …

Pink & Orange

Most posts here reflect my aesthetic which leans toward Calvin Klein and Eileen Fisher colors —  natural and gentle. But granted, this safe sameness can be boring. Lately my eyes are adjusting to scorching color combinations, and my very favorite is hot pink + orange:

Buildings in Cartagena — these neighbors planned their paint jobs well:

Hermes scarf and Hermes tray with pink roses:


Orange and pink shawl:




Silk curtains:

A painting by seller Artbyrodriguez. Somebody is enjoying it because it’s sold:

Sometimes just a bit of pink and orange is enough:

Perhaps my eyes are now accepting this combo because it’s being marketed to American consumers. See this Lilly Pulitzer bedding in the latest Garnet Hill catalog:

From Cambria Cove, jacquard fabric napkins:

Skirt in the Sundance catalog:

John Robshaw Textiles primrose pillow:

Vintage pillow in John Robshaw Textiles’ Souk:

Kaffe Fassett fabrics:

Last weekend at Archiver’s scrapbook store, I stocked up on pink and orange papers so bright, I felt I needed sunglasses in the store. The designs are similar to these handmade papers at an Amazon store:

Now I find there is an entire blog about pink plus orange stuff! There are blogs about everything, huh? Consider my post here a mere sneak preview of all the luscious color to be found at the Pink + Orange blog.

Whew! My next post may go back to neutral colors, sort of a palate cleanser for the eyes.

Mirror Mirror on the Bathroom Wall

Bathrooms need mirrors. People need mirrors. I’ve collected images of mirrors that caught my attention for awhile. Today I gather mirrored inspiration here in one place. I suspect this collection will show a pattern in what attracted me …

The following mirrors can be purchased at Anthropologie’s website:

All these mirrors are completely unlike anything anywhere in my Chicago home. No scrolly pieces. Things are tailored here. Straight lines. Here is a shot of mirrors in one of our bathrooms:

And the fact that we can do something completely different in the Chennai apartment is one of the appeals of the mirrors above that have been catching my eye. Clearly I’m liking ornamentation and light antique metal or weathered woods. Even the mirrors with color or darker wood, I see them reworked with antique pewter paint.

Balcony Enclosure

Speaking of the “ugly photos coming soon” message posted earlier today — and the process of turning unfinished space into something glorious — while blog surfing earlier today I found this photo which gave me an idea:

Our India apartment has two balconies. One is a larger balcony with room to sit outdoors. (The whole building also has two generous outdoor terraces accessible to residents, each 1200 square feet.) But the other balcony has a depth of only 18 inches:

We were planning to install French doors here anyway, and I imagined swinging them open and letting sheer curtains billow in the breeze. It’s a 10-foot wide opening so there would be two sets of substantial doors. But then again, I am from the Windy City where I hear wind blowing around our house as I sit here now. Perhaps my dreams aren’t so realistic for a place in Chennai. The effect may be more like receiving a humid furnace blast in the face much of the year.

But, what if this balcony were enclosed with windows and architectural trim, as the photo above? This would bump out the interior space a bit too, and would eliminate the issue of French doors gobbling up otherwise usable space. We’ll have to check on the restrictions and the effect on the exterior. It’s an idea to consider any time you can take advantage of it, because even a small amount of floorspace can make a difference when you think of the cubic space added. It’s not that we really need the space. The apartment has a very open and spacious floorplan. Mostly, I like unique nooks and cubbies of the kind that Sarah Susanka advocates.