Category: interior design

Plants …urban jungle and auroville 

Interesting site about houseplants,greenhouses and interiors –
“My biggest inspiration is my life in Auroville,” she says, over a Skype call from the experimental township where she lives and works. The rolling landscapes and unfettered spirit of Auroville are her muse. “Her untamed wilderness often hits my heart. And I always work spontaneously following a mood in my heart.”
Much of her latest collection, “…so many heavens…”, which will open at the Centre d’Arts Citadines, Auroville on September 16, is a paean to Auroville. “We had a bad monsoon last year and lands were starving for water,” she remembers. Her work at that time was dark, “shades of brown and bronze, with pools of blue,” to symbolise “this longing for water”.
Then there would be one shower and in two days, star-like wild jasmines would light up the gritty dryness. “It was glorious; this alternation between seeming death followed by abundance and optimism. And this would make me weep that we are surrounded by so many heavens… each a universe in itself.  “We all carry seeds, many different kinds of seeds,” says Sundaravalli. But like a plant, it needs the right environment to blossom, she smiles.  

Research –

Zen design

3 Modern living roomMinimalistic lines are the obvious influence of traditional Japanese interiors on contemporary spaces.Balance is key in a zen style home.Simplicity. Clutter is not part of the zen philosophy.This is Rurikou-in temple, KyotoSoftness underfoot creates relaxation in a zen room.Ideally, a zen room would be free from peace disturbing electronic devices.This up to date play on zen styles out each simplistic element.Zen dining areas can be formal too.Keep any accent colors uplifting.If you don't have an outdoor garden, you could always incorporate the zen garden ideal within your interior room, using twisted trees and pebbles.minimalist dining tableSliding doors allow the exterior and interior of this Japanese city loft to organically meld one into the other.Bare essential furnishings keep this living space from feeling cramped or cluttered letting the beauty of its wood and white elements reflect and bounce the natural light.Zen meditation room.The backs on these floor seats are a welcome addition.This window seat complete with tea kettle is a zen box.Natural materials are key.Paper paneled doors never fail to evoke an oriental look, install in doubles for balance.A zen room is a place of harmony.Play with natural light.Zen living room

Provence – Catroux




A Provençal mas constructed of local stone overlooks lavender fields below a village in the Lubéron. Photo courtesy of Vanity Fair.

Summertime in Provence is a feast for the senses – fields of sleep-inducing lavender contrasting the positively sunny disposition of row upon row of sunflowers; the colorful and tempting displays of fruit, vegetables and flowers at village marchés arranged in eye-catching compositions reminiscent of a Cezanne or Van Gogh; aromatic herbs carrying their heady notes through the warmed summer air; the building crescendo of cigales (cicadas), the official symbol of Provence; the golden and red ocher and metallic redolence of earth; the green-gray calico of the plane tree’s bark; the secrets of the mistrals; the sun-baked Provençal clay that protects and cools dwellings with rustic simplicity; the Provençal table set with fresh and simply prepared local ingredients; the distinctive herbal flavor of the traditional apéritif; the sound of crushing gravel over a game of pétanque. Provence beholds a romantic, seductive beauty and ease of living nonpareil. Slow living has always been a way of life here.

Luberone Sunflowers 470

A colorful field of sunflowers in the Lubéron.

A marché in Aix-en-Provence. Photo by Cristopher Worthland.

The deep russet ocher earth unique to Roussillon. Photo by Cristopher Worthland

The mottled beauty of plane trees on a gravel terrace at Le Mas de Baraquet, home of Bruno (architect) and Dominique (garden designer) Lafourcade (British House & Garden magazine).

The mottled beauty of plane trees on a gravel terrace at Le Mas de Baraquet, home of Bruno (architect) and Dominique (landscape designer) Lafourcade. Photo by Clive Nichols; British House & Garden magazine.


Roussillon’s distinctive village washed in shades of red ocher. Photo by Cristopher Worthland.


Endless discoveries abound within the region’s rich heritage: ruins of the Marquis de Sade’s castle in Lacoste, the Lubéron. Photo by Cristopher Worthland.

Atmosphere is the single most essential quality, in my opinion, of an engaging environment – be it interior or exterior, natural or man-made. For my love of houses I was instantly drawn to the regional vernacular with its taste for rustic yet refined simplicity and the hand-made versus the machine-made. There is a quiet, unpretentious elegance to how things are done here. There is an inherent grace and ease with which they live out their daily lives: no rush to “catch-up” with the latest this or that. Time stands still in these ancient hills of the Celts, Greeks, and Romans.

Les Ramades, Betty and François Catroux’s Provençal mas. Photo by François Halard.

My favorite Provençal dwellings are the simplest of them, void of “pretty” contrivances  –  bundles of lavender hanging from beams and posts; a panoply of pretty coordinating patterned textiles; rusty, wobbly iron furniture (please, not another iron daybed-cum-sofa!); or, a surfeit of quaint French country furniture. I much prefer rooms with a personal point of view that relate to their surroundings naturally and elegantly.

elegance |ˈeləgəns|:

1 the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner; style
2 the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple; neatness

Van Day Truex's cottage, Chaumet, in Gargas, Provence. Photo by Michael Boys. The New York Book of Interior Design and Decoration, 1976.

The living room in Van Day Truex’s Provençal cottage, Chaumet, in Gargas, Provence. Photo by Michael Boys. The New York Book of Interior Design and Decoration, 1976.

English architect Thomas Wilson's 300-year-old home in the south of France. AD Jan/Feb 74. Photography by Tim Street-Porter

English architect Thomas Wilson’s 300-year-old home in the south of France.
AD Jan/Feb 1974. Photo by Tim Street-Porter.

Elegance need not be, as many assume, formal. Of course, there are many refined and formal residences that capture this region’s unpretentious qualities with grace and elegance. The best of them embrace the characteristics of their locale and traditions without resorting to kitsch notions of the romantic. Nor need rustic simplicity infer the bolt-hole of a country bumpkin – le péquenaud. Au contraire! A certain level of appropriate sophistication is always welcome in my book, and expressions of an artful life is high among them. After all Cezanne lived and worked here, as did Van Gogh and Picasso. What better place to express one’s creativity than in the calming embrace of the countryside? It’s cliché, I know, to say, but nature is my muse.

Château de Vauvenargues

Château de Vauvenargues, the 17th-century house where Pablo Picasso and his wife Jacqueline lived between 1959 and 1965.

Château de Vauvenargues

Picasso’s wife, Jacqueline, being illuminated by photographer Daniel Barrau in Picasso’s studio at Château de Vauvenargues.

Creative gestures through references to one’s personal history and caprices, within the parameters of good design, is what makes one’s abode compelling. Two designers whose work I greatly admire, Jacques Grange and François Catroux, inject their rooms with insouciant style, personality and panache, often referencing myriad stylistic periods and cultures. Their respective private residences in Provence honor local building traditions without resorting to local decorative artifice, creating highly personal, elegant and gracious rooms that transcend time and place.

Jacque Grange's farmhouse, Mas Mireio, in Provence. Photo by François Halard, HG; July, 1989.

Jacque Grange’s farmhouse, Mas Mireio, in Provence. Photo by François Halard, HG; July, 1989.

The living room of Jacques Grange’s Provençal mas was once a shed for farm animals. A mix of styles and periods is unified through shape, proportion, material and textural simplicity: the facing woven rush lounge chair in the foreground was designed by the French modernist Charlotte Perriand while the fauteuil near the fireplace is 17th-century; a 1950′s oak table by Jean Royère is watched over by a metal sculpture of a bull that incorporates a removable head mask once worn at fêtes in the Camargue – from where denim and the cowboy originate;  Berber rugs are laid over local terra-cotta tiles.

Mas Mireio

The library-dining room in Jacque Grange’s farmhouse, Mas Mireio, in Provence. Photo by François Halard, HG; July, 1989.

Jacques Grange combined seemingly disparate furnishings and decorative objects in the library-dining room: English Arts and Crafts oak chairs surround a table covered with a Tarascon quilt beneath a Venetian lantern; 19th-century French ceramic columns flank a window lined with Moroccan pottery. The mix is decidedly eclectic, a tad exotic, yet harmonious, bearing the quality of the hand-made.

The living room in François Catroux’s Provençal farmhouse featured in French Elle Decor. Photo by Marianne Haas.

François Catroux opted for treated cement floors imbedded with stones from the river Durance in a diamond pattern in favor of the ubiquitous local stone or tile. Natural materials and textures harmonize in a sober environment of cool, almost monastic, calm.

François Catroux Provençal farmhouse featured in Architectural Digest. Photo by Marina Faust.

The dining room in François Catroux’s Provençal farmhouse featured in Architectural Digest. Photo by Marina Faust.

Raw, bleached and pale painted wood furniture, rusticated and painted beams, a pale cement floor, and natural linen curtains punctuated by contrasting black iron table bases, the dark diamond pattern of the river stone-set floor, and the dark trim on the curtains is done to great harmonious effect.

These quietly confident rooms speak to me on a soul level. They aren’t designed to impress but to embrace, elevate and provide comfort. They represent a life well-lived free of artifice. These are rooms which  cultivate creativity in their absence of clutter, naturally. Nature is their muse.

In coming posts we will visit in more depth the Provençal homes of Van Day Truex, Jacques Grange and François Catroux. We will also visit another Provençal retreat designed by Grange for Terry and Jean Gunzburg, along with the famous and oft documented retreat of the late Rory Cameron, as well as a few refined and elegant estates that represent the best in gracious living and timeless beauty.

The Chic Catroux

It’s interesting how you see some designers all over the place and some nowhere at all.  I wish we could see more work of the interior designer François Catroux.  Maybe staying under the radar and a lack of self promotion is a French thing or a European thing.  It’s certainly, as we all know, not an American thing.  I think it’s even more interesting since François Catroux’s wife Betty was a model and muse of Yves Saint Laurent who was has more than her fair share of publicity.  The scarcity of published projects makes it that much more exciting when you do come across one and especially when it’s their own home.  Enjoy!
Betty and Francois Catroux, 1970

Icons of Elegance: François and Betty Catroux

It happened in Paris, at a 1967 art exhibit. While the city’s glamorous elite mingled about the room, sipping champagne and sharing laughs, two people were introduced who would eventually become one of France’s most glamorous power couples. On that night, 45 years ago, interior designer François Catroux set eyes on Chanel model Betty Saint, resulting in a lasting love, and creative influence, like the art world had never seen.

In the four decades since their spectacular wedding, the couple has been a fixture in fashionable social circles, including Betty’s close friendship with late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.  But in the midst of the glitz, the Catroux’s maintained an air of elegant comfort, content to remain understated while other designers enjoyed the spotlight. Their names might not be as widely recognized as fellow designer David Hicks, but their spaces whisper of pure genius.

 With a client list that includes Rothschilds, Santo Domingos, the Shah of Iran and King Hussein of Jordan, there is no doubt of François Catroux’s decorative brilliance. So when he and Betty redecorated their Paris apartment last year, the couple put that brilliance to work, creating an atmosphere of pure luxury that perfectly reflects them.

A photo from Betty and Francois Catroux’s February 1968 wedding at Cap Ferrat, celebrated as one of the most stylish weddings of the 60s. The bride wore a Pierre Cardin fur coat and boots, while the groom opted for a chocolate colored velvet suit paired with a white turtleneck.

A a 1995 portrait of Betty Catroux by Philippe de Lustrac hangs above a Vladimir Kagan sofa.

Lovely items collected over the years are arranged throughout the apartment, giving the space a personal touch

YSL and Betty CatrouxBetty Catroux and Yves Saint Laurent, who called her “his twin sister”

Having redecorated their apartment in Paris, the couple next turned their focus on their country home in Provence.

The dining room is comfortable while maintaining a feeling of simple elegance.

Francois and Betty, 1970′s

 I adore how a socialite couple known to party until dawn with Brigitte Bardot and Loulou de la Falaise can still create – and enjoy – such a simple country kitchen, complete with unassuming cabinets and whimsical touches.

A cozy bedroom still gets the Catroux touch with stacks of stones that serve as bedside tables!

“My husband is an interior designer and a genius. It’s hard work living with men like Yves or my husband, who think about the aesthetic and about beauty all the time. You can never relax and you have to make an effort every second of the day. It’s a way of working really.” 

via Harper’s Bazaar

Matisse line drawings hand on the library wall, a place where many interesting conversations have surely taken place.

Dining al freco is done in style

Lanterns from Vietnam give a distinct feeling to the outdoor space.

Although four decades have passed since their meeting, the couple has maintained a young, fresh perspective on life, love and luxury. What rich, outrageous lives they’ve lived!



Pop Art Style Apartment

As you can see through the photos, the pop art design is carried throughout the home in the bedroom, bathroom, foyer, and office space. Each room has that intense color splash in the art or furniture. The foyer is by far the brightest in the home with hot pink walls and a wall sized pop art painting that commands the space. You can’t help but stop and stare at this piece. The bathroom is very bright with lime green tiles filling the room. This home is very cohesive in the design and layout. Many rooms have dark hardwood but the spaces are lighter with the bright furniture and art. Those touches of pop art flare create a design that is perfect for someone who wants to take a risk and do something totally different in their home.


wall pop art built in desk pink foyer The pop art design is carried throughout the home in the bedroom, bathroom, foyer, and office space. Each room has that intense color splash in the art or furniture. The foyer is by far the brightest in the home with hot pink walls and a wall sized pop art painting that commands the space. You can’t help but stop and stare at this piece. The bathroom is very bright with lime green tiles filling the room. This home is very cohesive in the design and layout. Many rooms have dark hardwood but the spaces are lighter with the bright furniture and art. Those touches of pop art flare create a design that is perfect for someone who wants to take a risk and do something totally different in their home.

living room dark accent wall

Dream homes in nature

transylvanialand:Cotswold Lavender by Andrew Lockie on Flickr.

dreaming-of-rain:xxoldchum:Oswald’s Mill - Mill tourysvoice:| ♕ |  Meadow house near Melrose Abbey, Scotland  | by © Sonja Pieper


raben-schwarz:Toriimoto, Kyoto. on We Heart It - Island

  concocted:by cath ameswanderlusteurope:Hospice du Simplon, Valais, Switzerlandreoccured:Landscape+Architecture blog

(via Stop chasing after so many things)

photographyweek:The Old Lifeboat House by William Razzell"I have visited Newquay in the UK several times so when there was a rapidly passing storm in the evening I knew that this spot, overlooking the Fistral headland, would be great for when the clouds began to clear."View more of William’s photography.Image copyright William Razzell and used with permission.__See the world’s most inspirational images every Thursday in Photography Week. Get five free issues today at

Fav flavors from Flavorwire , over the past week

The 10 Best Sites for Culture-Savvy Women    Jezebel ,Bitch ,  The Toast  , xoJane  , The Hairpin  ,  XX Factor  ,  The Cut   , The Beheld ,   The Gloss ,  Rookie 

The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History Norman Mailer . Maurice Sendak ,Gore Vidal ,Gertrude Stein .Christopher Hitchens ,Charles Bukowski ,Patricia Highsmith .Vladimir Nabokov

The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors

8 of the World’s Most Idyllic Creative Retreats

10 Famous Artists’ Stunning Studios

Charming Paintings of Contemplative Girls Doing Crafts

Pics :-

Pablo Picasso’s atelier – Cannes, France


Dorset, Dorchester, Max Gate - home of the late Thomas Hardy,  by the time of his death in 1928 was England's most renowned writer - old photo early 1930's

Max Gate was where Thomas Hardy lived after the age of 34.


Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage is in the beautiful Lake District of England, and is where William Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy and wrote much of his famous poetry in the early 19th century.

Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico

Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico


Encrypting your information to protect it from prying eyes – The Hindu.   Excerpt

Gnu Privacy Guard is an open and free encryption standard that works on the idea of Public Key Encryption


“If privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy.” – Philip Zimmerman


Several people I know feel that Internet surveillance is not a cause for worry when your general activities conform to known laws and social norms. Some even argue that the success of projects such as Loon compensate for Google’s unethical snooping and the subsequent profit it engenders


While the recent Prism controversy was being debated, I happened to read a 1991 essay by Philip Zimmerman, creator of the PGP standard.PGP, Pretty Good Privacy, is an encryption standard that helps you make data and communication unreadable by anyone but the intended recipient. Last updated in 1999, the essay, ‘Why I wrote PGP’, is profoundly relevant 14 years later. The mindsets of governments, it appears, does not advance as quickly as technology.


Zimmerman justifies the use of encryption by everyone when he asks: “What if everyone believed that law-abiding citizens should use postcards for their mail? If a nonconformist tried to assert his privacy by using an envelope for his mail, it would draw suspicion. Perhaps the authorities would open his mail to see what he’s hiding. Fortunately, we don’t live in that kind of world, because everyone protects most of their mail with envelopes. So, no one draws suspicion by asserting their privacy with an envelope. There’s safety in numbers.”


Cryptography is already highly restrictive in countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Iraq. Zimmerman believes that popularising cryptography will help prevent other governments from criminalising it.Unlike the patented PGP, Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG) is an open and free encryption standard. GPG works on the idea of Public Key Encryption (PKE).


What are keys?


Keys are like ciphers; they rattle up your plaintext message and turn it into gibberish before it is sent. To understand PKE, imagine a scenario where you are receiving some gifts on your birthday and you don’t want someone who intercepts the packages to open them. So you give each of your friends a copy of the same padlock and ask them to lock their gift with it. When the gifts reach you, you unlock the gift packets with the only copy of the key that can open the padlock. The padlock, in a PKE system, is called a public key; it can be published on the Internet so that everyone can use it to lock (encrypt) your messages. The key in the PKE system is called a private key, known only to you, and used to decrypt your messages. Before starting to encrypt with GPG, you would have to create such a keypair. The general size of a key is about 2048 bits, and it would take a computer, making 1 million guesses per second, about 1.5 million aeons to break a key.


Besides encrypting your information, GPG allows you to create webs of trust on the Internet. A web of trust is a small circle of people who know each other and use encryption to communicate with each other. This personal kinship between communicators provides an additional wall of security since it dispels any fears of key impersonation. Traditionally, GPG has always had an elegant and popular command line interface that is still in use. There are also several graphical front ends for GPG, available free of cost, that provide services ranging from key management and authentication to encryption. Some examples are wija, Seahorse and Kgpg.


Several email clients such as Evolution, Enigmail and Mutt that use GPG make encryption very easy. GPG is available for free download at The website also provides comprehensive information on getting started with GPG and being aware of the measures to be taken to keep your keys safe.

Excerpt   from Furniture for the Private Person –

We now know that hackers can spy on us through our web cams, and the NSA is reading our texts, emails, and listening to our personal phone calls. It’s enough to make anyone paranoid, pushing the most private people to retreat further into their bubble. Designers have tapped into our desire for seclusion, sometimes with extreme results, as our list of design objects and furniture for the intensely private person reveals. As the traditional work space model shifts and our need for security and solitude changes, these designs offer a bit of quiet and peace of mind.



“Privacy in the office is becoming rare. We felt that people needed a place to escape and have a moment to relax, focus, and have some personal time — to send a text, use a tablet, make a call, think,” Mike Simonian of Mike & Maaike said of his Windowseat. The design was inspired by memories of playing inside a cardboard box as a child.


This minimalist desk, inspired by seashells, allows you to retreat into a bubble that offers privacy without sacrificing light and style.


Nick Ross designed this clever confessional furniture, which allows you to chat with your friends about those texts you sent last night, without the prying eyes of the NSA.


This curvy television and privacy canopy is pleasing to look at and functional.



As coworking becomes more popular, design studio TILT is ready to meet the needs of those requiring flexibility and privacy. Their Quiet and Call furniture pieces were created in collaboration with staff and patients at a London hospital, but the simple furniture can be easily transported anywhere you need a tiny hideaway.


James McAdam designed the Safe Bedside Table. Made from birch, maple, and leather, the all-in-one self-defense unit has a removable leg and top surface that acts as a club and shield.


Art Lebedev Studio invented the labyrinthine Defendius security lock. Don’t be surprised if people start rejecting your dinner invitations.


No one will know how the hell to open the Tout Va Bien Cabinet to get their mitts on your private stuff. The bas-relief is stylish, but somewhat threatening when viewed from certain angles.


The Antoinette chair, from Cate & Nelson, is a discrete seating area that doubles as a room divider. The translucent fabric offers just enough privacy without appearing completely standoffish.

Veasyble designers Gloria Pizzilli, Arianna Petrakis, Ilaria Pacini and Adele Bacci create wearable objects that provide instant intimacy in any environment.

Completely disappear in Joon Soo Kim’s Hand on Chair. The chairs connect with magnets to create the ultimate safe spot.

NU-OVO, from Italian architect Paolo Maldotti, is a mobile pod that can be placed indoors or out for a lockable personal retreat.


Related articles

An italian summer house.


Classic example of an earthy , Mediterranean design.owl's house london2

owl's house london.

There is good reason this 17th-century oil mill in southern Italy looks more like a furniture showroom than an inhabited summer house. The dwelling is filled to the brim with the designs of the owners, the architects (and husband and wife team) behind Palomba Serafini Associati, who have together designed bathrooms, kitchens, furniture and lighting for some of the biggest names in Italian design: Boffi, Cappellini, Foscarini and Zanotta.

Retaining the rawness of the existing structure, they have made few interventions, retaining ancient stone floors, walls and arches. A lack of windows in the old mill has been overcome with the use of skylights carved out of the stone, as well as a patio at the rear, allowing the daylight to flood in. In the kitchen they have adapted to the existing space, adding only a sleek, minimal but multi-functional stainless steel island, originally designed for the Italian cabinetry company Elmar…

View original post 89 more words


There’s a bit of history behind ghost chairs and one involves no less than a king. Philippe Patrick Starck, French product designer, took the form of the Louis XVI chair and reinvented it using a single piece of polycarbonate plastic. The result: a postmodern chair with neoclassic lines. Another popular transparent chair by Starck is the armless Victorian ghost chair which was based on its 18th century predecessor. (Cheaper replicas can now be bought, or rented for use in large events.) Ghost chairs are chic, contemporary, minimalist. They are versatile, blending well with practically all kinds of material. And, man, don’t they make outdoor weddings  look simply ethereal?















f5d4e133e7cbd61a4b1cad62b569fdff (1)

A collection of recycled articles at Jamien Rao's studio Photo: Nagara Gopal         A mirror framed with leftover wood at Jamien Rao's studio Photo: Nagara GopalAll that junk | The Hindu. Excerpt :

At Jamien Rao’s office/studio in Sainikpuri, it’s understandable if you feel like a kid inside a candy store. Except that one wouldn’t be staring at candies but beautiful utilitarian artefacts made of recycled materials. “Recycled doesn’t mean shabby and cheap,” insists Jamien, whose firm has designed the interiors of hospitals, corporates and plush villas. In addition, if one is willing, he will minimise wastage and also turn leftovers in construction material into usable articles. Jamien is the face of the studio that has on board a psychologist and a host of creative minds that specialise in arts and crafts.

An acrylic sheet mounted over a layer of bamboo makes up the roof. The walls are cemented on the outer side while the bricks are bare but for the painting on the interiors. A piece of plumbing pipe has been remodelled to serve as a table lamp. Several pieces of measuring tape, discarded at construction sites, have been put together on a metal surface mounted on a granite stone to make a unique lamp shade.

The tables and chairs in his office and the garden and the wrought iron pot holders are all made of discarded materials. Old LP records and floppy discs have been turned into wall clocks, wine bottles have been filled with Christmas lights to become decorative lamps, leftover wooden pieces frame a mirror, water bottles have been turned into pots and a dish antenna doubles up as a canopy in the garden area.

Step by step, he proved himself and got clients to trust him. “There are times even people around you might ridicule you. One needs to be strong and determined,” he says.

Jamien knows it’s impossible to avoid scrap but his team minimises wastage. How does a psychologist fit into his team? “I found a lot of difference between what we communicate and what is perceived by clients. A psychologist can help bridge this void, especially in choosing the right colours and textures and making the interiors an extension of the client’s personality,” he explains.

As he takes us on a tour around his studio, he talks about peculiar problems that crop up: “Hyderabadis are Vastu conscious and don’t want old stuff coming into a new house. But many change their minds seeing how we remake stuff,” he says. One problem he still grapples with is his age. “When people read about our work online, they come expecting to meet an elderly gentleman. Very often I get asked ‘who is your boss?’ I tell them this is my firm and it takes them a while to get to trust me.”