|One little corner and a million little details- Kamini Raghavan's home!
"Fill your house with stacks of books in all the crannies and all the nooks" - Dr. Seuss
and that's exactly what our home owner today has done! But then again her home is an envious mix of treasures (not just books) - treasures that stimulate one's senses - warm colors, exotic textiles, interesting knick knacks, one of a kind vintage accents and art work at every turn!
She lives by the quote-“Unless a home becomes a love affair, it is not a success. You have to love every single little thing—if it doesn’t have a memory, a story, it doesn’t count." I agree!
|going back to your roots - textiles are a great option.
Ask her about her style and she remarks"Maybe Global? Maybe Wabi Sabi? Or maybe Barefoot Living? Or hopefully a combination of all three!"
Piqued? Read on! Gawking at the jaw-droppingly beautiful pictures of her home has become a nightly ritual these past few days and you will soon see why I am so hooked! With so many gorgeous images to chose from, I decided to do a 2 part feature. I had to . This home is beautiful. I could move into her home tomorrow and live there happily ever after. There is nothing cookie cutter about the inside of Kamini's home!
|stairwell rails to display handcrafted textiles - now there's an idea! also look at all her gorgeous rugs!
|Create greater impact through custom art work - in this case Kamini's own artistry is meaningfully displayed!
An interesting conversationalist, she enlivened what would have otherwise been a mundane online Q and A exchange. Her anecdotal responses about all the favorite pieces in her home was a treat to read after a long day at work!
Her previous homes, also peppered with treasured family heirlooms and striking artifacts, have been featured before on several blogs and Apartment Therapy (!)
|Intricately woven rugs, heirloom furniture and soul stirring colors- all mixed in perfect proportions!
But here is an up, close and personal look at Kamini Raghavan's life and home- Aalayam style!
|Layer by layer a living room comes to life!
In her own words, here is an introduction -
"The love for moving furniture around, arranging things and decorating my room was evident even during my younger days. I hoped to study design or the Arts after school, but my parents and grandparents refused to send me to JJ School of arts in the big bad city of Mumbai. Instead, I settled for BA in Economics from St Francis College in Hyderabad. Born in Chennai, but raised in Lucknow and Hyderabad, I consider myself to be more fluent in Hindi and Telugu, than my native Tamil. I met my husband when I was 16, ignored him, he pursued me, we got engaged when I was 18 and was married at 19!! I became a mother at 21!
She is now a mother-in-law too. Meet her adorable family - her husband, son and son-in-law.
As an immigrant to the US in 1984, I stayed home till my son started school. Through my various stints as an employee at my son’s school, the post office etc, I realized my unwavering passion for design. Finally in 1994, with much support and insistence from Raghavan, I went back to school in Seattle to study Interior Design. 3 years later and armed with a degree in ID, I started working at a marine design company. It was very interesting work, designing and furnishing boat interiors. Seattle has a big maritime community being right on the water and I got to really see some amazing boats, some even bigger than houses. I held several other work assignments in retail design including Nordstroms, Polo Ralph Lauren and J crew. I learned very early on that residential design was not my cup of tea -too many temperaments and personalities to deal with!
My final stint at retail design was Starbucks stores in Southern California. If any of you are ever in a Sbux store in SW California - Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Oxnard, Simi Valley - there is a good chance I had a hand in the design :-)
Besides design, I love painting and my interest in it began with an oil painting class I took back in 1981. In fact, I am happier and more at peace when I am painting than when I am designing! For many years, painting remained a dormant interest and I finally revived it again when we relocated temporarily to India in 2006.
|an interesting concoction of color and greenery enlivens a sunny corner -inspired yet?
Pottery fascinates me too. I tried my hand at hand building and wheel throwing and loved it enough to bookmark as an activity to pursue. My other hobbies include cooking, yoga, hiking, biking, reading and music. I am passionate about vegan-ism and wish I had turned vegan a lot earlier in my life. I love animals and children maybe because they are both so vulnerable and defenseless, but all my charitable causes are towards these two groups. I am also a bit of a fitness/health freak but if you asked my friends to describe me- the words “impulsive, hot-headed, irreverent, slightly OCD” would all be fair game…"
Her home has many amazing layers and brilliantly put together compositions and yet it doesn't overwhelm the viewer. It also manages to retain it's sense of clarity about the overall style. I asked her to tell me what makes her home "her home" and here is her response -
|cherished handy downs are proudly displayed.
|More treasures! I love the use of colorful textiles to anchor compositions throughout the home.
Personally, I favor a home where every room evokes an emotion, carries a worn feel and bears a personal stamp. I asked her to tell me what HOME means to her and in her own words..
"Home is a place where I am surrounded by things and people I love. People are important but things really do matter 'coz they are what I see and touch every single day. I love to travel but after every vacation, no matter how much I have enjoyed it, I long to come home. Its my sanctuary. My travel finds ( small inexpensive memorabilia) - instantly remind me of my vacation and my journeys and the people I care about and love. Most of all I want my home to feel comfortable. Not a place where people are afraid to touch and feel things. I want people to walk in and feel like “Ahhhhh”. Once a friend from Norway came home and told me my house was “koselig”. I looked it up later and it meant “cozy”. Now, that makes me happy!"
|Rooms that evoke an emotion - sculpted coffee table, kilim cushions and kamini's painting. Happiness is in the details!
Free spirited, colorful and bohemian, I think Kamini's home is an extension of her personality and her interests. I asked kamini to elaborate on her personal decor philosophy and here is what she had to say..
|pretty patterened pots call for an open display - add more color to your decor in novel ways!
"I am drawn to earthy colors, I love global artifacts that have an Indian or Eastern vibe, I love colorful textiles, I hate clutter, I like colorful artwork....so I think by default my home falls into the eclectic category. I am particularly attracted to Moroccan influences and would love to make my house look like a Moroccan Riad :-), but like everything else, I think a balanced mix is best.
|block printed bar stool covers, hand painted fruit bowls and a bright hued table cover - Kamini works her magic on an industrial kitchen!
I think my style sort of evolved. I experimented a lot with different styles when I was younger. I’d see pictures in magazines that looked lovely and would try to recreate those rooms not giving any thought to whether I would feel comfortable and at ease in those spaces. I did the all-white clean monochromatic Dania look, the checked sofa farmhouse look, and the all Indian look with brass urlis and wall hangings...and then finally found my niche. My home reflects me. I hope when someone walks into my house they get a good idea of what kind of person I am just be looking around"
|Move over rattan baskets - copper container + cheery cushions = trendy!
Given her keen eye for aesthetics, Kamini's collection of art work is to die for. From original Jamini Roy paintings (I know!!!!) to personal creations, her walls host a gorgeous array of artwork that infuse her space with vibrance! I asked her about her thoughts on curating art work and incorporating amateur art work into one's personal space and here is what she shared..
|This is where I am staying when I go to Seattle - to sleep blissfully under original Jamini Roy paintings - there's a treat!
"No, absolutely not - you don't have to own expensive art work. You just brought up a pet peeve of mine. My house is full of amateur artwork (some of it mine). I cannot justify buying expensive art work. The most I ever paid was Rs 4,500 for 3 original oil paintings at a craft bazaar in Hyderabad. I browse paintings by famous artists and try to reproduce them for myself. Not only is it a fraction of the cost, but it is so much fun. OK, so they are not anything like the original, but when I look at them, it is satisfying to know I did them. If you want to fill your house with art, buy prints from museum stores and gift shops and get them framed. I mean, if the artwork - meaning the subject and the colors and composition - appealed to you, why does it have to be an original? A print is exactly the same! Getting stuff framed in India is not expensive, but in the US it can cost a bomb. Places like IKEA and Michaels sell inexpensive frames."
|A kalamkari runner brings depth to this console vignette - brilliant once again!
Dear Aalayam family, I am in conversation with Kamini Raghavan- mom, interior designer, vegan lover, book collector, home decor enthusiast, ex-blogger and a woman of substance! Hope you've enjoyed our dialogue so far. Stay tuned for part two of our conversation as I bring you more of her thoughts on "home", on embracing individuality as well as more gorgeous images of her intimate
|to be continued.......
P.S: All images in this post belong to Kamini Raghavan and may not be used without permission.