Sunday, March 9, 2014

Home tour- Part Global, Part Wabi Sabi, Part Barefoot Living (Part 2)

Design is in the details!

Hello and I am back! Thank you for all your articulate feedback and wonderful comments about Kamini's home. Join me on this extended tour of her eloquently put together home where style and function reign supreme. Kamini believes in finding perfection in the imperfect and this falls in line with the Wabi Sabi style of the home but then again the overall decor of this home is not contained by any one style rather it is driven by the home owner's creative inner instincts -so, read on and be sure to be vowed, yet again! 
the spice box also tell the story of a discerning collector!

If you have missed part one, you should probably start there and get to know Kamini and her passion for creating a beautiful home first.
colorful cotton textiles spell COMFORT!
 I am in conversation with Kamini and I was curious to know if she believes in an egalitarian approach to home decorating and if in fact she let's her husband partake in the  decorating process.  After all, men are wired differently and not many want to indulge in decorating debates with their wives. So, I asked her who called the design shots in their home and here is her response-

sheers curtains extend a flirty welcome

 "Uh, I do. Ok let me rephrase that. I do, but my husband usually has something to add too. If its a color I want to paint a wall or a color of the sheets on the bed, then he just stays out of it. But when it comes to picking furniture, lighting, rugs etc we usually make the decision together. I’m the right brain which means my heart rules. He is the left brain and looks beyond just the aesthetics - maintenance, function, price and so on. And together we make the final decision" 
The lovely  Kamini and Raghavan with their adorable pets

Ah! the partnership approach, that's always a win-win!

"The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion" - unknown
And Kamini has sired this passion for design and decor from her early days. She says,
"When I was a kid I used to rearrange my room all the time. I shared a room with my brother and probably made life hell for him...always moving things around, adding flowers, putting up pictures and so on. I loved flower arranging, setting the table, moving furniture around and so on, so my love for design has always been there. 
interesting vignettes add dimension to her rooms

The first thing that strikes me when I look at the images of her home is the timeless appeal. Everything flows in harmony! Clearly, she didn't just stop at one home decor store, load up her cart, come home and arrange everything in one afternoon and yet everything ebbs and flows so well. I asked her about her shopping philosophy. I wanted to know if she is budget savvy or if she is the kind of shopper that would rather have the few things she likes even if it costs a pretty penny (I do that sometimes!). And her response? 

"Never. I never buy outrageously expensive stuff. My favorite places in Seattle are Pier 1 Imports, Cost Plus World Market and Z Gallerie. I go to outlet stores like TJ Maxx and Home Goods which usually have great deals, and I watch out for sales at some of my other favorite places which are usually more pricey. My favorite online stores are Viva Terra and Wisteria. Pricey, but I get great deals on clearance"

Kamini's magic wand and intuition at work again!

And then I  asked her to share her favorite online resources for inspiration with our readers and this is what she said -

" I have a weakness for design coffee table books and I spend hours, literally hours, browsing through them and getting ideas. Magazines are my next source of inspiration - usually House Beautiful and Elle Decor. I loved Casa Viva when I was in India. Blogs and websites are also great, but I don’t spend too much time looking online. Catalogs from Pottery Barn, Room and Board, Viva Terra and West Elm are also fun to browse through. 

To me, a good home should be a true reflection of the owners personalities and their inner state of mind. In that sense, home  decorating is an evolving process and I don't necessarily mean keeping up with design trends but rather letting your home reflect your collective life experiences as well as your day to day moods.She agrees. 
"No, home decoration is never a done deal. In fact as I write, I am rearranging things. I move things around, replace artwork with others inside ('coz I don’t have room for all), in summer I go for a lighter, breezier look, more flowers in vases, sheer curtains etc.I move furniture around a lot. I’ve stopped shopping for big ticket items like furniture because I don’t need any more, and small accessories - 'coz I have too many of those. But I do look out for sales and deals on textiles, cushions, linens, coffee table books. Those are things I can shuffle around. You won’t believe how a room can get a total makeover just with different textiles and cushions! 

And I am a paint addict. I can paint a room at the drop of a hat. Again - with paint you get a big bang for a small buck! Like I said I hate clutter, and I just don’t have room to store a lot of stuff, so its easy to reconcile myself with not shopping a lot. I have a lot of baskets in the house - to store kitchen linens in the pantry, to store those darn coffee table books :-), to store cushions and blankets. They look lovely and are so functional. My two weaknesses are rugs and pottery, both of which I have enough and am not even looking to add more. So I stick to window shopping which is also a lot of fun.
master bedroom - a  magical medley of gray and orange
Personally, I don't have much of green thumb at all. Although I love the idea of adding a little greenery to my indoor landscape, I am afraid and have not taken the plunge so far ! I have toyed with the idea of creating an intricate cactus garden just to add a little sculptural interest but  have not mustered the courage yet. So, I am always envious of homeowners who can successfully incorporate house plants into their decor. Kamini and I talked about indoor greenery and here are her thought

I do not claim to have a green thumb, so I stick to “easy to take care of” plants. Pothos (money plant), peace lily, (spathyphylum), orchids (yes, they are easy to maintain), lucky bamboo....these are some of the easiest to look after. Herbs on the kitchen window sill are easy and pretty. 

And finally, we hobbled on to a subject that we are both fond of - artwork. Home owners often find it difficult to navigate the world of art and I believe that figuring out one's personal taste in artwork takes patience and persistence. Curating art work is a time consuming and a daunting process but well worth the effort. Truly, nothing is more pertinent than artwork when it comes to customizing your home décor. 

A well-curated art collection is a great way to allow your home décor to speak for your personality.  But remember - there is really no right or wrong way.  Building your personal art collection is a creative process that takes a sense of appreciation, and a lot of intuition. Kamini talked about incorporating amateur art work into home decor. By adding personal art work Kamini has ensured that their home is unique. Her custom art work tells the story of what truly inspires her - eastern heritage and earthy colors . Sentimental displays on her wall generate a sensory appeal that immediately draws the viewer in! 

And that was my interview with the lovely Kamini Raghavan!

Her home sizzles with style! It is a  treasure chest of heirloom antiquities and tells the story of a discerning collector. It is a transitional space that allows her to seamlessly combine her eastern roots and her western design sensibilities. I give her astute intuition for color and aesthetics a big thumbs up!

But what I will take away the most from this feature is the fact that she is an absolutely positive influence! Her blog was a portrayal of her varied interests and the depth of her personality and she inspired many through her blog  (including me) and it was my great pleasure to get to know her!  Thank you Kamini and Raghavan for sharing your lovely home with the Aalayam family!
Here is another look at the irrepressibly spirited Kamini as she answers some fun questions for me. The thoughtfully curated corners of her home reflect her vivacious and positive personality! Thank you kamini for allowing me to trace your home making voyage on Aalayam- it was a pleasure!


P.S: All the images in this post belong to our homeowner kamini Raghavan. Please do not use without permission!


  1. Lovely end to the home tour Deepa and Kamini! I am particularly intrigued with the grey orange combination in the master bedroom!

    1. Thank you Sharon. This was so much fun - going back and forth with Kamini on the questions and the pictures. I am going to miss the email exchanges but all the feedback we received for this post only motivates us to work even harder for our next post is wonderful to be able to bring these inspiring people and posts to our readers! I loved the colors in her master bedroom too and her simple , no-fuss bedding!


  2. I feel myself too naive to comment on Kamini's home. So beautifully done. Gives a sense of calmness, lived in feeling. Loved reading about her too...thanks Deepa!!

    1. Thanks for reading Nayana. You are right! Despite the high style quotient, Kamini's home lovingly harbors the worn or the lived-in feeling and that's what we all want our homes to look like, right - a perfect mix of style and comfort?

      stay with us, still to come this month- an artist feature and a travel showcase!


  3. Loved every corner. The home reflects Kamini and her beautiful spirit. The textiles and fabrics, the chair, the white curtains, the paintings...sigh ! She leaves me mesmerized . Thanks for this lovely home tour . There are very few things that leave a soothing impact on me. This is definitely one of them :)

    1. Reshma: That is a a great summary of this post, Kamini and her home! Thank you. It was a pleasure bringing this tour to our readers!

  4. Lovely home and only lovely people can bring about such beauty in their nest! It was a treat for the eyes.
    I genuinely miss her blog posts.have been hopeful she will start blogging again.

  5. I am neither the first one nor the last one to be in awe of Kamini's sense of aesthetics! absolutely gorgeous, warm & full of soul. Deepa, thank you for this lovely visual treat!

  6. Feel something so attractive in this Tour!

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