Alaka Hudlikar & Ashok Hudlikar’s Eclectic Home!

“A home need not be perfect. It has to look and feel comfortable… and it has to look lived in!”- Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar.

So true, isn’t it? That’s how my role model, mentor, friend, guide & philosopher put it! In her seventies, her spirit towards life is not only laudable but infectious too! I am inspired by her…I want to be like her and I want to grow old like her…eloquent, active, alert, passionate and totally in sync with the current generation! Her life’s mission and passion, for the past 40 years, has been to train hearing impaired children to speak. She is a Speech Therapist. But to me- she is a ‘Life Coach’. She is the one who taught our daughter, Yashaana (with profound hearing impairment), speech and language that today she is one tough, confident cookie! 

Alaka ma’am always says, ‘‘One has to IMMERSE the child in language that is relevant to his/her surroundings and then move forward’’. She has worked relentlessly in this field without advertizing or promoting herself ever. It is only now that some of us, especially Ruchi Goyal, who have posted a number of articles and videos to help and reach out to parents of HI children. Google – ‘Alaka Hudlikar’ and you’ll know what I mean. 

Alaka ma’am is a walking encyclopedia on anything under the sun! You name it and she knows it; don’t go by her age! She is an avid reader, homemaker, gardener, activist, crusader, philanthropist; she dances (Bharatnatyam) to keep herself fit! Phew! The list is endless…some other day. She is a complete woman and an ultimate DIY-er! I dedicate my first post in ‘Worth a Dekko’ category to her and Uncle’s palatial duplex home. Her home is a reflection of her strong beliefs and her love for all things ethnic and vintage. 

The table fan belonged to Alaka ma’am’s father-in-law and is more than 90 years old. It’s an original Italian Marelli Vintage fan and it still works!

The pre-war (WW I) German made clock, which is along the staircase to first floor, is in absolute working condition!

This pendant light is again more than 80 years old which she retrieved from her old bungalow ‘Padmini’. Its complete brass with handmade frosted glass. 

The large Saraswati painting in her puja room was gifted to her by one of her HI students Deepa Shah. It is of Shri Akkalkot Swami Smarth; It is believed that he was an avatar of Brahma, Narasimha, Saraswati, Shripadh Shrivalabha and Dattatreya the Trimurti. On a whole, the depiction is in the form of Goddess Saraswati clad in white clothes, seated on a white lotus with a ‘Veena’ in her two hands, a ‘Veda’ in one hand and an ‘Ankush’ in another hand. 

The painting was made for ma’am as she is an ardent devotee of Goddess Saraswati (the destroyer of ignorance) and Shri Akkalkot Swami Smarth. The basis of the painting is the Sanskrit shloka

imagesThe ‘Warli’ and ‘Madhubani’, amongst other paintings are her some of her collectibles. The ‘Patwa’ paintings; she procured them from Spic Macay foundation who are instrumental in reviving this 900 year old folk art from Bengal. 

The framed ‘City & Guild London Institutes’ certificates that adorn one of the walls of her landing foyer belong to her father-in-law, signed in 1919! Years ago she had fished them out of the trash that was about to be thrown away! And let me tell you these framed cerficates are the highlight of this part of the home.

And not to miss the  tropical haven she has created at the around her home! I so regret not taking photos of her organic vegetable garden in her backyard. All this in the heart of the city!

Incidentally her home décor was adapted, as part of the sets, for the Hindi movie- English Vinglish!


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The ‘Great’ Wall Makeover!

If you haven’t read my post – ‘ The Great Wall!’  Click here to read it, to know the background of this wall makeover! I was very happy with what we had achieved with the existing wardrobe in the master bedroom. We didn’t make any structural changes in the room, we didn’t break a wall, we didn’t ruin the wardrobe and we didn’t waste anything! We were making it possible, without doing anything! With the wardrobe turned around and its back facing the room; I had another canvas to work on! A lot of brainstorming went into how to give it a makeover. Let me share some of them with you (not the gross & weird ones!):

  • Turn it into an accent wall with a bright paint job.
  • Paint it the same colour as the walls, so that the room still appears spacious.
  • Mount narrow shelves on it and turn it into a display wall.
  • Dress it up as a headboard for the king-sized bed.
  • Put a full size photo poster of our favourite holiday destination Goa!
  • Wall paper it, to give a stone wall effect.

We both agreed on wall paper option (for once we agreed!). Both of us being Libran it has always been difficult to agree/decide on something so easily! The next step was choosing the wall paper. AHA! There it was…once again we had to agree to disagree or disagree to agree!!!  To cut a long story short –

supritichauhan And then the intervention by the children! And then settle on neutral turf! Whew! That’s the story of my life. Does it sound familiar?! In all its seriousness, the choice of wall paper was Akhilesh’s, just as was the idea! The entire credit goes to him. (There I have said it babes! Let the world be my witness! You can’t complain now!)

The entire family prepared the base by sanding and priming the back of the wardrobe for its makeover.

Finally the chosen wall paper was pasted on the prepared surface. And this wall paper didn’t cost us a bomb; we bought two rolls for INR 1400/- from Chawri Bazaar, Delhi. I am still left with 3 quarters of a roll which I keep using here and there for smaller makeovers.

Here is a close look at the textured wall paper.

This is how the wardrobe aka false wall, in the master bedroom looks now!

Linking this post to : The Dedicated House

The Dedicated House

Funky Junk Interiors

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The ‘Great’ Wall!

The old gigantic, mammoth wardrobes attached with one entire wall of the master bedroom did a lot to the room; It hit you in your face, it screamed – LOUD! It was hideous, dark, depressing, unsightly, over bearing and absolutely unwanted! But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that storage wise it was FANTASTIC! 

Our initial thought was to paint them white so that it doesn’t appear so imposing. But Akhilesh came up with this bright idea that it should be pulled apart and used as required. So we pulled it out (it took two days) and realized, it can’t be separated (into smaller units) very easily as it was joined by a single board at the back. And the idea was to re-use it, not waste it.

Went back to our ‘Idea Book’ (our drawing book), broke our heads over it for a couple of days, finally decided to remove just the corner open storage unit of the wardrobe (to be utilized elsewhere). Now we were left with three quarters of the remaining wardrobe. 

Since there was no dressing area in the master bedroom, we decided to create a galley dressing area using the three quarters of the wardrobe. So, the gigantic wardrobe was turned around, its back facing the room. The idea was to make it work as a privacy wall between the bedroom and the galley dressing area! Now all we had to do was give it a make over. .. could we do it? To find out Click here – ‘The Great Wall Makeover’ and see for yourself!

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Tile Hunting for the Backsplash

Hunting for the kind of tiles, the way I had designed (and coloured!) in the drawing book, took us all around NCR (National Capital region). For almost 2 months there was no backsplash for the kitchen sink! I was very clear in my mind that the tiles should look the same way they had been represented in the drawing book… hence, I was willing to wait for as long as it took us to find the same. Although, I must admit, there came a point when I had become desperate to complete the kitchen and was willing to settle for the standby option of an all white glass tiles. But my husband, Akhilesh, supported my doggedness for those tiles. So, another month went by.

It was only when I was discussing our ‘tile hunting’ concerns with a friend, that she fished out her cell phone, to show me pictures of the tiles that I wanted! Yipee!!! Late that evening, armed with the address (thanks to her) we reached at this inconspicuous, quaint unassuming handmade tile factory…FINALLY!  The place had exactly what I wanted and in exactly the same sizes! I randomly placed the tiles on the showroom counter to see the design layout and we were out in less than 30 minutes with my tile treasure!

We in-layed the backsplash ourselves (an achievement!) the same night, as we just couldn’t wait any longer! 


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Kitchen Overhaul- part 3 (last)

Working with our carpenter was a learning experience for us (and him as well). He was instrumental in building our kitchen, our home, our furniture and our patience!

He would take forever to understand the design/dimensions and he would insist on adding his own idea to it! But once he started relating to our designs and requirements he became totally obsessed with creating the best to his abilities. He became relentless in achieving the exact replica of the design; he had to be told to take a break.

Once he worked for 36 hrs straight! My husband sat with him for 30 of those 36 hrs, staying up all night (trying to figure out an efficient way of fixing the kitchen garage shutter). Unless he was satisfied with the end result he wouldn’t give up. And later he would patiently wait for our approval for the same. Considering it was his first big project, let me tell you his work is really GOOD! Here are some pictures of the kitchen, taking shape.  

To read about Part 1 of the Kitchen Overhaul Click Here.  For part 2 of the Kitchen Overhaul Click Here.

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Kitchen Overhaul!- part 2

Mostly the kitchen was planned in all white, as the idea was to make it look bigger.To break the monotony of white we decided to add a  dash of colour. Choosing that dash of colour led us into one of our numerable squabbles! Finally we both agreed on what the children voted for! Lime Green it was! Here are some quick sketches by Akhilesh, my hubby, on his Samsung Note, over a cup of morning tea ( it became a ritual, every morning @ 6:00!) The final sketches are in the drawing book which I am yet to scan…will do…soon.

Now came the part to put the designs and plans in our heads onto paper aka our drawing book! Since Akhilesh is better (than me!)at perspective drawing, it was his chore to put all my designs and requirements onto paper. My job was to approve the end result! I’ve lost count of the endless arguments/tiffs/fights that we’ve had over these drawings!

Once we settled on a drawing the next task was to explain, EXPLAIN and EXPLAIN it to our carpenter (who incidentally, much later, told us that it was his first such project!)

to know more… Click Here for part 3 (last) of this post. To go to part 1 of Kitchen Overhaul Click Here.

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Kitchen Overhaul! – part 1

Prior to the renovation, the 11 x 9’ U- shaped kitchen was in dark wood board tones. There was no natural light and thus looked even more dark and dingy. It lacked any style or character.  It was just a functional cooking place, meant for rental (read gross use!).

We wanted to design a bright and a happy place where everyone could enjoy cooking. We decided to swap the dark wood cabinets for a cool white and update the floors to a warmer tone of white.I also wanted enough storage space to accommodate all my kitchen essentials and much more and yet not make it look crowded. The first thing we did was to prepare an inventory of all the kitchen gadgets that we owned including all other bulky containers/accessories. The list that came about was endless!

We prioritized the list item wise- most used to the least used object. Then we measured the dimensions of all the items on the list. The measurements became the skeletal framework for designing the shelves, cabinets and drawers. Thus, everything in our kitchen is either customized or made to order, including the sink. Since I am not very tall, I wanted the counter height and width to suit my working comfort.

In the end we had blueprints of our design where nothing matched the industry specifications/ standards.

 to know more… Click Here for part 2 of this post.

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Lamps- A Play of Lights!

Lamps and light fixtures are definitely important, but so are their numbers in terms of quantity. A lamp or an ornate light fixture can be a functional accessory, unlike so many others ‘so- called’ decoration pieces that everyone loves to adorn their homes with. The way you ‘light’ a room will completely change the way your space looks. The play of light and shadow creates a drama & decorative impact which cannot be replaced by the best of decoration pieces that one may own. Multiple lighting sources placed strategically within a room allow you to control ambiance, mood and functionality of the room. Yashaana, our daughter, and I loved exploring and shopping @ Khan Market and @ Bhagirathi Palace, New Delhi for the wide variety and styles of lighting fixtures to choose from. We took forever to choose the fixtures that we wanted for our home!

Finally we chose the ones contemporary in design and yet easy to maintain and clean. We tried not to choose the ones with rough textures & bigger surface area as they would’ve gathered a lot of dust everyday and maintaining them would have been difficult. The clean cuts & simple design of the light fixtures in our home allow them to be dusted and cleaned every now and then with ease.

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