My ‘Charm’ Wall!

A collection of photos or pictures can be displayed in so many ways. How you pull together a display depends on the size of the collection and the area/wall you will be using. The best way to know what will suit your wall is to arrange the display on the floor (inside the same dimensions, you can draw lines on the floor) and then take a photo of the display. Rearrange the pictures on the floor and take some more shots. Compare your shots and choose the best suited option. Put the same on your wall!

The talisman/ lucky charm wall in the living room is one of my favourite displays at home. I call it my ‘charm’ wall as the framed pictures are an assortment of lucky charm for home… from different religions. These charm are supposed to ward off evil and bring in positive energy in the house. I am superstitious but I like the idea of these symbols. Besides, these pictures have always been a very good conversation starter! It’s a collection built over 17 years. It began with these three pictures, which were presented to my husband by the monks at Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh. For many years I just had just these three.

The other two (on either corner at the bottom row) were added from Lamayuru monastery in Ladaakh… again a gift. Rest of the pictures kept on adding from our holidays across the country.  I decided to give distressed vintage look to the pictures by burning the edges uneven… tedious job but totally worth the effort!

Since the wall in the living room is creme I mounted these pictures on different coloured cartridge sheets just to break the monotony of crème (earlier all these pictures were mounted on a maroon paper, you can see it in the first three pictures of my collection, I didn’t do much to these pictures).The initial display was minus the wooden frame.

Something felt amiss in this display. Weeks later, after lot of brainstorming, I decided to add the frame (made of left over pieces of door beading) around the pictures, to pull the look together. Now I am on a look out for an eye-catching ‘OM’, a mystic Sanskrit syllable, considered the most sacred Hindu mantra and a ‘Cross’ to complete my collection; so far nothing interesting has caught my eye, I hope I find it soon.

Many of our guests ask me about the significance of these pictures… I have now mugged up my answers! Here is what each of these picture signify:


  • The symbol/talisman in mauve background has TAVEEZ- it protects the bearer from harmful forces.
  • The symbol/talisman in purplish pink background has SIMURHG- the protector in Zorastrian beliefs.
  • The symbol/talisman in bottle green background has face of a TIGER in two colours depicting Rahu and Ketu (the planets in hindi- protects from natural calamities.
  • The symbol/talisman in deep pink background has KAALBELIA mirror charm to protect from negative spirits.
  • The symbol/talisman in leaf green background has MAHAMRITYUNJAY script- a verse from the Vedas to overcome every obstacle.
  • The symbol/talisman in striking blue background has BISMILLAH- a verse from the Holy Qoran – a guarantee of protection.
  • The symbol/talisman in red and maroon(the picture in centre) background has KAAL CHAKRA- an ancient vedic tantra for protection from the evil spirits.
  • The symbol/talisman in dark green  -786, the holy number from Qoran that stands for protection.
  • The symbol/talisman in sap green background has TARA, the most beloved deity in Buddhism for compassion, healing and long life.
  • The symbol/talisman in dark purple background has NITYOTSANA- an ancient vedic yantra for annihilation of negative desires.
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My ‘Treasured’ Coffee Table!

My penchant for collecting ‘just-about-everything-under-the-sun’ to satiate my creative urges has had the entire family going bonkers!

‘Gangarams’ on MG Road, Bangalore, ‘Venus Traders’ and ‘Tulsi Baug’ in Pune, ‘Crawford’ in Mumbai, ‘Staples’ in GIP-Noida, ‘Sita Ram’ and ‘Yash’ in South Ex. New Delhi, ‘Thukral Brothers’ in Karol Bagh and Chawri Bazaar in Delhi; these are my all time favourite haunts! I visit them as often as I can or I ensure my hubby dearest visits them (with my lists) when he tours. That’s how addicted I am! By the way I haven’t revealed all of them!

All rooms, in all of our previous homes (there were many) always had a stolen corner or a place where I would stash my art & craft supplies, DIY tools, handmade paper etc; be it my husband’s almirah, my children’s wardrobe, study room cabinets, living room bureau, Kitchen storeroom…the list is endless! Needless to say my own wardrobe and dresser! Thank God for my family’s tremendous resilience to put up with my hobbies!

The biggest trouble has always been, storing my huge collection of handmade sheets and craft paper (all 3’ X 2’ in size). I could never bring myself to roll them up for storage. Can you guess how have I been storing it (‘flat’ of course!) till now? I used to place heaps of sheets under the mattresses of all the beds, in all the three bedrooms! At times I wonder why hasn’t my family disowned me till now?!

Anyhow, having given you the entire story about my ‘eccentricities’ and the discomfort that I had been causing (for so many years), to my family; my earnest desire was to own customized storage furniture/unit for my various collections; especially, for my handmade paper collection. I had in mind, a 3.10’ X 2.10’, 14” high and 6” deep coffee table to store my paper collection (to store them ‘flat’ of course!). My hubby quickly drew a rough sketch of the coffee table and that first sketch was exactly what I wanted! You will soon know why I call it- My “Treasured’ Coffee Table!

The idea of re-purposing the old kitchen cabinets (the coffee table’s dimensions fit the idea) was stuck in my head; Hubby dearest sawed out the best, two, pieces from the old cabinets (the old pantry doors). Our carpenter was happy to make the coffee table of my dreams!

A teak veneer was used to cover the old cabinetry ply boards aka the “Hardworking” Coffee Table! It was polished and buffed from the outside; inside out you will see the memories of the old kitchen.

Finally, I own a ‘storeroom’ that sits pretty in the center of our living room! I am in love with my Coffee Table! Not because it holds my precious treasure but also because I could re use the old cabinets.

Linking up with: Miss Mustard Seed, Funky Junk Interiors

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Headboard Ideas

When designing for Headboards for the beds in our home I went crazy browsing the web. Found some unique designs, liked them a lot but couldn’t incorporate them in any of my designs (as it didn’t work out with the decor). Anyhow, I especially liked the following Headboard Ideas. Maybe someday I will do it for friends/relatives or perhaps for myself.
HeadBoard Ideas
The Headboard  pictures also carries the name of the blog or the website that posted them. Although my all time favourite collection is with Better homes and Gardens. They have the most awesome collection! These headboards not only look unique but seem so very do-able. One can draw inspiration from them to replace the material used in them with something unique (and available!) lying with you. Could be anything from old book jackets, posters, placemats, ‘chattai’ (wicker rugs), framed hessian cloth or simply hang a series of similar sized single coloured or multicoloured cushions as your headboard!

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DIY Headboard

Headboards not only give the room a focal point, but also add ‘drama’ to the finished look of the bed and the bedroom; and needless to say they make sitting in the bed comfortable! All the theory about ‘focal point’ and ‘finished look’ had to be trashed when I was designing for Yashaana’s bed. She made one thing very clear, she wanted a headboard with changeable covers  matching her curtains or the bed sheets! The bed I designed for her albeit had ample under bed box storage, drawer storage at the foot-board, but was without a grand headboard (the initial design had a lovely scalloped headboard).  The bed  had a simple one foot high attached headboard. The idea was to add another piece as the headboard as an extension which gave me the flexibilty to change upholstery as per Yashaana’s request.

The leftover piece of a ply board (5’ x 2’) lying in the basement became the base for the DIY project that I had in mind for her headboard. The idea was simple; to make a wall mounted headboard with a ply board that is covered with 3 inch thick sheet of sponge and cloth. It turned out to be a pretty neat DIY Headboard replacement against an expensive one! The whole idea of doing it myself gives me a high and a sense of satisfaction that I have been able to utilize the available resources/unused items lying at home, with least bit of expenditure. It took me four hours to complete this project. The following photographs are a broad guideline of how we (Yashaana & Self) did it. The first step was to cut and glue the 3” sponge sheet to completely cover right side of the 5’ x 2’ ply board.

Then I covered the sponge with a cloth (in this case I had an extra curtain from Yashaana’s Bedroom!) and before I stapled the cloth at the back to finish the look I tried my hand at quilting. For quilting we covered some wooden buttons with a shocking pink velvet and left a long trail of quilting thread (so that it could be pulled back sandwiching the cloth cover, sponge and the ply board). I secured the pulled back buttons ( to stay in ‘pulled back’ state) by tying a simple knot over small pieces of waste cloth. Although the quilting didn’t turn out to be as great as I had expected but never the less it looked just fine with the pink buttons sitting in the centre of the petaled flowers.

Before we hung the Headboard, we decided to add a dash of white highlight (with fabric colour) to the grey flowers on the cloth.

The final look! Not bad for a first timer!

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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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