A collector's delight

A collector's delight

Beautiful homes

A collector's delight

It is a stunning aerial view of Bangalore one gets from the uppermost floor (17th, to be precise) of a well-known apartment complex in Malleshwaram. And when we get into a picture-clicking spree, the home-owner Radhika Shastry understands. Especially since most guests tend to do this, once they enter the balcony or terrace of her very elegant house.

It is a completely traditional home, reflecting the quiet grace and tradition-loving attitude of its owner. And it also reflects her professional side––the home of globe-trotting Radhika who is the managing director of a leading timeshare-exchange company, is dotted with artifacts from around the world. Not only has she covered her walls, shelves and room corners with wall-art and statuettes, but also actually created small, thematic spaces including wall-niches, to display her favourite purchases.

Nook for collectors’ items
So, there is a small corner of the wall which she calls her ‘aboriginal space’––it has aboriginal art including a musical instrument and a gecko from Australia. In another corner, a painting of an old-fashioned kitchen hangs above a stand containing old-world bronze utensils, while Ganesha and tall multilevel brass lamps adorn another corner.
But none of it is a planned purchase nor are they designer stuff, she reveals. “If it is beautiful and looks like it will add to the aesthetic component of my home and also act as a souvenir I pick it up. And no, nothing is bought in fancy stores. There are stunning antique pieces and statues I picked up in remote corners of sleepy Dharamshala and also handpainted mugs––a limited edition by a local artiste––from a small shop in Colombo, as also many curios and décor objects bought in flea markets in Europe and south-east Asia.”

There are Buddhas galore. In brass, bronze, metal and stone combinations––and they are in virtually every room and the terrace too. But no, it is not because of any religious inclination and even less because of a plan to collect Buddhas as some do Ganeshas, for example. She simply has an eye for aesthetic décor items and she happened to encounter many such representations of the Sakyamuni in most places she visited.
The home is largely vaastu-compliant. The builder had already factored in many features and Radhika deferred to as many principles as possible which were practical and would not entail any big structural changes or odd arrangements. These principles included, for example, the alignment of the furniture and cooking area.

Thematic decor
The kitchen has a host of interesting décor objects all thematic. And it is separated from the drawing room alongside:  “I don’t really like the concept of an open kitchen. I feel that Indian cooking tends to be messy––like when you are making rotis for example––and so a kitchen which is closed or at least semi-closed is my preference,” Radhika says. So, after much thought, she installed a glass wall with a woven mat-like design. So, one enjoys privacy while getting the benefit of inflow of air and some natural light which fliters in through this screen from the balcony through the drawing room.

The magnet collection
But what arrests your attention as you enter the kitchen is the magnet collection. Over 350 magnets crowd the refrigerator’s surface––its three sides. They are from around 30 countries in the world and in a variety of materials––ceramic, paper-maiche, glass, copper, plastic, wood, etc.

They range from miniature fruits and flowers to replicas of famous museums and monuments.

There is a tiny wine-rack, champagne bottles and glasses, flower vases and a replica of the Mona Lisa too. Some are so decorative, they could almost function as costume jewellery, like for example, the Mdina glass magnets from Malta. 

Among the whacky ones include a miniature phone-booth which rings a bell when you use it, a computer with a sign “you have mail” and even a water-closet which makes a sound of water being flushed and a champagne bottle in an ice-bucket which goes “pop” when you press it. All of them are battery-operated.

“I bring them back as souvenirs of my trip––they are the best for this as they are light, small, easy to pack and carry and finally, very easy to maintain too,” she says.  
Radhika points out what her favourite spots in the home are––and they are guests’ favourites too. One is the balcony beside the drawing room which overlooks the railway track and elegantly accessorised with rattan seats, artifical lawn (looks good and easy to maintain, hence got it, she says), real plants, and ethnic art. “This is the best place for morning coffee and reading the papers,” she explains.

A charming gazebo
The other one is the terrace. With a lovely gazebo holding wooden chairs and plenty of potted plants (one container is shaped like a swan, another like a mridangam, and yet another like a cycle, etc. while the watering can is like a piggy) it makes for the perfect place to lounge around with a book or drink.

The gazebo is made of coconut wood––“chosen because it looks good and wears well,” she explains. The highlight is a frangipani tree standing alongside the gazebo.
 Together with plants which are punctuated with solar lights and a few small statues it completes the picture of an inviting space–– serene and breezy.

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