Antique effect

home decor

Antique effect

The tendency to save a souvenir may have led to the growing trend of innovating remnants from old buildings pulled down to make way for newer constructions. Vatsala Gurunath finds out what can be done with these souvenirs.

The tinkling miniature cow bell, the various makes of Eiffel Tower replicas, the white stone remake of the Taj Mahal and closer home a near miss imitation of the Bahubali... all of these find pride of place in the display cabinet of most Indian homes these days. These are what we call souvenirs and are an act of taking a piece back home as a remembrance of an experience we cherished. A memento, a prize, a token of a sentiment. It is an innate tendency of the human being to save a piece of some things as a memory. An effort to capture time and keep it close to cherish often!

This tendency to save a souvenir could be a possible explanation to the growing trend of innovating remnants from old buildings which are pulled down to pave the path for newer constructions. The other reasons are the charm of the antique and a desire to acquire something unique by refashioning the old in to a quirky stunner! With ever increasing urbanisation, rapid constructions and a race to westernise, quaint old homes and giant ancestral structures are being mercilessly pulled down and replaced by swanky structures of concrete and glass.

 In the process what is happening to those carved wooden doors, the majestic thresholds, the regal swings and other handmade marvels? In the times of French inspired bay windows, where are those little cosy wooden window shutters and what happened to those hefty cast iron garden chairs? Where did the stone carved murals from ancestral homes vanish? Are these evidences of a bygone era’s skills and workmanship lost to current and future generations? Apparently not! Recently, one enterprising Bangalore-based interior decor specialist invited all of her friends and clientele to present photographs of home makeovers. There were several stunning entries. In all of these, one element was found to be commonly evident — most artifacts and utility items were mostly reused, recycled and refashioned! The winning makeover featured a clever and ch­a­rming modification of an old hand carved wooden cradle to a stunning coffee table with a glass top! Yes! An old wooden hand carved cradle is now a centrepiece coffee table receiving admiring and envious glances. The nondescript little window shutters are now a striking mirr­or cover, the majestic carved thresholds and door frames are now stylish consoles.

All good things need not come to an end, they can be recycled! Old building remnants are not disposable but are here to stay albeit, in a new and contemporary avatar. Stone shelves in old pantries are now stylised storage shelves in a glamorous bathroom and old garden furniture is proudly seated on the balconies of tony neighbourhoods.

While most of the metal of an old building is thrown away as junk,  melted and recycled, other remnants like wood, carved marble and art are valued. Antique wood is the most cherished. Recl­ai­m­ed wood, as these old remnants from constructions are termed, are solid, stable, durable, and beautiful. The furniture made from reclaimed wood has characte­ristics of different woods like teakwo­od, sheesham wood, saal wood etc. It is a mixture of all varieties of woods. It brings the warmth of the history behind it to the new construction being undert­a­ken and gives owners a romantic feeling of historic times. Its beauty is unique and durability is supreme. Whether with nail holes or clear-faced grains, these woods bring their history with them and invite another generation to permeate them with their own. The range of products coming out in such fashion is remarkable — constituting items starting from table coasters to full length wardrobes and covering small products like small boxes to large dining sets.

Even the traditional spice pounding stones, sieves and colanders along with stone grain storage containers are now prized as interior décor articles.

Antiques are special. People love the mystery and charm assoc­ia­ted with an antique. It presents to them a sense of claiming a piece of glory from a bygone era. This must also explain the rising number of fake antiques and imitations in the market. If you wish to own one of these, check out the chor bazaar or if you want authentic remnants straight from the site, head to the series of anti­que shops lined up on Mysore road. They sell old door frames to old and rusty fancy taps, the kind gori memsaabs from the Raj era had in their bathtubs!

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