Be your own interior designer


Be your own interior designer

Radha Sundar provides us a glimpse of her ‘antique meets contemporary’ themed house, and a few tips, writes Shruthi Srinath

One look at Radha Sundar’s house in Bangalore will leave you in awe of the creative possibilities to deck a corner, an attic, a garden — for that matter, any space of a house. ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ you would ask yourself later, because it’s that simple. A freelance interior designer and a teacher of Tanjore painting, she says a presentable home entails reasonable expense and an eye for personalisation.

In an interview with Deccan Herald, she provides a glimpse of her ‘antique meets contemporary setting’ themed house, and a few tips. 

A touch of glass

Radha loves to collect glass bottles. “I love the colours and shapes they come in. I pick them up even if they are lying on roads! Most of them are olive oil and champagne bottles.” Bottle green and navy blue in colour, they sit with class on the breakfast slab in her kitchen.

Tip: “Place sticks of fresh flowers inside a bottle for a scented surrounding. They cost about Rs 15 a piece and bear a very welcoming smell.

A furniture storyteller 

A centre table can be more than a host to your coffee cups. Here, it turns into a treasure trove of memories. The mass inside is carved out, and a wooden grid over a mirror holds miniature antique pieces. The collection has ancient envelope openers bought from antique shops while on trips abroad, her husband’s coin collection as a kid, watches, her mother’s playthings (75-year-old metal elephants), a hair-knot remover etc. 


Tip: “Let all the things revolve around a theme to give a perspective. Say you are a writer, use pens, stamps, letters exchanged, miniature typewriters, paper clips etc. Nothing too big. Let it reflect your personality. And please use a coaster.”

A pergola welcome

A canopy of variegated bougainvillea flowers grown on trellis, altogether called a pergola, extends a green welcome at the gate. “Bougainvillea, the most preferred choice for a pergola, is a very hardy plant. It grows in all seasons. A constant source of colour in the garden, it attracts butterflies and birds. We are close to nature that way,” Radha explains.

Tip: “Tumberja is an alternative for bougainvillea flowers for a pergola. It drops down till the ground and looks beautiful. But it is seasonal, blooms between October and December only.”


Verdant gardens

Not especially large, the gardens (a front garden and a back garden) are green getaways, opposites of boisterous concrete surrounding. The front garden is carpeted with grass; pebbles, ferns and colour-changing plants form the compound of the garden, and ivies look like patterned stickers on the grey wall facing the garden. Stone mushrooms, mama duck and its chick and frogs waiting to be kissed present a perfect garden setting. A fish pond adds to the lively environ. The back garden, compounded by a bamboo fence, has potted cactus collection in a corner, ferns and creepers elsewhere. “It’s a great place to have morning coffee,” Radha smiles.

Tips: “People usually suggest growing coconut trees, papayas, guavas etc. But there is no match to these decorative plants abundant in colour and types. It’s a thing of beauty.”


Fancy corners

Corners could be accentuated variously, Radha adds. 

There is a basket of pine cones in one corner of the verandah. “My daughter picked them up from her school backyard,” she informs. In another corner of the living room, an easel with one of her Tanjore painting stands attractively. Potted plant with tortoise curios around it adorn another corner. Along the kitchen corner, there is a mini tea set, a stand of Chettinad cups and framed, square shaped, minimalist paintings of food.

Tip: “Try not to leave a corner plain. Also, curio collections could be placed in open showcases. Not just corners, lobby area, pathways between two places and space below a staircase can be done artistically with wall paintings, mirrors and candles.”


For a well-set space... 

* Do not stack all your collections in one place or at one time. Use themes to set up one collection at a time that complements the colour of your house. Do not clutter a space.

* Occasions are great, use festivals to your advantage and change your house’s interior accordingly.

* For a mid-contemporary look, ochre is a good wall colour. Go for earthy colours like yellow, brown, orange and red to complement the colour of your walls. Keep a watch on colour balance.

* Lighting alters your mood for the better. So, to let more light seep in, use a tainted glass on roof. Antique lanterns and chandeliers that give bright light contrast the light colour interior. Gardens could do with dim lighting after sundown from solar lights, which are affordable.

* buy antiques after a bargain. Avenue Road in Bangalore, craft melas, galleries and exhibitions are good places to shop for antiques.

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