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Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design


Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

Last updated: April 10 2019
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  • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

    A fresh window of options

    Last few years have seen people looking for materials other than wood for use in the doors and windows of their houses. One material that has been able to catch and hold their attention is uPVC. Aggressive publicity in print and electronic media by uPVC window suppliers over the last few years also has its effect. Most of the luxury apartments and office complexes now choose uPVC windows to freeze their window specifications and feel relaxed. Let's have a look at different aspects of uPVC windows:

    What is UPVC? UPVC is in fact written as uPVC. uPVC means un-plasticised poly vinyl chloride. While PVC is a flexible material, uPVC is rigid. Certain softeners are added to PVC to make it soft and flexible. When no such materials are added to PVC, it is called un-plasticised PVC and noted as uPVC. PVC is used in manufacturing of pipes while uPVC is used in manufacturing of both pipes as well as window frames. However, neither PVC nor uPVC is used in drinking water pipes. For drinking water, cPVC pipes are used. cPVC means chlorinated PVC.

    Why uPVC windows? Though good quality wood is the unanimous choice of material for doors and windows of the house, yet the problems of termite and warping of shutters during rainy season have made people check out other options. Time taken by the carpenter in fabrication and installation of doors and windows is another factor. In most cases, carpenter gang is the last one to leave the house during its construction and sometimes, the house builder has to virtually force the carpenters out. Non-availability of good quality wood, spiraling cost of wood and confusion caused by the availability of too many varieties of wood making it difficult to select genuine material, has further tempted people to look for other materials. There is so much resemblance in different varieties of wood that sometimes even a carpenter develops doubt over the right quality and in most cases, the suppliers' word and guarantee are to be relied upon. The trend to look for 'ready-to-use' materials that cause minimum hassles to the house builder is another strong factor. All these factors have led to development of a significant market for uPVC windows.

    Modification of uPVC: Window manufacturers modify uPVC by adding certain additives to it. These additives are UV stabiliser, heat and light stabiliser and extreme condition modifier. UV stabiliser helps uPVC windows in resisting the effect of UV radiation. As a result, the windows don't fade or whither away even after remaining under sustained exposure to UV radiation. Extreme weather condition modifier saves the windows from becoming brittle under extremely low temperatures. Heat and light stabiliser improves the performance of uPVC windows by making them stable under heat and light.

    Good properties: uPVC windows have good sound insulation properties. Their thermal insulation properties are also good. These are fire resistant, UV resistant and have a life span of about 25 years. These can be easily cleaned with soap solution. There is no fear of termite attack. These are normally white in colour but can be produced in certain wood colours also. The manufacturer has to certify that the uPVC windows provided by him are air tight and water tight.

    Window section: Like wooden windows, uPVC windows also have a frame and a movable part called sash. The frame is secured to the wall and the sash moves to allow the opening and closing of the window. Gaskets are inserted in the frame and the sash to increase heat and sound insulation. Glazing beads are inserted into the sash to hold the glass panes when these are fixed in the windows. While the frame and sash are made of uPVC, steel reinforcement is integrated in them to increase the strength of the windows. The window members are fusion welded.

    Types of windows: uPVC windows are either fixed, slider or casement type. In the fixed type of windows, the glass panes are inserted directly into the window frames and there is no movable part. In the slider type windows, the sash can be slid towards one side to open the window. In the casement type windows, the sash can be opened outwardly or inwardly. The windows can be tilt type also. In this type of windows, the sash can be tilted to open the window for ventilation of the room. Further, the tilt type windows can be top hung or bottom hung both. Manufacturers can today supply windows as big as 20 ft wide x 10 ft heigh with single sash up to 4 ft wide.

    Door sill problem: uPVC windows are successful in replacing wooden windows to a large extent but create problem when the house builder wants to provide doors too in uPVC to have a uniform look of all doors and windows. The problem is that in uPVC doors, the bottom member of the frame can't be omitted. In such a case, one has to step over the bottom member while passing through a door. Such an arrangement gives very odd feeling. Moreover, any luggage or items taken inside or outside of the house can't be slid through. One has to pick these up and carry them over the bottom member of the doorway.

    Colour option: Mostly uPVC windows are provided in white. However, if doors are provided in wood then a combination of white windows and wooden doors looks odd. In such cases, wood colours like walnut, mahogany, golden oak can be chosen for uPVC windows. The manufacturers charge extra for coloured uPVC windows. If doors are provided in aluminum, then windows too can be produced in aluminum colour. Not a very large range of wooden colours is available in uPVC windows.

    Hardware items: uPVC windows have the hardware items fixed to them and one need not buy the hardware items separately and get them fixed on the windows. The hardware items include handles, locks, lifters and sliding handles.

    Mesh provision: In India, we wish to provide windows having wire mesh shutters in addition to glass pane shutters. Windows with mesh are possible in uPVC and mostly, nylon mesh is provided in such windows. Care has to be taken in uPVC windows that no hand pressure is applied to the window mesh otherwise it comes out of the sash frame and the manufacturer has to be asked to send technicians to fix it again.

    Glazing work: Any type of glass panes, may be toughened or tinted or laminated or tempered can be provided in uPVC windows. Even double glazing with air space in between can be provided for heat and sound insulation. The glass panes are securely held by glazing beads supplied with the windows.

    Tests: uPVC windows are supposed to undergo many tests before these are passed for installation at site. Sound insulation test, fire resistance test, salt spray tests, density, hardness, surface finish, color fastness and tensile strength test are a few to mention. If an uPVC window starts giving problems during its use, it is a headache to get it changed or rectified. Therefore, manufacturer's guarantee and test certificate should be secured along with the bills while making payment for uPVC windows.

    The cost factor: Fixed glass and fixed mesh windows are in the range of Rs400 per sq. ft. Sliding type windows cost about Rs800 per sq ft. Casement type openable or top hung and bottom hung windows cost more. Prices may vary, depending on the size. Cost of glass, mesh, their fixing in position, erection of windows in walls, cost of hardware items like handles, locks etc are all included in the window rates. The type of glass, whether plain or tinted or toughened and its thickness also matter in deciding the rate. The main advantage to the house builder is that by placing order for uPVC windows, he becomes free of buying glass, wire mesh, wood, hardware items for windows and he has not to hire a carpenter for this job.

    Size measurement of site
    uPVC windows are not fixed during the raising of masonry but afterwards when the masonry and plaster work is completed. There fixing at site is done with anchor fasteners and doesn't cause any damage to the plaster work. The gap between the masonry and window frame, if any, is sealed with silicon sealants. On completion of structural work, the technicians note each and every window size as per actual position at site. While taking the sizes, they also note down whether a window has to be sliding type, fixed type or casement type or partly fixed, partly open-able. Whether to provide glazing or mesh is also decided at this juncture.

    A fresh window of options
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    • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

      Make your terrace don a perfect party look

      Summer is here and so are the vacations — an ideal set up for throwing a party! With rooftop parties in trend, it is very essential that you design that space in such a way that there is enough area for people to enjoy an evening and feel good about the open air space. Here’s some dough to make your creative juices flowing to set the stage for a sumptuous teraace party:

      1. Add cheery decorations on exterior walls or ceiling designs. Colourful outdoor fabric pieces, cut into triangles, make fabulous summer party decorations.

      2.Use attractive outdoor furniture for your outdoor dining area. Outdoor furniture made of natural and eco-friendly materials is a great “green” idea. Tree trunks or roots used as tables, stools and benches, enhance the natural feel of summer decorating.

      3.Lighting is one of the easiest ways to cast an enchanting spell on any outdoor space. Try some ideas when you want to illuminate a setting and create a distinctive mood. The table lit with kerosene lanterns that are easy to fill and light can mesmerise anyone. Lanterns provide the same shimmering glow as candles but unlike candles, they won’t blow out with wind. Lanterns can also be set down or hung by their handles at strategic points on the terrace or in the garden.

      4.Bars and buffet tables must be adequately lighted, but they’re often located far from electrical outlets. An easy, inexpensive solution is to gather clear apothecary bottles and fill them with lamp oil and wicks.

      5.Add some pretty pillows in outdoor fabrics to lawn furniture to add comfort and a splash of colour.

      6.Set up a food and drink station on a garden bench or a sideboard on your open deck or patio. Add an outdoor rug which is made of recycled or eco-friendly material can complete the look. Floor rugs beautifully define dining areas and create cozy and inviting outdoor living spaces.

      7.Add seating without taking up a lot of space by arranging large floor pillows in addition to or in place of deck chairs around a table. Using pillows for seating on small decks creates a more intimate and comfortable space for outdoor entertaining, and they’re super easy to rearrange or remove if you decide you need more room.

      8.To add the finishing touches to your outdoor space, think as you would if you were decorating your living room: soften hard surfaces with throws and cushions; add form and interest with sculpture and planters; and introduce colour with dining accessories such as drinks buckets, serving bowls and glassware.

      Keep everything relaxed, though, and don’t spend too much, there’s something about outdoor parties that brings out the clutz in all of us.

      Make your terrace don a perfect party look
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      • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

        Ramp up the style quotient

        Entrance ramp is an important feature of a house. Along with the front elevation, an entrance ramp is the first thing that is noted about a house. Though completed last of all, an entrance ramp demands due attention towards its planning, slope, look and strength. It has to be made capable of allowing smooth entry of vehicles as well as providing convenient access to all members and visitors of all ages to the premises. Let us have a look at some important features of an entrance ramp:

        Width: The width of an entrance ramp depends on the width of the gate. These days, the gates are kept wider to allow easy entry and parking of four-wheelers in the porch. Width wise, the entrance ramp should extend from outer edge of one gate pillar to the outer edge of the other pillar. If the gate is 11 ft wide and three ft wide gate pillars are provided on each side, the width of entrance ramp shall be 17 ft or more.

        Design: Many people prefer to provide a combination of steps and slope in the entrance ramp. However, entrance ramps without steps look better, are easy to use for entry and exit of vehicles and remain comparatively cleaner. Even if a main gate and a side gate are planned, steps should be avoided and a gentle and uniform slope to the whole of the ramp should be given. Otherwise, the steps may be limited to the width of side gate only.

        Joints: Care should be taken that the joint of the entrance ramp and the courtyard flooring shouldn't make the vehicle jump or a person stumble. Similarly, the joint of the entrance ramp and the road edge shouldn't create a trough allowing water to collect and stagnate there and making a vehicle enter the ramp with a thud. Both joints should allow a smooth transition.

        Toe walls: Toe wall should be provided at each side edge of the entrance ramp. The outer edge of each toe wall should match with the outer edges of the ramp. The toe walls should run perpendicular to the boundary wall of the house. These should be made in bricks and cement mortar and suitable foundation depth and width should be provided. Generally, a 9-inch wide toe wall is sufficient with an 18-inch wide foundation. Toe walls provide strong edge support to entrance ramp and it doesn't give way when the tyres of the vehicle ride the edge of the entrance ramp. Often, the vehicles temporarily parked over the entrance ramp have their tyres resting over the edge of the ramp as enough space is left in front of the gate for a person to pass. Toe walls also help in effectively containing the sub base material of the entrance ramp.

        Earth compaction: The earth filled below the ramp should be fully compacted before laying concrete over it. The toe walls on either side will contain this earth well and no chance should be taken on its compaction as heavily loaded vehicles may ride the ramp at any time of its use. Earth should be laid in layers of 6-inch thickness and each layer should be compacted by using a hand compacter called durmat or a motorised compacter.

        PCC: A layer of plain cement concrete should be laid over the earth fill before the final finish material is laid in the ramp portion. The thickness of concrete layer should be kept as minimum 50 mm if not more. A cement sand bajri (stone aggregate) ratio of 1 : 1 ½ : 3 is appropriate for this concrete. The concrete layer should be compacted well and cement slurry should not be allowed to flow to the bottom edge of ramp as the ramp is being laid to slope. To avoid flow of cement slurry from the concrete, water content of the concrete should be kept low. Ramps constructed without proper compaction of earth or laying of concrete layer often give way under load.

        Drainage arrangements: Water drainage arrangement should be provided along the top edge of an entrance ramp. Often, the courtyards are washed by the house owners by making liberal use of water and all the used water flows over the ramp, to the road creating a pool of muddy water there. To avoid such a recurring situation, water drainage arrangements should be made along the top edge of the ramp. To make this arrangement, a concrete or brick drain of 3 inch width can be created along the outer edge of courtyard and covered with an iron grating that allows the water to flow into the drain. Otherwise, a 4-inch diameter PVC pipe can be cut along its length into two semicircular halves and one of these halves can be inserted below the courtyard level along its outer edge, to act as a PVC drain. In this case also an iron grating should be fixed over the drain. Top level of iron grating should be kept flush with the level of the courtyard.

        Water disposal: It has been seen that the water collected through the drain is allowed to flow to the side lawn created by the house owner outside the boundary wall. Instead of doing this, the open drain should be connected to an underground pipe laid below the side lawn to dispose of the drainage water into the nearby manhole. Some people don't develop a lawn outside the boundary wall of their house but prefer to provide concrete floor there to facilitate parking of vehicles. In such a case also, drainage of water through underground pipe to the manhole becomes essential.

        Ramp finish material: Many materials are used by the people as top finish material for the entrance ramp. These include polished granite, marble, porcelain tiles, red stone, Kota stone, concrete tiles etc. Whatever material one may choose for use as finish material for the ramp, three aspects should always be kept in view. Firstly, the ramp should not become slippery. So use of polished granite should be avoided. Second aspect is that the finish material should not gather dust. Third is that it should look beautiful. Though polished granite looks beautiful, is easy to clean and dust resistant, but it may be very slippery, especially during rainy season. .

        Right material: Locally produced concrete tiles with self-design and mostly in red, beige or brown finish are commonly used by people in uniform colour or as a combination of two colours but their colour fades with time and often, the design created on their surface gathers dust. Marble is preferred by some people but it too becomes slippery. Rough stone used on the ramp doesn't look attractive. Good quality light coloured Kota stone when used on the ramp by creating attractive design in it looks good. Best material for ramp, however, is the leather finish granite which not only looks good, is durable, easy to clean, non-slippery and dust resistant. Care should be taken that the granite is actually provided leather finish by use of prescribed brushes for the same and not simply rough and unpolished granite.

        Ramp up the style quotient
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        • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

          Real style through false ceilings

          False ceilings can increase the aesthetic appeal of any room be it the kitchen or kids’ room or a modernistic living room

          Every corner of your home defines a part of your personality through the designs, colours and artifacts in that space. Classical, contemporary, modern or futuristic — the layout of your home, the kind of furniture, the kind of designs and textures on the walls and floor all talk of who you are.

          There were times when people overlooked the importance of styling their ceilings, and rather focused on the beautification of the walls and floor tiling. Today, with a wide range of designs that false ceilings offer, households feel spoilt with choice and find false ceilings an imperative part of a house makeover.

          Designer touch
          Ceilings as a design element offer the maximum unobstructed view of any interior space. False ceilings can offer a definitive look and feel to your rooms and build the right ambience as per your taste. With a wide array of designs options, false ceilings can enhance the décor of any room. Apart from stunning aesthetics, they offer functional benefits of thermal and sound insulation, better light reflectance and facilitate concealed and diffused lighting options.

          False ceiling is a secondary ceiling which is suspended close to the main ceiling structure using a metal framing structure. These can be finished in different materials like gypsum plasterboard, which provides a seamless finish and can be shaped to give attractive design options which make the space come alive.

          Plasterboards are also extremely fast and easy to install. A false ceiling using gypsum plasterboard is very easy to install. It takes approximately one week to do a plain false ceiling and anywhere from 1-2 weeks for designer false ceilings depending on the complexity. So a false ceiling can be installed in as much time or faster than a paint job. False ceilings are also cost effective and offer a great value for money.

          BOX Aesthetics:

          n Contemporary décor and designer look for your homes.

          n Seamless and elegant smooth finish (you will not have any of waviness and uneven finish which you get with plastered surfaces)

          n Lighting options: False ceilings in homes can open up a whole world of lighting options both in terms of spot lighting (white lights for reading) and mood lighting (party or relaxed atmosphere).

          n Concealment of wires: All the wiring for overhead fixtures like fans, lighting, air conditioning can be easily routed in the gap between the false ceiling and the soffit. This eliminates the crisscrossing of wires on the ceilings being visible and offers a clean and seamless look to your homes.


          n Energy efficiency: False ceiling creates an air gap between soffit and false ceiling level creating thermal insulation reduce the air volume of the room and hence reduce the air-conditioning load. This in turn reduces the power consumption towards cooling the space.

          n Thermal insulation: A very common occurrence in homes with the ceiling above exposed directly to the sun is the heat that comes through the ceiling. False ceiling is an effective way to manage this as the air gap between the soffit and the false ceiling offers thermal insulation that reduces the impact of the exposed sun.

          n Impact sound insulation: Sound coming in from the apartment above is also a commonly seen problem in apartment complexes. False ceiling can help reduce this sound by providing an additional insulating surface between your home and the home above.

          Real style through false ceilings
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          • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

            Desi charm

            Redefine your home this season with eclectic colours, artistic patterns and traditional accessories

            With the festive season round the corner, we explore new designs and products that bring life and add to the ethnic decor in home interiors.

            The rich heritage
            India is home to a diverse range of designs, patterns and a rich palette of colours. Drawing inspiration from Indian heritage and history helps to embellish the home décor in ethnic style. Look for typical Mughal motifs that add a luxurious backdrop to any setting or the mirror work of the royal maharajahs, palaces and havelis.

            The latest trend is to have digital prints in items such as cushions and coasters which reflect Indian themes and provide a chic, more trendy and fun touch to any room. For example, you have a Rajasthani princess picking flowers in her garden artfully depicted through a digital print on the cushion. If you blend the vibrant colours of the art with gold or silver, it will add a rich heritage-infused flair to neutral tone ambience.

            Likewise, patterns like peacocks and lotus flowers add to the ethnic touch. Interestingly, these days one finds grand monuments of bygone dynasties and various icons of the Indian cityscape rendered on textiles to create a strong heritage statement.

            Vibrant furnishings
            The ethnic textile furnishings of India are the best way to add an ethnic appeal to your decor. A blend of fabrics like jute, linen and silk is ideal for the right earthy feel. When done up with traditional motifs, like batik prints, hand block prints, tie and dye, embossing and lehria, they play a vital role in developing a ethnic look for a given space.

            Throws, cushion covers and pillows can be embellished with traditional Indian designs which predominantly include paisley leaves, peacocks and flowers for the artistic effect to the entire interior setting. Team them up with hand embroidered sofa covers and bedcovers and then see how you have an overall delightful look.

            Ethnicity in cutlery
            Take out old pieces of cutlery from the secret cupboards. Brass, copper, silver everything works. Avoid polishing, just clean them well and use them at the dining table, coffee table and centre table. An old brass bowl is ideal for flower arrangement.

            Old pieces symbolise royalty, they are not just precious and unique but also add depth to the décor!

            The right choice in accessories
            You can't get the right look without a good selection of decor items. The good news is that very interesting concepts have come up in the market these days. People are taking keen interest in promoting handicraft items and several unique props through exhibitions and online portals. For example, Bronze idols which are replicas of Chola, Hoysala and Pallava period sculpture works, stone and brass multi-metal figurines, traditional bronze lamps, Thanjavur paintings, hanging bells and lamps, terracotta pieces, they all enhance the ethnic décor in a significant way. The traditional wooden swing completes the look perfectly.

            Rich colour palette

            Colour combination is vital to any setting. One must coordinate Indian elements with such colours that it looks symmetric and soothing to the eyes. For example, shades of rich reds look beautiful when coordinated with off white base in gold zari work. So you can have a collection of cushions in reds and off whites with gold embroidery placed all together. Team it up with neutral throw in rich texture to add richness to your decor.

            A touch of traditional art
            India has a rich tradition of arts, crafts and textile heritage. Using pieces of art from different parts of the country adds up to the charm. Take out souvenirs of your travels and place them well. For example, puppets from Rajasthan, ikkat and wooden handicrafts from Orissa, tribal crafts from Madhya Pradesh are an excellent way to create a real ethnic Indian look.

            These days people are even using their old Banarasi and Chanderi saris to make cushion covers and curtains. These not only add a personal touch but also create an air of vibrancy, just ideal for a festive mood.

            You can also go for Madhubani paintings or Odisha's Pattachitra or a Rajasthani Pichwai. Additionally, place a kalamkari, ikkat rug to add that Indian touch.

            So, set aside the plain and plaid and bring out the "Desi Charm" in your abode!

            Desi charm
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            • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

              Home décor on a tight budget

              You wish to give a facelift to your home décor but are running short of finances? No worries, we explore some budget-friendly ways for an instant makeover

              Who says you have to spend a ton to give your home a classy makeover? Here are some easy, fun and practical ideas for sprucing up your abode without spending a fortune.

              Ideas that call for a little imagination, and little or no money, add instant style to any decor.

              Re-arrange the furniture
              Just change the seating arrangements in your drawing or living room and see the difference. You can move your sofa into a new corner, or change its angle. Get some chairs from your bedroom or guest room and place them with the sofa. It will make a world of difference in how a living room looks and feels. Even a slight shift in a room's furniture configuration can add new life so rotation of furniture is a must.

              Place rugs and stoles
              You don't have to buy expensive throws and carpets to change the look. Rugs are a good option. They are colourful, easy-to-maintain and relatively cheaper. Place these here and there and see how they add warmth and coulor to the barren flooring.

              Don't buy new throws, take out your own colourful stoles and huge shawls and place them as throws on sofas, couches, swings - you are sure to get a very lively feel.

              Be a clever shopper
              Be on the lookout for genuine sales. No harm in visiting flea markets. Sometimes you find chic, unique pieces at these markets, tag sales or surplus sales. Try to go early, the best pieces get sold very fast. Carry a measuring tape with you so you know exactly what piece will fit your space.

              Go natural
              You can make your rooms come to life by placing some plants here and there. Houseplants not only generate oxygen and remove toxins from the air, they also add life and colour to the space.

              Be creative
              You can create a lot of interesting props with your discarded stuff. For example, don't throw away empty bottles of wine, etc. Collect them, clean their label and start putting small pebbles in water and then place a small plant. You get a beautiful planter at no cost which can be placed anywhere in the house. Bamboo plants look lovely in coloured bottles.

              Quick bathroom redo
              For bathrooms, the easiest way for a makeover is to change the shower curtain. If you keep changing the colour and pattern of shower curtain and coordinate it with bathroom accessories, you will be amazed to see a fresh new look of your bathroom regularly without having to spend much from your budget.

              Reflect your style
              Let the centre table in the living room be your creativity canvas. A bare tabletop is the best opportunity waiting to be utilised.

              You can have a piece of glass cut to fit the tabletop's dimensions, then place your chosen snapshots, postcards, or printed fabric underneath.

              Kids can also utilise this space to display their collections of favourite sayings, postcards, stamps or even better their own drawings, sketches, etc. This is the best way to engage everybody in the family to enjoy decorating and create an open album for all to share their favourite collectibles.

              Bring in kitchen utensils
              There is no need to place plants and flowers in the same vases all the time or buy new ones. You just have to look for interesting utensils in your kitchen. If your grandma has left some, even better as the old ones in copper or brass look even more stunning. You can even use pickle containers for the same, they are just ideal and look pretty. Take them out and use them as planters and vases, and see how you create a unique décor statement.

              Liven up with candles
              These days candles are available in such amazing patterns, colours and fragrance. Whenever you spot one, pick it up and keep collecting the variety. Place your collection in clusters anywhere near the window or in the centre of dining table, they look lovely. You can even place these in glass containers and see how they enhance the overall look and feel.

              Remember, decorating is easy and affordable when you build upon what you already have. The trick is to see how you can utilise your existing home stuff and convert it into a personalised décor statement.

              Home décor on a tight budget
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              • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

                Not just another boring room

                Once a strictly functional space, the bathroom is now getting bigger and jazzier

                Modern bathrooms are being built larger and feature many significant innovations in design, styling, technology and function. The growing desire for luxurious bathrooms is manifesting in a variety of ways.

                V. Sethu, Director of Amset Ambience, who has marked his presence in the bathroom design and solutions industry for more than three decades, sees it as a reflection of changing life styles where aesthetics plays as important a role as value for money in designing a room.

                With the fast-paced lifestyle, more and more people today prefer bathrooms as a prime area to unwind and de-stress themselves. The number of bathrooms in a typical home has also steadily increased, meaning this once shared room is now often seen as a private, individualised retreat that should be treated as an important space.

                A good bathroom can be constructed for Rs. 25,000 onwards and there is no limit to where it can go. Planning of space is a top criterion, whereas proper ventilation and drainage facilities are indispensable elements to be considered while planning the initial phase of the bathroom.

                In Kerala, since the availability and access to clean water is not a matter of concern, the health conscious population are able to give top priority to cleanliness. This is underpinned by the growing number of people who are turning their bathrooms into a lavish expression of style and comfort.

                People often renovate their bathrooms prior to selling as they know this type of upgrade will increase the value of their properties.

                Not only is the bath rapidly shifting form and style but so are the basin and toilet. Basins now come in all shapes, sizes and materials, with porcelain being only one of a variety of options. The humble toilet is also being upgraded with concealed cisterns and sleek European styling. Sanitary ware styling has also undergone massive modernisation in recent years, although the most popular colour choice remains white and tap ware is still predominantly chrome.

                To lure the customers, leading brands like Hangrohe have taken their product experience and support virtually into the digital platform by offering an application for mobile devices. Users can take photos of existing washbasin or shower area, or even newly constructed bathroom space and then drag and drop a range of products and features from the portfolio available in the app with the swipe of a finger to create custom designs that caters to just about any taste.

                The innovative bath wares are very much versatile these days. The select buttons on the hardware have different functions depending on where it is being used: change between shower spray types, select the thermostat function, and start and stop the water on mixers. Depending on the particular product, the select buttons can even be started with the back of a hand or an elbow. This makes the technology perfect for all ages, and in particular for people with limited mobility.

                In today’s bathrooms, you can even control the shower remotely enhancing the spa-like bathroom experience. With the click of a button, your shower switches on and is warmed up and ready as you walk into the bathroom. LED lights can indicate the temperature of the shower stream before you enter; they can also be adjusted to provide mood lighting as well. The internet of things is no more a sci-fi, at least in the case of the bathrooms where everything and anything can be controlled electronically.

                Technology is at the forefront when it comes to water-saving efforts, and is also playing a role in enhancing the spa-like bathroom experience. From product-related initiatives that include a focus on reducing carbon emissions to minimising the need for chemical cleaning agents, strict guidelines are followed by makers while manufacturing faucets to restrict the flow of water to 12 litres per minute.

                At ISH 2015, the Japanese brand Toto introduced the revolutionary Tornado Flush system which is considerably quieter than the traditional pour down flush. The water-efficient system with both three litre and six litre options create a powerful jet of water vortex that cleans both rim and bowl effectively eliminating bacteria.

                The future sees bathrooms becoming more streamlined and simplistic, while also growing bigger and more spacious. Toilets are becoming more efficient and eco-friendly, taking up less space and requiring less maintenance.

                Not just another boring room - The Hindu
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                • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

                  High-end designs

                  Many furniture outlets in the city are bringing in more international brands to cater to a niche market

                  It is a case of taste, an adoption of a lifestyle, even a need to make a statement. The manner in which the interior of a residence evolves is the result of choices made not just in the structural elements but also in furniture opted, the style embraced and certainly the brands patronised. Invariably this choice reflects the design sentiments and inclinations of the homeowner and certainly size of the wallet. For, a high-end design bringing in international brands does not come at an easy-to-part rate.

                  While appreciation for high-end designs and international brands of furniture may be significant, how much of this appreciation transforms into actual purchase? Especially if such appreciation is forthcoming from a younger segment of clientele whose pockets may not be so deep.

                  As for those who have funds to spare, do they share similar sentiments of design appreciation to offer a significant working market?

                  Some of the top-end furniture outlets operating in the city definitely think so and choose to bring in more international brands to cater to what they call a niche market. The recent launching of a few international brands by the premium retail chain, Simply Sofas, was in keeping with this view. Home to both locally manufactured furniture-sets as well as some of the top international brands, Simply Sofas added a few more to its display array with the introduction of Leolux from Netherlands and Bonaldo from Italy, both recognised internationally for their innovation and excellence in design.

                  Leolux launched a range of attractive seating elements that were arresting in design and colours, the leather as well as fabric options breathing comfort combined with their luxurious appearance. While some of them like the Gynko range of double sofas with foldable arms and the Parabolica range that offers a seating for relaxation as well as work had received the Red Design award, there are others which are equally striking, displaying organic lines that house a supple body and exquisite craftsmanship.

                  The Bonaldo brand launched a striking range of dining tables and seating that are both leather as well as plastic, where the plastic seating elements are captivating in their innovative design sense and colours offered. The furniture range is flexible to adapt to individual customer inclinations, the ergonomic designs explicitly structured to offer maximum comfort wrapped in luxury as well as aesthetics.

                  Growing market
                  Speaking on the potential market for this international range, Sebastiaan Sanders, CEO of Leolux Living, said, “Customers here are increasingly exposed to international brands through their travels which translate as potential market for high-end furnishings. This market will grow in the coming years with the current mid-segment clientele too entering into this range.”

                  Concurs Alberto Bonaldo, Managing Director of Bonaldo, “The furniture offered in our range is flexible to adapt to different client base in different regions and this offers a confirmed demand for the product.”

                  The Managing Director of Simply Sofas, Maaruti Rao, says Bangalore is probably the best place in terms of design sensibilities given the awareness of international trends as well as the inclinations of the clientele. “The city has a discerning customer base given the high exposure to international brands. While high-end furniture still caters to a niche market, this segment is growing and is likely to become very significant in the next five years.”

                  Contending that the level of awareness as well as aspiration for high-end locally manufactured furniture as well as international brands is significant though it is still confined to a small niche segment, Sunil Suresh, Managing Director, Stanley Lifestyles, said, “the actual demand comes from a mature market for whom it is not just a case of showing off a brand but appreciation of the comfort, quality, functionality as well as the aesthetics.”

                  According to him, these brands address those who look for a particular style, finish and quality that will last for a long time in their permanent residence. He further feels that since most of the furniture is also specifically customised to suit Indian conditions and needs, there is certainly a significant market even when it is at the higher end. Stanley Lifestyles has its own range of high-end furniture which is designed in-house by international designers.

                  High-end designs - The Hindu
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                  • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

                    For some festive cheer

                    Colours are integral to home décor and add bring spaces to life, says Teja Lele Desai

                    This festive season, forget neutrals, saturated colours and monochrome schemes. Take a look at this brand new shade card and get a few ideas:

                    Ice cream colours

                    Just the thought of these colours puts you in the mood for fun. Think strawberry pink, pistachio green, apricot yellow, sherbet lemon, icy blue, sugary lilac, lemon green or plain vanilla. These soft, sweet and sunny shades recreate the feel of summer. They don’t have to be relegated only to children’s rooms. Use them to great effect in living rooms and kitchens — they’re the ideal pairing with a vintage/shabby chic décor.

                    Avoid using too many sugary shades in a space. Use two and pair with a neutral. White sharpens the effect of this candyfloss look.

                    Neon shades

                    These pops of colour add vibrancy and drama to any room. Funky neon shades — hot pink, neon orange or green, electric lemon, psychedelic yellow zany orange or loud lavender — stand out in any space by acting as accents on their own.

                    It could be a vase on the coffee table, a bright door or a dazzling chair can funk up the décor. But neon isn’t for everyone as it creates high drama. Create visual balance by contrasting with white or light shades.

                    Keep the space open, let in the light and ensure that the rest of the décor is muted so that the neon shades can take centre stage.

                    Fruity hues

                    If you love your fruits, try translating their freshness and tang into home décor. Fruity hues add sunny optimism to any kind of home. Play with colours — apple or pomegranate red, mango yellow, raspberry pink, tangerine orange or kiwi green. Explore fruity shades that aren’t used often such as shades of banana, papaya, pineapple, musk melon, grape, rhubarb, jamun or cranberry. Fruity hues work best against neutrals so show them off against walls in hues of white, gray, sand, ivory, linen or creamsicle.

                    Pair these colours with a medley of contrasting textures, fabrics, and shapes for a dynamic space. A shaggy rug, patterned wallpaper or a velvet ottoman add visual interest. Offset the squeaky clean feel by adding dark woods, glass, metals and tiles. Try layering — colours and textures — for greater impact.

                    For some festive cheer - The Hindu
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                    • Re : Its Now the Turn of Fine Home Design

                      Less is more when redecorating

                      It’s time to move things around a little; change that throw on your couch, jazz up the entire room with some colour or add a new home accent

                      Confused about how to revamp your home? Ranjani Rajendra has a few helpful suggestions

                      Tired of walking into the same living room at home every day? Maybe it’s time to move things around a little; change that throw on your couch, jazz up the entire room with some colour or add a new home accent. And if you have the time and resources, then go on and revamp the entire room, or your home, even. Product designer Parminder Pal Singh, better known as Bubbles, who recently showcased his home décor collection at Amethyst, suggests minor but smart changes to change the look of a room. “While changing your sofa every year might not be an option, why not go ahead and add a personal touch to your home with accents that are a reflection of your personality?” he says.

                      The brain behind Madheke and Taamaa, luxury and lifestyle brands in the home segment, Bubbles says his collections too spell the distinction in tastes people might have. “While Madheke is a luxury line with more expensive materials and straight lines, Taamaa is more for the modern-day executive. It has a younger feel and a lot more colours and brighter finishes. Taamaa borrows motifs from Japanese designs and has more Zen-like products, while Madheke is all about surface ornamentation that adds value to it,” he explains.

                      Work with basics, he suggests. “Stick to neutrals and add colour through accents — cushions, throws, rugs and even artefacts. Also try to de-clutter your space. Opt for one statement accent to lift a particular section of your home rather than crowding too much together. It helps to let the focus remain on that one object — maybe get two statement chairs and place them strategically to perk up the space, without actually overwhelming the whole look,” he adds.

                      If accessories for side tables are your style, then he suggests opting for sculptural forms. “Pick up something that catches your eye and you would be pleased to own.” Another way to change the look of your home would be through panelled walls. “They are catching on in a big way; wallpapers with textures and panelling are a great way to change the look of your interiors. But do choose carefully; match it with your existing furniture, make it look like art. It helps to think of the room as a whole when you are picking elements for it; the key is to strike a balance,” he explains, adding, “For instance, in a photograph, composition is key. The same applies to décor; it is important to choose and compose rooms in a certain manner. It is not necessary to have too much, but it is important to have the right things in the right places.”

                      Talking about the current trends in the home segment, Bubbles says, “Metallics are coming in, in a big way. Not bling, but statement works. Furniture is also taking on more feminine touches, silhouettes and colours. It’s no longer about straight lines.”

                      “There is a huge demand for good pieces of furniture. Fully-upholstered beds are a rage with fabric either pleated, box pleated or quilted. Sofas with ribbed cushions, Victorian glossy cabinets with exotic veneers and military profile, and easy chairs fully upholstered with graceful silhouettes and smart legs rule. Make a trendy statement with a piece of furniture made of recycled materials, and this can end up forming the base for the entire look,” says Archana Bansal of Twotone Designs.

                      She goes on to add, “The season’s trend is depicted in almost all aspects of interiors — right from furniture to wall paints and everything in between. Art deco, old look with a mix of new, all white with hints of pop or even neon shades, are all some of the diktats. The materials are lavish with brass, gold, velvet and metallic leather in the lead. Cobalt blue and canary yellow are the hotties you want to drape over the walls. Indigenous art and cultural motifs repeated for accents, wall treatments and rugs are all the rage.”

                      If a new look for your home without actually moving too much around is on your mind, then Archana suggests bringing in a piece that stands out. “Depending on the setting, there’s a lot you can do. For instance, if it is a sitting area that already has a three- and a two-seater, I would bring a single ornate mop or silver-leafed chair or even a pair of them. I would then change the walls and cushions. If there is no space available, then I’ll probably change the curtains, upholstery and cushions, and go for a newer colour palette, materials, rugs, artefacts, accent pieces and so on. It could even be a very smart console.”

                      Given that Bubbles has worked in close association with top labels like Ralph Lauren, Luxury Living, Armani/Casa and Oscar de la Renta, Bubbles knows just what works in the international market. And in that respect, he says India is still far behind when it comes to interior design.

                      “We’re still at a nascent stage in terms of the exposure the Indian clientele has to the international home segment. But then again, even internationally, the home segment is usually a season or two behind when compared to fashion,” he says, adding, “Yet, unlike with fashion, one has a freer hand when it comes to home designing. You have the liberty to create a style and personalise it and let your home reflect your personality. The options are endless.”

                      Dress your home

                      - Go from Zen to luxurious by investing in loose pieces of furniture, like coffee tables and end tables. Also opt for luxurious materials for soft furnishings.

                      - Introducing a trendy wall storage can do a lot for the space as well.

                      - A very simple yet important way to change the space is accent colours. Whether you want to make the space warm and cozy, or cool and relaxing, you can do it all.

                      - A change of colour on the walls can also significantly change the look of the room. There are numerous panellings available, which are ready to fix and change the look of a room drastically.

                      - Another fabulous way to instantly brighten up the look of your space is through soft furnishings. Other than the regular stuff available, you can also go in for more customised, sturdy, stylish or blingy accessories.

                      Less is more when redecorating - The Hindu
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