With flat culture taking roots in the region and land becoming scarce, terrace and balcony areas are increasingly being utilised for gardening. Terrace or balcony gardens are in effect an extension of interior designing to the space outside the living areas in which plants are used creatively to create the décor effect.
Before planning such a garden or selecting plants for it, the following points should be kept in mind:
Amount of sunlight available: The amount of sunlight that will be available to the plants depends upon the direction of the balcony or the terrace. At some places taller buildings and huge trees around tend to restrict the sunlight. This information will help in selecting the different species of plants. Hardy and sun-loving plants can be placed on the sunny side where as shade-loving plants can be placed in limited sunlight.
Water availability: Terrace gardens generally need more water than the normal gardens due to greater evaporation from soil and leaves. The amount of water available on a regular basis will enable one to select a wider variety of plants. There is an option to counter water shortage by installing drip irrigation automatic watering system using an automatic watering timer.
Wind velocity: Terrace environment is normally windier, so some plants may need to be anchored if the wind speed is high, failing which they may get uprooted. Wind further increases the requirement of water.
Screen: In case of high- speed winds a robust screen should be erected to break the speed of wind. This will also provide shade to the plants and can be utilised for the flowering climbers to further add grace to the garden by allowing them to grow vertically. This will also give additional space to jazz up the terrace with hanging baskets.
Railing: It is essential to ensure safety.
Plants suitable for such gardens
Plants with fibrous roots and shallow root system should be preferred over plants with taproot system.
Drought-tolerant plants often survive the best in such “far from ground” gardens.
For the garden to remain colourful at all times of the year, plants with different flowering periods and with different texture and foliage colour should be selected.
Plant selection: The following plants are suitable, but other plants may also be tried.
Cacti and other hardy succulent plants are a natural choice.
Climbers: begnonia, qusiqualis, heliotropium, bush rose.
Vegetables: cucumber, lady finger, brinjal, tomatoes
However, to establish a proper terrace garden, corrugated sheets can be used and the desired slope for drainage is given. Nylon net is placed over the sheets to avoid compost from getting drained off and further about 3-4 centimetres of small brick-pieces are placed over the net to allow the drainage of any extra water for the well-being of the plants. Finally place 18-22 centimetres of compost and create your own garden.
Tips to keep the garden healthy and beautiful
To grow bushy annuals, pinch them at the initial growing stage to increase lateral branches, resulting in more number of flowers.
Remove dead flowers as these take away avoidable sap from the plant.
During extreme summer, watering may have to be done twice daily.
Don’t grow plants having big leaves as these will get tattered due to high velocity winds on the terrace area.
Select plants with shallow root systems.
Those who neither have enough space nor the time to establish a reasonably good terrace or a balcony garden, there is an option to have a container garden.
For this no treatment of terrace is required for providing proper drainage. Light weight fibreglass or plastic designer containers about 18-22 centimetres in depth and of reasonable size with holes at the base are taken. These containers can be fabricated as per the design; the design should be made keeping mind the space available. To make the compost light and nutritious, normal garden loam, vermi compost and peat in equal proportion along with some bone meal, neem khali and NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potash) are properly mixed.
Ornamentation of these gardens dramatically enhances their beauty. It can be achieved in a number of ways:
Some sort of movement and sound in the garden adds an extra dimension to it. A small plug-in fountain will do the job excellently. Wind chimes can create magical notes to soothe the senses.
To further accentuate, a small water reservoir in conjunction with the plug-in fountain can be catered to place water plants like Sylvania natans, Pistia stratiotes and water ferns.
Solar lights or any other lighting arrangement will add grace and glamour to the garden in the evenings.
Small pebbles and thematic stones along with small animals and bird figurines can be aesthetically placed.
To maximise floral space, hanging baskets can be used.
In this age of high property rates, small homes and immense congestion, making that confined space you call a home seem more spacious is a mammoth task. However a bit of creative energy and decorative talent can do wonders and make your house look neater and lighter.
TRENDY MINIMALISM: New minimalist techniques make your pad look classy and spacy
The latest trend is empty spaces and stripped-down furniture. This clutter-free and non-chaotic style is what separates a classy home from a messy one. Where less is more and not a bore!
To make small look beautiful you require a minimalist approach in decorating. So gather your creative energies and throw all preconceived decorating notions out of the window. Consider your pad as your canvas.
Interior designers say minimalism is more than just a theme for your home. It is an organised and uncluttered state of mind, a form of self-expression that goes beyond just furnishings. The idea is to create something simple, clean and stunning.
What you require is natural and artificial light, stark walls and some well chosen contemporary yet elegant pieces of furniture and voila, you have a room to die for.
In fact, one striking piece of furniture or a well-chosen lamp can have maximum impact whereas it would be lost in a more complicated setting.
Designers suggest that white, textureless walls and ceilings that are deliberately spartan create a reflective expanse. Crisp, classy and contemporary furniture, innovative lamps, small side tables and paintings make a room look stunning and spacious.
The furniture should be in clean straight lines and preferably resting on legs of steel. Side tables, centre tables or consoles should preferably be glass-topped to give the room a lighter look.
Light plays a crucial role in a minimalist setting as it brings warmth and personality. Concealed in-floor and overhead lighting can illuminate your room in a captivating way. Soft shafts of light from the floor may be used to cast a glow on the walls and ceiling.
In the living room embedded lights in the ceilings give the impression of vastness, as do large openings in the walls (French windows) instead of smaller windows or doors. Remember to keep these open to let the natural light stream in and add life to your room.
Colours greatly add to the sense of space. Light coloured upholstery, preferably in shades of white and cream, may be just what you are looking for to create an illusion of space.
BURST OF COLOURS
If deep colours are your style then you may place some carefully chosen pieces of light furniture to provide bursts of colour and a visual focus against a stark background. Another great idea is to have stand-alone arrangements with a lot of empty space.
Interior decorators say that minimalism simply means subtraction. Edit your mess without losing your style. Over the past few years this style has caught on in the country though it is yet to transform into a raging trend. However, they add that people will soon feel the need to assess their space and how they want to use it.
By understanding the essence of modern design you can transform your home into a simple yet luxurious, minimalist retreat.
- Stick to the safe neutrals--white, cream or light gray on walls.
- Have a tiled floor that stays clean and looks spacious.
- Do not clutter any part of the room. Have plenty of place to move around.
- Use light furniture that has steel legs.
- Have glass-topped tables.
- Try and have a stand-alone arrangement
- A large French window in a small room will give it an illusion of space.
- Good lighting plays a vital part in minimalist surroundings.
- Have a couple of innovative lamps at strategic corners.
Shweta has been seeing that huge couch and the old carpet in her living room ever since she got married six years ago. But it’s not just the couch. The whole room looks boring. She knows that it needs changes to liven it up and make it more stylish. Some new things would have to be added, others spruced up and some discarded. Lighting would have to be changed and walls freshly painted.
But instead of doing it on her own Shweta decided to take professional help and met interior decorator Kanika Bhambi who, after studying the living room, drew out a plan that included an amalgamation of everything on Shweta’s wishlist — some new stuff, getting rid of a few things and jazzing up the living space.
Like Shweta, a number of people are seeking the help of specialists to give their living rooms a fresh and inviting look that reflects warmth, comfort and friendliness. Says interior designer Jose Menon, “You can get the best effect by mixing the conventional with the bold approach.”
According to Menon the first thing to decide is the colour scheme, including the walls, upholstery, curtains and drapes. “Generally I would go with a soft pastel shade for walls which would not clash with other colours or furniture designs.”
Choice of furniture
If he is conventional in his wall colours, Menon chooses to be different as far as his choice of furniture is concerned. He recommends a few wooden chairs and a centre table with matching metallic furniture. “The chic and classy designs in metal give a very stylish edge to a living room. It is maintenance-free, good-looking and is not overwhelming,” says the designer. A number of up market stores are displaying furniture that fuses metal and glass. For example, a coffee table with a copper or wrought iron base and a simple glass top always adds class to the room. It can be matched with a sterling silver coffee set for that stunning effect.
Hand cut and etched glass
If silver is not your style, then you can opt for something more exotic, like glass which has a very fluid shape and can be moulded into many beautiful forms. It also does not take up too much space and looks best when well lit.
Hand cut or etched glass is the latest rage nowadays with coloured and painted glass not too far behind. Most glass pieces are best as figurines or even as amorphous shapes. Venetian glass may be your best bet, but you can even opt for cut glass and other items. Be very careful that your glass objects d’art are kept on a high table for safety.
Furnishings and upholstery
Furnishings and upholstery can make or mar the living room. “The rule is simple,” says Manini Shankar who runs a handspun weaving unit in Noida. She says soft furnishings in bright colours will make your living room come alive suddenly. One can now get world class fabrics and designs from all over. Curtains, dhurries, rugs, cushion covers, table cloths, mats and sofa covers are all wearing a new sophisticated look.
Colours can be classified into bright, soft, subtle, warm, cool, bold and even dramatic. They can make or break a look and either highlight or ruin the ambience of your house. “Your living room must be full of colours you are comfortable with. If you are a black and white personality, you won’t be happy in pastels and vice versa,” says Shankar. What one must keep in mind also is that besides colours being a rather personal thing, much depends on the natural light that comes into the room. The climate you live in is very important, too. She personally prefers bright hues to muted ones. “Bright colours increase efficiency and give a vibrant, exciting and sophisticated aura. They also create an illusion of space and warmth. So, spread some sunshine and liven up your space. Make bright, cheerful colours work for you with nice furnishings.”
Finally a word about lighting. Experts are of the view that the living room should have adequate lighting which is neither too bright which can strain the eyes nor too dark that will dilate the pupils. It should be comfortable for proper visibility and for walking around.
However, paintings and pictures hung on walls should be highlighted with special lighting the kind seen in art exhibitions and available in abundance in upmarket lighting stores. This will not just brighten up the art in the living room but also lend sophistication to the room.
Once you have the right shades on your wall, the correct mix of metal and wood in furniture, exotic collectibles and resplendent furnishings, your living room would become a topic of envious conversation and a very busy part of your home as more and more guests would like to spend time there.
Apart from metals like copper and wrought iron, fashion gurus are discovering the understated elegance of silver which is establishing its own identity in India’s jet-set circles. It is not just the traditional silver merchants who have set in the boom. New boutiques are mushrooming and these have on offer some of the most exotic collectibles that can be used as decorations in the living room.
Veena Syal owner of Homeglow, a boutique dealing in designer collectibles for the living room, says, “Sterling silver items are real cool because they have so much life in them. They are valuable and at the same time are very handle-able and can lend a great charm to the living room.”
Silver looks best with glass tables and colourful accessories. If you are choosing a simple set of silver candle stands, then go in for red or blue candles to offset them. Silver objects should be kept in a place which is well lit.
Bathrooms have come a long way from the tiny, dingy little cubicles that our ancestors rushed in and out of as fast as they could. Spending any thought or money on doing up these rooms was considered a sheer wastage until very recently. Bathrooms are increasingly becoming a focus in homes and the importance of the right bathroom suites and bathroom furniture is key to creating a well designed and welcoming environment to prepare for the day ahead or relax after a stressful one. As such, badly designed and poorly decorated bathrooms are becoming a thing of the past as homeowners are beginning to design bespoke bathroom suites that are perfect for their lifestyle.
The bathrooms of today are different in quality and style - ranging from the practical to luxurious. Every individual's idea of luxury differs, as do the features they would like to include in their bathrooms. The possibilities are endless :His and Hers wash-basins, bidets, Jacuzzis with underwater lighting and adjustable slide jets with an option of water, heated air or both, sauna, steam bath ,whirlpool or a reading nook with bookshelves and two comfy chairs! Then there are bathrooms located in a secluded corner of the house beside a glass wall that brings the outdoors within.
Luxury at its best…
TURN COLD BATHROOM TILE LUXURIOUSLY WARM
Five-star luxury is all about how you feel - a warm and inviting bathroom is a great place to start. Stepping into a warm bathroom first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day. The warmth underfoot really makes a difference — especially if you have tile or stone flooring. The process of achieving this creature comfort is not complicated. Electric floor warming systems can be easily installed in cement under ceramic tiles and stone floors by your local tile contractor.
Have you ever had the frustrating experience of stepping out of the shower only to find a steamed up mirror? You are not alone. The electric bathroom mirror defogger solves this problem and enhances the bath and shower experience, not only in hotels and fitness centers but also at home. These simple and affordable steam-free systems can be installed conveniently behind any fixed mirror.
Wrap yourself in a warm, comfortable towel. There are great varieties of models and sizes. And the best part is that towel warmers are very energy efficient and safe to use in any environment and because of these advantages, many people planning to remodel their bathrooms are considering installing a towel warmer.
Whether you’re looking for an extra touch of class or an illusion of space, here are the reasons why bathroom screens are a wiser choice than a shower curtain.
Are you tired of your bathroom getting flooded with water every time you take a shower? Does your shower curtain get in the way when you’re trying to have a bath? Or is it covered in horrible mildew stains and you constantly find yourself replacing it? Are you finding it tricky to get a shower curtain that matches your bathroom suite? Then it’s best not to bother with a shower curtain at all. A much more sensible option is a bath screen that has a whole host of benefits in terms of both style and practicality.
Chromatherapy is the term for a branch of holistic healing that utilises colour to achieve optimal health. Its practitioners believe that coloured rays have an effect on the body: when a colour is seen, it can have an emotional impact but there may be an even more powerful physical reaction. When rays shine close to the body, they penetrate it, travel through it, causing changes in cells, blood vessels, and the nervous system.
Designed around this concept of chromatherapy, the new bath range ‘Chromatherapy’ allows an individual to be immersed in a warm, ultra-deep bath and, with the touch of a button, enhance the bathing environment to include a full spectrum of dramatic colours from soothing to stimulating.
Most people can testify to the relaxing, calming effect that five minutes in a sauna can give, athletes may attest to the healing properties that they contain such as relieving the pressure and strain from sore muscles and joints or cleansing the reinvigoration that they can offer your skin. It seems strange then that despite such being such rewarding products that more of us don’t strive to own them.
Several manufacturers now offer systems with ambient rain that provides water from the ceiling.
Some shower systems offer a variety of colour lighting options for different moods. Enjoy the intensity of red or use blue light to cool and relax.
Look for waterfall effects with rainforest shower heads.
Different spray options, from regular showerheads to body sprays, bring the perfect showering experience.
Look for built-in music options to enhance your spa experience.
Select how hot you like your shower. Thermostatically controlled let you set the temperatures so every time you step into the shower, it will be the same temperature.
Bathroom accessories are color coordinated with the rest of the like the soap trays, bathroom shelves, towel rails, toilet-paper holders, hooks and toothbrush holder. Walk in wardrobes adjacent to the bathroom are also a common feature. A lot of stress is also laid on exhaust, fresh air fans and air conditioning.
Current lifestyle often demands that bathrooms offer extra facilities beyond the purely functional; besides the now mandatory closet storage, make-up table-cum-dresser, washing machine or even a little nook used as a dressing space.
Jacuzzi and Whirlpool offer an extensive choice of bath tubs.
Watch for the number of jets. Some tubs have only 6-8 jets. This means you will feel the same sprays at the same place all the time.
Air-jetted spa tubs are not only luxurious, but they also promise improvements over traditional water-jet whirlpool baths.
You can go + size with a 2-person tub.
Integrated aromatherapy diffusion system lets you add your aroma options.
Style and Substance
There are numerous factors that need to be considered when it comes to redesigning bathrooms and some of the important one include:
Budget: For those opting to redesign their bathrooms, the all important aspect to bear in mind is the budget. Bathroom furniture, fixtures and fittings can be tailored to meet all budgets and new bathroom suites need to complement any furniture used in the bathroom.
Mechanics: If altering the layout of bathrooms or bathroom suites, it is important to bear in mind the existing pipe work that the bathroom is serviced by. Significantly altering the location of bathroom fixtures and fittings may add cost to the overall redevelopment of a bathroom.
Furniture: When it comes to setting the tone in a bathroom redevelopment, bathroom furniture has an important part to play. For example, you could opt for freestanding or fitted bathroom furniture to complement a new bathroom suite.
With a steam shower one can experience the indulgent warmth of steam. Let your body relax and purify itself in the rich moisture. Relieve muscle tension and joint fatigue. Reduce stress and cleanse skin impurities. The safe, soothing comfort of a steam bath makes the tensions of the world simply fade away. The easily adjustable control panel offers temperature selection and sets the steam session duration up to 60 minutes.
In one compact unit, the size of a typical shower, you can take a luxurious steam or whirlpool bath, enjoy a multi-head shower, and get a full-dimensional back massage. Steam shower units have a contemporary and elegant look, and come equipped with a radio and telephone, a remote control, and connections for your CD player.
The residential realty market may be tepid, with buyers preferring to wait for prices to slide further in view of the current low trend, but things are really hotting up as far as their preference regarding the amenities and facilities being provided by the builders is concerned. A designer touch for their home has become as important as the three deciding commandments of location, connectivity and price. The sale volume in such projects is decidedly on the higher side. Following this trend, more and more developers are now collaborating with interior designers to provide not only classy interiors but also customised ones.
So apartment designs have gone ‘cool, chic and contemporary’ with an eclectic mix of design and functional elements. Almost all new projects being launched in the tricity region come “embellished” with modern amenities, high quality furnishings and decor. These stylish apartments offer open-plan kitchen and living areas, luxury bath and shower rooms, spacious bedrooms with built-in wardrobes, wooden floorings, wall paper, textures, imported tiles and other designer fixtures. Sharing a builder’s perspective about this trend, Sanyam Dudeja, COO, Punjab, of the Taneja Developers and Infrastructure Ltd. (TDI), that has township projects coming up in Mohali, says, “It is not so much the size that matters, but the overall aura of the home. Buyers now prefer homes with a distinct designer touch. It should be swish, relaxing, and most of all, gratifying.”
It is to cater to this trend that realtors, too, are laying more emphasis on giving a designer edge to the apartments to make these smart homes. “Right from the inception of a project to the final touch-up, smart features and interiors are the top priority,” adds Dudeja. The trend that started in the region with the popularity of modular kitchens some years back has slowly led to the concept of the whole house being unique and designer, says Chandan Singh, Executive Director, Aeren R Enterprises. With home buyers becoming ‘aware and demanding’ about the interiors and fittings, a bigger chunk of the total cost of a residential unit is being spent on providing these to them. “The approximate division of cost covering the construction and land is 60:40. So we can safely say that if a flat costs Rs 65 lakh then almost Rs 38 lakh is spent on giving a good product to the customer and the rest is the cost of land. And a major portion of this is spent on providing quality interiors and branded fittings,” says L.C. Mittal of Motia Developers that has residential projects like Royal Oasis and Royal Palm coming up in the tricity area.
Little wonder then that specialised interior designers have become key components of the construction team in residential projects in this region.
With the average homebuyer “age bracket” going down substantially, the younger generation is looking for not just a simple home but a home which matches a luxury villa or an apartment. There is also demand for CCTVs, remote control switches, signal boosters, cable connectivity, wifi mobility etc. As Ashwin Duggal, interior designer for TDI homes says, “In the age of Internet and technology, smart homes have become more than relevant, especially for the well-travelled clientele, which is always on the move. Smart homes integrate all smart features and electronic devices, allowing centralised control which improves convenience, energy efficiency and home security. Nowadays, one important factor that customers look out for while buying homes is convenience coupled with luxury.”
Apart from the “decorative elements”, specifications like earthquake resistant RCC-framed structures, treated hardwood doors and windows, emulsion paints for interiors and weather-proof emulsion for exteriors, laminated door paints, modular kitchen with modern fittings, vitrified tiles and provision of lifts and escalators are also being preferred by the home buyers.
The demand for Vinyl flooring is fast growing in India, in both residential and commercial spaces. These floorings are fast replacing the standard vitrified tiles. Vinyl floors are an ideal choice for a wide range of commercial applications.
These floors are proving to be more resilient and cost effective as compared to other options. Versatile, low maintenance and stain resistant, the vinyl floor coverings are available in homogeneous and heterogeneous patterns.
While the homogeneous variety consists of a single layer that adds depth and intensity, the heterogeneous range offers multiple layers and patterns, allowing for expressive patterns and designs to perk up floor spaces.
Further, some of the patterns closely follow the look and feel of natural flooring materials. They are also enriched with added strength, flexibility and resistance, and are also anti-microbial, stainless, stain-proof, anti-slip and eco-friendly.
The varying thickness of the material allows users to choose from thin to most durable, depending on the end usage. Available in a host of colours and patterns, the vinyl options are also a great choice for high moisture spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Vinyl flooring can be deployed from wall-to-wall easily and can work around the height problems of door jambs.
It costs 70 per cent lower than other flooring materials and ranges from Rs 110-Rs 185 a square foot for the homogeneous variety. The heterogeneous range costs between Rs 120-Rs 220 a square foot.
So if you are looking for quality as well as varied designs in the floor coverings space, the concept of vinyl and its myriad range is definitely a good choice to look out for.
Variety is the spice of life and when it comes to choosing wallpaper there are a wide range of options available in market. Wallpaper is a great way to add feel to any space. Thanks to the wide choice of colours, designs and textures available in the market you can set the mood of any room as per your taste.
Wall papers can be applied easily and can be changed whenever you get bored of a particular look. These are the easiest way to add colour and character to a plain single-colour wall. Besides the decor element, wall paper is also great to camouflage cracks or other imperfections in a wall and add a stunning effect to the room in just few hours.
A perfect choice of wallpaper can do wonders to the room; a small room can look spacious with the right choice of pattern and colour etc. Here are some ways in which you can spruce not only your walls but also any type of surface by using wall papers creatively.
Add more colour and life to the room. Highlight one wall by putting wallpaper on it. Along with wallpaper use a painting which will makes the space look more alive and eye-catching.
Wallpaper is nothing but a beautiful and stunning covering for a dull and plain wall, but why just walls? It can be used on different things.
A magnetic board covered with wallpaper in spaces like office area, study room or children’s study will make it look appealing and also serve the purpose of sticking notes, pictures, reminder or any other thing over it.
Focus display area with the border framing of wallpaper. Instead of covering the complete wall with wallpaper try making an outline frame of wallpaper inside which you can put small frames, shelves etc.
A band of wallpaper running all around the room either on top of the wall or as a bottom panel will add an extra colourful dimension.
The house is the reflection of the owner’s personality; let it reflect at the entrance itself by covering the border of the entrance door with nice royal textured wallpaper for bright and royal entranced to the house. You can also use it in covering borders of windows.
These can also be used on ceilings to lend a new charm to a room and make it look beautiful.
Open cabinets look dull and boring, therefore a nice colourful wallpaper as the background of the cabinet can add freshness to the whole area and make it look more pleasing to eyes. You can also do the same for your closet. Wallpaper generally acts as the focus area of a room. Out of four walls, one wall will have a wallpaper to make the room look more colourful, It’s time to try out something new and different.
Proper lighting can add a new dimension to art just as bad lighting can destroy its beauty. Handling light intelligently to accentuate paintings is an art in itself
You have displayed a masterpiece on your drawing room wall. But no one bothers to give it even a second glance. Have you ever wondered why?
Maybe, something is amiss with the way you have lit up. Lighting up a painting is an art in itself — an interplay of highlighting and recessing the details in a work of art.
Spotlights are considered to be the best way of lighting up a painting but these should highlight the right areas for a dramatic effect
Ask leading artists or gallery owners and they will tell you that proper lighting can add a new dimension to art just as bad lighting can destroy its beauty. “Light should not just highlight the details but also enhance the visual quality of a work of art,” says Prabha Das, a Delhi-based art curator.
Usually there are many corners, pictures, objects in a room that get lost in a general flood of light. Thus it becomes important to use intelligent light to accentuate them.
Lighting experts say that paintings should never be highlighted with natural lighting. The biggest danger is that the sun’s ultra violet rays can rapidly fade colours. Secondly, natural lighting has a changing quality as it comes from different directions and varies in intensity throughout the day and would suppress the hues in a painting.
Even artificial light should be used selectively. Here the choice of colours is critical. “Avoid fluorescent lighting as it is cold and harsh and lends a bluish tinge to a painting. Tungsten bulbs with their yellow light are warm and bring the best out of art.”
Besides tungsten, a number of gallery owners are lighting up art works with halogen lamps because of their longer lifespan and bright illumination. But Prabha Das is not upbeat about these and says, “The problem with halogen lamps is they emit heat. As a result colours of a painting can fade and the blues can turn into grays over a period of time.”
Interior decorator Vineet Rishi agrees, but adds that more than the light, the colour of the wall on which a painting is to be displayed is significant. Bright colours distract and take attention away from a good piece of art.
Suppose a painting is predominantly blue but the wall on which it is displayed is a dark shade of yellow. The colours would clash and completely mar the beauty of the painting. “Stark white looks antiseptic. Off white is considered to be the most suitable background to display any work of art,” says Rishi, who specialises in interiors of corporate offices.
Spots are considered to be the best way of lighting up a painting. But spot lighting can be a tricky business, as a lot of imagination is required to highlight the right parts.
For spotlighting, the size of the painting must also be taken into consideration. For a small canvas one spotlight is sufficient. But it should not be thrown directly from the top of the painting. It should be placed at an angle, in such a manner that the entire picture is well-lit and not just parts of it.
For bigger canvases one can place spotlights on either side. The angle of the light has to be adjusted in such a way that the details are clearly visible.
Track lighting, which is commonly used in galleries, is another way to light up art. Track lights are flexible lighting systems: these can be surface mounted or recessed with a range of light fittings to suit the needs. Care should be taken to avoid harsh spots that create pools of light and leave everything else in comparative darkness.
Wire system lights comprise spotlights, cable grips, transformers and adjustable anchors. This is a very versatile lighting arrangement as it is easily adjustable and considered to be one of the best both at home and at art galleries.
“Lighting works of art requires special skills but we don’t have any real experts in India,” says Rishi and adds, “As far as homes go, people usually don’t have much of an idea. Even artists and gallery owners resort to the hit and trial method where lights are concerned.”
Thus the bottom line is imagination. If you have an artistic bent of mind, you will know how to properly light up a work of art. This will not just spare it from premature deterioration but would add more value and quality to the painting
Different types of light
Halogen Light: Produces intense white focused light that is excellent for displays.
Track Lights: Flexible spotlights for special canvases.
Wire light system also known as adjustable jhoola lights.
Picture Lights: Broad, sleek lights. Commonly used in homes.
When the structure of the house has been erected and the walls plastered with cement mortar, a house builder becomes impatient to lay the flooring at the earliest and get rid of the messy and dusty atmosphere created inside the building by the basic building materials like cement, bricks, sand and coarse aggregate. Only after the laying of flooring does one start having a feeling of getting somewhat near the completion of the house. The flooring to be laid constitutes of a top layer and one or two under layers.
Flooring layers: There is a large choice of floor finish materials available these days. These include Rajasthan marble, tiles, granite, katni, Italian marble, terrazzo, wood and PVC. However, whatever material you may choose for the top layer of flooring, the under layers remain the same. And the final and long-term performance of all the floorings depends on the proper laying of under layers of flooring. Therefore, utmost attention and care is required during the laying of under layers of flooring.
General trend: It has, however, been seen that least attention is paid by the building contractors to the proper laying of under layers of flooring. The general trend is to deposit the dry stone or brick aggregate over the leveled earth, to further deposit moist mix of sand and cement over it and then to apply the rammer over it. Such a work and trend is not at all acceptable for the proper laying of the final flooring layers which are so costly and beautiful but lose their grandeur owing to poor laying of under layers.
Under layers: The under layers or the base to support the top layer of flooring needs to be strong, well compacted and well treated to provide full bearing and support to the top layer. When the floor base is to be laid on the earth, it has two layers: First layer is of sand and the second of lean mix concrete. If the base is laid on concrete slabs like basement slab, ground floor slab etc, then the under layer has to be in lean concrete only.
Preparation to lay the under layers: Before laying the under layers of flooring, the earth filling inside the foundations should be leveled and well compacted. It should be specifically seen that it has no organic growth or vegetation in it. The earth surface and depth should be treated with anti termite chlorpyrifos solution. The solution should be liberally sprinkled on the surface and near the foundation walls. It should also be poured in the depth of filling by driving holes in the filled earth.
Level of earth surface: The top level of the floor should be marked on the walls and the earth level should be carefully decided and maintained. No slope is provided in the floors inside the rooms. An 8 inch depth is required to lay the sand and lean concrete. Normally, the earth level should be kept about 10.5 inch below the floor level. Ideally, it should be 9 ½” inch below the floor level but practically, it has been seen that the flooring gang demands more than 1 ½” depth to lay the flooring material and the mortar under it. Thus, a 10.5 inch depth allows a 2.5 inch margin to lay the floor topping and the mortar underneath and the flooring gang is happy with that.
The sand layer: For the ground floor, the first under layer shall be of pure fine sand. It should be kept 4 inch thick. Fine sand should be specifically purchased by telling the sand supplier that you need it to fill it below the floors. The sand should preferably be screened to remove all vegetation and gravel. The sand layers can be well compacted by frequent application of water in the rooms after laying of sand layers. If the sand doesn’t contain any earth, it doesn’t require rammer to compact it. The provision of sand layer will avoid settlement of floors.
Concrete layer: The lean concrete layer should be kept 4 inch thick. The concrete layer should be laid over well compacted sand layer in ground floor and on the concrete slab itself in first floor and above. A lean mix of 1: 6:12 is sufficient for the lean concrete layer. In case the lean concrete layer is laid over sand, stone ballast is used in it. When the lean concrete is laid over concrete slab, brick ballast is used in it.
For wooden flooring
When wooden flooring is to be provided in some rooms, another concrete layer should be laid over the lean concrete. The concrete mix used should be 1 : 2 : 4 for this layer. The\is concrete layer should be well compacted and finished to be perfectly in level so that no difficulty is felt during the laying of wooden tiles. The top level of this concrete layer should be kept just 10 mm below the finished floor level to accommodate wooden tiles and the sheets under them. This concrete layer should be cured well to provide a strong base to the wooden flooring.
Flooring level over concrete slab: When the flooring is to be laid over concrete slab, no sand layer is provided over it. In this case therefore, if the flooring level is kept 6.5 inch above the slab surface, the lean concrete, the top layer and the mortar layer underneath it can be laid easily.
Brick ballast: Normally, brick ballast of good quality is not available at the brick kilns. What most of brick kilns do is to convert poor quality bricks into brick ballast and then sell it. Such brick ballast, if used in the lean concrete, shall get crushed when rammer is applied over it to compact it. Otherwise it will provide a weak base to the flooring. To have good quality brick ballast, a house builder should keep stacking the brick bats that get generated due to breakage of bricks during brickwork of his house. Later, labourers should be employed to convert the stack of brick bats into brick ballast of required size. The size of brick ballast should be kept around 40 mm. In case sufficient brick ballast is not generated, look out for some old and dismantled building and buy the brick bats or brick ballast from that site. This brick ballast, produced from the bricks that stood the test of time shall be strong and durable.
Use a mixer: Use of a mixer to produce lean concrete is often avoided by the labour contractor. His modus operandi is to first dump the brick or stone ballast over the slab or sand and then lay a layer of cement and sand over it. Insist on use of a mixer to produce lean concrete for floors. Ask him to prepare all the rooms at one level for laying of concrete and then engage a mixer for a day to mix the lean concrete. As the labour contractors are reluctant in hiring a mixer, they should be made to commit the use of a mixer to lay lean concrete at the time of assigning the job to them. Ram the concrete layer well with rammers. Apply water to lean concrete for next few days for its curing.
The base is ready: Before laying the final floor over lean concrete, prepare the base by cleaning the top of lean concrete with a wire brush. Remove all the loose mortar deposits, muck and debris from it. Wet the lean concrete well to receive the mortar layer. Check the top level of this concrete base with water level and create finished floor level marks in four corners of each room and at other required points. The flooring man will fix small pieces of marble or tiles etc at these points by keeping them at same water level. The base is now ready to lay the final flooring finish.