The beautiful, well-travelled Mana Shetty, creative director of R House Furnishing
Solutions and wife of Sunil Shetty, on enhancing your home space via your travels. Nichola Pais takes notes.
We all go a little crazy shopping especially when we travel abroad, because we get so tempted by the mind-blowing variety of stuff available. But it’s important to be aware of the concept of your interiors at home, before you buy anything when travelling so you don’t end up adding clutter to your home. The colours, the style of your home are things you should keep in mind so you don’t go crazy picking up things which you eventually realise simply don’t fit into your interiors when you return…And this, after lugging it long distances home!
It’s more about creating your own story, via your travel buys. When you travel, it’s important to pick up things that mean something, that have a bit of a story behind it. So whether it is a cushion or an accent piece, it should add to your interiors, while holding some special memory of your holiday. For instance, I love going to churches abroad, and I invariably pick up a candle which reminds me of that place. If you’re in South Africa, it could be a platter or a mask. Or it could even be a paper napkin or a shot glass. I have even picked up local sauces and kaffir leaves from places like Bali, or Phuket or Jakarta! It could be something simple – you don’t have to go overboard – but it should be heart-warming and something that you can share with family and friends. That’s what I mean by creating your own story.
On a trip to Gstaad, several years ago, I picked up the most beautiful antique wine glasses. Every time we use them, people exclaim that they simply don’t see such glasses anymore! They tell a story. Beautiful things like this add to your home. What’s more, you end up reminiscing about that particular time and it brings back so many memories. That is the beauty of picking up things when you travel.
It’s difficult to generalise because it depends on your home and your taste, but again, your choices should add value to your home, while holding some sentiments.
If you’re shopping in the Far East, you could go for the beautiful blue and white crockery of Bangkok. Whether it’s bowls or platters, I have loved picking up the Oriental style designs on my trips there. Besides crockery, I also pick up my cutlery, my Buddhas.
On a trip to Switzerland around 14 years ago, I had picked up these beautiful ceramic platters in solid colours like reds and oranges. I mix and match and use them even today – the quality is excellent.
From a market in Capetown, we had picked up a whole lot of beautiful masks – they decorate an entire wall of our holiday home in Khandala.
The glassware in Europe is beautiful but it’s a little difficult to carry back.
In India, I find that Pondicherry has some beautiful antiques. Our home is very rustic, so these wooden pieces are right at home in our space.
Home, Suite Home!
It is desirable and possible to create, in your home, an atmosphere similar to that of the beautiful, restful hotels rooms you stayed in while on holiday. Fragrances add a lot to ambience. Floating candles, scented candles burning, help to re-capture the soothing charm of your suite at home. But the first and foremost rule: Remove the clutter! When we travel, there’s no clutter around us. It helps to keep the palette at home serene, with a predominance of beige and white. Inject a dash of colour like aqua blue into your interiors, to bring in memories of your holiday by the beach! And it’s almost like the vacation never ended!
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