I’ve always been passionate about art and children and this is what drew me to Smita’s Illustrations after meeting her in Singapore. Smita works as a press manager by day and an illustrator for non profit organizations by night! As you’ll see in some of the illustrations below, she narrates powerful stories of children and women who triumph against all odds. Her work has enriched children’s books, postcards, products and now an app for a children’s story is in the pipeline too!
I love the colors and soothing quality in all of her work but her initiative ‘mY FaTHer illustrations’ is my favorite. The series is dedicated to all the fathers around the globe who stand up for their children’s rights, especially for their daughters. She regularly illustrates amazing stories submitted to her by her readers through her facebook page and website. Among those illustrations is the story of Malala Yousafzai who won the International Children’s Peace Prize this year:
I can’t help but respect and admire how Smita uses her creative energy to spread positive stories about fathers who actively empower their daughters. She believes one positive story can create another and I couldn’t agree more! Looking forward to many more stories through Smita’s sketches.
Happy Universal Children’s Day everybody!
Earlier this month, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel hosted the INSIDE Festival – an awards program specific to interior design for which around 400 projects from around the globe were submitted under 17 categories like culture, civic & community, house, museum, schools, hotel/leisure etc.
Sadly I missed this exciting festival hosted by my previous home city of 8 years this year. Hopefully I’ll be there to soak in all the award ceremonies, lectures by architects/designers and exhibitions in future! For now, I’ve sifted through tons of shortlisted interiors to bring you these highlights:
1. Fai-Fah is a community center where underprivileged children can take part in creative activities and workshops as a means of self-development:
2. Carrer Avinyo 34 is the winning entry of this year’s INSIDE festival. Located in Barcelona, it’s a holiday home for two brothers. The highlight of the design are the triangular floor tiles (made of 25 different designs!) which gradually change colors from red to green:
3. This Auckland Art Gallery is a reflection of the natural landscape around the site. I really like the canopies covered with wood from recycled trees which float above the space:
4. The Crumpler store at Prahan, Australia is a canvas of monochromatic finishes where the products stand out illuminated by a 3 dimensional grid of lights:
5. Located in the tropical city of Singapore, the Parkroyal Hotel on Pickering is a pleasant departure from the city’s largely homogeneous skyline. The dramatic undulating layers of pre-cast concrete seamlessly flow into the interiors too. Reminds me of the amazing sandstone rock forms I saw in Utah!
6. Of all their locations, the new Google office in Japan has got to be the most tolerable in terms of design. I’m happy to see some of that minimalist Japanese aesthetic and culture instead of the usual kaleidoscope of colors and shapes:
7. The Wanangkura Stadium is an impressive recreational facility situated in western Australia, a region with extreme climatic conditions and red soil. The facade made of colored cubes contrasts the surrounding tangerine landscape and represents colors of the local team. The building’s textured facade gives a mirage-like appearance from a distance:
I’m already excited to see next year’s entries. Tell me about your favorites in the comments below!
Wood – a traditional material, steam bent and expressed in striking, undulating forms which are both art and furniture at the same time. What’s not to love about pieces created by the American designer Matthias Pliessnig?
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Matthias challenges the notion of using wood as a flat material. With the help of 3D modeling tools and a technology similar to boat building, he creates furniture and sculptures which appear feather light (to me anyway!) by virtue of their forms. I’m in awe, how about you?Do check out all of his other fantastic pieces here.
In this final post of the Painting 101 series, I’d like to share tutorials of some special techniques which elevate the act of slapping paint on a wall to a whole new level of creativity. Having sifted through tons of tips and tutorials, here are the ones I liked the most:
1. My personal favorite, the Chevron Pattern. Of all the tutorials out there describing mathematical and scientific ways to achieve this pattern, the tutorial over at Casa Cullen made the most sense to me! I think this pattern is versatile enough to be used in any space of the house.
2. If you’re a fan of Multicolored Stripes, thisoldhouse has a great step by step video to start you off!
3. This super sized Floral Stencil technique from Kristen F. Davis instantly caught my attention. It requires some work and patience if you’re making the stencil yourself but the finished look is fantastic! There are plenty of resources out there to purchase stencils if you’re short on time/patience .
4. Here’s another great idea from Kristen F. Davis using a Starry Stencil! Isn’t it perfect for a kid’s room?
5. This simplified Damask Pattern is another clever way to add interest to a wall. The tone on tone paint gives it a subtle, wallpaper like quality.
6. The Rag Painting technique has been around for a while and pretty easy to achieve. Check out the instructions in this video tutorial by Aliya Riaz.
7. Fancy yourself a Spotted Wall? Hop over to this simple tutorial at myhomemystyle!
In the previous post I offered suggestions on selecting a color scheme and covering up all valuable elements to prevent painting casualties. In case you missed the last 2 steps, you can find them here.
Now it’s time to sand, prime and paint! To avoid errors due to haste, dedicate a reasonable chunk of time from your day for these steps.
Step 3: The Tools
In addition to the paint and primer, here’s a quick list of other tools you’ll need for the day:
1. Brushes (For areas above baseboards or around switches)
2. Tray to pour paint (you may need a bucket if you’re painting a large space)
4. Paint Stirrer
5. Sanding Block
6. Extension Pole (rollers can be attached to this to reach higher areas in case a ladder isn’t enough)
7. A damp rag for cleaning up messes or mistakes
Step 4: Sanding & Priming
Sanding and priming the wall before painting creates a smooth, even surface which allows the paint to adhere better. In addition, a primer is essential to prevent seeing through a darker color if you’re painting a lighter one over it. You can also patch any holes/imperfections during this step before applying the new coat of paint.
Here’s a short video with tips on the process of sanding:
Here’s another one with tips on patching holes:
Don’t forget to cover your face with a scarf or mask to avoid inhaling the dust while sanding!
Step 5: Paint Away!
1. Make sure the room is sufficiently ventilated while you paint and keep a damp rag handy to clean up any mistakes immediately.
2. Open the can of paint, mix the paint using the stirrer and pour into the deep end of the paint tray.
3. Use the paint brush to paint a 2-3 inch band around the edges of your wall, around moldings, switches etc.).
3. Dip the roller into the tray and roll back and forth on the flat part to remove excess paint.
4. Use long, flowing vertical strokes and paint continuously to cover an entire wall surface. Once the roller starts to make a peeling sound, it needs to be loaded with more paint. Don’t worry about making the first coat perfect.
Apply the second coat once the first is dry to the touch (or according to the instructions on the paint can).
5. Remove the tape around power points and other architectural elements once the second coat is nearly dry.
6. Enjoy your newly painted space !
Hope you enjoyed this post and look out for the next and final one in this series on special techniques like applying textures and using stencils!
Whether you’re trying to wake up a tired space, highlight some important features or disguise unnecessary ones, painting is the easiest and most popular way to do it. However, it can be quite the task and literally a pain in the back! My first painting expedition taught me the importance of planning and patience to turn this seemingly daunting task into a fun filled activity!
Today’s post will be the first of many where I hope to touch every aspect of painting a space, from prepping the room to applying textures and stencils. Let’s start off with some basic guidelines on choosing the right paint color and tips on preparing the room before painting:
Step 1: Selecting the paint color
Before you even step out to buy paint, establish a color scheme. Once this critical decision has been made, the rest is just a matter of execution! Here are a few tips on where to start:
- Start by deciding what you’d like the finished space to feel like:
b. Consider using an accent paint to highlight the architectural features of the room like window frames, doors, molding or baseboards. Here are some great examples of this:
c. Keep in mind the color of your existing flooring and other dominant accessories while making your selection. If you plan to shop for new fabrics and accessories, buy them beforehand because choices for these items are far lesser than paint colors. Once you’ve got all the key elements of your room in place, it’s all about picking complementary hues of paint.
d. Take advantage of these tools in your search for the perfect paint:
- COLOURlovers shows the color palette below each of the spaces it showcases. It’s such a useful way to find complementary colors for your paint and other room accessories:
- Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture app is another great tool. If you’re out and about and see a color you like, snap a pic and use it to find a matching paint color!
e. Lastly, buy a small tester paint and try it on a small portion of your wall, preferably in a corner close to the floor. Live with it for at least a day before you decide to proceed or change course!
Step 2: Prepping the Room
- Move furniture and any other obstructive items out of the way. Cover up any left over furniture using tarp or old bedsheets which you won’t miss.
- Don’t forget to cover the floor using an anti-slip drop cloth as well.
- Lastly, tape up any power points, light fixtures and door knobs which may become painting casualties!
Check out a quick video on this over at This Old House.
Hope these tips give you a great start to painting your space. Look out for the next post on sanding, priming and painting!
Last weekend we finally made the move to our smaller than the suburbs apartment in San Francisco city! I’m sure any city folks out there would agree that this exciting move comes with the challenge of keeping the space functional with minimum clutter! While I research high and low for clever solutions to make the most of our new apartment, I couldn’t resist sharing some of these ideas with all of you. Hope they come in handy the next time you decide to move and set up your new home .
- First and foremost, PURGE old or extra stuff BEFORE you move into a new space. Trust me, a cluttered space clogs up your thinking too. If you haven’t used some items for the last year or two, donate or sell them so you don’t have to feel guilty about tossing them out. We donated several bags of clothes and sold some appliances and furniture (on Craigslist.com and Ebay) before moving.
- Every corner matters, literally:
- Where possible, combine two functions together to save space:
- Walls can be used for more than just hanging art or pictures, Umbra’s floating bookshelves add some dimension and fun to these walls:
- Mirrors give a feeling of expansiveness to small spaces. Make a statement with one large one or mix it up with different shapes and sizes!
- Staircases are a treasure trove of storage if customized:
- Although we can’t live without technology, I find wires add unsightly visual clutter to desks and tv consoles. Tuck them away neatly using a clever wire management gadget like this one from Quirky.com:
- Painting or applying wallpaper to the ceiling is a great way to enhance painfully small rental bathrooms. I would also avoid using caddies which eat into your already bare minimum shower area. Instead, use clever solutions like this Umbra bath caddy which hangs on the shower head and holds your daily essentials.
- Buy furniture that does double duty! Manufacturers like Resource Furniture carry some fantastic space saving solutions like this ordinary looking sofa which transforms into a bunk bed complete with a ladder!
At the end of the day, don’t let small spaces cramp up your style. Make it work with the above tricks!
Feel free to check out my video post on compact flexible apartments if you’re looking for ideas on specific custom made solutions for your apartment.