Living, Room

I think I can call the living room area finished now. Ikea had this lovely and comfortable armchair on sale. Add a couple of end tables for party drinks and nibbles, and we’re done. I’ve already had a few sets of dinner guests over, and all pronounce the daybed/sofa very comfortable.

The painting on the left, by the way, is by Bombay artist Rashmi Dogra; the one on the right is by my daughter, Rossella.

The dining area is now spiffied up with a piece of ikat material bought on one of my trips to Delhi, and I hung a red and black Madras cotton scarf (actually from Madras, probably, but purchased at Fabindia) over the floor lamp to camouflage its ugly wires.

The entryway was simply too dark, especially as I propose to fill it with photographs. That was easily solved with a $5 strand of twinkle lights, long enough to string along the ceiling from an outlet in the kitchen.

Home Update

Today Ikea delivered a queen-sized memory foam mattress and “support” (Ikea’s version of a box spring). I also bought additional wooden legs to raise it up a bit (hoping to be able to stash suitcases underneath), but couldn’t put them on myself. Well, I could, but it will require two people to flip the support onto the legs once they’re attached. Eventually I’ll get help with that. In the meantime, the new mattress seems comfortable and at least I’m higher up off the floor.

This meant that I could move the single mattress I’d been sleeping on into the living room and onto a support of its own so that it can function as a daybed/sofa. But the wooden legs apparently can’t be attached to this kind of support frame. Oh, well, back to Ikea to return them – I need to go anyway to buy a few more things: two more small bookshelves for the bedroom (especially since one has been repurposed into a bedside table), a couple of small tables for the living area, maybe a big cozy armchair if I can find something I like at a price I want to pay right now.

home in SF

In both photos you can see all the “cushion forms” that arrived in an close-to-exploding box the other day, now filling out all the cushion covers I bought on various trips to India. The red cover, bolster covers, and square cushions on the daybed are a silk gaddi (throne) set I bought in Bangalore a couple of years ago and hadn’t used til now.I’m going to have to find some way to keep the bedcover tidy, though – it bunches and wrinkles as soon as you sit on it.

And, yes, I have now become one of those annoying people whose bed is littered with cushions which will all end up on the floor at night. I have no idea why, except that they go with the bedspread!

Also note the twinkle lights on the window. I like them, they make me happy, so there.

Home Update

This wall of my bedroom is pretty much done, with a cheap-but-capacious dresser from Ikea, Elfquest prints, decorative bark balls bought on the street in Porto Alegre, and the etched mirror bought at Tribal Route during my recent visit to Mumbai. The merino sheep is from last summer’s trip to New Zealand, but he’d been stashed away til now because I was afraid my Colorado roommate’s dogs would think he was a toy for them and summarily dismember him (as they do with all their toys). And he’s way too cute for that dismal fate.

Looking out into the living room, you can see the poster of Lakshmi that Yuti and I bought on the street in Mumbai. I had said to her: “I’d like to buy some god posters,” and we ran into an ambulatory poster vendor as soon as the words were out of my mouth. Yuti was amazed; there are plenty of street vendors in India, but she had not ever seen someone walking around selling posters until I apparently summoned him with the mere thought.

The rubber tube “frame” came with the poster, the whole thing cost about $2.50. I could probably frame these in glass and sell them for hundreds of dollars each at a trendy shop in San Francisco.

Home Making

^ Memories, new and old: An embroidered silk hanging from the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Delhi, which I bought during an epic shopping spree with Yuti, and the decorated tin trunk I bought in Mumbai from artist Rashmi Dogra while visiting Deepu, combined with an American mission-style dresser. The objects on the dresser include figurines bought at the Crafts Museum in Delhi, diyas, a piece of driftwood from Gouverneur Beach in St. Barth’s, and a photo (in a Kashmiri frame bought in Mussoorie) is of Rossella and friends in a Woodstock production of The Taming of the Shrew. On the wall to the right you can see the edge of an appliqued wall hanging I bought with Sara during a visit to Mumbai.

I’ve been residing in Colorado since last March, but during that time have been traveling so much that it’s taking a while to get settled. What I’ve done so far towards setting up my home reminds me of my college days: starting from scratch in a new place with limited personal space, trying to keep spending down, while surrounding myself with objects rich in memory. I’m enjoying the opportunity to decorate all of my space in my own way, instead of having to find niches among Enrico’s family heirlooms.

I’m living in a large suburban house with a Sun colleague, Kathleen, from whom I rent two bedrooms and a bath. We share most of the house and fixtures, which saved me an enormous amount on kitchen stuff and furniture. I didn’t even have to buy beds, thanks to Kathleen (who had a single bed waiting for me, made even, the day I arrived) and Dan and Karen, who gave me a king-sized futon (which Dan delivered and carried up the stairs, bless him – the thing must weigh 200 pounds).

My furniture investment so far has been minimal: a dresser, a desk, second-hand bookshelves, and, just recently, a chair to go with the desk. It’s a pity there’s no Ikea in Colorado, but there is American Furniture Warehouse.


The Shaker desk above came from a very nice furniture place (not AFW), but was on sale cheap, probably because the drawers stick. Furniture needs to be tempered for Colorado, or the dry air can cause such problems. The prints are from my beloved Elfquest, something I’d been meaning to buy for a long time.

I wasn’t using the desk much til this week, when I finally got around to getting a chair so that, if I’m stuck working at home because of snow, I can at least be comfortable. Yes, I use two computers at once. Often I do email etc. on one while the other is processing video.

This is in my “office” room, along with the single bed and:


The painting is from/by Ross. Sue and Jack should also recognize gifts from themselves in this photo!

The larger room, in addition to the dresser shown above, contains:

painting by Rashmi Dogra

This painting by Rashmi Dogra illustrates icons of Indian life common 20 years ago. She was amused that I wanted this painting – none of her usual Mumbai clients were interested in this kind of nostalgia.


Above the bed I hung a length of ikat material bought at Dilli Haat. The window treatments are curtains from an American chain with torans from a SEWA store in Delhi.

I’ve been decorating with photographs, some of friends and family:


…some travel photos that I never got around to printing before…


Thanks to Donna and Sarah for the housewarming gifts (though they don’t even know each other, they picked the same picture frame, in different colors):


^ photos from Viterbo, taking during the Imaging in Italy tour I did a few years ago. I have so many great photos from that trip…


^ these are from our visit to Jaipur


^ another piece of Indian nostalgia, this time purchased on a trip to Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar (Thieves’ Market) with Deepu. The guy in the red shirt is Amitabh Bachchan, by now the grand old man of Indian cinema. Nowadays, such an ad would be for a luxury car, not a bicycle!

I’ve still got plenty of space to fill, but am in no hurry to do so. I don’t mind the relative emptiness, and I prefer to buy things over time, making each purchase significant, not just a way to fill space. (I only bought the dresser after several months, when the lack of drawers began to seriously annoy me.) But what I do have in here already helps it feel like home.