Countless Cups of Chai: A Style Guide for your Personal Life and Physical Spaces

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Both home design and living judiciously follow many of the same notions and principles – as I learnt over the years trying to create a comfortable home and living a good life as we jetted across the globe over two continents, three countries and six cities following my husband’s career. Every move saw us in a new house which we were obliged to call home for the next two to three years. Every move also meant new encounters, new acquaintances and a few adjustments.

As a mother of three, I keenly felt it was up to me to soften the blow of ‘yet-another-move’, another new city, new schools and new friends by making our house as comfortable and pleasing to be in as possible. Perhaps I needed the reassurance, more so for myself than my children, that in making a calm sanctuary dotted with all things old and familiar amid all the newness around us, we would be somehow fine, somehow find our feet quicker.

In my quest for a home designed well, I devoured countless design magazines and peered over thousands of design photos, followed a string of myriad designers and their blogs over countless cups of chai – trying to find inspiration, sifting through the posers (oh yes there are many in this field) and sticking with the performers (the creative and talented ones). The posers just got lucky and they know it, but they don’t add anything to the design world – they are just imitators, playing at being designers. The performers in this field, and there are a few, can teach you a thing or two and these are the ones I followed keenly – because their creativity excited and inspired me to refine my own design sense and style.

Two decades of numerous home do-overs certainly taught me a thing or two about good design, but mainly it taught me that design imitates life and good design ultimately brings you closer to living a good life. You take cues from your surroundings in how to behave and act – and in the case of your personal space, your home – how to be. I was also quite enamoured by the fact that the principles that govern good design also seem to be pre-requisites of a well-adjusted personality. And with every move, I noticed a more evolved and in tuned sense of style along with a more balanced, calmer and more content personality; one that focused on the simple, in everyday life and everyday dealings with loved ones, acquaintances and strangers alike – now that’s what I call the art of living!

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