Welcome to Villa 178 Phase I! Come on in. I have been waiting for you, getting the house all spiffed up, the wine is chilled, the coffee on, and we are ready. If I’m still upstairs when you ring the bell, take a seat on the moneylender’s bench. Just don’t sit on the cat.
Tom bought this bench for me. In the old days, the village money lender sat on this bench all day. There is a hinged seat in the middle where he kept the cash. When you sit down, the hinges poke you in the legs. It’s not bad for a minute or so, but we plan to get a cushion for it.
Open the door; there’s a Buddha. Just to the right, a place to put on your shoes and hang up your coat.
The mirror used to be a window from a village house. A camel saddle holds all the dupattas (big scarves that top every outfit). Tom and I have been having lots of fun decorating our home and buying furniture for it. I’ve mentioned my friend Saam many times on the blog. Her workshop has built most of the furniture and restored the antiques.
Here’s one of the first things we bought. It’s called a Hut box because it’s in the shape of a hut. People used it to store onions! It is too pretty for that, so I just have it as art. The box on the left is the original, and on the right, restored.
This howda, or elephant seat, is everybody’s favorite. Here it is in the shop:
And again after restoration.
Something else people like is the Maharani’s Treasure Chest. This is an old rosewood cash box. It was in pieces. After the workman put together again, I had a tailor make tiny bright pillows for each section. Then, I stuffed it with all the old costume jewelry I could find. This is what it looked like when Saam showed it to me.
Everybody who comes over has to poke around in the Treasure Chest. You just can’t help yourself.
We’ve had more fun ordering furniture than I ever thought possible. In the US, you have to drag yourself (and your husband) from store to store looking at couches or chairs or coffee tables. You can never find exactly what you want at a price you can afford, or even find anything you like that you CAN’T afford. That’s how it was for me anyway. All the chairs have the airplane arms Tom hates or the couches won’t fit or the fabric is ugly. Just makes me want to bite. Here in India, furniture shopping is a lot different.
Remember when I broke my toe? I had to sit with my foot up for days and days. Saam gave me piles of old Architectural Digests to look at. “Just mark the things you like and we can make it for you.” So, I did. I really, really did!! Slowly, bit by bit new things crept into the house.
Don’t you just love this chaise longue? It is so comfy for reading and you have a nice garden view as well.
Have a seat while I go get the drinks.
The most comfortable chair is the one above. The next picture is of Rahman, the man who did all the carving. He’s making the top for this chair in the picture.
Please go to part 2.