Katie's Challenging New Home in New Delhi

House Call

Name: Katie
Location: New Delhi, India

Firstly, finding an apartment in Delhi is not an easy task! This was apartment #40 on the searchlist! Secondly, finding an apartment with natural light such as this, is near to impossible. Most Indian abodes are dark from window treatments as the darkness assists in keeping the houses cooler in the blazing heat (although freezing in the winter months!). So most local people would come to our home and look aghast at the sunshine streaming in, the crisp white walls and chartreuse blinds — open most of the time.

As a foreigner in India, it is difficult to find local artisans to explain one's ideas to, as there is such a language barrier if you don't speak Hindi. We decided to buy the "big" furniture and the white goods here in Delhi but complemented them with a little shipment of our belongings from South Africa — artwork, crockery, linen, ornaments, photos etc.

Basically I love collecting ideas, products and artworks on my travels. I love freshness, colour, zany, Afro-Scandi-French, and mixing old with new. My style doesn't fit into a single word.

The apartment consists of a front door opening up onto a rooftop terrace, an open plan living area, dining room and "office" space for me to run my import business BIZOUS from, a big kitchen, two bedrooms (both en suite) and an exercise room that doubles as my husband’s dressing room (although he would never admit to having his own dressing room!).

The oversized bay windows allow so much light into the apartment and big French doors onto the terrace allow for a lovely breeze during the monsoon months to pour in.

Problems to Overcome: Initially requesting the landlady to paint all walls and cupboards white — I arrived mid-painting to see everything lilac (or INDIAN WHITE). There is no such thing as pure white here so I resorted to showing the painters a piece of white loo paper and asking them to match it in the paint market — they thought I was insane yet managed to come back with a base coat paint that was as white as I was going to get. I also requested for our teak dining room table and rocking chairs to be painted white at the same time — it was like asking someone to commit a crime! I personally don’t like dark varnished wood, and would have sold the table and chairs unless I could have them white.

A constant problem here is the weather — the apartment really takes a knocking and because we don’t own it, one gets tired of constantly fixing, painting, hammering. Most of the woodwork on the doors and windows is damaged from rain, sun and the weight of air conditioners, however we are very lucky not to have had the dreaded termites!

Our Best DIY has to be the blinds. I loved delving into the alleyways of Old Delhi market and sourcing the fabric, finding a tailor and then watch him make them with his little sewing machine on the floor of my apartment. Within a couple of hours he was hanging them, et VOILA… bespoke blinds throughout the apartment.

The mission — trying to make for ourselves a happy, comfy place to come back to at the end of the day, and to get away from the madness of cows, elephants, camels, dogs, humans, bikes and cars… the madness that is India. Mission accomplished!

Thanks Katie!

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