Last weekend, I met up with an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen for years! She invited me over to her gorgeous abode and we got chatting over a cup of ‘real’ south indian filter coffee. As I climbed up the stairs to her home, I was completely enveloped in an earthy, old-world feel. The rustic terracotta tiles on the walls and stairway with touches of bright yellow made it look spectacular! To add to this, the aroma of freshly brewed filter-coffee, Carnatic music playing in the background and a lit-up traditional south indian lamp decorated with jasmine flowers transported me to somewhere beautiful in the southern part of India. She prides herself in being a ‘Chettiar’ and her home reflected that completely!
The subtle elegance in her home was reflected in every tile, wall art and the furniture and as we got talking she introduced me to the captivating world of ‘Chettinad’ decor! Her world, her home wasn’t anything like other homes that I had seen in the Delhi area; it clearly was a place that took her back to her childhood memories, her ‘home’, where her soul belonged. I was totally fascinated by her decor, as you can perhaps guess! So, here I am, sharing the beautiful style with you all, my lovely readers.
Are you familiar with this style of decor at all? If you are fascinated by this style and are looking to re-decorate a part of your home, then why not bring a little bit of ‘Chettinad’ into your homes? The earthy, warm tones of this style are so welcoming! I know you do, so here I am, presenting to you ‘the essential 4’ for a Chettinad home:
1. Athangudi tiles
These aren’t ceramic tiles at all. These handmade tiles are a visual treat and are made in home factories in Athangudi, typically by filling the mould with bright paints that is mixed with a little cement and local sand. The patterns on these tiles are generally floral and geometric and are finished (not machine polished!) to stay glossy for years and years!
You can get some of these tiles from Madurai Meenakshi Mosaic: Contact: Mr. Mohana Ganesh Phone : +91 – 44 – 32992131/24364309 Mobile : +91 – 09841021317
or from Athangudi Palace Tiles in Karaikudi: Phone : +91 4565 281339, +91 4565 233331 Mobile : +91 94422 28331, +91 9442229331
2. Antiques from Karaikudi Antique market
Though the Chettiyars are not living in Chettinadu today but the traditional antique market has a huge range of items that were once found in their homes! So, a visit to this antique market is a must!
Karaikudi is one of the major sources of antiques in the south of India. From Ravi Varma’s creations, Tanjore and glass paintings to several pieces originating from all over the world along with some spectacular old photographs can be found in these antiques market. It’s just totally brilliant and worth a visit, I am told.
3. Carved wood doors and doorways
The Chettiars incorporated the wealth of wood sculpting and craftsmanship in their homes, best seen in the exquisite and intricate carvings on doorways. You could get this for your home, of course, if you are after a ‘royal’ look. A little bit of ‘Chettinad’ for you…
4. Solid wood pillars with beautifully chiselled or carved bases
So, what do you think? Inspired to bring a little ‘Chettinad’ into your own home?
I quite fancy turning my living room, which is really the ‘relaxing room’ into a little ‘Chettinad’. Will share if and when the project happens! Will have to have a good think about finding a place for that stunning pillar…No stress, I will get the answer and so will you…
Until then, happy decorating, people!
Cover image: via