Monday, July 10, 2017

A Place called Home (Home Tour)

Today’s post revolves around the excitement of owning and setting up that special first home! And mind you, excitement is not the only emotion that one experiences…..there’s an element of disbelief and elation that you can now decorate a place to your heart’s content (without having to worry about something as trivial as putting 'x' number of nails in the  walls of a rented home to hang your favorite pieces of art or paint the walls in a rainbow of colors should you like that). Then there is the panic and self doubt phase, when it comes to laying down the decorating plan, making you wish you had chosen interior design as your profession.  And then, comes the anxious phase to get it all done asap, so that you can enjoy binge watching your favorite show on the weekends and not worry about wandering through furniture stores testing couches, fabrics and colors… get the drift don’t ya?

Well, our home owner today has surpassed all the above and has created a strikingly sophisticated but functional space for herself in San Jose, California. Anusha Venugopal is a software engineer by profession and defines her personal décor style as “mid-century modern with bursts of color thrown in for that Indian touch and a homely feel.” One look at her home and you can tell so much about this lovely lady. She likes things clutter free, organized and is very passionate about travelling, photography, baking, gardening, and entertaining. Her decor style has been vastly influenced by her mom and TECD, “My love for home decorating is something I believe I got from my Mom (who has beautifully decorated our house in Bengaluru). Growing up I’ve seen my Mom set up our home with great attention to details, balancing the needs and comfort with her personal style and I can proudly say that I have got all those qualities from her.

I’d also like to add, that while I was looking for décor inspiration to tap into for my own home, I came across TECD via Pinterest and instantly knew, that there were a lot of décor tips that I wanted to implement in my home. So after a year + of working on putting my first place together, I can thankfully say that the result is exactly what I wanted! ”

The staid elegance of the clean line furniture pieces that Anusha has chosen for the living room is balanced by introducing vivid shades of fuchsia and tangerine to the mix. The West Elm grey couch finds its rightful place after a 6 month long hunt for the 'perfect couch'. Anusha has taken inspiration from TECD to go with a neutral couch as the base and has then pilled on colorful cushions to dress it up. The accent chair in a shade of flamingo pink mimics the throw cushions on the couch, giving the place an edgy resultAs for the Buddha and coffee table tray, they traveled all the way from Bengaluru (Anusha's hometown) to add a touch of zen to this space. 

Talking about the significance of how a home should ideally reflect ones roots, Ansuha says, "Having my home showcase my roots is really important as it keeps me connected to where I come from, and what I’ve grown up learning and loving and furthermore what I hope my life would always be!"
Anusha says that rather than buying art, she'd rather adorn her walls with meaningful pictures that remind her of good times. I think that is a clever way to introduce her love for travel and save big bucks by creating your own art. Seen above are pictures clicked by Anusha from her travels to Tahoe, Bali, Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, Egypt, and Puerto Rico. She says this gallery wall, gives her the freedom to add more to it as and when the opportunity arises.
Here's a close up of the home office that's neatly tucked away in the corner. Knowing the space limitations, Anusha cleverly looked around for desk designs that advocated small space solutions. After much research, she paired a West Elm desk and chair with some lively accents, to create a sophisticated work space to indulge her on days that she needs to work from home or catch up on her mails and bills payment.
A mid-century modern shelf proudly displays Anusha’s travel finds and few other treasured memorabilia, while keeping the other table surfaces clutter free. When asked what were the challenges that Anusha faced while designing her space, she shares, “To be able to strike a balance between a clutter-free home and one which is filled with things that she loves and treasures! “It is but natural that everyone would have a lot of stuff - some junk and some memorable stuff - to be able to decide and keep the ones that really matter and get rid of everything else was a very important and challenging aspect for me.

Along with this, finding the time to decorate was another challenge. Since I work full time, weekends are the only time I get to even think about decorating. So its been a long but happy decorating journey to bring my home to its current “finished” state.
Like the rest of her home, Anusha’s kitchen is no different. It echoes’ Anusha’s design philosophy of how good design should be stylish and have a purpose. Anusha says, “I absolutely love my open and spacious kitchen where I unwind and wash away all that I may have endured during the course of my working day by cooking a hearty meal.” Anusha added this versatile cabinet from Wayfair to serve as a bar unit. By keeping the cabinet in the same wood color as the kitchen cabinets, it makes the space seem larger and ties everything together beautifully. Love how the wood inlay details on the glass, adds visual interest. A bevy of mugs, colorful cups, family photographs, knick-knacks and a happy fiddle fig complete this corner.
Anusha’s bedroom impishly combines colors and patterns. She’s confidently chosen textiles in an invigorating blue hue and has tempered the room with accents in a very sunny shade of yellow to give the room the levity it needs. A hint of whimsy is added with some literally décor and a cheerful yellow night stand that she scored from Home Goods. Balancing the night stand on the other side is a dresser from Ikea that houses Anusha’s massive collection of necklaces. The overall look in the room, is clean, minimal and relaxing, just the way Anusha likes it.

Anusha seems to make the most of the great weather all year round in San Jose, all thanks to her patio (her favorite place in the house). Here she enjoys her cups of chai and home-baked almond cake. She’s successfully learned the art of container gardening and has home grown herbs, cherry tomatoes, lavender and other blooms adding color and fragrance to this outdoor space. A pair of colorful Suzani Terai folding chairs from Anthropologie add the spunk to this space and look perfect against the peach colored accent wall.

Here's what Anusha had to say about what the word home means to her, "Home is a place that reflects who I am and what I strive to be - “full of life, positivity and happiness” ! We wish Anusha all that and so much more!!! Thank you Ansuha for letting us tour your lovely home. 

Until we meet again, here's to the joys of decorating!!! 

(Image Credit: Prasad Sawant. Image Copyright: Anusha Venugopal. The images may not be used without the prior written permission of Anusha Venugopal and TECD)

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Chiseled Life - A Rendezvous with Sculptor Yethin N (Featured Artist)

In a very chaotic and stressful world such as ours, it is ART (in any form) that provides the much desired sustenance for the soul. When one peels away the layers of the art, at the core we have - the sentiments, thoughts, vision, experiences, skill and knowledge of the artist. It is this that flows through the art, letting us perceive and experience the world from a different perspective. Further this translates to mean (on a more macro level), connecting with others who share the same interest and vision. But on a more personal and micro level it means, enriching and connecting with oneself in ways which words cannot describe. I have never had the opportunity to showcase a “sculptor” on the TECD platform. So when the occasion presented itself, I was not going to pass it up! More so because, it involved hand sculpted brass statues, that are so close to my heart and form an essential part of my global-desi style décor.
Our sculptor in the spotlight is, Yethin N., a Bengaluru based 6th generation artist. His label, “Loha Arts and Crafts” specializes in handcrafted South Indian style deities. Yethin is adept at different styles of sculpting namely - the Hoysala style, the Chola style and the Mysore style and works with an assortment of metals such as bronze, copper and silver (silver being his favorite). Recently, Yethin has also branched out to cater to the demands of the market for traditional brass décor such as lamps, bells, wall hangings, etc. I’m so excited to get this interview rolling. So without further ado, let’s begin our rendezvous with this talented young artist shall we?

TECD: Hello Yethin! So thrilled to have you here on TECD. What was the thought process behind selecting the brand name? 
Yethin: “Loha, translates to mean ‘metal alloy’ in my regional language. As my work predominantly involves creating bronze idols, which is an alloy of three different metals, I found it appropriate to zero in on Loha. I haven't narrowed down the name to mean only bronze because I intend to expand on the supply of art with different media as well, hence 'arts and crafts' came into the picture as well.”

TECD: Tell us more about your foray into the world of sculpting?
“I come from a family of traditional sculptors. However, I never intended on following that path. Infact, I was a student of Law and have professionally taken up sculpting for the past three years. When time permitted, I would visit my father or uncle's workshop and observe them at work. The more time I spent there, I gradually discovered that sculpting came naturally to me. There was a flow to it all and it did not involve much effort from my end. As for the technical expertise on the subject of sculpting, all the knowledge, guidance and experience came from my family.”

TECD: What would you say is the essence of your brand?
“90% of the statues or idols which are available in the market or retail stores are duplicates (pirated). They just cast the Idol and sell it.
Each and every Idol that comes out of “our” studio is handcrafted in the traditional fashion. My idols are anatomically more precise and also aesthetically pleasing with extreme focus on attention to detail. When it comes to idols or deities, each and every mudra (hand posture) and weapons they hold, the way they stand or sit, everything has a meaning. Everything is documented in our Shastras (ancient texts) and also described in various mantras and slokas glorifying the deity. Sculpting the idols with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the same, sets me apart from the rest who treat this precious art form as an extension of another industrial setup or mundane job.”

TECD: Do tell us more about the in-depth traditional design process involved in creating these magnificent idols?
“The design process that is used has been passed on through generations. First we draw out a rough sketch of the deity or design. Next step is to craft the wax model or clay model using traditional methods. Third step is to take a mold of it and send it to the foundry for casting. After it comes back from the foundry, we use our tools (hammer and chisel) to carve out the intricate designs such as ornaments, designs and other features. It is a tedious process which requires lot of skill, experience and most of all patience.”
TECD: What would you say is the source of your inspiration?
“Most of my works are inspired from my grandfather's masterpieces. He is a national award winning craftsman. His masterpieces are displayed at the Rajeev Gandhi Art Museum (Delhi). Also, the temples situated in Mysore, South India have excellent sculptures which I adore and draw inspiration from.”

TECD: Your collection has a very strong South Indian influence. How important is it for you, that your designs showcase your roots?
“Yes, my creations have a strong Indian influence. To me, Art is a medium through which we have the opportunity to showcase our culture and tradition. With this thought in mind, it is very important that my designs showcase my roots and culture because that is what makes it unique. If my designs have a western or European influence, the essence is lost.”

TECD: What is your take on abstract forms of sculpture?
Yethin: “With a traditional background in arts such as mine, my affinity is naturally towards traditional arts and craftsmanship. I’m not personally fond of pseudo artists who just throw paint on the canvas or sculpt a stick figure and call it art. I need more form and substance, for something to be termed as art.”

TECD: Do you see yourself digressing from creating spiritual deities and if so what would you like to try?
“Sculpting is a dying art form. Even though a lot of people are taking up fine arts, not many are interested in traditional arts. They are drawn towards visual arts and other media. My own parents do not want me to be a sculptor. I feel it’s my duty to carry forward this traditional art form through to the next gen. So I don't see myself deviating away from my roots of creating traditional deities. Even if I try something new or different, it will definitely have the flavor of my original art form.”

TECD: Any WIP projects that you are excited about and would like to share with us?
Yethin: “Right now I'm working on a project for an Ashram in Tamil Nadu. Excited about creating 10 idols for them including Sharada Devi, Vaarahi, Maatangi, Sri Chakra, Nandi, Swan, etc.”

TECD: Where can prospective clients purchase your work?
Yethin: “As of now I do not own an exclusive outlet or retail store. I supply to the various stores in Bangalore and other cities. Majority of the work I do includes customized designs in which case, I directly work with the client. Currently working on expanding to an online market place which will also make my work available to international clientele. Lot of people buy artifacts from the nearest store without knowing the origins of the Idol. I want to introduce people to the original art and draw them to buy original handmade and handcrafted idols rather than buying duplicate ones.”

The biggest challenge that artists like Yethin face in today’s day and age is that duplicate idols and sculptures are available in the market at 1/3rd the price. But one must remember, if you compromise on the pricing, you are also compromising on the quality. I strongly urge you to buy genuine art and where possible, connect directly with the artists themselves. This way the experience of adding meaningful treasures to your private sanctuary takes on a whole new meaning - There is an instantaneous emotional connection with the object of your desire.

Readers who wish to follow and see more of Yethin’s work, please head to his Instagram gallery. You could also write to him at for  special commission projects, pricing and other product enquiries.

Thank you Yethin for sharing with us about your magnificent journey as a sculptor. We wish you the very best for your creative venture! (FYI: I’d also like to thank Pavan a fellow brass lover and reader of TECD for introducing me to Yethin’s work. If it wasn’t for him, this feature would not have been possible!)

(Image Credit/Copyright: Loha Arts & Crafts - Yethin N. The images may not be used without the prior written consent of the artist and TECD).

Monday, June 12, 2017

More than just a Playroom! ( Montessori inspired playroom tour)

We as parents are always on a mission to provide “more” and the very best of that “more” for our kids. Even when it comes to playrooms, its not just all about play. We try to sneak in learning ingredients that excite the imagination of the little ones, keeps them engaged for long hours, all while fostering their visual, sensory, motor and intellectual growth. Today we go all the way to Hyderabad, to tour, two and a half year old Kairav’s lovely playroom that’s inspired by the Montessori style of education.  Kriti, Kairav’s mom, has been very generous in sharing her son’s wonderful playroom and the detailed thought process that went into putting this space together. Kriti recently moved into a new home, and this gave her the opportunity to play around with the blank canvas to create a stimulating playroom for her son. FYI, Kriti has a professional degree in Fashion Merchandising and management. Her love for textiles evolved over the years and especially more so after an eventful trip to the Great Rann of Kutch, when she decided to start her own label Kari by Kriti in 2013. Here's what Kriti had to share about the lovely pieces that she creates for her shop, “I work with block prints to create baby bedding, quilts, pillows, sheer drapes, cosmetic bags and kitchenware in Ikat. I enjoy using a mix of geometric and floral patterns to create products that celebrate the traditional technique in a modern, bohemian way. I am ardent follower of the slow fashion movement and I develop products that reflect my ideology of longevity, quality and functionality.” 
TECD: Hello Kriti!! Welcome to TECD! Let’s get the room tour started by asking you, what was the thought process that went into creating this awesome playroom for Kairav?

Kriti: “When I started to think about the design aspect of the playroom, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want a theme based playroom. There are no superheros, cars, monkeys or cartoon characters. I wanted to incorporate colors and textures without an apparent theme, and design a room that will grow with Kairav. 

I picked primary colors as the foundation and layered in pastels along with pops of fushia and green. 
When designing Kairav’s room, I decided to stay away from using block prints and Kari by Kriti products in general. I wanted the room to help develop a character of its own and not be an extension of my work. For this I decided to collaborate with Richika from Homesake to custom design curtains, a pouf and a bunting for the room. Her products just lifted the space. I absolutely loved what she did. 
I sourced a large, colorful handwoven dhurrie rug from Warangal that covers almost the entire floor. Dhurrie rugs are hardwearing and easy to care for especially with children. Kairav still co-sleeps and will probably till he goes to college (just joking) which is why I decided against installing a bed in the playroom. I created a low lying space with a floor mattress and a pile of colorful cushions along with Kari by Kriti’s Elle quilt. We use the space to read to him, mid-day cuddles and for afternoon naps. 
TECD: I believe this playroom is built on the Montessori-inspired approach. Could you break down the process for us in terms of design?

Kriti: “My husband (Rahul) and I are huge fans of the Montessori system of education. Montessori encourages self learning, practical life skills and independence. All of Kairav’s toys are laid out on the floor and easily accessible shelves rather than inside cupboards or drawers. I also decided to get rid of toy baskets which almost always end up becoming black holes for toys, and instead picked large sized, shallow rattan and jute trays to organize. The playroom has abundant open floor area for him to play without space restrictions. 
Kairav has a little corner to help him learn practical life skills like putting on his shoes and cleaning the room. A cute reindeer christmas sack was repurposed to make a laundry bag for him, a Kari by Kriti Ikat tea towel is put to use as a wipe, along with a little rope stool for him to wear shoes. The lovely ceramic knobs on a wood plank turned out to be a perfect addition to the room.” 
TECD: How long did it take you to put the entire room together?

Kriti: “Just a couple of days once I had the basics in place. I didn’t invest a lot in buying new products but used what I already had. The bed cover for the floor mattress was actually a hand woven table cloth from the lovely Suraiya Hassan in Hyderabad. I put together a gallery wall in the room with printables found on Pinterest and added texture to the wall by sticking large pom poms that I made myself. (they took the longest!). We definitely wanted Kairav to have a teepee but the ones that we found came with plastic covers. So I decided to buy one and use just the PVC frame. I draped the tent frame with a light, block printed cotton voile fabric leftover from our quilt production. A few quick stitches to hold the fabric in place was all that was needed to create a well lit, breathable hide out in the room. I added small details with a display of Kairav’s first pair of shoes, his favorite koala bear and a large banjara pom pom mirror belt as a curtain tie. I also designed a ‘K’ alphabet cushion with some Ikat fabric scrap.” 
TECD: What according to you are the three most important design elements when it comes to a playroom for the little ones?

Kriti: “I am no authority in playroom design, but instinctively, I would say that these three factors played a major role in our playroom design: 

  • Accessibility 
  • Natural fabrics and textures 
  • Adequate floor space.” 
Wasn't that tour such a treat for the eyes!!! The play of colors, textures and an “organized" environment in a playroom is more than what we moms can ask for our little ones. I’m sure you are inspired by Kriti’s design elements for the space and have your own plan brewing at the back of your mind. To shop for Kari by Kriti textiles, head straight to their Etsy store. Kriti also blogs at Handmade Talks where she talks about (as the title suggests) all things handmade. Thank you Kriti for taking the time to connect with my TECD readers and sharing your son's adorable and thoughtfully put together playroom !

Today's post has left me feeling nostalgic, to the time when I could call “ALL” the design shots in my son's space without being challenged on my design choices. Well, now, lets just say, its a very different story!!!! Will save that for another day.......Have a good one all! 

(Image Credit/Copyright: Kriti Jindal. The images may not be used without the prior written permission of Kriti and TECD)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Under the Indian Influence - SMS Trading Company Inc. (Part 2) (Home/Gallery Tour)

Today we take a tour of some corners of Arti's abode in Atlanta, USA. You have already been introduced to this lovely lady and her incredible furniture boutique store SMS Trading Company Inc. Her home is an extension of the exquisite aesthetics that we are very well acquainted with after seeing her furniture gallery. Her home revels in displaying a deep cultural association and honors Indian artisans and their handiwork. Every room is flush with intricately hand carved furniture, hand picked décor accessories and splashes of well edited color. 

The Foyer announces Arti's style at the front door - eclectically Indian it is! Painted in a corn husk green, the foyer looks fresh and inviting throughout the year. Hand carved South-Indian style temple sculptures, a few potted plants and a sculptural brass candle holder, leave you begging to see more of Arti's wonderful home.

Those niches that you find so hard to style, here is a perfect solution!!! South-Indian style, temple statues, hand carved and hand painted made of fine timber wood. Don't miss out on the complementing wall corbels to frame those niches beautifully. The vibrant colors on these statues are reminiscent of the south Indian temple gopurams, looking magnificent against the bright blue skies. (Arti tells me that she has  an assortment of about 60 exquisitely carved statues stocked for sale. These pieces are one of a kind, so if you like something that you see or want to see the entire collection at SMS, make sure you reach out to Arti.)
Another challenging area to decorate is transition spaces. But Arti seems to have an answer to this common decorating dilemma. She had paired a sculptural tea-light holder from Home Goods with another one of her wooden statues and a rustic style mirror. By now you know you can expect the unexpected combinations in this home tour!
Crowning every room in the house has Arti's own signature line of furniture from SMS Trading. The exquisitely hand crafted furniture pieces have been relegated with the task of bringing an eclectic Indian vibe to this space. Ocher hues on the wall are the perfect backdrop for the richly colored teak furniture. The details of the hand carved pieces, the sinuous shapes and the regal vibes that they give off makes you instantly fall head over heels in love with this space.
An extended view of the the formal living room.
Coffee table books are a great way to showcase your interests. A collection of books (on all things Indian) is neatly stacked on the coffee table embodying Arti's affinity to her Indian roots. 
The "ta-da" element of the formal dining room has to be the ornate and very detailed dining table. The design inspiration for this beauty comes from the Wheels of the Konark Sun Temple. Infact, Arti tells me that it is one of the most sought after table designs at SMS Trading Company.
Arti also says that it never fails to stir up a conversation. She always finds herself explaining to her guests and customers about the inspiration behind this magnificent table, "The magnificent Konark temple is one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. It is known for its intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. It is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot of the Sun God, with seven horses and 24 exquisitely carved wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter. The huge intricate wheels of the chariot, which are carved around the base of the temple, are the major attractions of the temple. The spokes of these wheels serve as sundials, and the shadows formed by these can give the precise time of the day. On an esoteric level, the Sun symbolizes the divine Self within.” That was very informative indeed.
Though the space has a very open floor plan, this did not deter Arti from painting every room in a different paint color! The dining room is done up in a shade of paprika red that truly enhances the white moldings and the rich tones of the teak furniture. Now who wouldn't want to dine in here!!!!
To create a visual focus on the niche, Arti decided to paint it in a warm mustard hue. A framed textile piece make for the perfect alternative as art. Another splendid piece of furniture is the revolving bar (Yes, the middle door swings open inside-out! Arti has promised to share pictures of that another time soon.) with a top serving as a Buffet.
A good part of the warmth and color in Arti's place comes from the huge collection of statues! Each is sure to make a statement in any room! (FYI, totally crushing on those breezy paisley sheers! )
I know I can't get enough of these amazing looking traditional Indian statues....Knowing you all, I don't think you mind a picture heavy post either:)

Arti is a voracious reader and has an insatiable appetite for books and poetry. Here is a glimpse of Arti's collection of books in the family room. A few pillows tossed casually makes for an impromptu informal reading nook. 

The family room is the place where Arti hangs out often catching up on news or watching a movie with her favorite glass of wine in hand.
Arti's home office too has its fair share of the Indian charm !
The guest bedroom is deliberately minimally furnishes to establish a sense of calm and serenity. Also, Arti did not want to take away the focus from the stunning bed! She shares that she changes things in here frequently depending on her mood. Right now, a colorful Indian glass work bedspread brightens up this space!
With that we come to the end of this beautiful home tour. I hope you enjoyed the tour as much as I had fun bringing this to you. Arti is doing a commendable job of bringing a little bit of India to those of us who live in this part of the world. I'm so glad to have met a kindred spirit like her. I wish Arti only the very best that life has to offer! Connect with Arti on FB and follow her on Instagram. To experience the SMS Trading WOW-factor in person, please write to Arti at or call her at +1 (678) 445-3756 (Landline) to set up an appointment for your visit. (Also, incase you missed part 1 of the feature, click here to see it all)

(Image  Copyright/Credit : SMS Trading Company Inc. The images may not be copied or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purpose without the prior written permission from Arti and TECD.) 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Decidedly Indian in Appeal - SMS Trading Company Inc.! (Part 1) (Gallery Tour)

I've unearthed a gem of a furniture boutique that's based here in Atlanta, USA - "SMS Trading Company Inc". For those of you looking to create a home (here in the US) away from home (India), this is your answer to creating that visual symbolic link in your home to showcase your roots. Each piece at SMS is decidedly Indian and exemplifies the highest standards in terms of quality. Choices range from SMS's signature teak furniture line, hand carved wooden panels to South Indian style temple statues.
Expertly hand crafted, the signature furniture collection is versatile enough to complement a variety of decor styles - from traditional Indian, eclectic to a touch of Indian in a global/transitional or contemporary style of setting.  The refined pieces are sure to create dramatic interiors that exude an ambiance of nobility and sophistication. Arti, the heart and soul of SMS, either hand picks the pieces or as in the case of the signature line exclusively designs and customizes the collection herself, in collaboration with her in-house design and manufacturing base in India. Her passion for the Indian heritage and her interest in decor shines right through in every piece. The furniture boutique has a home gallery setup, judiciously displayed on various floors and an additional warehouse ready to ship goods globally!
I had so much to share about this lovely space that I decided to do a two part feature on SMS Trading Company. The first, is a showcase of her furniture and traditional sculptures boutique store and the next is going to be a tour of part of Arti's private home that highlights the pieces in a home environment.
TECD: Arti, so glad to have you here on TECD! Let's start by asking you to share a little about yourself?
Arti: "Thank you Sruthi for this lovely showcase here on TECD! I am blessed to be who I am and where I am, to be born to and nurtured by loving parents who gave me the values I live by and who are now my guardian angels! By education, I am a Chemical Engineer. I worked professionally in Project Management for International Engineering Consultancies, both in India and the US and then became an Entrepreneur by choice and started my own Company - SMS Trading Company Inc., in 2002. I love Décor, Travel, Music, Nature, Poetry, Photography, Technology, Reading, Reflecting, Experiencing.....and being an Eternal Curious Student!
TECD: Tell us more about your transitional journey from being a Chemical Engineer to an Entrepreneur?
Arti: "Sometimes, not getting what you want is the best stroke of luck! I worked my 8-5 job for a good decade and lived a structured “within the box” life. I was a Project Engineer but it was a black and white world of sorts where your path crossed mostly with folks of similar educational background and orientation, who spoke and conducted themselves in a predictable “in the box”, “within the lines” fashion so, while the functionality of the role was fine, nothing more stirred inside... And then it happened... the Engineering Company I worked for went through a reorganization and many Engineering positions became redundant. It came as a forced break and what we call as a setback in traditional terms but that was the turning point of recognizing what lay dormant within and that when stirred was frightening but turned into something beautiful and fulfilling.
My left brain was cajoling my right brain and my beautiful journey with colors, décor, vibrancy and creativity was about to begin! I still love technology and tools and gadgets but I am equally at home in a creative, abstract world where I can intuitively and naturally put things together rather well. Discovering, creating, decorating comes naturally to me and I can say I have a very good eye and a keen sense of décor and balance. And thus, SMS Trading Company was born in 2002. I named my Company after my dad’s initials (SMS) who passed on in 2001."
TECD: What is the USP and Inspiration behind the collections/curated pieces at SMS Trading Company Inc.?
Arti: "My USP for everything that I design, create or source is that it is handmade. These are NOT bulk, cookie cutter, machine made pieces that are just functional but have no conversational value. My pieces have design inspiration drawn from our rich cultural heritage and trademark talent of Artisans that create them by hand, one piece at a time! If one understands the journey of these pieces from concept and creation to being door delivered to their homes here in the US and other parts of the World, one will truly appreciate what we do."
TECD: Owning a non-traditional style furniture boutique, how has the experience been so far?
Arti: "Very rewarding! I welcome people into my personal space as I would welcome and relate to my friends and that, in turn, also makes them immediately feel comfortable and “at home” and they also respond and engage positively and almost always leave as friends, well wishers and Evangelists and start becoming my extended family and opening up their homes and hearts to me. It just happens naturally.
Since the people who walk through my doors call me first and come through some referred channel, I have not had any negative experience of opening up my home to them. I truly feel that if we live and do business from our hearts and with integrity and treat everyone the same as they walk through our doors, the inherent goodness in people also comes to the surface. Everybody appreciates warmth, honesty and respect. 
I enjoy the Creative expression, Freedom, Flexibility and having this platform to meet people from all walks of life and backgrounds that has made this journey truly beautiful and has enriched my life and me as a person."
TECD: Is your personal style insync with that showcased at SMS Trading Company Inc.?
Arti: "Yes, I like things that people make with hands that are perfect in their somewhat imperfect beauty. I have mixed pieces in couple of rooms to show how the décor can be eclectically mixed up. I love collecting accessories from around the world and tie them in with our beautiful handmade carved furniture. I have also picked up pieces from my travels from roadside vendors and from under piles of forgotten items sitting in a corner and whatever I bring back has a soul that speaks to people.
I am also very fond of handmade traditional wood sculptures and temple carvings that I also source and sell and have them all over my house. I have people urging me to get into selling home décor accessories as they love everything I have in my house and want to buy it! I am looking to add that on to my core business of Furniture and Sculptures. I do, however, carry small gift items like framed Art, traditional lamps etc. at all times."
TECD: What life lessons would you like to share with my readers? 
Arti: "Life is a beautiful journey of growth and reinventing yourself and peeling back layers and discovering many new layers within. If you just gather the courage and break your shackles (whatever they may be!) and be open to and truly engage with life, life also responds back and reveals itself to you in so many different and beautiful hues that just like the proverbial caterpillar who thinks it is going to die, you become a butterfly!
I have also learnt that true success and freedom is when you can live life on your own terms, in an environment that is a reflection of your true essence and is in sync with your energy language. It is a blossoming of sorts where you rearrange the building blocks of your life and create an environment that reflects who you are and what speaks to you and what speaks to others about you."
Those were some extremely important words of wisdom that we needed to hear. After that wonderful furniture gallery tour, aren't you all geared up to make room for some of these beauties in your home. Take a browse through her website (limited access from certain locations). Connect with Arti on FB and follow her on Instagram (New to this space!). To experience the SMS Trading WOW-factor in person, please write to Arti at or call her at +1 (678) 445-3756 (Landline) to set up an appointment for your visit. Arti also strongly recommends that potential customers call ahead of time and talk to her so that they can get a sense of what SMS Trading Company is all about and in turn Arti may understand your custom decor requirements better and answer any questions you may have.
FYI: The Memorial Day weekend, SMS Trading Company will be in St. Louis showcasing some of their signature furniture and  decor accessories. Those of you who would like more details on this, please contact Arti via mail/phone (deets provided above). 

Stay tuned for part 2!!! You don't want to miss it........

(Image  Copyright/Credit : SMS Trading Company Inc. The images may not be copied or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purpose without the prior written permission of Arti and TECD)