growing spaces.

A while ago urbaniche tagged me on this post where I had to find that one accessory/piece of furniture or design element in our place that I could not live without. For a few days after I was tagged, I found myself randomly wandering my place, looking at things with a new eye, giving the question some serious weight. What in my space is one thing I could possibly not do without? Perhaps the intent of the tag was more lighthearted; to find a chair one has restored lovingly or a jewellery box with sentimental value or a rug window or coloured wall, but for me the idea took on another level altogether, as years of conversation on “space” suddenly took on a new dimension.

Post marriage, I moved in with k into the place he grew up in, a 100 year old apartment building in a leafy locality in Karachi. As much as I loved our room which we had done up together, the rest of the house terrified me. It had that feel, like that of a piece of history left behind. I could not relate to it. So the first year I spent pretty much moving directly from the front door to my haven-room. The layout of the house was such that it would afford maximum privacy to all rooms, a perk I would have loved in my parental home where it seemed like us three sisters were practically in each others faces all the time. But here the yawning space and silence was cold and loud.

The kitchen was huge also with gigantic storage spaces. Freezing in the winters with a depressing brown tile on the floor. It screamed functional and I vowed to spend as little time in there as possible. My previous life had demanded total independence food wise. My mom expected us all to have our own breakfasts (since our timings never matched) and clean up after ourselves. Her kitchen had been a place for tea and gossip, with magazines strewen around a table smack in the centre and someone generally sitting there, having their snack and reading. By contrast the kitchen here was impersonal, stern, almost forbidding. It didnt invite time spent in it. It rather demanded that one gets on with their job and be done with it- an attitude most unfriendly especially for a kitchen to have.


Of course over time I grew to love this vast creaky old place. Isnt that how it always happens? We slowly figured out who we were as a couple and then seamlessly the growth of our space started. We designed and planned around the old world charm, trying to fuse it with our own sense of now without compromising on either. We trawled through dozens of fabric shops, browsed through hundreds of design ideas to get inspired into creating something new with the old. And then, as one wall turned green and another turned deep mustard brown, it started losing its pre-partition feel. Retro flower prints appeared and stripes helped cheer up the rather dark feel the main area had and dispel the thoughtful cigar puffing gloom so trademark of the sixties.  Huge cushions accented in bright colours. Funky light fixture. That old table thats been here forever. We opened out our kitchens sullenness by repolishing the gorgeous wooden doors, cheered it up by painting it a sunshine yellow. Shelves tucked into nooks where there was that odd space looking forlorn and  books and baskets and bottles filled up and cluttered and clanged and found places for themselves. We created work counters and wood shelves to add the depth in colour and then added cluuter to make it feel full of energy. Clutter, colour, energy.



I realize I will sound limited and judgemental for saying this but I will anyways. I don’t understand people who don’t claim their immediate space. I don’t understand who they camnot help but start changing things to match the changing them. I am at a loss when people live ina  space for years- yes years- and feel no itch to do something to it. I am constantly moving things around. White flowers turn yellow, green cushion in favour of magenta, brown tea mugs on monday then dark gold on friday. Maybe its part of the job curse, this need to prod and poke at things, fix them, tweak them;  it adds to the awed sensation and feeling  that all these details, colours, feeling, and arrangement are in some kind of evolving celestial alignment with our lives.


Published by


people who know me...know me.

18 thoughts on “growing spaces.”

  1. ohmygod jam i thought i was cursed with this itch to keep moving things around and changing and fine tuning…i do think it has something to do with the job curse but i love it.
    there have been times when i ve woken poor husband at 4 in the morning just cause i couldn’t push some large piece pf furniture without breaking my back.
    i think there is a beauty in the way a space grows with you layer after layer and evolves just like the changing us!
    i think you ve done great with your “evolution of space” 🙂

  2. what a lovely description jammie of all the changes you’ve brought. and the pictures are stunning! so inviting 🙂
    i love moving stuff around in my own house as well. i can’t wait to own my own place so i can mess with it all i want!

  3. I love the pictures – and such a warm, welcoming home.
    I’m one of the people you dont understand. And def. not proud of it – moved into our place post marraige – nearly two years back – teh basic furnishing was done by the hubby, with me on phone.
    And so far, everything else has kept me so busy that the house still only has the basic furnishing. the carton of book still lies in the store – the favorite books piled inside and on top of the side table.
    The DVD collection piled in 8 bunches in the lounge, covering half the wall.
    Have fantasized about a million different thinks to light up the place, but, in the end, i end up dreaming about getting furniture for a place, that is not rented.
    Cheap, I know.

  4. I really like your attitude, Jammie. It’s so positive and vibrant. And it reeks with confidence and comfort which is a rare combination.

    The other day we were out shopping and we landed in a home-accessories store which had all kinds of funky vases and cool candle-holders and I simply ached for my own home (right now we live in a furnished place, and we keep thinking that there’s no point in trying to redecorate a place you’re moving out of soon) where I could decorate, redecorate and remodel stuff to keep it alive.

    So good to see you do that as well and so great to see the images. Vibrant, life-affirming and … real.

  5. sigh…i love the faded worn out green floor tiles, such places which have maintained their character thru the test of time are hard to find. living in a room full of my things yet not so personalized enough im finding it hard design this space in a way that is just me..and i have no clue how to do this! i’ve been reading your blog for your years and i really enjoyed reading this one and looking at the pics. makes me feel inspired to go out and find interesting, colourful quirky objects which are just me! thankyou for giving me that inspiration. 🙂

  6. urbaniche thanks 🙂 i think its a curse of the job the need to constantly stay updated with how your space looks in correlation to who you are 🙂

    mona thanks- this isnt exactly our place as such 🙂 we also rent but im glad we slowly did it up because its been 5 yrs and it would have been sad to think that we were just waiting to start our live-s this way atleats i feel we are living it even if in the longer run, it turns out more expensive!

    ibteda- haha i dont mean to judge really- i just dont get how one can not want to be settled in where they are. however, that said, if someone feels settled in chaos, who am i to argue? I have slightly monaica-ish tendencies and need to have things in place and pretty if im to sleep at night…so its more like a condition than a liking!!

    saba thanks. 🙂 in these times…need i say more? 🙂

    minerva- thank you thats a lovely thing to say- i long came to the realization that if i have to be even a slightly good person, wife, designer mom whatever, i need to inspire myself in how i live and surroundings. its as simple. change my environment and ill change too. 🙂 takes time na? when i moved in we had the basic few pieces and colours that we had picked out before marriage and we have had fun finding our style together- its hard because the process is long ( we are going to be 5 yrs old next yr) but i think its worth the growth.

  7. Sara, I love your house. I think I’ve been to these apartments (not yours) before and I’ve always thought that they are full of character. And the amount of sunlight… sigh

  8. there is a fridge magnet in our home which says:
    ‘a clean house is sign of wasted life.’
    and it’s got a pic of a smiling lady, scrubbing away the bathtub.. haha.

    love the sunlit photos.. and all the personal touches, and bits and pieces that you’ve added to your home.. so warm and cozy.. and very inviting!

  9. samina thanks. you know i wish i could say id always been charmed by old houses but i wasnt. old houses gave me the creeps and i always thought they were so sad looking 🙂 but yes thankfully i have revised my former opinion!

    huma hahahah controlled chaos but looking cvontrolled only for the pics 🙂 somedays i feel like everythings running away from me 🙂

    cheeky- thankoo- i love receving compliments because one, my place wa shard to do because its already got so mch charcter and you cant only add modern touches because they dont go with the history so finding the right mesh was impt- and time consuming but God is Great and he made me a designer! woohoo 🙂

  10. Hey. So true sara. I remember living in a home before marriage where I would move around things all the time. When I got married, it was just the two of us. However, my hubby being a home lover had done up the home quite well actually but he was so possessive of every art piece in the house, that it was simply impossible for me to experiment. Now after 3 years of marriage, he claims that nothing is where it was:) Guess the itch to move things as we evolve did not make me rest in peace and I had to conquer the territory!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s