On nesting

For the very brief period that I was hooked to Pinterest, a bulk of my time was spent ogling at home decor and easy DIY stuff for cutesy things around the house. I have a penchant for all things cool and kitschy-fun AKA yellow lighting, shimmering fairy lights, bright colours and junk-pretending-to-be-functional-cool-artefacts, rustic earthy tones and handloom textiles when it comes to my home. But all the nesting urges and tendencies seem to be in full force only when I am online, trawling a gazillion blogs, websites and Pinterest boards. In reality, not much translates to something fit for our home. And we are in a constant state of WIP as far as nesting goes.

Its been three years since we moved to Goa, with our belongings in a few boxes and suitcases. Not including any furniture or nesting equipment, so to speak. None of the stuff that makes a house a home or brings in the sense of warmth that makes a bare flat more lived-in.  It didn’t help that we were near broke in just making the move, transporting our stuff, making the down-payment on the house and setting up the bare essentials. As I started feeling more and more domesticated and sorted out the basics, I realised that even the cheapest DIY ideas work only if you buy some of the basics. Really doing up your house takes effort, time, patience and a fair bit of money. None of which I had to spare.

Also, we came to the painful conclusion that if you have tastes that are finetuned by an over-aesthetic father and a very particular mother, finding ready-made furniture to suit your needs is a bitch in Goa. The good stuff (restored antiques, good simple woodwork, non-bulky over carved stuff) was hefty on the wallet and everything else (from yucky particle board stuff to the stuff sold in tents on the side of highways) was downright ugly. So barring a dining table, which we felt we just couldn’t do without, we decided do go sparse.

The few embellishments that happened, were mostly done by me in a half-hearted way, all the time wishing I had an endless spring of a home-decor fund. But its the little things that we did within the house that made it more lived-in, cosy and reflective of us and our personalities. And its what made this home our home. With a few framed artworks of the sisters, doing away with tubelights and buying a couple of nice lamps from Fabindia instead, setting up the kitchen completely, choosing nice curtains and cushion covers and creating a space that we wanted to come back to every single day.

Telling ourselves we’d aim for the minimalistic look, we slept on a mattress on the floor for almost two years. We had no furniture in our living room, for the longest time, except for curtains (also hand-me-downs from my mum) and a stack of gaddas (collected from some kind souls who were getting rid of them) and a centre table separating the seating and the TV. The centre table was a product of our first attempt at DIY furniture, one of the first humble lessons in resigning to the fact that we will probably never find the furniture we want. On a weekend of utter dejection we made our own.

Thought we had simple beginnings, over the years we added on a little something here and another something there. One year after we moved in, my parents handed us down a set of Gurjari rope-work chairs — the chairs they started off their home with over twenty years ago. Last year we finally got a bed made. A Japanese style low one, with a platform extending out on either side, to stack our books. My great grand fathers book case came in mid-last year and we had it polished and put in some bright yellow knobs. My dad also sent us a cabinet of sorts to place by the dining table, which makes for some additional (and much needed storage) as well as display space.

And yet, so much remains to be done. A stack of to-be-framed and to-be-hung-up stuff is gaining formidable proportions and I need to now get down to that. We also need to find that one perfect couch. Conducive to both sinking in for long hours with a book or TV show. Or neither, so we can lounge around, lie/sit and just chill. Somewhere conducive to catch up with people who visit, as well as recline and get lazy in the midst of those we are comfortable putting our feet up with. One of those never-want-to-get-out kind of furniture that hugs you tight in its tapesteried grip. But its a hunt that has been on for the longest time, with the lowest success rate.

As with all task lists, this one also had a longer string of to-dos than just-dids. A couple of weeks ago, the husband kicked himself into nesting mode, caught hold of a carpenter and got him to make us this.


High on the list of pros for the flat we currently live in, is two rather airy balconies overlooking the green patch below. Well partially green these days, with a hideous monstrosity coming up opposite us. It won’t be long before the patch square in front of us gets walloped by some real-estate goon too, so we want to make the most of it while we can. The husband has harboured a long standing desire to have a tall bar table on which to sit with his evening drink, where we can catch up and just be.

With a couple of second-hand bar-stools (probably the easiest things to find in Goa — with all the restaurants getting overhauled every season) this has been a lovely and welcome addition. We now have a new place to begin our day, as we sip our morning chai and watch the hyperactive birds begin their day too; as well as end the day with a glass of wine and my endless chatter about all that I did.

More recently I realised that most of what little we have in place has has fallen into place quite sporadically and spontaneously, rather than according to a grand plan. Things got added in, found their place and added their own charm along the way. So I came to the conclusion that maybe I am more in love with the idea of a lovely cozy home, and while I could probably go to town with decor, given the opportunity and an endless amount of moolah, the bare minimum seems to also suffice. We’ve come a long way from the bare bones existence of 2010, but today, as long as the basics are in place and my home is tidy, welcoming and homely in a way that I have grown up knowing homely to be, it will do.

The house is far from the dream home I imagine and lust after (and maybe will have someday!), but for now it is as homey as homey gets. And though it feels like we are in a constant state of WIP as far as doing the house up is concerned, it has been the best part of nesting. Maybe someday I will crossover and reach that state of more done than needs-to-be-done. Maybe the pictures will get framed and put up. The corner tables will be actual tables and not crates turned upside down. Maybe the shelves and drawers will be filled with things. Maybe the linen closet will be filled with colourful bedspreads and tablecloths.

Meanwhile, the hunt for that elusive couch continues.


23 thoughts on “On nesting

  1. Pingback: Nesting is testing, part 2 | hAAthi

  2. Pingback: Re-nesting | hAAthi

  3. arundati

    i spent 8 years with gaddas on the floor and was forced to “get a sofa” cos my mom could not sit on the low seating… i was never happy with the junk you get readymade and got a trusty furniturewala to remake something i saw on potterybarn… i still have bare walls and no coffee table (actually at the time of writing this, my second hand coffee table is getting a glass top and a coat of polish). i own the flat and have lived here for 8 years… so the nesting thing is never ending…. but i like that the home evolves over time, based on what you want, need or think is beautiful rather than mindlessly buying stuff which you tire of…i have not one piece of furniture (but for dining table chairs) or even cushion covers which are “matching”


    1. OMG thats so us too! Nothing matches (and happily so!) everything has been added progressively, in an unplanned manner. Most of my stuff is either handed down from my folks or bought because we really needed it (Read 1 horribly ugly compressed plywood cupboard and a dining table with 4 chairs).. Its been 3 yrs, and finally Im putting up some long pending frames.. The irony is we’re thinking of moving home :)


    1. Okay so I am not alone. I can stop beating my finicky tastes then, I guess. But you must have it slightly easier in Bangalore no? I have literally two places to choose from :(


  4. I love that sit-out in your balcony. It looks so great for chai breaks. I’m constantly creating nooks all over the house for me to hide away. Apart from that, I’m also reduced to dreaming about lugging home a bookshelf from a thrift store…no money and I feel strange to decorate an apartment we’re renting (and will never be for sale either)


    1. Ditto ditto. For the first yr we didnt feel like spending any money on the house because we were so busy saving up some funds. Then we werent sure how long we’d be in this place. Rented and all. Now we’ve figured a balance :)


  5. Madhu

    The bar table is such an awesome idea and your balcony is gorgeous! Your home sounds so cozy and chilled out :) There is nothing more special than furniture that has been loved and used before – it’s a privilege, I feel! I want to always live in a home that’s WIP, because a done up home is no fun :D


  6. Love the new addition! Can’t wait to see it person!

    Adding small but significant changes is such a fun part of having your own nest no? Mine is so stuffed with all kinds of collectibles and personal things and yet I have a new idea every day. To the extent that I know we have to move home in the next few months but I still can’t stop ideating about what I’m going to do here…


    1. I think a home is who you share it with.
      That corner he occupies while reading. The balcony where I drink tea. The cozy bed on the floor for the pet. The kitchen my friends hang out in. The private space for the couple. The favourite cushion my sister hugs while she’s asleep. My father’s obsession for filter coffee that I make at 4pm while he sits in that patch of sunlight in the living room. My mother and the fridge. My favourite lamp that I always switch on when the mood sets in ;)
      Ahh..this is the good life!


  7. I can relate, but I’m worse, I think. In my mind’s eye, my house will be lovely and warm and welcoming, with interesting curios collected from different parts of the globe being *used* (rather than just displayed, I don’t like the idea of “showcases”) and interesting posters and pictures will adorn the walls.
    But it’s easier said than done and I’m too lazy to do anything other than lie on my couch and watch TV, whenever I’m actually *at* home (which is not much).

    I look at my house and it looks like a place where a person transits through, more like a temporary abode than anything else. Which i guess… is kinda true.


    1. Thats exactly my point.. And in the end, you feel rather comfortable and homely in whatever it is the space you create for yourself has no? Like I feel totally at home, even in this constant oh wish I had this, and wish I had that kind of state of being. Sure, if I had it it would add to the ambience and homeliness, but its not really missing out on all that much either..


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