Sat 9 Jun 2012
Upon arriving in Jaipur, I ran over to a furniture warehouse to check on my new dining table and a VIP client’s German Silver Bed order. Luckily the bed looked the lovely and the headboard upholstery was facing the right way. Next, I wandered off into the dusty overstuffed warehouse to pick a few inlaid mirrors for my country house and a Tibetan trunk with muted soft colors to work as a side table in a tiny bedroom. I passed on a massive empire mirror as I could hear it falling off the wall, but grabbed a few copper jugs for the gardens on the way out.
Onward to my favorite workshop’s warehouse to poke through the slightly odd dye lots for upholstery and curtains for the country. Since I had to pick through what was left over, my choices were narrowed, which always makes things easier. I ended up with some odd combinations but I think it might work.
My idea for the farm was to design all of the items in the house from the upholstery to the lamps to the carpets. One of the only pieces that I am buying is my pal Richard Wrightman’s Campaign Dining Table. The paint colors were inspired by a recently repainted Indian palace – soft lavenders, medium yellows, bamboo greens – all of which look amazing in the bright Indian sun. I hope the colors will bring that light and frenetic energy to Connecticut. From the remnants I also threw around the cuttings to make large patched blankets something you might find in a street market in Ghana.
After a few sweaty hours in the warehouse I stopped for a quick coffee and a photo shoot for our new fabric collection at my favorite Indian Coffee House. I sported a blazer made from one of the feature prints in the line and the waiter obliged me with the perfect pose in his snappy uniform against the intense emerald green walls. I took sips from a tiny cup of coffee cup as ceiling fans hummed and fellow patrons politely observed. My rock star photographer, Jonas, who is always willing to humor me, art directed the shoot with perfect aplomb.
The next day, I headed out early morning to the block-printing workshop to print our new silk scarves. I dug around under the tables through hundreds of my old blocks and printed these crazy scarves. I hope they are as entertaining to wear as they were to print.
After wrapping up in Jaipur, I headed to Jodhpur to run around the old furniture warehouses in town, which I had been meaning to do for ages. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the selection, considering half of the items are new made to look old. However, I did carefully note all of the faded colors of the furniture falling down in the courtyards. While in Jodhpur, I stayed at then Ajit Bhawan, which I highly recommend because of its folly of a pool with cascading waterfalls not to mention its collection of lovely antique cars for hire.
Next an escape from the 100-degree days down on the plains to Shimla, a hill station. Due to some airline closures in India, I had to fly through Chandigarh which I always wanted to see because of all of the Corbusier buildings. Unfortunately, we needed a special pass, which we couldn’t get that day. Still, we pressed on to see the museum and some of the buildings facades from afar. It was incredible to see the modern shapes languishing in half empty parks and greens. Pressing on that same day to arrive in Shimla at the Wildflower Hotel was worth the agonizingly bumpy ride. Perched up in the mountains the hotel offers views everywhere of the Himalayas. Long hikes in the cool air were the perfect way to wrap up a toasty April trip. Now I hope everything I bought for my house arrives!