Home Sweet Home: The Signature of the Dweller

Some time ago I came across an interesting article, that I cannot locate now, that argued how people set-up or decorated their houses. The author made a distinction between people who were widely traveled and those who were home bound. Accordingly to her the traveler or those bitten by the wanderlust tended to have their interior decor with a lot of memorabilia from their travels. This travel fare family also tended to move cities and houses often. The interior decor with such memorabilia gives a familiarity or similarity to the homes in spite of frequent changes. That is, the wanderlust people’s homes bore the signature or imprint of the dweller which tended to be retained from home to home. And most important, such an interior decor with memorabilia and familiarity gave the home a character of its own. It was a home with a soul! 

Japanese corner


The Kerala corner

Africa Corner

In our daughter’s kindergarten in New Haven the classroom was  arranged into the Science corner, Art corner, Reading corner and even a ‘Putting yourself together corner’. The last one I loved the most, and the daily occupant of the corner was a naughty boy called Joshua!

And so in our wanderlust home we had a Kerala corner, Japanese corner (husband insists that’s Chinese! OK, cross cultural!), Africa corner and much more. We were very fond of Madhubani paintings, an art I had discovered in my days in Patna. Our dining table is adorned by Gujarat hand embroidered wall hanging actually!

Madhubani paintings

Gujarati handicraft touch: Dining Table

I have visited many wanderlust families in the world and came across a similar phenomenon. One such home I photographed with permission. This friend was most enterprising. In Lintong District, Shaanxi, China a terracotta army of nearly 8000 soldiers were discovered by excavators. This is said to depict the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum of the first Emperor of China. My enterprising friend, during her travels in China, got replicas of these soldiers delivered to her home in Liverpool.  A visit to Egypt also got her these Egyptian paintings on parchment that adorned the wall. 

From Emperor Qin’s Mausoleum!

Egyptian Parchments

English Living Room, Liverpool

In Liverpool I also visited an old English home, retained as such with its ancient furniture and fittings.
By chance I discovered on Facebook, that a cousin of my husband’s does oil paintings. When I admired her work and asked her to put up an exhibition, she said she would gift me one. I choose a beautiful one of the backwaters scene from Kerala. She was also kind enough to send me photos of her paintings adorning the walls of her house. Definitely the signature of the dweller is visible in her home. All these are homes with a soul!

Wabbit and Teddies watch over the Kerala Backwaters

Tiger, by cousin Gunjan


Tribal Woman by cousin Gunjan

More Oil Paintings, Gunjan

The home bound people were more likely to engage an interior designer, provided they have the funds of course. The themes chosen by such designers are fashion bound and generally have no relation or link to the personality of the dweller or lifestyle of the owner.


We recently acquired an apartment and since we did not intend to move in immediately we were wondering how to set up, manage the ‘fitment’ as they call it, of the apartment. While wandering around the premises of this new complex we came across a young couple, who approached us. It turned out they were interior decorators and were looking for customers! We fitted the bill! I showed some interest, while my husband quickly moved away! 

The lady said she had done the interiors of many of the apartments in this complex and offered to show me some photos on her large phone. I was game and was amazed to find that whole apartments had been decorated based on some theme. Much of the themes looked bizarre to my rather ‘unaccustomed to luxury’ eyes.  What took the cake was the apartment of a sports lover. Each room was decorated in the style of one sport. So the bedroom was a football field, even the bed and the bed rest looked like a football! The other bedroom was a cricket field. Every single room of all the apartments, she had done, had false ceilings, false walls, chandeliers and psychedelic  lighting! All of them looked to me soulless as the author of the article pointed out. 

Lord Ganesha

I was a little perturbed at the thought of how one lived in such surroundings? Fortunately we are far from such theme based homes and we definitely do not have the funds to splurge!


At times some items in our home aren’t collected by us, but just find their way to us and provide an unexpected theme. In India it is said that once one acquires a statue of Lord Ganesha, many more follow. I never believed this. Not sure how I acquired the first Lord Ganesh, but since then I have got many in various metals, including a Bal Ganesh (Child Ganesha) and a glass one too. And another Lord Ganesha was gifted by a friend on her 50th Wedding Anniversary! 

Lord Ganesha collection expands!







To get back to the article I referred to at the beginning of this post, I was very happy with the category of wanderlust travelers homes. I hope our home bears the signature of the dwellers and has a soul! And yes, now that she says it, our various homes over three decades do retain a familiar feel! I guess that is an absolute necessity for humans like me who can be referred to as ‘a rolling stone that gathers no moss’!!

2 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home: The Signature of the Dweller

  1. Enjoyed reading this post. Your home is such a beautiful, welcoming space and I have appreciated its decor both the times I was there. I hope my home too will reflect my wanderlust and becomes a welcoming space for family and friends.

    Like

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