Saturday, March 18, 2006














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Urban Property
Speciality of bedroom

          If most of your waking hours see you in the kitchen, as a housewife, all the sleeping hours (normally) are spent in the bedroom. It should be a special room with privacy, elegance, combining an element of the unreal with the real. It has to be enchanting and gorgeous - a dream bedroom for a beautiful and refreshed awakening each day - and yet, given our Indian conditions - of heat, dust and need of everyday sweeping and mopping - it should lend itself to easy cleaning.
Am I talking of something too elite and non-affordable? Not so.
Gone are the days when the toilet was located at the far back of the compound and it was a journey to reach it - but its distance kept out odour - it had ventilation and lent itself to easy cleaning.
No bedroom, these days, is complete without an attached bathroom (unless one has a bathroom for two bedrooms with a door, not from either bedroom but from a third side). Today the attached bathroom has necessarily to be kept fragrant and neat, as it is so close to the bedroom.
The bedroom has, like the kitchen, to be at one end of the house, so that it is not trespassed (with dirty feet or slippers). That is to say that one should not have to cross the bedroom to go to another room. (Believe me - this is so in many houses, which have not been planned well). It would be ideal to have it far from noise and kitchen aromas. One should not have to cross the drawing room - you may feel awkward to confront visitors before reaching the bedroom. This shows the importance of corridors, which have doors leading to rooms on either side.
Provision for reading in bed and being able to put the materials on a side table or shelf before sleeping and being able to switch off the light from the bed itself are no longer luxuries.
The main light switch should be near the entrance of the bedroom. Nowadays most doors, which open, are flush with the wall, but you can also think of having sliding doors that work (noiselessly). I have seen space savers such as fitted storage and wardrobes that run along the walls and around the corners, or that reach from floor to ceiling. In the west, there are what they call, walk-in closets for keeping your clothes as in an almirah.
Commonsense approach
The commonsense approach to furniture for the bedroom here would be: select only the most essential pieces which are versatile, that do not occupy much space, that are not too heavy to move and are easily assembled/dismantled, that can be interchanged and are easy to keep dust-free.
What about walls? Have plenty of free wall space with just the right picture hung appropriately that is soothing and radiates the right ambience.
Doors have to be minimal in a bedroom. Of course good ventilation and light have to be provided for. So windows need to be at a proper height - they must ensure cross ventilation.
Privacy is most important. So too is security - no one should be able to slip his hand in through the window and walk away with a watch kept near the window or even a bedcover.
Of course net doors/netting is available and probably is fitted in many houses to keep away mosquitoes and reptiles (this is surely needed in a Baker type house which has many openings).
Do not have windowsills - they are a great temptation for keeping glasses, books and miscellaneous things - have the sills on the outside, if you must. Make provision for a room air conditioner and for windows to be easily shut.
Bedrooms can be marred by a bad choice of curtains. Spend a few moments thinking about curtain rods, pelmets and tracks to use. Curtains need to be practical and not too expensive - yet they need to add tone and colour to the room - they need to be easy to clean, take off and put on, thick/thin according to the purpose to be served, such as keeping off the glare/letting in light and be fade-resistant. Whatever the choice, everything must blend with the décor of the room.
The floor of the bedroom with mosaic looks very good, but if that is costly, then there is a range of less-expensive tiles one could chose from. Carpets are not called for, for the kind of climate we have, which is warm, warmer or warmest, but it looks elegant to have a mat near the bed so that you can wipe your feet on it just before you go to bed. Or just for elegance there could be a prayer mat at one side of the room. We should try and keep away from the bedroom, large quantities of medicines, stationery, needle and thread and so on. But a clock on a small wall stand would be useful especially if you need to keep an alarm for waking up.
If yours is a two-storey house, be sure to insist on having a bedroom-with-bathroom downstairs. This is useful for senior members, pregnant daughter (or other relation) and sick people, who cannot be walking up and down.
If your house is to have two or three bathrooms, each could be distinctive and beautiful at minimal cost, with just a little sense of décor and planning.


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