Sometimes I see an idea and it sticks and I have to do it.
I’ve followed Bisque on Instagram for years. They are in Byron Bay, Australia and they sell things mostly from India but also Africa and Indonesia with a distinctive look: many layers of natural textures in neutrals. Textures from carvings, weavings, nature’s etchings. They live with this look, they wear this look, they design the look for others.
Years ago I spotted a row of white painted jharokha in their pictures:
I wanted that look!
My design theme for the India pied-a-terre – our apartment in Chennai, India – is light & white with layers of global textures.
I intended to buy a collection of jharokha and hang them on a wall, copying the Bisque look with a little bit of shame. So far I only did one! I found the jharokha on Pepperfry.com and in the comfort of our home by Chicago, paid for it in rupees and had it shipped to the Chennai apartment. Gotta love online shopping. There it sat for maybe a year until my last trip to India.
It was dark brown. And you can see it was in rough shape.
Now, you gotta remember you can’t just go to Home Depot for last-minute supplies in India. So I usually pack things like wood glue and wood filler in our suitcase. You know, along with the toothpaste and antiperspirant! Normal traveling stuff. I appreciate having Amazon.in available, but it doesn’t sell everything in India.
The bottom shelf of this jharokha was loose so the wood glue came in handy. However, the wood filler was dried up.
What to do?
Well. I remembered back to my early adult apartment rental days. The time I moved out and had a bunch of holes in the wall from hanging stuff. I wanted my security deposit back. So you know what you do. Yep. Toothpaste. So, I filled all the gaps in the jharokha with toothpaste! It worked!
Then I painted it with neutral clay and chalk paints.
I first painted it with a darker neutral — Old Ochre from Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Then, I added a lighter layer of Vintage Linen from DIY Paint.
I applied the DIY Paint lightly with a damp paper towel so the darker color below still showed through without brush marks. A fabric cloth or a baby wipe would have held up better, but the paper towel was all I had handy.
Here you see on the right side how Vintage Linen lightened it up. I wanted it to look like dust in the crevices of white wood. But, not dust for real.
It’s still in rough rustic shape. I did not have sandpaper. Add it to the list of stuff to take on the next trip.
It will eventually be hung somewhere within view of this area, to give you an idea of how it fits in.
Time to find a few more jharokha to paint on the next trip! I’m glad I photographed the paint cans, so I remember what colors to pack next time.