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Lucknow- fading splendour

Lucknow is dotted with grand homes  in varying states of disrepair. Fading beauties, once resplendent, they lie silently on the banks of the Gomti or stand lost in mazes of the old town. They’re usually concealed by haphazard wires, traffic, new construction, dust and sound. Stepping in from roads, one is startled by the contrast as you enter their world of  unassuming beauty, style and  elegance. These houses hide interior design details such as heavy, hand carved panelled doors and  cusped arches with columns that compliment delicate  tapestry and woven  rugs. It’s a  world of quietude, where  fragile  glass lamps encircled by intricate hand-drawn motifs rest  against  aged  lime washed walls. They’re homes that balance frailty and strength perfectly– spaces of ease and splendour, built for  life lived at a slower pace than it is today.

The pictures here,  were taken  with a client  at  an Imambara and   Salempur House . The Imambara has undergone a recent renovation– the older, soft grey marble floor was replaced by a startling salmon pink floor in high shine and was slightly disappointing. We did however,  manage  a few pictures in  areas that  hadn’t been renovated.

Salempur house’s  exterior, although pretty, belied the exquisite elegance  that  we were to encounter on entering.  On the interior we found that room followed  room  in harmonious  beauty and impeccability.   Cool grey and black marble floors were juxtaposed against  intricate hand painted halls . Wood panelled doors & halls  stood alongside  reverse glass paintings. There were also rooms with  family portraits, stained glass and highly decorated walls in almost complete disrepair, locked up in darkness. But as with most old homes,  legal complications prevent their restoration. A home such as this is  usually only patched together when something completely gives way.  Though not ideal, it is  still better  than others which have been left to die slowly or even worse,  been demolished.

We took notes on:  colour, hand painted motifs, door & balustrade details.

Left: Door detail on the interior Salempur House. On the other side of the door lie  the interiors of a  room covered completely  in hand painted motifs   Right: Chandeliers in an Imambara hundi light, glass lamp, motif, artClockwise from left: Lime washed walls and marble floors come together in this hallway from the interiors of Salempur House. Detail of art in the hallway. Melon hundi light  in the hallway
Left: Wood panelled interior of the dining hall, Salempur House. Right: Detail on a built in shelf in the hallway
passageway, marble floor, balustrade, interior designLeft:  Passage way in the interiors of Salempur House. Right: Hallway in the interiors of  Salempur house

passageway, marble floor, balustrade, interior designClockwise from left: Hand painted wall detail in the interiors of  Salempur House, Chikan embroidered table runner with fish motif and a side table in Salempur House

 

 

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