Provencal Interiors: Create a home that is livable and lived-in

Ah our fixation with all things French!From the sweet-sounding romantic language to the ‘je ne sais quoi’ Parisian magnetism to the nonchalant street fashion, France is an esoteric world in itself that is irreverent, unapologetic, and infinitely charming. When it comes to decorating characterful yet unassuming interiors, here too the French seem to have a leg up on others. Each region possesses its own unmissable flavor which wields a goodly influence on the lifestyles of its citizens.

But what is a Provencal interior? What is Provencal in the first place? Femmes and garcons, we will decode that for you. So, the word Provencal comes from Provenance–the Mediterranean heartland of France boasting a bevy of historical monuments, sumptuous lavender beds, and sun-drenched, lyrical landscapes.

If you can’t picture what we are talking about then have a look at those lavender stalks bending in the balmy breeze –


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Feel the tingly sensations as you move your hands through the stalks.

So, what are the attributes of Provencal interiors? Theatrical splashes? Artisanal objects? Opulent finishes? Well, there’s a soupcon of everything but it never strains for effect. A typical Provencal interior looks well-curated, unpretentious, and exuberant. It radiates warmth, throbs with old world elegance, and exhibits the generosity of the occupants.

Here’s a detailed low-down on the salient features of Provencal interiors–

Colors

When it comes to artful using of colors, the French are unbeatable and magnanimous. They know what a hearty splash of a color can do to a room–it can foreground an architectural piece de resistance, cleverly camouflage a flaw, arouse senses, and so much more!


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( image Source : pinterest )

We can imagine the convivial people going about their quotidian business in this cheerful living room.

We are unabashed lovers of pastel colors and so are the inhabitants of Provence. Pastel colors are intrinsically linked with soothing senses. In a room, pastels can pop from anywhere; they can leap from a bucolic country painting or can be drawn from the kaleidoscopic landscape. Well, to all of us who live in the middle of urban bulk unfortunately can’t peer outside the window for color inspiration but we’d tell you how to go about it.

While pastels of all sorts are favored, unexpected and unpredictable experiments are lapped up eagerly. Think of beige, putty, blues of all sorts (they have a thing for all shades of blue, call it the Mediterranean effect), olive, Sunflower yellow (a favorite of Monsieur Van Gogh), lavender, poppy red, scarlet red, terra cotta, umber, sienna, and ochre.


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Picturesque natural beauty, vibrant colors, and magical light are the visceral ingredients that make Provence a living impressionism canvas.

Floral patterns

Oh lala floral patterns, something in us that just responds to them! A Provencal house is a savvy intermingling of cheerful colors and upbeat flowers – whether fresh or in the form of pretty patterns dancing on curtains, blinds, table cloth, cushions, or bed linen.

Vases are perennially filled with fresh flowers, foliage and herbs which playfully interact with the patterned home furnishings. Whether pronounced or simple, flowers are a crucial part of Provencal interiors.


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( image Source : pinterest )

We can imagine waking up to the idle mellow tune of Edith Piaf’s ‘je ne veux pas travailler’.

Light billowy draperies


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( image Source : pinterest )

The French love their draperies airy and ethereal. Faultlessly tailored curtains gracefully fall from window fixtures and spill over on to the floor. Curtains are closer to the ceiling as they create an imposing sense of height. Hand-made head treatments like goblet pleats look ravishing and tasteful, so does the embellished border along the lead edge.

Draperies with alluring passementerie like chords,piping, tassels, pompoms, and lace trimmings add boundless charm and style to interiors. Oh and did we tell you about the old world mystic they conjure up? As they say a soul fond of history will always look for things that are robust in composition and dainty in appearance and that’s what the French revere.

The French are sentimental folks after all; they are fiercely attached to their hand-me-downs and heirloom objects and display them with honor and pride. Provencal interiors are organic coming together of sundry elements that look like repository of life experiences in a sequence.

Now we say au revoir to you! We hope to see your rendition of Provencal interiors soon!

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Here are the glimpses of the Felicitation Party for the IIID Anchor awards 2016 winners!

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Saka: architecture:interiors:urbanism presenting their award winning project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

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Ar. Rajeev Agarwal presenting his award winning residential project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

_MG_1019Architectural Firm FIRKI studio presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

_MG_0916Spaces Architects-ka , presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

_MG_0921Architecture Discipline presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

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The The Novarch Architects presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

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It was an absolute pleasure hosting the IIID Anchor Awards and an edifying experience as we got the opportunity to view award-winning presentations. We thank you all for coming and making the Felicitation Party a success.
Saka: architecture:interiors:urbanism, FIRKI studio, Architecture Discipline, Spaces Architects-ka, Basics Architects, The Novarch Architects, Project 810 Knock on Wood Group DCA

 

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Curtains and Blinds Cleaning Tips and Techniques

Curtains attract dust as naturally as a few drops of blood attract a shark, well this is quite gory an analogy – but you have to agree that both are highly undesirable.

Curtains are the ethereal, practical lengths of fabrics that beautifully cloak yours windows–they block out sunlight for those who can’t bear even a chink of sunlight as well as pleasantly disperse light for those who harness the early balmy light to shrug off morning laziness. Despite acclimating to all our whims and fancies and style preferences, we believe that our curtains are one of the most overlooked members of our home décor.

We know curtain cleaning doesn’t happen in a click and takes almost an entire day of taking them down, washing them, and hanging them back (sometimes there’s also the additional trouble of sewing the edges that have come undone), but you got do what you got to do. But here’s the thing –how about cleaning your curtains periodically, say once in a month than just allotting a day in like once or twice a year? (which is like the exerting equivalent of performing 108 Sun Salutations randomly on a day!)

Without much ado, let’s get down to knowing how to set up a monthly curtain cleaning ritual. Don’t balk at it already! It involves no Herculean efforts just vacuuming. For that, you need upholstery attachment to clean the curtains overall and crevice tool (comes with a narrow nozzle) to clean the pleats of the curtains). Vacuum the front and back of the curtains– especially if you got a four legged baby in the house who is most likely to graze against the curtains when leaping or general goofing around. Always remember –regular, disciplined quick cleaning means less frequent thorough cleaning!

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( image Source : pinterest )

If your curtains smell funny–say moldy or incomprehensibly funky, then it’s time to get them out in the sun for some air drying. By that we don’t mean you to hang them in harsh sunlight – as it will be unmerciful to the color of your curtains. Look for a day when the sun isn’t shining brightly and it’s relatively dry and windy. You may want to give odor eliminators a try;however, it’s more of a temporary hack.

For heavy fabrics like velvet, chenille, heavy-weight jacquard, etc., go for steam cleaning. This is the best cleaning method for heavy curtains as it saves the time and energy of detaching them from the hardware. Ensure that you don’t wet the curtain too much.
You can clean your Roman blinds pretty much the same way –use the upholstery attachment and brush the blind from the top to the bottom. Focus your attention more on the lower end and sides of the blind as these are favorite dust spots – given their proximity to the sill and frame of the windows. In case of splotches or stains, go for a stain remover which is compatible with the fabric of the blind or you might end up having a markedly different looking patch on your blind.

Now comes the deep and thorough once in a year cleaning ritual –it’s the whole shebang. Right from removing the curtains from poles/rails, washing and drying through to putting them back in their position. The first thing you need to do is check the washing instructions properly–see if your fabric needs dry cleaning or hand wash, it’s something that you need follow strictly.

As for drying–the best way is to put them back in their place, flick on the fan or open your windows and let them dry naturally. If there are any vestiges of creases that you want to get rid of – go for a round of steam cleaning. Ah yes, one more thing – if your curtain heading has tape, make sure you secure the end with a firm knot or else, we hate to say it but your curtain heading will have come to naught.

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( image Source : pinterest )

As for blinds, again, follow the washing label. For through cleaning–you would need to take the blind down, carefully remove the cords and horizontal rods placed inside the lining. After washing, reassemble the blind and leave them in the pulled up position so that it can it sit back to its original place.

And, that’s that folks. We hope these small tricks help you minimize your window dressing quandaries and most importantly change your perception about cleaning them in the first place!

Happy cleaning!

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The Subtle Art of Layering Your Bed

The other day we had an eager shopper at our design studio who we believe totally aced multi-tasking. She was casting quick glances on our bed vignettes, tossing a volley of questions in our direction, sipping coffee and occasionally quieting her little girl down. She wanted us to clue her into the secret of doing cozy and chic beds. Ah yes, sumptuous, layered, and perfectly-made bed – can’t tell you how tempted we feel when we cross those bedding setups at our design studios, but we have to comport ourselves and as expected from mature professionals, BEHAVE!

We get this question asked many times, so we thought we’d put it on our blog and let you all folks know how to turn your bed into a dreamy, fluffy, and cozy pod that catapults you into transports of nirvana, precisely where this adorable little floof is

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So how do you achieve the bed where you just collapse into for peaceful exhaustion? Let’s get down to the brass tacks.

The underpinning of any successful bed is the mattress. So it goes without saying that you have to invest in a good one. Swathe it in a mattress protector as it will shield your mattress from dust mite and prevent it from going south.

Have you ever considered giving a whirl to flipping your mattress? Try it and it’ll totally feel new and also enhance its longevity. Whether bottom fitted sheet (it comes with elastic edges and is pulled over the mattress) or flat sheet- it is a matter of your choice.

If you are using a flat sheet, your bed-sheet in other words – make sure you tuck it nicely and snugly under your mattress. If you want something crisp and not something that gathers unsightly at the corners, then you might want to try ‘hospital corners’ at your bed’s foot. It’s not as formidable or complicated as it sounds; it’s quite similar to wrapping a gift box. When you cover your mattress with the flat sheet, it leaves a side edge which needs to be raised up so that it forms triangular tent. You fold it neatly over the mattress, tuck the hanging fabric along the mattress, and bring down the triangular tent to the corner. You repeat the same steps for the other corner and tadaa, you’ve got your own lavish five-star bed.

Next is your bedcover, something that you drape over your bed sheet during daytime. Bedcovers protect your bed sheet and top off your bed. They are larger than your bed and drape well. Simple.

Coverlet is a light-weight, woven versatile bedcover (it’s basically a smaller version of bedcover; doesn’t fall all the way to the floor and only covers the mattress). You fold your comforter like the duvet during daytime. Coverlets are perfect for warm temps and can also be used to enwrap yourself when chilling on the sofa.

If you are someone who finds layering up your bed a not a very happening chore, then duvet is your best friend. Duvet is a flexible, flat fabric container carrying down or synthetic fibers. Duvet is actually the insert and is encased in a protective covering called duvet cover. During daytime, your duvet can serve as a decorative element. It looks sumptuous if you fold it in accordion pleats at the foot of the bed and let the end fall over the mattress.tulips blog 2

Now comes our favorite part – pillows! Two most important things to think carefully about – first you need to ensure that your insert is neither too big nor too small for your pillow cover but just the right size that makes it look plush and plump.
Second thing to keep in mind is the number of pillows you use to layer. Your bed shouldn’t look as if it’s drowned in them nor should it look as if it’s wanting of them. We suggest two Euro shams, two pillows, and one or two accents pillows. If you want to add a scintilla of colors and patterns, then we say this is where you give free rein to your imagination. You can totally shake things up periodically to refresh your bed!

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While design and style are unquestionably important when layering your bed, at no point can you be lax about comfort. For soft, light, and durable bed linen, the thread count needs to be above 200. Anything above 800 thread count will feel heavier and denser. It’s a general notion that anything with a high thread count is superior while it does matter, more than the threat count – it is the quality of the thread that makes all the difference to your bed linen.

Aaaannnnd there’s a last flourish to round off your sleep set up – a throw blanket! A nubby throw blanket placed casually at the foot of the bed gives shabby chic look; a little ‘messy’ touch that gives your bed a lived-in feel.

Cozy, unfussy, traditional, contemporary, transitional, or modern, we can assist you to create the bed of your dream, well, or let’s say a bed that is conducive to deep, peaceful dreams. Connect with us on 7875555413 and we will help you make a bespoke, collected, and elegant bed!

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Is it really possible to live with less?

What’s the fuss with ‘less is more’? Is it about bidding adieu to all the things you own (you probably slogged your guts out to purchase them) and turn your home into a blank box? That would be a radical and an unmeaning approach to living we say. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the German architect who popularized the dictum ‘less is more’, certainly wasn’t talking about emptying out spaces in the name of minimalism. Because he knew doing so would devitalize spaces and make them nondescript and lifeless. 

What he certainly meant was that spaces, when executed judiciously with sparse decoration and articles, yield maximum impact. More than subtracting, the approach gravitates towards adding and retaining things that enhance our living. Instead of going on a space-purging rampage, you focus on holding onto things that hold some meaning in your home and life.

As far as adding new things goes – let’s be honest here, it is inevitable. We need things and we got to buy them. But how about finding a middle ground then? Somewhere between being a strict ascetic to being a scattergood, you become a mindful moderate who has an appreciation and value for articles that are aesthetically and functionally sound. So you buy things but only those that would make you happy – not for a few days but a sizeable amount of time.

Is this blog-post a primer on minimalism/less is more philosophy? Well, not really. Let’s look at this as a nutritious food for thought that we’d like you all to ruminate on and hopefully embrace. So let’s first start with subtracting decor pieces, tchotchkes and other articles that aren’t doing anything great other than hosting a perennial dust and allergens festival.  Please do away with them. 

Make sure you have ample storage space that will house the objects and items that you don’t use frequently.  As for your souvenirs, art objects, and books, display them on a shelving unit. One quick tip – you can throw in some planters to bring a soupcon of botanical beauty to the mix. That’s that about subtraction.

Minimalism is closely associated with Nordic interiors – clean lines, organic materials, uncluttered spaces, and pale walls are the typical features that spring to mind when we think of Scandinavian design. Whites, pastels, and neutrals dominate interiors, quite understandably, to maximize sunlight. But many exhilaratingly errant Danes and Swedes are going for bold colors – if not brash, throwing senses into overdrive through bright, patterned soft furnishings (you can channel boho chic here), lively paintings, or vibrant upholstered armchairs.

Urbanization and digitization make us dream about escapism – our interpretations of it might differ, but the hankering to break-free from the shackles of the complex modern life stems from the same place. Minimalism perfectly echoes our desire to move towards a life that is bereft of chaos and rebuild our bond with nature. 

So before we say ba-bye to you, there are a few simple things you can do with minimalism – you can focus your attention to art/décor pieces you bought after months of deliberation and hashing over, change their position, rearrange your furniture, get rid of stuff that’s not serving any purpose, bring in pretty planters and succulents, and most importantly – take stock and think carefully before you spend those hard-earned rupees.

You’d be astounded to know what little rejigs and small changes can do! We’d love to know what your definition of minimalism is. Write in the comment section below.

Suzani: A vibrant crucible of the creative alteration of Uzbekistan

An 8-year-old girl, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed looks expectantly at her grandma who is carefully unwinding a lustrous silk thread from the spool. Her eyes beam with eager anticipation of what will unravel next. The little girl ambles around her grandma, putting up an adorable charade of indifference while the latter threads the needle. But the occasional stealing of covert glances gives away the impatient expectancy bubbling in her little head. Who is this little girl and why is she so fixated with her grandma’s sewing project?

Well, this little girl is representative of every young Uzbek girl who models herself on her mother/grandma so that one day she too is able to furnish household articles with beautiful details. The said details are achieved through steady, hand-guided movements and confident usage of bold colors. This traditional textile craft, which is unique to Uzbekistan and neighboring countries like Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan, is known as ‘Suzani’. Its history is a rich palimpsest of cultures and ethnicities that influenced, transformed, and shaped it for it to become an enduring emblem of ancestral art.

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Image source: Pinterest

The word ‘Suzani’ is of Persian provenance that can be translated as ‘needlework’. Bold florals, sinuous vines, dainty vegetal motifs, complex grid patterns, etc. are some of Suzani’s many design strands.


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Oi Palak, the enigmatic moon design

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Bold and densely worked floral motifs of Shakhrisabz Suzani

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Bokhara Suzani featuring floral medallions nestled in foliate lattice

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Suzani’s journey hasn’t been an easy ride. It wasn’t until the resuscitation of sericulture in the late 17th century that the art of Suzani began flourishing in the true sense of its practice and scope. However, this textile opulence was short-lived and began petering out with the Soviet rule’s belligerent interference in the native production system and insistence on developing factory-based and standardized one. But with the fall of Soviet Union, the Uzbeks were re-introduced to their design vernacular, which by then, was altered to an extent because of the cultural upheaval it had to pull through. Nonetheless, with the newly won independence and renewed vigor, it didn’t take long for this beloved art to re-establish itself to its former prosperity.


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Appliqued Suzani chair at our Delhi store

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The commonest items where the vibrant interaction of motifs and colors can be seen are wall hangings, canopies, headdresses, bed covers, curtains, furniture throws, table cloths, and many other home furnishing items.

Wall hangings, which make an essential part of bridal trousseau are crafted painstakingly and meticulously by the female members of the household and the bride herself. These beautiful pieces are emblematic of protection, fertility, longevity, well-being, and hospitality. The designs made on these hangings are symbolic of a prosperous universe that is lovingly architected with love, magic, well-wishes, and nature.

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Image source: Pinterest

Traditionally, an expert in Suzani designs known as ‘chizmachi’ would be called to draw motifs on a white cotton cloth that would be hand-woven by family members on narrow width looms. For a wall hanging made of a wide-width cloth, a number of narrow width panels (around 3 to 6 or even more) would be stitched together. Each of these panels would then be doled out to the members of the family to decorate the fabric with dramatic Suzani motifs. The fact that each of the panels gained details through different hands meant that they led to charming flaws and pretty imperfections that cohered to become an heirloom piece of talismanic significance.

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Image source: Pinterest

While the primary choice for Suzani is silk, nowadays, embroidery yarns such as cotton and wool are also widely used. Traditionally, silk was either produced locally by means of sericulture or imported from China or India. Silk procured from abroad would be dyed in natural materials such as cochineal, madder, indigo, pomegranate, etc. which would yield deep, lustrous, and rich colors.

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Image source: Pinterest

The stitch repository of Suzani comprises 3 basic types of stitchery techniques – basma, kanda khayol, and tambur. Basma and kanda khayol are essentially couching stitches, the only difference between the two is that the latter uses diagonal couching to secure the laid stitches. Both the stitches are primarily used to flesh out substantial areas of large motifs. Tambur, which is a chain stitch, is done either by tambour (akin to fine crochet hook) or needle to fill out motifs and delineate shapes. Together these stitches result in the rich interplay of linear and 3-dimensional textures, culminating in a vibrant outpouring of colors and designs.

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So what do you think is the little girl doing right now? We think she must have already got initiated into the mystical world of Suzani. Her grandma’s instruction and words of wisdom will form a bridge that she will walk across to embark on a new beginning that’s as prosperous and plentiful as the enduring art.

Do you want to bring a splash of these resplendent patterns in your home? Our karigars have got this craft down to a fine art and can create customized Suzani motifs for home furnishing of your choice. Give us a call on 7875555413 and our design ninja will take it from there.

How to add alluring details to curtains using decorative trimmings and borders

First impressions of your home are decidedly gained from the most obvious and salient architectural feature of your living room – which more often than not is the standalone, large window punctuated by lavish curtains. The decoration of such a conspicuous part of your living environs naturally warrants careful consideration and not to forget copious creativity. So how do you add a special flair to your curtains? What is that special something that just brings everything together into a satisfying, harmonious whole? Through the elegant application of decorative trimmings and borders!

Trimmings can widen the decorative scope of even the simplest of fabrics and can supply a tame composition a whirl of grandeur. Borders essentially underscore the composition, shape, and form as well as lend a blended note of decoration and weight to curtains.

Beautiful trimmings and borders always serve a dual purpose – they are sympathetic to the overall design scheme of the interiors and don’t get into the way of the efficiency of the curtains. From theatrical to formal, complementing to contrasting – decorative possibilities of trimmings and borders are boundless.

Take a look at some of the trimmings and borders developed by our seasoned team of kosher design ninjas –


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A decorative band speckled with closely stitched freshwater pearls runs along the leading edge of the turquoise jewel-toned curtains. This spectacular composition despite being opulent doesn’t look garish but graceful by dint of the restrained choice of decoration and color. 


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Here a brown linen border edged with multicolor potli trims makes a chic accompaniment to the Ivory cotton fabric. We also love the unusual density of folds of the curtains; it makes the composition look soft and modest.


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Colored pencils have marshaled themselves at the border of the white curtains to articulate the dreamy pleats. This imaginative juxtaposition is sure to stimulate childhood fantasies and amusement.


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Drawn to each side with tassel fringed tiebacks, this pair of silk curtains prettily frames a balcony view. A sheer swag and its layered tail are also adorned with the same color coordinated trimming, making the composition an impressive monochrome scheme that’s easy on the eyes.

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A broad border featuring geometric florals is wrought using shaded couching stitches. It makes an easy focal point at the window without ostensibly catapulting itself on our attention and totally works for a contemporary setting.


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Racing cars on a curtain border is equal to racing imagination! Disciplined wave curtains find themselves a surprising and unlikely companion in the form of colored toy cars at their leading edge. Talking about turning convention on its head this does it with panache and military precision.

Before we sign off, let us tell you that we can make for you curtains of any conceivable decorative style and scheme. The best part is – we suck at playing hide and seek. Huh? We mean you can spot us and connect with us easily! How about you drop us a line on info@tulipsindia.com or call us on 7875555413 to request for free site consultation.