Each element in their garden reflects this couple’s philosophy towards life : The Tribune India

Neha Saini
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 12

As followers of the Mother (Mirra Alfassa) and Sri Aurobindo, Geeta and Sumant Sud have created their home, and the garden in it, with a passion for elements and perception of inward and outward beauty. It resounds with a meditative-like quality. Their sprawling yard has a lot of striking features, most of all, a fine example of striving towards creativity and creating balance with nature.

The entrance has a Ganesha engraving, carved out of a single piece of granite. “It was carved by a French artist in Auroville and weighs 300 kg. We also have basins in our garden that have been carved out of single piece of granite,” informs Geeta, 62, who runs a fashion boutique in city.

Healing green space: An aesthetically designed garden of the couple Geeta and Sumant Sud. 

When they built their home in 1997, they handpicked every element used in aesthetics to reflect their personal philosophy toward life. “We believe that every element, including every tree we chose to plant in our house, is an expression towards humanity. So, when we designed our garden, we had no architects or landscaping artists,” she says.

Their sprawling yard has a lot of striking features which is a fine example of striving towards creativity and creating a balance in life.

“So, when we designed our garden, we had no architects or landscaping artists. My husband is fond of wood and he sourced it from Balharshah forest in Nagpur,” she adds. Her husband, Sumant, 70, is an electrical engineer from IIT. Their garden also has murals of two swans and bird, done in granite. The red tiles used in outer structure and the house, have been made from mud sourced from Kerala. It has lots of trees including palms, harshingar, species of champa and more. “Every tree represents something, some special emotion or feeling that we strive to achieve,” Geeta said.

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Instead of Couples Counseling, Try an Interior Designer

The biggest fight I ever saw my parents have was when my mom threw out my dad’s beloved brown leather recliner. It was torn and worn and, well, brown, and she was an interior designer who just couldn’t take it anymore. My dad was livid, but my mom knew he would never agree to part with the chair unless she torched it or clandestinely paid someone to haul it away, so she did what she had to do. 

For better or worse, her shady tactics have rubbed off on me. Like many couples, I struggle to compromise when it comes to design, mainly because my husband’s style can best be described as brown, wood, and leather (with a dash of hoarder), which clashes with my need for light, bright, and uncluttered. When I heard Love It Or List It designer Hilary Farr question why a guy on the show loved the dark brown wood aesthetic so much, I felt her exasperation deep in my core. I immediately turned to my husband and told him that if we buy a house, we are hiring a designer to save our marriage. He complains about the price of $14 cocktails and $1.50 avocados, but he didn’t protest this potential splurge.

“I often see territorial battles,” says Manhattan-based therapist Jean Fitzpatrick, who has counseled couples not just about their deep-seated marriage issues, but also about their design clashes. “People refuse to accept that they and their partner are different.”

When those differences manifest in the shape of a microsuede recliner imprinted with a giant Dallas Cowboys star, a fuchsia loveseat, or a metal owl “sculpture” that would scare small children and discerning adults, it’s tough to look the other way.

New York–based luxury interior designer Charlie Ferrer says he often feels like a mediator and psychologist when he’s working with clients. A typical example was when a wife was “drinking the Kool-Aid” and agreeing with Ferrer’s sophisticated choices, but the husband, who had been hands-off, suddenly stepped in with strong opinions about seating. “He got obsessive and obstructionist,” Ferrer says. 

Instead of battling the husband, Ferrer helped the couple come together by agreeing to work with a chair that was “between appalling and OK,” and then re-covering the back in leather and alpaca until it looked like a $10K chair. “It was a triumph,” Ferrer says.

Texas-based interior designer Veronica Solomon says she’s also part designer, part therapist, and she knows better than to let one partner steer the ship. “I pull them both in from the beginning,” she says. 

Talking to other couples about their design clashes made me feel a little better about my own battles with my husband’s taste (although I did make him ditch that scary metal owl). Whether you struggle with your partner’s collection of 43 potted plants or their predilection for macramé, even the most harmonious couples can come to psychological blows when it comes to design.

Natalie Gutierrez, a Northern California–based chef and mom of

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Instead of Couples Therapy, Try an Interior Designer

The biggest fight I ever saw my parents have was when my mom threw out my dad’s beloved brown leather recliner. It was torn and worn and, well, brown, and she was an interior designer who just couldn’t take it anymore. My dad was livid, but my mom knew he would never agree to part with the chair unless she torched it or clandestinely paid someone to haul it away, so she did what she had to do. 

For better or worse, her shady tactics have rubbed off on me. Like many couples, I struggle to compromise when it comes to design, mainly because my husband’s style can best be described as brown, wood, and leather (with a dash of hoarder), which clashes with my need for light, bright, and uncluttered. When I heard Love It Or List It designer Hilary Farr question why a guy on the show loved the dark brown wood aesthetic so much, I felt her exasperation deep in my core. I immediately turned to my husband and told him that if we buy a house, we are hiring a designer to save our marriage. He complains about the price of $14 cocktails and $1.50 avocados, but he didn’t protest this potential splurge.

“I often see territorial battles,” says Manhattan-based therapist Jean Fitzpatrick, who has counseled couples not just about their deep-seated marriage issues, but also about their design clashes. “People refuse to accept that they and their partner are different.”

When those differences manifest in the shape of a microsuede recliner imprinted with a giant Dallas Cowboys star, a fuchsia loveseat, or a metal owl “sculpture” that would scare small children and discerning adults, it’s tough to look the other way.

New York–based luxury interior designer Charlie Ferrer says he often feels like a mediator and psychologist when he’s working with clients. A typical example was when a wife was “drinking the Kool-Aid” and agreeing with Ferrer’s sophisticated choices, but the husband, who had been hands-off, suddenly stepped in with strong opinions about seating. “He got obsessive and obstructionist,” Ferrer says. 

Instead of battling the husband, Ferrer helped the couple come together by agreeing to work with a chair that was “between appalling and OK,” and then re-covering the back in leather and alpaca until it looked like a $10K chair. “It was a triumph,” Ferrer says.

Texas-based interior designer Veronica Solomon says she’s also part designer, part therapist, and she knows better than to let one partner steer the ship. “I pull them both in from the beginning,” she says. 

Talking to other couples about their design clashes made me feel a little better about my own battles with my husband’s taste (although I did make him ditch that scary metal owl). Whether you struggle with your partner’s collection of 43 potted plants or their predilection for macramé, even the most harmonious couples can come to psychological blows when it comes to design.

Natalie Gutierrez, a Northern California–based chef and mom of three, calls

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Christina Anstead’s Advice for Couples Who Just Can’t Agree on Decor

Christina Anstead knows that couples don’t always agree—on home decor or otherwise. (Remember all of her arguments with her ex-husband and flipping partner Tarek El Moussa on “Flip or Flop”?)

And on her new show, “Christina on the Coast,” we see that plenty of her clients can’t see eye to eye, either.

In the latest episode, “A Clash of Style,” Anstead helps newlyweds Montana and Liz update their home in Long Beach, CA. It’s a big design job, which is made more challenging when these clients can’t agree on how their house should look.

Read on to find out how Anstead helps them compromise, and how they both end up pleasantly surprised by their new surroundings. Perhaps you can avoid your own domestic design battles, too!

Get a sample before you decide

christina anstead
These homeowners made the right choice when they picked blue over black cabinets.

HGTV

When the three of them discuss the kitchen, it’s clear that Montana is set on having black cabinets, while Liz wants blue. Neither is willing to compromise, and things are tense between the newlyweds. It’s clear that Anstead will have to act as the tie-breaker.

To help, Anstead brings the newlyweds a sample for blue shaker cabinets. Upon seeing it in real life, Montana warms up to the hue, and allows Liz to get her way. And by the end of renovation, they’re both happy they went with blue. The cabinets bring a sophistication to the kitchen without making it look too harsh.

“Wow, it looks really, really good,” Montana says of the kitchen. “I cannot believe how it turned out.”

Light flooring is a must-have in a home with pets

flooring
Christina Anstead’s flooring choice looks beautiful!

HGTV

Since Montana had to compromise on the cabinet color, he’s hopeful that he can call the shots when it comes to flooring. However, he and Liz butt heads once again.

While Montana likes the idea of a dramatic, dark floor, Liz prefers a lighter shade. Once again, Anstead acts as the tie-breaker and explains that the lighter floors won’t just work better with the rest of the home’s design, but will be more practical with their three dogs.

All the fur those pooches shed would show up on a dark floor, but blend in better on a lighter one, she explains.

Montana eventually agrees to medium-gray laminate flooring, and while it may seem like another compromise, he ends up liking it a lot.

Extend your fireplace up

fireplace
Anstead knew this fireplace was due for a makeover.

HGTV

Montana finally gets his way with the fireplace. Anstead wants to take the small fireplace in the living room and make it a grand statement piece by extending it all the way to the ceiling.

Montana is happy that the fireplace will feature the matte black tile he loves.

fireplace
The fireplace now goes all the way to the ceiling.

HGTV

When the fireplace is finally finished, the couple love the look. As it turns out, Montana’s dark style finally

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