Here's how globetrotters Debashish Chakravarti and his wife Adity restored their old-Calcutta-art-deco-style home
“We figured the only way to save an old house was to live in it. So we spent the next two years restoring the structure and living in it,” recalls Adity
"A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." Nobody fits this George Moore quote better than former diplomat Debashish Chakravarti and his wife Adity. The couple spent a better part of three decades in the Indian Foreign Service, circumnavigating the globe with postings ranging from China and Canada to Ireland and Kenya, setting up elegant homes wherever they went.
But all they ever wanted was to come back to Lucknow and their beloved family home in the heart of town.
It wasn’t that simple, though. Built in 1949 by Debashish’s paternal grandfather, Mani Bhushan Chakravarti, in the style of old Calcutta art deco houses, the once imposing edifice had slid into disrepair by the time the Chakravarti's returned in 2013.
It needed work––lots of it––to regain its past glory. Plaster from the 18-inch thick walls was coming off, the roof had cracks, and the wiring was ancient, as was the plumbing. “We figured the only way to save an old house was to live in it. So we spent the next two years restoring the structure and living in it,” recalls Adity, an artist, lifestyle blogger and author.
On the brighter side, however, the house already had some beautiful old pieces of furniture, including some from the famous Lazarus and Co of Kolkata, which the couple refurbished with the help of local carpenters and polishers. Added to that were their own pieces––objets d’art collected from around the world during diverse postings. “I started with the most interesting room, the drawing room, placing the larger pieces of furniture first and then filling up with the rest.
I like having paintings all around me, so the walls are full of them,” says Adity. Incidentally, many of those are her own handiwork. Clearly, the result of the couple’s labour of love is there for all to see. A warm, welcoming home exuding vintage charm, something that Adity diligently documents in her increasingly popular Instagram account,@decorbyadity. With 47,000 followers and growing, safe to say old homes are getting new fans every day.