Art, Creatives+ Creative Entrepreneurs, Interiors

Home Tour: Jayashree in Illinois

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea

Hello! I was waiting for the weather to cooperate, and for Jayashree (see part 1 of this series here, Storyteller: Jayashree Rao) to photograph and send pictures of her home. As promised, here is the tour of her family’s gorgeous, Chicago area home. Every picture will remind you that this is the home of a creative, but not just that. It will remind you that the more you nurture your creativity, the more creativity seeps into everything you do- the clothes you wear, the rooms you live in, your every day. That art is life. And that designing and decorating your home is about so much more than matching fabrics or following a trend. It’s about sharing your story- personal, individual, uniquely you. This is a home that I would love photographing! Enjoy! -Priya


“My home decor mantra is – Surround yourself with things that are dear to your heart. “HOME” to me is more than just four walls, and a roof. It’s an extension of me, it’s my refection, something that I take pride in and claim to be my own.  Give me something that is old, distressed and broken, and I will be the happiest. It’s very important for me to live in a space that is surrounded by things that have a sentimental value to it.  I don’t go by the books again. I follow my heart, and it works wonders for me. My Grandmom’s gold hairpin, and my Mom’s blackened brass utensils means the world to me. They talk to me about the time and the era they belonged to. Everything about India fascinates me and I see beauty in imperfection. I am intrigued by colors, textiles, jewelry and decor, and I love to collect antiques, lithographs and original art works from various artists from India. I love cozy places that exude warmth and heart. Putting things together that are visually appealing is an art by itself, and I specialize in that. Clutter when done right can look beautiful and like you see in these pictures, there are wall murals all over my house and each one of them has a story to tell. My decor style is consistently “Antique Indian” sans any crystals and glitter. I love mixing different textures and colors to break the monotony, so that there is a flow from one room to another without a match-much situation. I am very home proud, and it  makes me extremely happy when people compliment me on my house. I like to call my house a canvas and an artist’s retreat – all in one!” – Jayashree Rao

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaThe Benarasi brocade pillows, bright, bold accent walls, and a Warli wall weclomes you to the Rao household.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaAs I mentioned, I love old distressed wood, and blackened, textured brass. You can see a couple of ikat print, accent chairs from my favorite store Anthropologie here.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaThe wall art behind the TV is the only contemporary wall art that you can see in my house. It’s my tribute to the legendary artist Mr. M.F.Hussain.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaAn old suitcase in sage, a wooden angel from my Guatemala trip, and many original art works from Dithi, Kalyani Ganapathi and Anu Pavanje come together beautifully in this room.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea Black and White = Nostalgia. Family childhood images adorn the rustic wall in Crate & Barrel frames.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea I love the play of prints on prints. So I decided to mix 6 different styles of chairs with different upholstery for my casual dining room, and I am quite happy with the way they turned out. A huge black and white image of my daughter ( from her first birthday) sits beautifully on a old, Ikat wooden stand.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaMy pooja room wall has popular verses from the Bhagavad Gita painted by me. These writings are a constant reminder to myself, that one doesn’t have to overtly do anything to please HIM, he is Omnipresent!


Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea The signature of a traditional Madhubani is the repetitive motifs. A majestic Madhubani mural with repetitive motifs painted by me in 2007 adorns my formal dining wall.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaFresh flowers and candles are my staple. A typical breakfast table set up – red carnations in old, ceramic, pickle bharnis and offwhite candles in brass candle holders.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea

In a world full of chai addicts, I am a true coffee addict, and yes, it’s a liquid that smells like fresh ground heaven!

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea My mom’s brass and bronze utensils are very close to my heart. She is not around, but her memories are. Through these, I feel that she is still around me.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea

My priced possessions – my Grandmom, and Great-grandmom’s wooden and brass utensils. Some have names etched and date back to the British Raj in India. They certainly take me back to the era they belonged to.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaAgain, masala boxes of my grand, and great-grandmom. I use them everyday in my kitchen.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea That precious, old, ghee pot, which has passed down to me through generations. I fondly remember the days when Amma used to pour hot ghee on our plates from it.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/CollectiviteaFor the love of Bollywood. A quiet spot for the Indi Diva – a must!

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea In Indian Mythology, two incidents are considered to be epic – “The celestial Union of Lord Rama and Sita”  and “The coronation of Lord Rama”. I am glad I could learn Tanjore art during one of my India visits, and bring home one of the epics- The coronation of Rama witnessed by the sun, the moon and the Sapta ( seven) rishis ( Saints) sits pretty in traditional Chettinad frames.

Home Tour/Jayashree Rao/Collectivitea One of my bedrooms – a classic example of how many texture, prints, and patterns can come together beautifully without feeling overpowering. While the gold stencils on a dark charcoal wall adds drama, the colorful Kilim rugs from my Turkey trip enhances the beauty of the room. – Jayashree Rao


All images are courtesy of Jayashree Rao/Sage & Slingback.

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4 thoughts on “Home Tour: Jayashree in Illinois”

  1. Aninda says:

    What an inspiring home!! So much thought has into every single space.glad I started my day with this ! Thank you for sharing.

  2. renu says:

    This is by bar one of the best home tours I’ve come across. The house is so very beautifully done up and has such a warm and personal touch to it. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

  3. Vandana R says:

    Jay’s a friend so I visit her often. Her living room is my favorite room in the house but every corner of the home is beautifully done. Never tire of admiring it. Amazing style and creativity in every room! The clutter, the warmth and the colors of India really shine through. A very, very inviting home!!

  4. Pinkz says:

    I am a huge fan of the lady and her style. I can never get tired of seeing beautiful pictures of her home again and again. Her approach to excellence in decor with ethnic touch is something I admire deeply. Thank you for sharing Priya.

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