Tea Stall Style: Dining Room Dreams

Chennai Tea Stall_Elise Hanna_01Tea Stall Style_Elise Hanna_01Tea Stall Style_Elise Hanna_02

These photographs are from a tea stall in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Chennai, George Town. This shop was just opening, milk was heating and shelves were lined with pastel pink and blue insulated pots. A color palette too good to be true- one I’d like to make live on- in my everyday even though I’m no longer in Chennai.

As I sort through my thousands of photographs from India now that I’m home and simultaneously settle my family into our new home in Northern Virginia, I’ve been thinking a lot about interior design as a it reflects our travels. Sure we have a few souvenirs from here and there, but for the most part I’m not a souvenir person, in a traditional sense. I don’t nab t-shirts and trinkets, but instead prefer a piece of furniture, a photograph or a piece of home decor when we shop on our adventures. Instead of displaying shelves of  “little things” I’ve gathered along the way in our living spaces (Which to be honest, I very much do, I just save that for my kooky office space!) I prefer to make the room itself reflect the vibe of the places from which we’ve come, to infuse them with an essence of the culture as a whole.

In Brazil we bought a beautiful cow hide rug, and a giant canvas from the Hippie Fair in Ipanema. From India, I had a beautiful rattan peacock chair and a teak day bed custom made which I’ll be using as a coffee table. I’ve also collected a thousand unique cushions, rugs, stools and baskets from places we go. I suppose all my years of interior design school and my career as a photographer are meeting at last and I thought it would be fun to try something new and bring them together here. Let me know what you think!

Here are a few of my favorite finds from around the web for a dining space that would most certainly evoke morning memories of this expertly, color blocked tea stall and the colorful houses in the small streets of Chennai: incense thick in the air, the smell of curry leaves as they rustle by on delivery bikes, vada frying in hot oil and the farmy scents of cows grazing on sidewalk dairies. Our small rental dining room may not get to be papered in Justina Blakeney’s, “Jungalicious” new line from Hygge & West, but there are a few creative and not so permanent ways I’m looking at to sneak her in.


Tea Stall Style_Elise Hanna


Painting by Tiel Duncan // Pendant by Ikea // Cafe barstools from Relax House // Wallpaper by Justina Blakeney for Hygge & West // Rug from One Kings Lane (similar) // Table from One Kings Lane // Eiffel Chairs from Design Within Reach



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