J.J. Valaya and his sourcing team seem to have raided the island of Cebu in the Philippines to stock The Home of the Traveler (THT), a lifestyle and furniture store which opened on 1 September.

Divided into six themes—India, Glamour, Vintage, Art Deco, Organic, World—the products have been curated (read sourced) by Valaya and his brother T.J. Singh. The store is spread over five floors and has a basement (which will be used as a gallery and for events). “I wanted to create a store where you get everything for a home, where I could find things I can use when I design interiors for someone. This is the first step towards Valaya Homes, which I will probably launch four to five months later. At THT, I am not designing but really bringing together pieces that I have liked during my travels," says Valaya.

The good stuff

A wood-carved Bali lion
A wood-carved Bali lion

Almost every theme has items from Cebu, whether it’s the antlers in turquoise stone in the Vintage section; the wire mesh and papier mâché ball-shaped lights and the moulded wooden swirl-effect low bench and table in the Organic section; or the termite-treatment wooden side table in the World section.

Each theme showcases a model living room and bedroom (there’s even a temple in the Indian section and a bar in the Organic section), so you do get lots of creative ideas for your home. We really liked the beds (designed and furnished in association with a UK brand) specially a leather bed, designed by Valaya himself.

The store is big on stand-alone signature furniture and décor pieces, be it a large Thai throne (interior designer Raseel Ansal has a similar piece in her living room), Bird Cage love seats, a Kerala wall mural (which THT can replicate on demand) or a Jodhpur chess set.

We also liked the lacquer work tables, bowls, etc., from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as teapots in lacquered cases with tassles, a Balinese headgear mounted on a stand, braided natural fibre high-back chairs from Cebu, and some celadon pieces (cups, bowls, plates, etc.) from Thailand and ceramics from Hanoi.

The terrace area has a Green Wall (potted plants in detachable brackets with an inbuilt irrigation system). Those who do not want a 10x10ft potted plants wall, have the option to buy the almost 2x2ft brackets with plants.

There’s also a small coffee and tea shop which serves chocolates, muffins and cookies.

The not-so-good

This is not really a “world" store in the sense that most of the displayed pieces are from South-East Asia countries with a few items from Istanbul, Turkey, and India.

The Indian products lack the wow factor especially the cabinets with mother of pearl inlay work and the brass dinnerware.

Talk plastic

Prices range from 3,000-11.5 lakh

The Home of the Traveler, Sultanpur (opposite Metro Pillar No.16B), MG Road, New Delhi.

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