On my way out the door from Tokyo two weeks ago I grabbed my Brigitte Singh fabric samples from Aleta Online – not our birth certificates or my marriage license mind you – but fabric samples! Just what everyone needs when leaving their expatriate home for an unspecified amount of time. Having arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday to be with my husband while he finishes business this week, this has turned out to be a stroke of utter genius. Desireable new furniture is very hard to come by in Tokyo and one end of my living room has long had an entirely empty space where a coffee table should be. For years I justified it with little kids dancing or playing Twister, but secretly have been wanting to finish it with an ottoman much like the Robert Kime one in Carolina Irving’s New York apartment.  If you are a blog junkie then you know that her apartment, featured in Vogue, Lonny and now on the cover of Rooms to Inspire in the City by Annie Kelly is one of those absolutely perfect spaces. If you are not familiar with it, I highly recommend taking some time to check it out.

The ottoman is actually a very simple octagon, with wooden legs and stretchers along the bottom for support. She has customized it with a beaded fringe trim.

On the Robert Kime site, the ottoman is more of a rectangular octagon with simple nailhead trim.

I had ordered the Indian block print fabric samples from Aleta a while ago as I am planning on using one of the Cream Hibiscus patterns for the beach house. But I couldn’t resist getting a sample of my favorite, Grey Jali Buta, even though I didn’t think it would work there. A few weeks ago I had an epiphany and realized it would be the perfect covering for an ottoman in my Tokyo home. The only question was how? Presented with the opportunity here, I just can’t pass it up.

So today I took my trusty sample and went to Horizon Plaza out in Ap Lei Chau, home to many furniture warehouses and designer outlets. At the recommendation of a designer friend, I visited Artura Ficus, a furniture maker and seller.  We had a chat and made a plan and I’ll be receiving sketches later this week. Later that afternoon, I ran over to Altfield Interiors, formerly in the Prince’s Building and now in the Galleria. One of the premier purveyors of high-end fabrics in Hong Kong, I was quickly able to find a casual Zoffany walling trim for my project. I want something to give the ottoman edge that extra punctuation, but decided against a tassle fringe. I’ve got so much going on in that room – Chesterfield sofa, kilim rug, antique bamboo altar table, ebonized Aesthetic Movement chair – that simpler is better. I also want to be inspired, but not to copy. While I forgot to photograph it, the trim is the picot shown below but in a dark blue-ish teal like the leaves in the fabric.

Quick addendum: I went back today and took a photo of the trim with the fabric. Here it is…

Having furniture made in Hong Kong or China can be much less inexpensive than in America or Europe, but it can also be fraught with shoddy workmanship and mistakes. Join me in monitoring this project carefully.

Image credits: 1. Not sure of this one, will update when I can, 2. Vogue October 2006, photo credit: Francois Halard, via Style Court, 3. Robert Kime, 4. Aleta Online, 5. Zoffany