This time of year, like always, is bittersweet. It is sayonara season in Tokyo as the school year comes to a close and people get ready to leave, some just for the summer but others forever. Jobs get reassigned back in the US or other home countries, or sometimes there are new assignments, new adventures in store for folks. I have had a flurry of new clients recently who want help sorting out what else they should rush to purchase and pack into their containers and more importantly, how to deploy it all when they get home. Many have entire households of furniture back in the States in a totally different style while others have filled their homes here with tons of Japanese and Chinese pieces that need some space inserted between them to feel fresh. I wonder if the word fusion is too trite to use these days – it is actually quite apropos – and honestly what this blog is so often about, but there is truly a need to fuse their items together to make a cohesive decorative whole.
As a result I am launching a new regular sayonara series, not meant to be comprehensive, but instead to a focus on an idea, a decorative item or answer a question from a reader specifically about integrating their old life into their new one. Since I attended a sayonara party last night – a “college graduation” party – that required me to dress as I did in college, which for me was an Indian print skirt (who else remembers Putumayo?) and Birkenstocks (which I have had to borrow as I forced my self to graduate from them years ago), I decided to focus on the mix of Chinese and Japanese antiques with Indian block prints and other South East Asian textiles to lighten them up. It doesn’t hurt that I have some of this mix going on in my TV room project at the beach house too.
This Chinese cabinet in an older version of Windsor Smith‘s bedroom is just the kind of piece that people living in Asia have purchased. Functional in any room, I love it in the bedroom where all the soft furnishings and fabrics can lighten its dark heaviness. The ruffled bed valence and mix of Indian block print textiles – in indigo no less – link through their shared exoticism to form a pleasing contrast. Vintage luggage junkie me loves the travel reference too that all the Louis Vuitton makes piled on top of the armoire. The graphic modern rug, which looks to be Madeline Weinrib, keeps the space grounded but is much fresher than a Persian.
Here’s the mix again in bedroom designed by Amelia T. Handegan for her South Carolina bungalow. The Chinese table (doesn’t everyone here have one?) and mirror play off the soft paisley of the bedding. The graphic black and white striped rug keeps the space modern and casual. Actually, Handegan’s entire cottage is an exercise in just the kind of mixing I adore and well worth scrolling through on the great new Architectural Digest website. She even repurposes an old Chinese table as a bathroom vanity.
For me personally, I have just scooped up a nice sized remnant of Michael Smith’s Devonshire for Jasper fabric, thinking the tiny print and deeply stained background will make nice pillows to add to the textile mix in the back TV room.
So send me your conundrums – include photos is if you can – and let’s start a conversation about how to integrate our wonderful finds into our larger decorative life. Cheers!