June 2008

I will preface this by saying that I have some great clients. But all business owners will admit that there are a few things that clients do that make their job a bit tougher…OK a lot tougher. :-) My biggest pet peeve as a designer is lack of trust. One of the main reasons designers are hired is because we have the experience to help make a client’s dream and vision a reality. The key word here is “experience.”We know which materials work best with specific applications and have access to products our clients didn’t even know existed. Designers have a good understanding of the best colors because we have painted and accessorized more rooms in a few months or years than a client will have done in his/her entire life. Additionally, designers are constantly reading, visiting design centers and going to trade shows, so we have an excellent understanding of what the latest trends are in design.It is understood that designers should always keep their client’s vision top of mind and they should not do whatever they want with a client’s project (unless the client gives the designer carte blanche – a designer’s dream come true!). But I can say from personal experience, when clients let their designers push them out of their comfort zone – even just a little bit – the outcome exceeds their expectations and results in a much more beautiful room and satisfying experience. Trust your designer!

Asian-inspired furniture and accessories have seen increased popularity in recent years. I personally love the timeless quality of pieces from Asia and the feeling of serenity they bring to a living or work space. Below are a few pieces I’ve come across that blend in well when mixed with other decorating styles. With so many options to choose from today, it is easy to add subtle Asian touches to your personal space.asian-barstools.jpgAbove are Shinto bar stools from Green Tea Design based on the classic Chinese farmers’ stools found in the countryside. Not only are they beautiful, they are comfortable too. Are you an eco friendly decorator? All of Green Tea Design’s furniture is built from reclaimed wood salvaged from Korean farmhouses. And for those on a budget, Target has a great substitute in cherry.asian-buddah.jpgOne of my avorite sources for pieces is Eastern Serenity, an importer of Southeast Asian décor. Their store features a wide range of pillows, furniture, wall art, statues and much more. The above Khmer Style Deva statue in bronze would look fantastic on a side table, mantel or office desk.asian-candle-holders.jpgI also came across these twisted candles holders at Eastern Serenity that are carved from mango wood, a popular material in the Thai culture. Mango wood is frequently used by craftsmen because of its workability, light weight and ability to hold finishes.asian-pillow.jpgAs I’ve said in the past, pillows are an excellent way to mix in different colors and styles. This Thomas Paul Chinoiserie linen pillow from Design Public is the color of corn and features silhouettes of geishas and classic Asian scenes, and would really make an impact on a sofa.asian-desk.jpgLastly, this Shinto desk available at High Fashion Home is made of solid walnut from responsibly forested trees in China. An extremely well made piece of furniture, it contains no nails or screws because it was constructed using a Chinese wood joinery technique.I’m always on the lookout for unique Asian pieces, so please send me some of your favorites!