Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ugly Duckling

Apartment Therapy has a regular column where readers can post questions. I was very inspired by writer Katie's dilemma. How to turn this "scary" room into something more inviting. See AT post here. I was intrigued by the fact that Katie is a writer living in Beijing and visited her delightful blog, The Nomadic Reporter. I am utterly entranced with this courageous woman, and a little envious of her adventures too.

I just couldn't stop thinking about her unwelcoming living room. I wish she lived down the street from me and we could have a decorating party. As I thought about this room more and more, I felt sure that there was only one answer. Fabric. Let the room speak of its Chinese origins through fabrics. Fabrics will add much needed softness and are easy to pack when she moves again.

I am assuming there is no where else in the apartment the fridge can be placed. And that monstrosity of an entryway is something she is obviously stuck with. The other assumption I have made is that since she is nomadic, she doesn't want too many things when she is ready to move to another country.

So here are my ideas for this room. Only a couple of accessories should be added and for maximum impact, they should be large. A large vase, a large painting and a large lamp (maybe a paper lantern). That's it. No other touristy or other predictable knick knacks (please, no fans and baskets). That way there are only three items to sell upon moving to the next country. To this, add tons of pillows, fabric wall hangings and perhaps a curtain or mural to hide the curious piece in the entryway. For example, take a look at Priscilla's Eclectic Flat via Apartment Therapy. Priscilla is living in Spain and had no budget to decorate. Yet she created a cozy, warm and romantic abode.

I adore the look of sheets casually draped over a sofa. Makes me want to plop down and put my feet up. The feel is soft to the skin, and they are washable. And you can change the color on a whim. There's a few things I would edit from Priscilla's place, but on the whole I adore it.

Here are a few photos from my inspiration folder I'd like to humbly share.

Marcel Wanders for B&B Italia Object.

A beautiful home in Bali demonstrating skillful use of large scale accessories and pillows. I apologize for not remembering where I got this picture. Probably Metropolitan Home.

June 2006 Elle Decoration. Perhaps a mural like this one could be hung to hide the piece in the entry way. Below is a book you will want for your coffee table, if you don't have it already.

A large piece of art is probably not in the cards right now, if Katie will need to move to another assignment. But there is a fascinating art movement emerging in China, which combines ancient and modern motifs.

Soulful painting by Zhong Biao. Below, a cute seating area from Elle Decoration July 2007, with painting by Chen Yu.

In other words, Katie's place should be unpredictable, sophisticated and very romantic. Do take a look at Katie's wonderful blog. I will be adding it to my blog roll, and I will be following it eagerly awaiting the transformation of Katie's living room into a swan. Katie, thanks for being an inspiration!

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