Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm researching dining room tables - and the decor surrounding them.  
When I realized I kept seeing this rattan chair  - in the same color of white - popping up in several very different decors. I never imaged it working in such a formal space below.  


Danish Modern reached a pinnacle of popularity in the 1950’s and 60’s, then retreated for a couple of decades. By the early 1990’s, however, it began receiving renewed appreciation. Today, this clean, almost Shaker-like style is once again a favorite of many high-end designers and a significant segment of the public.

 Danish Modern design joins simplicity with craftsmanship and quality. The emphasis is on functionality and aesthetics, highlighting handsome woods and sleek lines. This marriage of minimalism and ergonomics creates pieces that are light and use less space than traditional pieces, yet offer comfort and an air of sophistication.

 Because it was lightweight, you could easily move the furniture to clean under it or rearrange it. The glass tabletops and oil and wax finishes of the wood meant maintenance was easy and most people could do any necessary repairs themselves.

Finding retro Danish Modern in Hong Kong is very difficult.  Many items outside the commercial Modern looks will have to be made to order.  That's another reason why I like to blend a few Antique Chinese with the decor - it helps the budget. 

 However - I find a home done only in Danish Modern can be very 'cold' in appearance. 

I like the addition of the Fuzzy Rug or a strong antique Chinese piece to mix it up. 

Also add strong artwork.  If the lines are simple - the artwork will stand out. 

The recognizable chair leg - wide on top tapering to a narrow bottom - distinguished the Danish Modern. 

The addition of color can warm the space. The use of the silver metallic lamp - The Ames Chair, the antique Chinese Coffee Table - or Medicine Cabinet. 

 Many modern pieces lend themselves to this style like the Barcelona and Wishbone chair.  Add a piece of Mirror furniture to accent the silver legs in a Barcelona - or a lamp. 

 More Modern influences with the Egg and Bucket Chair - paired with the warm use of antique wood. 

Mix it all up for a very Eclectic Decor

Remember:  only use 2 wood colors in a room.  Don't get complicated.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Here are some ideas for an easy home office for 1-2 people.  I've done this in 2 homes already. 

Take 2 filing cabinets on either end of the desk area and top them with a piece of wood...  Painted, Laminated, whatever. Don't get too much room between the files or the wood could bow.  But 4-5 ft is fine.  I've even skirted the wood to hide the cabinets. 
Add shelves, artwork, draperies, lamps, rugs.....  you have a fast and easy work space. 

I've also taken dining room and kitchen tables and used them for desks.  They're nice and wide and can hold more. Most desks are about 22" - 24" wide and a table is 36". 


 Very Subtle and calming color palette.  Many of us have light bulb outlets in our ceilings - replace it with a fan instead of a light!

 Placing the desk configuration in front of the bookshelf

 White with a stone looking top.  The walls are painted tan and there's burlap on the peg board

 Simple color scheme.  The use of a simple dining table for a desk. 
 Another dining room table for a desk. 

 Fancy Bulletin Board

 Hide the filing cabinets under a skirt.  Add a glass top. 
 Find an unused closet.  I forgot, we don't have that in Hong Kong! 
 Black is always safe and sophisticated.  Masculine or Feminine.  My office has a black base. 

 Here's the concept!  Filing cabinets - and add a top! 

 Like the addition of a guest chair in the office. 
Love the Ames Chair .  

Friday, September 16, 2011


You may want a fresh new look to your home with an Interior Redesign -  which is the art of transforming your home utilizing the wonderful  things you already have. Using your existing furnishings and accessories, we revitalize and awaken your living and work spaces, reflecting your style so you'll feel even more connected to your surroundings.

Cost: $650 per hour – 3 hour minimum (less than the cost of a piece of furniture). Together we can move items from room to room to create a fresh look. Then evaluate what items you may need to complete it. (Price is for HK Island area only.  NT and Lantau: additional flat $250)

DESIGNERS SERVICE ON LINE:Our specialty is helping newcomers set-up, creating the perfect look quickly and on a budget. INTERIOR DESIGN FEES AND INFO

Treasure hunting in Zhuhai.
 PRICE:$1098 per person/each - 4 person minimum
We do not discount for larger groups
If you can only arrange 3 people in your group - the price is $1330 per person.  
We cannot take less.

You must have a current Chinese Visa!

Shop our Lamp Inventory!

Shop our new lamp inventory and lampshades on line.  They are shown on our website and our blog.   The lamps are beautifully porcelain finished and at a fantastic value - items that will last for years and years. 
Quality table lamps are difficult to find in Hong Kong - so we developed our own.  We import the porcelain bases from one area of China, sourced the fine linen fabric and and make the shades and make the shades in another location in China.   They are all brought together and assembled here. 

We need to replenish our stock - what are you looking for?

Check out our blog with:  THIS WEEK FACTORY FINDS...

Monday, September 12, 2011


I haven't been to the Art Village in 4 years, but I doubt it's changed much and many clients ask me how to get there. Artwork can make a room come alive and finish a mood.  

DaFen Art Village is located in Shenzhen, about 15 minute taxi ride from the LoWu Station. It's home to hundreds of art galleries and oil painting companies - many streets of small shops back and forth .  Tons of art to look at.  

Today, there are over 5000 artists and art workers. Its no longer a hamlet but more like a gated community surrounded by busy bustling streets. The Dafen Oil Painting Village streets and alleyways, however, are quiet, walkable, and full of art shops selling oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and other art. 

The choices are plenty as there are several hundred shops. You can even commission an artist to paint an image of your choosing. How about a self portrait? Want to immortalize your favorite landscape? Just bring a pic and 
I’m sure any of these talented artists can help you out.

You may take a chance and bring a photo of a landscape or still life for them to copy.  Remember, they haven't been there and their interpretation might create a different end result than what you were expecting. 

SUGGESTION:  Look for art that is original  - not a commercial massed produced item.  Even though the prices are fabulous - you may tire of something that you see everywhere versus a quality piece of work.  

Yes, you can barter!  If it's original - the percentage off may be smaller. 

I was on a mission to find just this type of work and must have visited every shop.  Just when I was about to give up - this caught my eye and I knew I had found it.  It's about 52" x 42" already framed and cost about $1200 RMB and I have a museum type painting.  

This was an original piece - not a copy.  It reminded me of the factories I frequent and the colors were spot on to my decor.  It's about 36" x 48" and unframed it was $1100 RMB.  I then took it to a framer - and for about $350 RMB it was complete.   The framer shipped it to me - CRATED. Maybe another $350 RMB

That's not easy - the framers don't speak English.  Maybe bring a phrase or two written in Chinese so you can communicate.
Like:  How much for this molding to frame this painting?  No, I do not need cloth matting.  I want you to crate it and send it to me in Hong Kong.  How much complete to do that - include cost of delivery?

My one painting came in with the corner chipped - even though crated -try and communicate to protect the corners with bubble wrap- they're more fragile.

IMPORTANT:   Also look on the back.  How are you going to hang it?  Is it wired and ready for hanging.  Make sure they 
do that!

I also wrote my name and address on the back of the canvas so it didn't get confused or replaced by a copy. 

  • Measure the middle of the painting in the back and mark it. 
  • Measure the wall 59-60" up from the floor (eye level) - mark the wall.
  • pull your wire in the back and measure the center point of your wire to your center point marking on the painting.  Say 10" is the difference/ the gap...  (the curve of the wire).
  • Then measure on your wall 10" ABOVE your 60" mark.  That's where you place your screw or hanger.
  • Your painting center should hit at your eye level when  hung. 
  • If there is a piece of furniture positioned below the painting - make sure you have room so it doesn't hit.  You can raise it slightly.  

Lucky you  - here's a map:

Remember:  You must have a current Chinese Visa.
You can do this in about 1/2 day and still have time to shop Lo Wu on the way back.

Easy enough is to walk over to the Shangri-La hotel when you arrive and they can help get a taxi.  Take a hotel card to show the taxi on your return. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011



Limed wood furniture is increasingly popular and is being seen in many recent publications. Also known as the whitewashed finish, it originated in Europe in the 1500s to protect the wood pieces from worm. Slaked lime was applied to the wood which, inadvertently, also gave it the decorative finish that became in vogue. 

Luckily for us, we have less caustic ways of whitewashing. It is best to begin with a wood that has a more open grain, such as oak or ash. Other woods may be used, but they will whitewash differently, with the liming material collecting in the moldings rather than the grain.

One method involves applying a good furniture wax mixed with pigment

Following is a basic method for creating a white washed (simulated Lime
wash) effect. There are 2 methods described, each providing similar results.

    Using diluted off white (LIKE OYSTER) paint - white paint is too stark - it needs to be a softer tone. 
    Using a ready made wood stain.

Starting your project

This effect works best over unfinished, unpainted furniture. The natural wood soaks up the paint or stain resulting in some of the underlying wood grain showing through. Depending on how thick your 'Lime Wash' simulated paint solution is will determine the final effect. A thick and rather opaque paint solution will appear more true to the Lime Wash appearance. A thinner, more fluid solution will result in a white washed or pickled appearance.

Applying diluted white paint.

Mix a solution of a slightly off white (like Benjamin Moore Antique White) latex paint, flat sheen with water. The flat paint will dry with a bit of a chalky look, simulating the true appearance of Lime wash. The consistence should be like thick cream. You may need to experiment to determine the level of opacity you want. More water will create a thinner, paler appearance, while less water will create a whiter, more opaque look. Once the white wash effect is completed you should apply 2 coats latex, water based varnish in a Satin sheen. Water based products are very durable and don't yellow. If you use an oil based varnish over a white base then expect it to yellow over time.

Tips and precautions

Things to note when working on wood surfaces; depending on the type of wood, i.e., oak, pine, etc., white paint sometimes pulls the resin up out of the
wood and stains the white slightly pink. Be aware of this. If this happens, you may need to first apply a water based sealer, then lightly sand the surface with 220 grit sand paper (in the direction of the wood grain), then apply your paint followed by 2 coats varnish.

Applying a wood stain.

You can also stain the wood white, instead of painting the surface. This gives a 'pickled' or 'bleached' effect and allows all the wood grain to show thru. You can get commercially available white stains (Minwax for example) that work well. Try and stay away from the 2 in 1 stain/sealer combos. Apply as above, finishing off with 2 - 3 coated water based varnish.

Always apply paint or stain in the direction of the grain, using a good brush, roller and/or rags.

As you can see - it lends itself nicely to the French antique style.