De­signer cre­ates stun­ning ex­otic in­te­ri­ors

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - DEM­MIE TRAVIS

IF you love to travel, as I do, you’re sure to come across items of spe­cial beauty and in­ter­est that you’d love to take home.

Fab­u­lous finds that fit into lug­gage present no prob­lem. A few yards of Moroc­can tex­tiles or a col­lec­tion of beaded nap­kin rings are eas­ily trans­ported.

But what about that 17th-cen­tury, hand-carved Span­ish trunk you can pic­ture in your fam­ily room or an in­tri­cately wrought In­done­sian en­try door you would give pride of place re­pur­posed as a hand­some head­board in the mas­ter bed­room? And once home, how would they mix and min­gle with your ex­ist­ing fur­nish­ings?

Th­ese are chal­lenges de­signer and au­thor San­dra Espinet has met and solved over and over again. Espinet brings the ex­otic home to North Amer­ica and cre­ates stun­ning in­te­ri­ors that cham­pion the blend of tra­di­tional style with prized pieces from other cul­tures.

In her book The Well-Trav­eled Home (photography by Hec­tor Ve­lazco, pub­lished by Gibbs Smith), Espinet shares her pas­sion for seek­ing out the rare and ex­quis­ite in places less trav­elled. Then, small or large, each piece is in­te­grated into home and fam­ily life thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away. If you’re more of an arm­chair trav­eller but long to have art and ar­ti­facts from other lands in your life, the rooms on th­ese pages will in­spire you to find a re­source close to home that im­ports th­ese gems.

The au­thor has show­cased each room to il­lus­trate the ver­sa­til­ity and re­pur­pos­ing of ob­jects that are both prac­ti­cal and works of art. The hall­way marks the en­trance to the house and de­liv­ers a wel­come mes­sage to fam­ily and guests. It is an ex­cit­ing place to show­case unique cab­i­netry, a con­sole with curved supports, a framed mir­ror, and works of art and sculp­ture that bring sto­ries of dif­fer­ent cul­tures to­gether.

“Ev­ery great liv­ing room should have a dra­matic mo­ment, a stellar piece or some­thing un­ex­pected,” says Espinet. This can be an im­pos­ing fire­place with a carved fire­place hood, a large iron and glass cof­fee ta­ble or an Ital­ianate con­sole. Scale plays an im­por­tant part, so the seat­ing will have a bal­anc­ing weight, but plain lines to al­low the eye to rest.

A bath­room can be as uniquely fit­ted out as you please. Espinet shows a rus­tic an­tique Afghan cab­i­net fit­ted with a bowl from Thai­land and re­pur­posed as a ves­sel sink. Wall-mounted faucets and the drop front of the cab­i­net keep the plumb­ing pipes hid­den.

Bed­rooms lend them­selves to an eclec­tic ar­ray of dra­matic and ro­man­tic el­e­ments that re­late to your ideal of a rest­ful space that wel­comes dreams and re­pose. Shown here, sim­ple bed­ding in bright blue is en­livened by vi­brant pil­lows made from vin­tage tex­tiles — Gu­atemalan stripes and Mex­i­can flo­rals. The head­boards are an­tique Gu­atemalan screens. The wall colour glows with the same tone of dark honey gold found in the woven chair and foot­stool. Deb­bie Travis’ House to Home col­umn is pro­duced by Deb­bie Travis and Bar­bara Din­gle. Please email your ques­tions to house­2home@deb­bi­ You can fol­low Deb­bie on Twit­ter at www.

twit­­bie_­travis, and visit Deb­bie’s new web­site, www.deb­bi­

“Pil­lows, the ul­ti­mate ac­ces­sory, de­liver colour, tex­ture, pat­tern and com­fort,”

says The Well-Trav­eled Home au­thor San­dra Espinet.

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