Designer creates stunning exotic interiors
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 email@example.com. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.
twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www.debbietravis.com.
“Pillows, the ultimate accessory, deliver colour, texture, pattern and comfort,”
says The Well-Traveled Home author Sandra Espinet.