DIY SET DESIGN
Inside the home and office of decorators Pinky Chang and Debbie Huang
“Flowers can brighten up the day. Just by looking at them, you tend to forget whatever is bothering you,” Pinky Chang, who helms Pink Flora, says. I agree. Flowers are often given as a sign of adoration and as a show of consolation, and in some cultures, they’re regarded as deities; the Bagobos, for example, worship the blooms of Waling- waling orchids.
“I really love them,” continues Chang. Aside from live flowers, numerous paintings of blooms adorn her office on Tojong Street, most probably done by her mother. “My family is on the artistic side. My mother is a painter,” Chang, who had trained to become a nurse, confirms.
Clearly, her passion for flowers drove her to open a floral shop, but beyond that, Chang found herself needing to own one after her husband had opened Majestic restaurant. Pink Flora is located in the same building as the restaurant, and Chang found herself juggling the two businesses. “I had to help my husband. [ I’d spend] maybe a few hours in the flower shop and then, I’d go up [ to the restaurant],” she recalls.
Chang describes her style as “naturally classic,” influenced by one of her style icons, the New York- based events stylist Preston Bailey. For her favorite bloom, she chooses the classic rose. With her posture impeccable, she leads me to the table she has styled to show me her DIY centerpiece. “I used tulips because I like their elegance,” she says. “Tulips are clean and easy. They’re not overpowering. You can use rose, but [ the result] might be stiff- looking.” A repurposed egg carton lies on top of several mason jars, sheltering the flowers. Around this central attraction, white plates and golden cutlery are neatly arranged, reflecting Chang’s classic style.
When asked what good styling is, she admits, “That’s very hard to answer.” She thinks for a while before adding, “It’s very subjective.” For Chang, styling is a personal pursuit that starts with one’s own style principles and spurred on by knowing what message the host would like to send to their guests.
Chang advises the use of clean lines, especially for smaller spaces. “There are people who tend to go [overboard], but you don’t have to put so many things on a table,” she says. To a consumerist culture that focuses on acquiring more and more, she gives a simple reminder: “You don’t have to spend that much just to have a nice arrangement.”