DON WE NOW OUR GAY AP­PAREL

’ Tis the sea­son for lay­ers and neu­tral col­ors

Cebu Living - - Front Page - By OLIVER EMOCLING Images by MAI PAGES

“My fa­vorite flower, I think, is the pha­laenop­sis,” Sim­ple Wishes owner Deb­bie Huang re­veals with a smile. As I look over the myr­iad cu­rios on dis­play in her home, my gaze fo­cuses on a cas­cade of white pha­laenop­sis blooms com­ple­ment­ing a nearby Ito Kish Gre­go­ria chair, also in white. The flow­ers will stay fresh for about two months, just as Huang’s smile doesn’t leave her face for a while.

“[I get in­spi­ra­tion from] ev­ery­where. When I travel, I see dif­fer­ent in­spi­ra­tions,” she says. This is ap­par­ent with her col­lec­tion of plates built from dis­cov­er­ies from dif­fer­ent parts of the world. Ul­ti­mately, though, she culls most of her ideas from her kids: “When the kids were small, I pre­pared their par­ties. That’s how I started.” Though Huang’s back­ground is in busi­ness and not in­te­rior de­sign, her al­most im­mac­u­late style res­onates in ev­ery cor­ner of her home.

A com­mon party sce­nario is guests glued to their phones through­out the night. Huang aims to bring back a sense of to­geth­er­ness in a gath­er­ing with her game night setup. “When I saw my kids’ friends com­ing here and play­ing, I thought it would be fun to do some­thing sim­i­lar for a party,” she says.

There is not much space left on the ta­ble she has set up. Each of the eight white plates car­ries a let­ter from the word “Play,” and they are placed atop play­ing card place­mats. In the mid­dle of the ta­ble, there’s a neat jumble of var­i­ous board games, from Cards against Hu­man­ity to the clas­sic chess. The whole set­ting ex­udes the same grandiose max­i­mal­ist at­ti­tude of a me­dieval paint­ing, but Huang has placed white tulips, pink cym­bid­i­ums, and green grapes to add soft touches. “Be­cause the game boards are so col­or­ful, I chose ba­sic col­ors to add, like white and the lit­tle soft­ness of pink,” she ex­plains.

On the other end of the room, wed­ding stylist Stanz Cata­lan has set up a mi­mosa bar. A big sil­ver bucket cra­dles a few bot­tles of sparkling wine, and be­side it, a re­pur­posed Pic­tionary board con­tains instructions on

how to make a mi­mosa. Slices of ap­ples, straw­ber­ries, grapes, and or­anges in bowls shaped like play­ing card sym­bols com­plete the pic­ture. “Peo­ple will be oc­cu­pied [with this mi­mosa bar] in­stead of wait­ing for the wines to be served,” says Cata­lan.

Of­ten, Huang uses el­e­ments that are read­ily avail­able. “Start from scratch. Get what­ever you have in the house and use them for dec­o­ra­tion,” she sug­gests. When it comes to buy­ing dé­cor, she ad­vises get­ting ob­jects that re­ally ap­peal to you and items that would work in any oc­ca­sion. When­ever she her­self trav­els, Huang would col­lect unique and in­ter­est­ing ob­jects: al­pha­bet­i­cal plates from Europe, place­mats from Hong Kong.

“You have to keep an ar­range­ment re­ally sim­ple. If it looks too busy, it’s clut­tered,” Huang says. While hol­i­day meals present the right op­por­tu­nity to im­press visi­tors, there is no need to take out ev­ery new and lav­ish item from the cup­board. Thought­fully placed sim­ple ob­jects can make any space im­pres­sive, even In­sta­grammable

“I’m a spur- of- the- moment type of per­son,” re­veals Huang with a laugh. For Christ­mas, she dreams of com­bin­ing in­dus­trial de­sign with tra­di­tional hol­i­day mo­tifs, with a color pal­ette of red and black. It may sound ec­cen­tric, but she knows how to work her way around var­i­ous, some­times even clash­ing el­e­ments.

DEB­BIE HUANG HAS PASSED HER PEN­CHANT FOR IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN TO HER DAUGH­TER PATTY HUANG , WHO NOW WORKS FOR

FUR­NI­TURE MAN­U­FAC­TURER AND RE­TAILER PHILUX IN MANILA.

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