DON WE NOW OUR GAY APPAREL
’ Tis the season for layers and neutral colors
“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.