For “My Simple Pleasure” beginning with O, I chose Oriental/Japanese Decor. After a sometimes tumultuous marriage and later the death of my husband I set out to reclaim my life and my home. I wanted a calm environment in which to heal and to grow old.
Asian movies have always interested me for various reasons. One being the cultural differences and codes of conduct they have which are so different from ours yet so similar as well.
After seeing “Shogun,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “The Last Emperor” and other such movies I was fascinated! I really enjoyed the backgrounds and feel of the locations of the movies, such as the homes and their furnishings. I got a book and taught myself a little about Chinese Watercolor; took a class on Feng Shui;studied Bonsai trees and read some about the history and cultures of Japan and China.
The idea of a peaceful, balanced environment being conducive to a peaceful mind and life interested me. So I chose the Japanese/Chinese cultures for their calmness to decorate my new home.
The muted but beautiful colors, the placement of plants and Bonsai trees, or statues of animals, the subtle lighting, the peaceful feel of how things are positioned join together to give the ambiance of peace and tranquility in the homes seen on TV and in movies.
Four years later I sold my house and bought a two bedroom condominium. I started with a clean slate and truly make this new home mine. I accumulated Asian prints at thrift stores and decorated with a few strategically placed mirrors to simulate to a small degree, the calm of a Feng Shui home.
In the set of pictures below I must apologize for the slant of the pictures. Many times I could see my shadow or outline in the glass of the picture. Sometimes sunlight or the overhead light caused some difficulties.
The black iron stand in the middle is at the back of the hall and holds mixed cultural symbols. There are a few Native American items as well because of my interest in their culture. Since some scientists believe that 80% of Native Americans shared origins with the present day Asian countries’ ancestors, these symbols seem to go together fairly well to me. Some similarities exist between the stories and legends of both the Asian and Native American peoples. So I have a South American Indian Flute, and two dream catchers, along with dioramas carved from cork in black framed glass containers. The picture on the right is made from strips of what looks like bamboo and was my aunt’s.
My two cats add a peaceful feel to my home as well as a good feng shui energy. Cats may sleep 16-18 hours a day. Their purring has also been found to promote healing in bones, muscles and tendons; decrease swelling; lessen the chances of a heart attack for their owner by 40%; and promote relaxation and lowering of the blood pressure. To me they are especially a positive factor for me!! When one is sitting in my lap asleep or on the bed purring, I sometimes take a nap! This kind of calm environment is the one I want to grow old in.
For the bedroom and the living room I bought lamps that imitated the look of Nantou lamps, with shades that look like a woven material. I try to use sunlight when possible to provide a relaxing feeling in both my living room and bedroom. Also the furniture and lamps, and ornamental fans were the newest things I bought. You may notice the blankets on the couches and the covers on the arms of the couches; those are to help retard wear and tear from my two cats.
Many of my friends have been to my home and made the comment that they felt peaceful here. One even said when she saw the living room picture that it made her want to take a nap!
But just so you know I am not taking all of this decorating work too seriously I throw in something totally off the wall into the mix. Well, actually owls are animals and represent animal energy. Oh well. I liked them so I put them on the wall by the front door.
My dining room is still a work in progress, slow though it may be. It doesn’t get used much so it is the last room I am worrying about decorating. The black screen in the background was my aunt’s. It is a carved black wood with carved stone figures of birds and branches on it. I have always liked it and shared her interest in Asian beauty in decor.
Mirrors provide extra depth to some walls and help add light from the window and overhead light as well. All of my wall art is from thrift stores and all were less than $30.
Art adds life and colors to the walls and adds nicely to the effect of calm beauty.
Making my home a place of peace and calm is a work of love and pride. I love my home and will continue to work on decorating it. I hope these photos convey my interest and pleasure in Oriental decor and the effects they can have on a home.