As it has done with so much of our lives, the coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on the travels to which many of us are accustomed.
I hope we'll soon be taking trips safely again.
I’ve been thinking recently of Bangkok, the land of temples and silks.
In Thailand’s capital, a visit to the late Jim Thompson’s home should certainly be on the list of places to see. Designers around the world thank Thompson for revitalizing the Thai silk industry through his eponymous line of fabrics. His home has become a museum filled with traditional Asian furnishings, exotic treasures, and colorful drapery and upholstery.
There’s no doubt about it — silks have assumed a major role in home furnishings and decorating today. Thai colors can be found in luxury residences throughout the world — and for certain at the Mandarin Oriental, which is always a favorite hotel destination for travelers.
My favorite Thai-inspired color scheme begins with saffron and ginger and adds lime green, citrus orange and sparkling pink. Carefully mix those colors into a room setting and you can bring the spirit of Thailand into your home.
You might start by covering your living room walls with saffron silk. The fabric will need to be stretched, wall to wall, ceiling to floor. To set off your silk walls, paint the wood trim and doors black lacquer.
Upholster your sofa with lime-green raw silk. Edge the cushions in rich raspberry-pink silk, and cover the bolsters and pillows on the sofa with solid fabrics of tangerine, shocking pink and black. A touch of black works in almost every style of room, but is especially welcome in Asian-inspired interiors.
Thai silks are available in many designs, so you should have no trouble finding a block pattern with a mix of saffron, pink and turquoise to use on your lounge chairs. In keeping with the Thai influence, I suggest chairs without arms.
The coffee table should have a low profile with an open-trellis design, perhaps black with a gold-leaf trim. I’d like to see lamps hung from the ceiling over end tables at each side of the sofa. And above the sofa, hang a large panel depicting lotus flowers, a favorite in Thailand, with a meaning and symbolism connected to Buddhism.
I always take notice of the concrete tubs at the entrance of one of my favorite Thai dining spots in West Palm Beach — the Oriental Food Market & Take Out. Owners Kamjree “Julie” Mitchell and Kosit “Sam” Prisarojn care for their water lilies every day at their establishment at 4919 S. Dixie Highway.
The proprietors offer a touch of Thai style and hospitality, whether their customers are seeking a light lunch or hearty dinner. Try the spring rolls and the sweet-and-sour chicken. Or ask Julie for a special recommendation to enjoy an authentic touch of Thailand without having to buy a plane ticket.