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FURNISHINGS : Collected 'Treasures' Perfect Room's Decor

October 13, 1990|CARLETON VARNEY

Collecting unique items from an assortment of cultures is one of the charms of decorating.

When in Hong Kong, I love nothing better than to meander down Hollywood Road, exploring the antique shops, enjoying the tearooms and discovering new jades, Oriental screens and lacquer furnishings.

In London, one can find lovely things in the curiosity shops on Fulham Road, the classic English furnishings shops along Bond Street and even the street markets on Camden Road.

The exhilaration one gets from collecting comes not so much from accumulating a lot of knickknacks but from the hunt itself. There's nothing like finding that special treasure hidden among the bric-a-brac. And one person's treasure may be meaningless to someone else--interest in art and antiques is so varied.

I have known lots of collectors in my lifetime, and they have all been a pleasure to work with when accessorizing a home.

The look of a home is never in the furnishings; it's always in the accessories, even in very contemporary settings. If you like uncluttered rooms, a hanging mobile placed in just the right spot will make the perfect statement, along with one red carnation placed in the middle of a black lacquer table.

For that very French apartment look, place a pillow made of a woven tapestry in a damask-covered chair.

When accessorizing with treasures from India, China, France and England, remember: There is a way to put them together. Lourdes Catao, a New York City decorator who loves to collect, says she learned how to accessorize through the art of living. She has lived in Rio de Janeiro, Paris and New York City, and for a while she spent her time in a New England cottage. She has managed to mix her eclectic assortment of mementos--including a mug vase, a French plate and a New England country basket filled with anemones--to give her home a look that is distinctly her own.

Distributed by United Features Syndicate Inc.

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