Your travel inspirations can be incorporated into your interior as quiet moments rather than grand gestures. Here, japonica is applied ikebana-style under a glass dome as a table decoration, providing an intimate memory on a small scale. Chinoiserie chairs, solid wood table and the back of a seven-fold paper screen reminds me the incredible painted scenes on sliding doors in the temples of Mt Koya.
If you have the luxury of an outdoor shower (but it can just as easily be done inside), pull some things from inside out. Things like this freestanding vintage shaving mirror, a wire soap dish housing Japanese brushes, a bamboo ladle for scooping water. Heavenly. Create intimacy or texture by leaning up a shoji paper screen door, which doesn’t even need to be attached.
I painted the riser of my stairs in Cherry Nose red, added a tongue-and-groove dado and finished off the layering with a ship-rope banister. This is my interpretation of the bamboo and knot fencing I had seen in the temple gardens of Kyoto.
It’s not about theming your interiors from one trip, but adding your finds to your existing collections; a blue and white Japanese bowl found at the Tokyo flea market sits with an Iranian mousetrap my dad gave me, flashcards from Sandwich, Illinois, a kingfisher form the south coast of New South Wales and a past invitation from a fantastic party.
A small corner becomes a cosy place to lie around and read, or just dream. To serve as a backdrop, I painted a dado about two metres high, bordered with paper cutouts or red flowers I bought in Kyoto. It reminds me of the Japanese inn where we slept on futons, listening to the river, ate fiddlehead fern and bathed in natural hot springs.
The quietness of a teapot, reminiscent of the elements of a traditional tea ceremony.
To get a bit of green anywhere in such modern cities is lovely. Use this philosophy and create a tiered garden: fill any vessel , from ceramic to an old tin, and plant vegetables, flowers, bonsai etc and mix with other objects (like a barbed-wire ball made in Braidwood, NSW).
A tonal collection of ephemera picked up in Japan, a lovely reminder of my travels: poetry and calling cards and a random 4. I can add and rearrange as I discover more pieces.
Tune in next week as I wrap-up my tour of Japan and share final interior inspiration as well as my tips for places to see & things to do on your own Japanese jaunt.