Luxe Touch: Decorating with Balinese Temple Umbrellas

If you apply your personal creativity, you can utilize most any special object in an interesting and beautiful way to decorate your home. Our resident interior designer Irwin Weiner ASID was shopping for a client at Two Buttons, the fab Asian imports warehouse owned by best-selling memoir writer Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love, Committed) and her husband Jose Nunes, and he discovered their small temple umbrellas from Bali. These are small umbrellas on stands that are used to shelter statues and other sacred objects.

Irwin decided that a pair of them would look smashing on his dining room table in Bucks County, PA. He set his table with strongly patterned Indian print table cloths and napkins, some exotic peacock napkin rings from NYC's Bergdorf Goodman Decorative Home (a real splurge), some spritely table sculptures (including a 1940s "napkin lady," rooster salt and pepper set, rooster dinner bell - a "JanaBell" - created by Jana Kolpen, and a crazy calypso frog), red-rimmed Rimi wine glasses from Barneys, and some vintage blue and yellow Crown Band dishes from Arabia of Finland. The layers, textures, and colors in the tabletop arrangement work well together.

Above the dining table is a combo light fixture put together by Irwin, combining a tin-and-canvas lantern he bought at the Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul with a miniature chandelier. He knew this fixture set the tone for the exotic Balinese temple umbrellas, and you'll see the results of his shopping and styling in this video, along with vignettes from Two Buttons.

One of the reasons Irwin thought the small umbrellas would make perfect "centerpiece" elements for his dining table was that the stands had enough height to lift the umbrellas themselves above the sight lines of his dinner guests, enabling a clear view and flow of conversation. "There's nothing worse than having a huge centerpiece blocking your view across the table and isolating diners," says Irwin. "And I also appreciated the temple umbrellas original purpose of shielding sacred objects. In this case, my place settings, food, and dinner companions are all being sheltered in a special way. The end result is very theatrical and fun, which is the goal of a good dinner party."

For more information: Visit the Two Buttons website for store hours, background, and directions.

Jay Johnson1 Comment