Samui Wining & Dining
EXQUISITELY EASTERN
Oriental Living showcases the finest in Asian-inspired home décor and furnishings.

Oriental Living showcases the finest in Asian-inspired home décor and furnishings.Stores like this are definitely a rarity these days. But then again you suspect they always were. But once you step inside, you become aware that you’re somewhere out of the ordinary. It’s way more than the sum of its parts. It inspires you with its colours, textures and the sheer creativity that’s been lavished upon it. While you’re here, the staff are helpful, there when you need them, but this isn’t one of those places where they’re hovering a metre behind you. They’ll offer you a cup of coffee and it’ll be as good as the one you get in a smart cafe.

          

This is exactly what you’ll find at Oriental Living. Everything about this place is way above average, including the staff, who are experts in what they do. They’re ambassadors of tropical chic and the store they’ve created showcases the best of the Far East when it comes to furnishings and interior design.

          

Basically, you could say that they can fill houses and commercial properties with beautiful fabrics, colours, furniture, art work and everything in-between.

          

The store showcases some of what’s on offer and, by the way, you don’t need to be on a mission to interior-decorate a house to step inside; they also offer many, many individual pieces which range from a few thousand Baht to amazing works of art and antiques worth much more. With over a thousand articles and furnishings on offer, it’s impossible to show everything at the same time, so pieces are rotated. Every time you visit Oriental Living, you’ll see something different. And, of course, there are always brand new products arriving, as well as antiques. It’s a great moment to be there when staff have just unpacked a newly-arrived container. In addition, a lot of what Oriental Living sell can be customized. Take, for example, sofas. There are some 150 to choose from, and you can have your selection covered in any fabric that you’d like. It’s guaranteed that you’ll end up with something that’s unique. Of course, you can let Oriental Living choose the material or come up with your own ideas. As you can see, this is a very versatile of service. A sofa takes about three to four weeks to customize – a very short time. And it’s never a problem to communicate with staff: together they are fluent in half a dozen languages: Thai, English, French, Russian, Dutch and Indonesian.

          

Oriental Living is the brainchild of Dutch-born Michael Dietvorst, who started the business 20 years ago as an art gallery. His store back then was in Chaweng, and they sold artworks to the holidaymakers who visited Samui, and shipped furniture back home for them.Oriental Living showcases the finest in Asian-inspired home décor and furnishings. He was here from the start of things, so to speak, and then came something of a boom with many villas being built and people buying them as holiday homes. Demand grew steadily for his interior design work and he was asked to completely furnish the new homes. He got a name for doing this – and doing it well. He now operates a second branch in Phuket, in Cherngtalay Park. Both locations offer a similar, extremely prestigious service focusing on high quality furniture, Asian art and interior design projects for residential and corporate customers.

          

The Samui branch is easy to find: it’s on the ring-road in Maenam about 500 metres after the bend where Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa is located. It’s open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm Mondays to Fridays, and from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays. It’s run by the very affable Khun Peedinan Somnongsook, more commonly known as Khun Dew.

          

He explains that the Oriental Living style is extremely eclectic; they focus on modern Asian, with many influences from Indonesia and Java, as well as Myanmar and, of course, Thailand. They’re careful to ensure that when you’re blending the contemporary with antiques, that the two complement each other. At the same time, there’s also a major focus on Scandinavian contemporary styles, which also perfectly dovetails with Oriental Living’s Asian themes.

          

The store caters for you whether you just have one room to furnish or if you’re a commercial property developer looking for something way beyond the often bland decor of many of today’s villas. Oriental Living is working with award-winning designers, such as The Ridge, a collection of superbly-designed villas in the hills of Choeng Mon, Kanda Residences and Samujana, which won this year’s Property Report award for the category of ‘Asia’s Best Resort Residences’. Khun Dew explains that if you’re thinking about engaging Oriental Living to work with you on your project, you can simply let them do a turnkey furnishing of your property, right down to the spoons, knives and forks, or you can get creative and work together on a far more individualized solution. “In some cases the client just has a basic floor plan and we come up with a presentation of how to design the interior. Incidentally, we have a graphic designer to support any 3D work, if required by the scale of the project. In other cases the client may have a very specific idea and we work from the very beginnings to make his or her dream come true. And of course, it can be anything in between – for example, a client who knows 50% only of what the finished house will look like. At the simplest we need to know the sort of style the customer would like,” says Khun Dew.

          

“That already gives us an idea of what would be pleasing and what not.” The team also need to know the budget that the client has.

With so many products, with some being inexpensive while others being luxury items, they really do need to have an idea of what the client is comfortable with, financially. “We can always, always work within a client’s budget – we have many different options of what we can offer. Our clients are happy with the choices they’ve made, and they’ve stayed within the limits of what they can afford.”

          

And those clients come back again and again, obviously very happy with the service that Oriental Living provides. It’s indeed a vibrant place to be, full of colour and light – and always plenty of inspiration.

          

The team who are doing all of this is young and vibrant; they have the edge over many of their peers because of their creativity and their love of doing this kind of work. They’re not just good at designing; they really listen as well and get to know their client at the same time.Oriental Living showcases the finest in Asian-inspired home décor and furnishings. “The client is treated as if he or she were part of our family,” says Khun Dew. “We’re not here to wear suits and keep a safe corporate distance from our clients. We’re informal and approachable – and find that this is the best way to be professional.”

          

He goes on to say that when the project is nearing completion, they’ll start to fill the property with the goods, artwork and furnishings that have been chosen. “The final day we call D-day,” he says. “Everything is completed then.” But that doesn’t mean to say the job’s over. “We offer an after-sales service,” he says. “So if something happens, just give us a call and we can sort out a solution.” Similarly, the team really cares about the artefacts that go in the properties. They’re aware that most people probably won’t know how to best look after, for example, Indonesian teak wood, or a wooden carving from Myanmar, so they inform the client how to get the best out of what they’ve chosen and minimize wear and tear. As you can see, it’s on-going work. They also offer a yearly inspection, which means that they’ll see potential risks before they occur.

          

Oriental Living also stocks exclusive furniture brands such as Mobella, Box Furniture, Galeri and Tipota. These high-end products will really add elegance and style to any villa, house or commercial property. Similarly, they also work with Jim Thompson fabrics, Sunbrella Outdoor Fabric and other quality manufacturers whose products are suitable for the rigours of a tropical climate.

          

They also have an in-house artist who can sit with the client and listen to requirements needed for a painting and then proceed from scratch. Oriental Living also stocks the work of artists from Thailand and outside, focussing on pop-art, abstracts and landscapes.

          

There’s no doubt about it, Oriental Living is one of the best stores on the island and it’s genuinely worth a visit. But like the tip of an iceberg, what you see there is only a small part of what they can do, a showcase for a whole plethora of services and always voguish products. If you haven’t already, you’ll fall in love with oriental design and the life-style that goes with it.

          

 Dimitri Waring


 


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