How a blond stops traffic in China

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Designing my way through China
by Tammy LeFever
Interior Motives

I am an Interior Designer. Many people often say what a fun career, but let me say, no career is a “fun” career unless you have a passion. Interior design has a lot more to do with problem solving and relationships than with personal favorites, beautiful fabrics and products. If you are a “my way or the highway” designer, then get another job because you will never be able to pay your light bill!

That being said—I am an Interior-Designer—‘dezining’ my way through China. I am a curiosity seeker, adrenalin junkie and a ‘juxdipodious oxymoronic entrepreneur’ just struggling to keep a US business alive. I am old enough to be someone’s grandmother, and way too old to be climbing bamboo scaffolding on a six story building just to jump through a window, land on top of two poor little Chinese guys in order to measure for lighting! (It took two to break my fall)…but I am not giving up. I am passionate about what I’ve had the opportunity to do with my life and passionate about what good Interior Design can do for people’s lives.

In China I really stand out, but not so much here in the United States. Here, I am just another menopausal blond woman who loves a little bling. In Chinese 3rd grade cities (that would be cities with only 3 or 4 million people) it is not unusual for cars to slow down to take a long look at me, or for a waitress to ask if she can have a photo with the “yellow hair,” or for a “Smiley Faced” guard to write me a sweet note in English. Actually he was very young and very shy and spent two days writing me a very sweet note in perfect English. He was so embarrassed to give me the note that when he handed it over he ran away and almost fell down a flight of stairs!

My son, while traveling with me at the time, told me later, that on one occasion, Smiley Face asked where the cute blond was. My son replied, “You mean the little blond over there?” — pointing at my cute young niece. Smiley Face said “No, the other one.” My son started to laugh and asked him in Chinese, “Just how old do you think she is?” Smiley Face said, “Thirty?” OMG, I just love to tell this story. The truth is I don’t look anywhere near 30 (unless you need glasses like my husband, he still thinks I’m cute). Anyway my advice is, if you’re over the hill and planning a visit to China, go as a blond!
Back here at home I have decided to concentrate on giving our retail store a shot in the arm. This is the year we have decided to do another Street of Dreams home. Even though after decorating over 24 of them through the years, I promised myself that I would never do it again. But, then again, maybe I need another adrenalin fix!

We have almost finished our project in Changsha, China, so our staff has some time on its hands. We decided to do a “Paula Deen” home. In fact next week I go to North Carolina to desperately try and charm Paula into coming to Oregon. What we do know for sure is that we will be show casing her furniture and fabrics in the Street of Dreams home. We have been carrying it in our store recently, people seem to love it.

Our ulterior motive is to use her celebrity status to help us raise money for some very noteworthy charities. I guess we will see what happens. Meanwhile you can go to our facebook page ‘Interior Motives Accents and Designs’ for the latest info on our Street of Dreams project! We want to hear comments from everyone!
I’d like to put some life back in to the Street of Dreams!..so stay tuned.

Design tip for the Month:
When redecorating you home never start with the paint color. Always prepare your plan first then match paint with tile, fabrics, furniture or carpet. There are so many options for paint color– its best to start with the items that have the fewest choices.