Washed-ashore debris is central to the island-themed décor local interior designer Paloma Fairlead calls her new ‘funky shui’ look. (photo courtesy of Paloma Fairlead)
A Blacktip Island interior designer Wednesday unveiled a new decorative esthetic combining Taoist principles for harmonious living with locally-sourced decorating elements.
“It’s a riff on classical feng shui,” Paloma Fairlead said. “Feng shui, literally, means ‘wind’ and ‘water,’ and Blacktip’s got plenty of both. I took the principles of feng shui and gave them a Blacktip twist. It’s a natural fit. I’m calling it ‘funky shui.’
“Using local items and sensibilities is the quickest way to bring harmony into your island home,” Fairlead said. “Instead of a ‘bagua’ map of energy areas, we use a ‘wah gwan’ map to channel island energies.”
Clients praised the move.
“I was dubious at first, when Paloma was going on about five elements and a commanding position and not having plants with pointy leaves and whatnot,” Wendy Beaufort said. “But now that the renovation’s complete, it’s stunning. Words truly fail me.
“Paloma tacked some washed-up black coral all over one wall, then scattered some sea beans and swaths of ghost nets on the other side of the room, and I felt the tension wash right out of me,” Beaufort said. “It smells a bit gamey, but that’s part of the feel, Paloma says.”
Some residents dismissed the newfound esthetic.
“Frankly, it looks like Paloma simply threw some beach rubbish on the walls,” Reg Gurnard said. “I’m all for using local products, and I wish Paloma the best, but I’m not in a hurry to decorate my home with washed up shoes and bits of broken plastic. I guess if that’s your vibe, though, have at it.
“What’s most striking is the sheer stench of it,” Gurnard said. “‘Funk’ is an apt descriptor for that wall of smell. Some of the decorations are still alive. Or were recently.”
Fairlead defended the design’s aromatic aspects.
“Funky shui is designed to engage all five senses,” she said. “Smell is an important aspect to that. We do live on a small island, after all. Bringing that sea smell inside makes one feel more integrated with the land and the sea.
“It may seem odd at first, but it creates a very peaceful environment,” Fairlead said. “I have clients lining up, and quite the long waiting list.”
Eager clients agreed.
“I’m on the list, but I couldn’t wait to have a taste of funky shui,” Herring Frye said. “I tried a DIY project with dried turtle grass and sea fans in my living room, and the energy levels are just night-and-day different. I feel so much more positive and energized. I can’t wait until Paloma can do my house in full and I can get the complete effect.”