Christy Ferer says who needs a passport when you can design a carpet from Nepal over the Internet, order Chinese wedding chests from a catalog, and find imported Indian textiles or Indonesian teak in mass-market stores. It's never been easier to mix in ethnic touches or experiment with a look you've never tried before. Today the world is our market. In addition to buying on the Web, I never go anywhere without an empty duffel bad to fill with irresistible items I might find at a local flea market or in a remote village.
Integrating global finds is like living with a three-dimensional travelogue: instead of just socking away mementos in photo albums that I look at once a year, she is living with her treasures. Ethnic and global artifacts help us to get away from the cookie-cutter. An African mask placed on a sleep glass-and-steel modern table adds new perspective, as does a leather Moroccan saddlebag as an ottoman with a modern sofa. The elements close the gap between cultures and between centuries. Look at the lines of your furniture. They are probably simple, clean, and uncluttered. Play with them by using important pieces carved with an elaborate twists and turns, intricately embroidered textiles, vivid colors, and lush textures.