A unique Christmas look

Browsing through the interior design shops at LRI Design Plaza along Nicanor Garcia Street in Bel Air II, Makati, we came across Tim Tam Ong's lifestyle boutique. This shop is unique in that it did not only sell furniture and accent pieces, but everything else in between - from collectibles, antiques, jewelry, clothes and bags to exotic souvenirs that are expressively Asian.

Here on display is an eclectic treasure trove of gift items well-heeled women would love and finicky men would enjoy giving to the women in their lives. On one wall shelf is a selection of small turtles from Myanmar made of various gemstones such as jade, lapis lazuli and redstone which may be used as home décor or as a paper weight.

On another shelf were displayed antique images of saints which were sourced from the Ilocos region in Northwest Luzon. Filipiniana collectors would surely have a field day over these. And what we mistook to be a Japanese doll dressed in red turned out to be a Myanmar puppet.

The shop's owner, Tim Tam Ong, says Myanmar artists made style figures with movable limbs as puppets for their puppet shows. When they carved the body parts they made sure that these were lifelike. The puppets were meticulously dressed to approximate the characters they portrayed. As an accent piece, the Myanmar puppet dressed in red adds just the right amount of touch as a conversation piece for the holiday season.

When asked about the table setting on the solid acacia dining table that was for sale (Ong was quick to clarify that everything is for sale), she said, "These items are things both my mom and I enjoy purchasing and reinventing. While my mom's purchases are kept in the house and never to be sold, mine go straight to the store with the wish that they find their rightful owners soon!"

For the holiday season, she uses purple lotus flower arrangements and crystal candle holders as her centerpiece, and plays with olive green table napkins and purple place mats, crystal wine glasses and green water goblets with white dinnerware and silverware.

Tim says one should buy according to one's personal lifestyle, taste and the general feeling they want to convey for their home. Workmanship is very important. One should buy a piece with good quality because it will stand the test of time. It may even be handed down as an heirloom piece.

Her favorite items include a hand carved Burmese vessel made of fused metal and lined with brass which can serve as an accent piece; an intricately made jade flower necklace with amethyst and rose quartz stones; an urn from Mexico with hand painted floral designs which looks very festive - a very old piece, she always wondered whose house it used to adorn; a lacquer tea set she acquired from her recent trip to Myanmar - unlike the usual lacquer sets, this particular item is made from bamboo and very chic; and a Peacock napkin holder she and her mother designed from several materials sourced from different Asian countries during their most recent trips.

For 2013, Tim Tam Ong clients can expect more eclectic collections of furniture, home accessories and jewelry. With her personal touch, shopping at Tim Tam Ong's lifestyle boutique should be pure bliss.