Tawn, Meet Martha

The most important thing for you to know is that neither of the pictures in this entry were doctored.  One of Tawn’s heroes is – no surprise here – Martha Stewart, the domestic diva who has empowered women around the globe (and many men, too) to rediscover the joy of the homemaking arts.

SNC14472 In an object lesson for the theory that it is all about who you know, Tawn had the opportunity to meet Martha.  His friend Ble (pronounced “bun”), a fairly well known Thai interior designer and decorator who designed our condo, has a trio of stores in the mid-Sukhumvit area, Eligible, Incredible and Irresistible.  Tori Burch, a fashion designer, has shopped at Ble’s stores many times and when Tori’s friend Martha came to Phuket for the holidays, Tori told her about these fabulous stores she must come see.

Martha’s hosts, the family whose company owns the rights to distribute the Martha Stewart Living line in Southeast Asia, contacted Ble, who has done design work for their stores here in Bangkok, and arranged for Martha to come visit his shops.

Ble contacted Tawn for some PR and hosting suggestions so that Martha and her assistant would be comfortable but not overwhelmed when they came to shop.  Tawn brought one of our our tea sets and several boxes of Mariage Fréres teas that he purchased on his last trip to Paris.

Sure enough, Martha was impressed with Tawn’s tea service.  After Tawn offered tea to her, she looked over the set and after tasting the tea and commenting how nice it was, she and Tawn had a brief conversation about where he had acquired the tea.  “Mariage Fréres,” she said, “How charming.”

While she shopped, Martha and her assistant took notes and pictures and she mentioned that she would write about this visit on her blog.  Perhaps she’ll even mention the handsome man who served her a proper cup of tea.  It’s a good thing.


From left to right, Eddy, Ble, Martha and Tawn.  She looks a little apprehensive with that body language, doesn’t she?  As if she’s never been surrounded by gay men before.  Pish-posh!  Anyone notice what Tawn and Martha have in common?

Needless to say, our tenth anniversary couldn’t have been better celebrated than with this visit from someone whom we both highly respect.


Funny.  We didn’t have much to do this weekend so we were going to go out of town.  Then one item came up, stopping by our designer’s to discuss furniture, so our plans were canceled. 

Martha 3 Saturday turned into a full day of errands for us, all house related, and the stop we made at our designers seemed to be – my opinion here – a colossal waste of time as there was no conversation about furniture, other than to learn that he had found a table that met our specifications but that it was staying at the vendors until later.

Perhaps the only really worthwhile aspect of all these errands (besides getting to spend the whole day with Tawn, of course) is that we stopped at a place that was having a new metal gate installed and Tawn spoke with the supervisor of the construction team, who confirmed that their company could easily design and build the Martha Stewart style bed (right, from the Turkey Hill collection), for about one-fifth the cost if we bought it at the store.

So there is a bit of a silver lining to the day (and the bed, for that matter).

In the evening, we met Ken, Chai, Russ, and Roka for dinner at the Paragon Food Hall then watched the movie, “The Kingdom”.  Kind of hyper-violent and while it tried to speak in a timely manner about terrorism, it was ironic to me that the movie shows the FBI agents who are investigating the murder of US citizens in Saudi Arabia getting angry and “cowboy-esque” with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, insensitive to their culture and values.  Isn’t that part of what fuels the terrorists?

Anyhow, primary painting at the house is finished.  Lights are being installed and other fixtures added.  The countertops have been marked and are ready to be cut for the sinks and stove.




Above from top: Living room looking into the second bedroom/office; desk and closets in the main bedroom; back wall of the main bedroom – through the door to the left you can see the area of the living room that appears in the first picture.  Kind of difficult to really see the floor color due to the dust and cardboard that is meant to protect it before a final finish is applied.


Not to Korat

This was going to be the get-away weekend: the last weekend before the preparations for the move to the new condo got serious.  So Tawn and I were going to drive up to Korat and Khao Yai, about two hours northeast of Khrungthep, visit some property that Tawn’s father owns up there, and explore the self-proclaimed “Gateway to Issan“.

So what would be the one thing that would stop us? 

Our designer, who with his globe trotting travel schedule to far away places like Turkey and India, has summoned us to a meeting to discuss furniture.  Since scheduling time with him has been so difficult, we must make ourselves available when he is.  To be fair, he is a well-known Thai designer, doing many stores and boutique hotels.  He’s doing our home remodel as a favor as he’s our friend, certainly at a discounted price, so these schedule challenges are a small price to pay.

Still, we’re not going away this weekend.


Martha 1 Friday night I met Tawn at Paragon to take a look at some furniture at the Martha Stewart Store.  Actually, it isn’t the Martha Stewart store, but it is the only store in Thailand authorized to sell the Martha Stewart furniture collection, so the entire store is done up so that you wouldn’t know that it isn’t a Martha Stewart Store. 

We go in there frequently to get ideas as it is a style we like.  The store was designed by our decorator friend and dressed by him as well, as are many of the furniture stores in Paragon.

The lady who works there is so familiar with us, she just invites us in to have tea.  We sit at a dining room table on display in the main room, drinking tea and nibbling M&Ms, like two life size mannequins.

Martha 2 While there, we looked at various catalogs, discussed different pieces of furniture on display, and considered the merits of ordering a US-sized bed versus a Thai-sized one.  A king-size bed in Thailand is not a king-size bed in the US. 

Khun Nirin – note the carefully crafted PR in this linked story – told us of an experience where two picky customers – a pair of women – spent a half hour lying in one of the beds (under the covers, even) in order to try it out before spending that much money to buy the mattress.  It was the middle of the day, other customers were coming and going, and the women just lay there seeing if they’d be comfortable on the mattress for an extended period of time.

If you think about it, it makes sense.  Most of us shop for mattresses by lying down for sixty seconds or less.


P1010618 I ate Halal for dinner at my favorite vendor in the food court.  The nice lady there prepares Muslim style food and they have a chicken roti-mataba that is just lovely. 

It is a southern Thai dish that takes thin, crepe-like roti and stuffs them with a curried chicken (or beef or lamb) and shallot mixture, then fries it in a pan to crisp the sides a little.  The mataba is served with a side salad or cucumbers, shallots and chilies in a rice wine vinegar sauce, along with a spicy green chili sauce.

Not feeling fully satiated, I went haram and ate some pork satay.  That was tasty, too, although obviously from another vendor.

Below: Tawn took a dozen takes for this picture at a dozen different settings before coming up with something usable.


As there wasn’t much to watch in the cinemas, we headed home where I was early enough to participate in a conference call with work at 10:00.  Which was kind of boring, actually.


Funny food pictures:  Above: Ken and Roka clown around at a Japanese restaurant called Yayoi, part of a Japanese chain that is operated here in Thailand by MK Restaurants.  They serve you tea in this fun, brightly-colored English teapots with these tiny pink teacups that look to be stolen from a child’s tea party set.  Below: Last weekend in the midst of errands we stopped for dim sum at SK Park Hotel, at the Chinese restaurant that Tawn’s whole family frequents.  We didn’t check in advance and lucked out that nobody we knew was there.