Expert advice

Tips on creating your own vacation spot
Sharon Cohoon

Indonesia and beyond in San Jose

For owner Irwin "Windy" Overbach, Island View Nursery in Carpinteria, California, "is like my own little vacation spot." It sells large houseplants and furnishings from Bali, Thailand, India, and China; customers often drop by just to soak up the ambience. He shares some of his favorite techniques.

Add statuary. Place a statue of a god or goddess within a plant grouping. "Anything carved is especially good," Overbach says. For a mysterious jungle feel, partially conceal the statue so that coming across it is a surprise.

Get creative with cachepots. Use carved or painted wood boxes from China or India. "Orchids and bromeliads look especially good in them," Overbach says. (Protect the boxes with a plastic lining.)

Use exotic woods and fabrics. Select furniture made of bamboo, rattan, teak, and other tropical woods. Underfoot, use sisal or woven-grass rugs. Beaded cloth from India, Indonesian batiks, and Hawaiian tapa are perfect for pillows or throws.

INFO: Island View Nursery, Carpinteria, CA (805/684-0324)

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