I think I may have been one of Orient House’s first customers when they opened in Harris Street about 16 years ago. It was exciting to see that quality of oriental furniture in Sydney and as the years have passed quality has been their hallmark. I am always amazed at the fact that they hand pick every piece – travelling, sometimes only for a couple of days – all over the world – to maintain their quality control and aesthetic. Apart from having a good ‘eye’ for picking the best pieces – from China, Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, India and recently Turkey – Jenny and Adam are a delight to work with; reliable, trustworthy and communicative. Often their exceptional pieces are the heroes of our interiors. – Meryl Hare When did you start Orient House? Orient House started in an old wool shed in Pyrmont in the late 1990’s. With too much showroom space for our fledgeling fabric agency business and with our love for exploration and travel we started to look for other opportunities. China had recently opened it’s trading doors to the west and our adventures began. There was a plethora of amazing antiques which the western world had never seen and which were unappreciated at that stage by the Chinese. Having been brought up in the design industry and surrounded by all things beautiful and well designed, we brought in our first container and very soon the containers were arriving on a regular basis. How did it evolve? Soon after exploring China our desire to bring unique, timeless and beautiful objects took us back to our roots in Africa and then to Thailand, the islands of Indonesia and India. Every object, every piece of handwoven fabric, every handwoven basket and every handcrafted piece of furniture is selected with attention to quality, patina, texture and style. How do you acquire such beautiful pieces? Over the years we have been lucky enough to have met wonderful people in all parts of the world. Our traders(friends) generally live very simple lives and rely on our business to sustain and support them and their families. There is very little price negotiating between us. We are happy to pay a fair price to ensure they are around the next time we visit. Our wonderful relationships with these remarkable people allow us to have a regular source of rare and beautiful finds. What is your favourite country to source from? None in particular, we love them all! Our travels literally take us to the global villages of the world. We escape the madness and mayhem of the mega cities with their chaos, traffic snarls, super highways, sky scrapers and filth and instead find ourselves in the foothills of the villages. Here you find the most content, down to earth, gentle, creative and happy people and more often than not beautiful towns and villages, steeped in tradition and history. Do you have any great stories from the road? Yes, many but the one that first comes to mind is William and the table. William was one of our first Chinese suppliers of antique furniture and with whom we still enjoy a fabulous relationship. They had this modest meeting room and after a hard morning of toiling through their warehouse searching for treasures we would retire for lunch and sit around this table drinking tea and having platters of exotic dishes. The table we always admired but we were told we could not afford it. So for years we carried on eating, drinking and writing our notes on it. In 2009, a catalogue arrived and lo and behold there was the Zitan painting table for auction. It is the pair to the table in the Summer Palace in Beijing. The table sold for $3,000,000.00 and to this day our supplier believes they sold too early. What inspires you? Many things; good design, interesting textures, quality pieces, fine craftsmanship, good proportions and an interesting patinas. Pieces that help you feel relaxed and comfortable at home. And lastly, our wonderful customers whom give us such pleasure in appreciating the pieces we source. What has been your greatest find? The sheer pleasure we derive from our adventures in sourcing one-off fascinating artifacts, each with its unique character and charm, the quirkiness of its creator’s signature on each piece, we love them all equally. What is your vision for the future of Orient House? To be the foremost destination showroom for interior design professionals, collectors and retail customers, who value quality and beautiful handcrafted furniture and decorative pieces.