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International Infusion

Alexandria designer creates inviting home for passionate world travelers.

Designer Karen Luria created a warm and inviting living room with luxurious throw pillows and grass cloth wallpaper. The room also includes an Indonesian carved wood coffee table and silver embossed side tables from India.

Designer Karen Luria created a warm and inviting living room with luxurious throw pillows and grass cloth wallpaper. The room also includes an Indonesian carved wood coffee table and silver embossed side tables from India. Photo courtesy of Karen Luria

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Karen Luria designed a home with collectibles ranging from a collection of combs amassed by her clients during trips to Africa to paintings acquired during travels to China.

— Blending an eclectic mix of home accessories and furnishings to create a harmonious and tasteful interior can pose a decorating conundrum for many homeowners.

“There are definitely challenges to coming up with the right placement when you have a wide assortment of things,” said Burke designer Courtney Thomas. “Interior design rules can intimidate people.”

When accent pieces run the international gamut from tiles amassed in Morocco to paintings purchased in China the challenge can be even more perplexing.

“These clients had traveled all over the world and wanted to incorporate all of the art that they had accumulated into a holistic design that would reflect their travels.”

— Karen A. Luria, Karen Luria Interior Identity, Inc.

“The placement of items from different cultures in a room in a way that makes that room looks like a refined melding of goods can be tricky,” said Fairfax-based designer Christine Manning.

So when it came to decorating their Alexandria home, a globe-trotting couple deferred to interior designer Karen A. Luria of Karen Luria Interior Identity, Inc. They put their acquisitions — ranging from a collection of combs amassed during trips to Africa to paintings acquired during travels to China — in her hands.

“These clients had traveled all over the world and wanted to incorporate all of the art that they had accumulated into a holistic design that would reflect their travels,” said Luria.

The designer’s challenge was to purchase furniture that would complement the couple’s acquisitions. “The client had the art and then I filled in the rest of the furniture and other pieces of art to create a cohesive design. Each room is different.”

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In the dining room, Karen Luria chose a beaded chandelier and natural rosewood dining table.

In the living room, Luria added a Persian rug and wicker sofa with shades of rose and green: “Green is the royal color and you don’t often find Persian rugs that have the colors that this rug has,” she said. “It was a very special rug.”

The overall look of the living room that Luria aimed to create is warm and inviting. She covered the walls in grass cloth and added luxurious throw pillows. “Throw pillows always make any space or furniture look more inviting,” she said. “They beckon you to come and sit.”

Also in the living room is an Indonesian carved wood coffee table and silver embossed side tables from India. “It is a style of silver embossing that is unique to India,” said Luria.

In the dining room, Luria chose a beaded chandelier. “It is from Syria and the beads make up the shade,” she said. “On the outer portion there are five beaded shades with arms. Those arms surround a larger beaded shade in the center.

The dining room table is natural rosewood. “Most rosewood has been stained so it looks like it is all one color,” said Luria. “This table shows the rosewood in its natural form and the wood has different shades.”

Luria added, “Every continent in the world is represented in this home: Burma, the Philippines, Persia, Vietnam, Korea are represented, as is Nepal, Indonesia and India.”