Going global at home

Instead of exotic travels this summer, Marni Jameson plans to surf the world via the Internet.
BY MARNI JAMESON Published: May 7, 2012
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I don't know about you, but I'm not taking any exotic vacations this year.

With one kid in college, a second in private school, three houses to manage, four cars to fill with gas, and the cost to cover the gray in my hair, which is starting to show up thanks to all the above, I'm grounded.

This summer will bring another staycation for me. No Italy or Istanbul. No Tibet or Taiwan. No Egypt or England. If I want an escape, I'll have to rely on my fantasies – and the World Wide Web.

Thanks to the Internet's global reach, I can bring these places home without going anywhere.

The idea for bringing the world to me rather than me to it struck while I was surfing furniture websites.

(Another sad fact of my life is that this is as guilty as my pleasures get these days.)

On a recent Web adventure, I stumbled on theFoundary.com and Fab.com, free, members-only flash sites that offer up to 70 percent off home furnishings from around the world for very limited times, sometimes only 72 hours, or while supplies last.

I like these sites not only because they don't have brick and mortar walls, but also because their merchandise knows no bounds either. The world is their store.

This means you can easily and affordably have home decor from seven continents. Add a travel documentary, an ethnic meal and a soundtrack from a faraway land and you're practically there.

The bad news is — get it wrong and your place could look as if it's on the verge of global warfare.

While I believe every home should feature some furnishings from countries that you need a passport and shots to visit, that's not blanket permission to run through an international bazaar with a back hoe.

The trick is to know how to combine an African-inspired giraffe-print ottoman, a distressed French wood end table, and a Moroccan pillow in the same room.

So I asked Vallerie Drorbaugh, who as the Foundary's style manager mixes styles for a living, for the secret to making your home look well traveled even if you're not.

“Absolutely mix styles, but carefully. Select few items. Keep them large. Edit them well,” she advised. “Your home shouldn't look as if you went out one day and bought a bunch of furniture to match. It should reflect you — our heritage, your experiences, the places you've been.”

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