Design Partners Reflect On Designing Their First Tea Room


White Tea Room

As told to Grace Beuley Hunt

From the very beginning, it was meant to be a place of rest. The architect picked the location for it’s amazing natural light and we worked with a feng shui master. Building started in September to encourage good luck and prosperity for the home. It was a special brief in that way—there was meaning behind every detail.

We’re seeing more and more clients asking for specialty rooms, but these clients—two first-generation Chinese sisters—really use this space. After a hard day’s work, they retreat to drink tea together, practice calligraphy and meditate.

They wanted to honor their heritage—but to modernize, too. Tea room window treatments are traditionally bamboo; we chose a light grass Conrad shade. The Chilewich rug is textured like a tatami mat and the white-oak furnishings are custom by Chi Wing Lo, a Chinese furniture designer living in Italy. The table has natural stone for water draining and a metal plate for the hot teapot to rest on.

In spring, the sisters drink Longjing tea. In summer, jasmine tea paired with red bean pastry. In autumn, black tea with moon cake and in winter, Pu’er tea. They have an incredible collection of ceramic vessels; their most-prized is a Gongfu tea set from Yingge, a town famous for its production of porcelain. It was an inspiring project in that we learned so much from our clients. It also showed us how important it is to have a room dedicated to feeling good in—to feeling happy. We’re now looking to incorporate this principal into more of our designs.