Mr. Wu is very attentive to the appearance and the atmosphere of the Royal Panda. The result is that the restaurant has a very convivial vibe that is also very serene and relaxing.
Mr. Wu brought in the store-bought expertise of a professional decorator to solve some of the obvious challenges of creating an oasis of calm in the midst of a shopping center.
However, many, if not most, of the decorating touches are his own. Mr. Wu likes to keep the restaurant looking fresh and keeps an eye out for items that he feels will add interest to the ambiance, whether he is traveling to Taiwan, or surfing the internet. And many of the pandas are gifts given to Mr. Wu by his customers.
As I was sitting with Mary and Bill last night, I began to think about how much I enjoyed the ambiance Mr. Wu has created, and now I wonder about what I might do to create a more restful eating area in my own home.
Here are the key elements of Wu decor: picture windows that look out on a garden area, fountains, calligraphy panels, Chinese landscape paintings and prints, screens, dark wood, celadon, a salt water aquarium, and a preponderance of pandas and bamboo. Heard but not seen is the pleasant music, and seen but not heard is a large flat screen set that plays loops of beautiful scenery and artistic performances.
The take-away from Wu’s decorating style is not to paper my kitchen with panda- printed wall paper, but to create a place to take my meals that is restful and calming.
This will call for some changes. The kitchen could really use a re-do. It hasn’t been attended to since the wallpaper was removed and we painted the walls and cabinets– that was when my husband was in the early stages of early on-set Alzheimer’s–and we didn’t know it. This was sixteen years ago. Like so many “projects” the kitchen was in a state of transition, and has remained so, frozen in time, as if under a spell.
I think the first thing I will do is to get some colorful pots of mums to set out on the deck. I love the picture windows at Mr. Wu’s with the pretty garden views, and heaven knows I hanker for the outdoors and a less enclosed space. Luckily I do have a picture window–I just need to make the view from it, which is the back deck, more interesting. I used to have bird feeders out there–I could do that again, too, since I love watching the different birds come to feed. This would definitely help me get my daily nature fix. It wouldn’t hurt to give the window a good wash from both the outside and inside.
And plants–I can re-pot a couple of ferns that are root-bound in their pots on my front porch and bring them inside…maybe I will even create my own little garden space around the table! An antidote to my daily dose of greyness at the office! The linoleum that is original to the house looks like bricks. Well it doesn’t really look like bricks, but it is supposed to look like bricks. So the indoor patio idea is not all that far-fetched, considering. .. and how neat would that be in the winter?
Maybe a fresh wash of paint on the walls, something beautiful hanging on the wall… and hey…this just might work.
Creating a pleasant place to eat at home is a priority. Who knew the Wu Food Project would call for a trip to Home Depot?