Travelling the world may be little more than a pipe dream for many… but for Cecile Hofer, brand ambassador to Paresa Collection Interior, it is sweet reality.
Her years of cross-continental travel and a clearly honed sense of taste are well articulated in her skilful curation of exceptional bespoke furniture and home décor for Paresa Collection, whose collections of furniture, art and décor meld exquisitely with the modern tropical home.
For the modern home enthusiast, Paresa Collection is a portal to distinctive custom interior and décor pieces – boasting luxuriously textured wood furniture and antique-finished collectibles among many others, that are curated from all corners of the globe. We chat with Cecile about what it takes to be a bespoke interiors consultant and her affinity with travel and shopping.
Cecile first set foot in Singapore in 1986, having grown up in Germany with Hungarian roots and married to a Swiss, she was shuttling between Singapore and Europe before moving to Singapore in 2010.
“I have moved over 25 times in my life to date!” Cecile exclaims in half wonder, as if she cannot quite believe it herself. Accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle, she has lived and worked in many countries, each time drawing from her travels and experiences to fuel her growing taste and appreciation for well-conceived interiors.
Despite the perceivable inconveniences of the roving life, Cecile used that wholly to her advantage, “(At first) I sourced globally for furniture and art for my home(s), as well as for my similarly globetrotting friends and business partners, which led to returning requests and referrals”. From there she gleaned that “a perfect style in interiors means a number of different things to different people and my learning of different styles over the years has added to an intimate knowledge of careful balance in interior décor and design.”
“Sometimes an interior just needs some repositioning and ‘freshening up’ with distinct décor pieces to create a new look,” Cecile says, a sagely tone ever so slightly discernible.
When asked to describe her sense of style, Cecile waxes poetical: “I love natural materials of fine design and warm and serene interiors that most importantly hold character, yet are also effortless and not over-decorated.”
This can be painted as the trademark aesthetic of Paresa Collections, where understated elegance and well-placed proportions take root in interiors that marry design and everyday living.
“Typically blending Western taste with tropical flair, my role and that of our team is to create a world of ‘East meets West’”, shares Cecile.
Paresa’s abilities are focused around harmonious and functional home styling and the calculated juxtaposition and arrangement of bespoke furniture, art and antiques against a modern background. “Our strength is in creating a beautiful home interior while valuing and reflecting the personality of our clients,” she says. For that, “colour” and “material” is of prime importance, so is a “faultless finish” and overall aesthetics. The motivation always seems to be adding warmth and charm to an interior, without compromising on comfort and quality.
So where does Cecile’s work bring her? “We source mostly from Asia and Europe (predominantly France and Switzerland).” Commissioned sourcing work for interior decoration and development projects takes her across continents in search of custom made furniture and architectural elements, which is well-received by Paresa Collection’s international clientele.
Her wide stream of global contacts gives her access to customised works crafted from natural and recycled resources such as ethically-sourced teak. Interestingly, Paresa also combines cultural influences from the region, particularly Bali, Borneo, Indochina and the Middle East, where Cecile has spent much of her time.
“Our assignments are bespoke and our typical clientele understand the meaning of quality and have a sense for creating an individual look and atmosphere.” It is therefore with utmost pride that Cecile embarks upon her journeys, unearthing unique, collected objects befitting of the grand scheme of the residences, hotels and corporate environments that she works with. And if that’s not challenge enough, she holds herself and her team to sky-high standards of “good organisation” and “super efficient service”, ensuring that she’s kept busy throughout her work day.
Depending on the project on hand, Cecile sometimes travels up to 3 times a month. One of her most-frequented destinations is Bali, and its influence is immediately apparent in the richly-textured woods and beautifully-layered traditional objets d’art that circle the Paresa Collection showroom. Enchanted by Bali’s “rich cultural history”, “exquisite craftsmanship” and “friendly locals”, Cecile has been visiting Bali since 1986 and fondly refers to it as her “other home”.
Like us, she can’t resist shopping when she travels. When sourcing or shopping in Bali and Borneo, she suggests taking time to visit places that are decidedly “off the beaten track”, taking in the sights and stumbling upon hidden locales as how you would in your native homeland.
The Nirwana Golf and Country Club, Bali is one spot she keeps going back to for its world-class golf course and spectacular views of the Tanah Lot temple.
Infamous for its laidback culture, Cecile encourages being more accepting that things are more relaxed and less orderly in Bali, adding that tourists and visitors should avoid bargaining to the extreme when purchasing from locals, for a few dollars could mean a lot to the people there who live on a modest income and often have to finance a whole family on precious little.
Full of hidden wonders, Cecile recalls one of her most memorable finds in Borneo: “We had been commissioned with a residential project to source artefacts for a rich interior. We ended up with a sumptuous collection of rare antiques crafted from teakwood and other striking materials which were all amazingly one-of-a-kind.”
Wondering if there’s any place left that a worldly traveller such as Cecile has yet to explore, we pop the question, slightly taken aback by her unexpectedly quick-fire response: “Trekking in New Zealand.”.
Perhaps we’ll be seeing a hint of New Zealand in the Paresa Collection showroom next.