How to (tastefully) Decorate with Souvenirs

A boutique owner creates a colorful home using treasures from India's bazaars.

It's hard to imagine how a 550-square-foot Brooklyn rental apartment with a small backyard garden could be a passage to India. But Alayne Patrick's place is exactly that. Pinks, reds and oranges abound; antique silks share space with exquisitely embroidered cottons. Patrick first visited India in 1989, and in Rajasthan, she had a revelation: "I saw this fine, beautiful work and thought, In America, nobody ever sees this. You only see the kitschy, Bollywood stuff.' So I decided to bring some things back." Three years later, those souvenirs went public with Layla, her Brooklyn boutique, and she now hops a flight three or four times annually to gather textiles, linens and fashion accoutrements. Even her clothing line, using wood-blocked fabrics she designs, is manufactured in India. But Patrick's treasures have also found a more private purpose—brightening and enlightening her home.

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