FRINGE Decor: Creating a Personalized Workspace, with Designer Christle Clare Gary

Project designer Christle Clare Gary has worn many hats during her 12 years with bkm OfficeWorks. She has worked on social media campaigns and also pitched in as a part-time installation photographer. Christle is a valued member of the FRINGE design team and works with her group to customize the final product for bkm OfficeWorks’ unique clientele. She strives to give clients a highly personalized space.

Christle was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she spent most of her childhood before coming to the US with her family in 2007. While she says she had “complete culture shock” at first, she became an American citizen in 2017. Christle speaks four languages, including Tagalog and Hokkien. Christle is also a newlywed! She recently got married in January 2022.

Q: What is FRINGE to you?

FRINGE is what brings life into a space.

Q: Why do you think FRINGE is essential?

It takes the feel of a space beyond structure and basic functionality by setting the mood and adding personality.

Q: What is your favorite facet of FRINGE?

I like having the opportunity to start a trend and fill in the gray areas that are left once the structure and furniture are installed. As a design team, we think about all the stuff we can do to complete the project, to reflect the personality of the client, and make it their own. You’ve got furniture, right? That’s when the fun starts, when you can start thinking about which rugs to add, and artwork, all the embellishments that make a space personal and inviting. You have a bookcase, but you need books in it, so which books are right for that space and that client? Then there’s lighting and plants; the possibilities are endless!

Q: What are your passions/things you enjoy doing?

I enjoy exploring new restaurants and speakeasies around the world with my husband. I also enjoy watching cooking and baking reels on Instagram.

Q: What is your personal design aesthetic?

At home, I’m open to almost anything that is trending, but it’s got to be practical, too. Right now I’m into a neutral color scheme and an airy vibe, like a vacation home or beach house feeling. And then when I’m designing at work, I like to be dramatic and bold, sort of Great Gatsby-esque.

Q: If you could only have one piece of furniture in a room, what would it be?

A Japanese Thuma bed with a Tempur-Pedic mattress and Brooklinen bedding: because sleep is important!

Q: If someone runs into you at a bar, what drink should they buy you?

Oh, any kind of refreshing cocktail. I’m always trying something new, so I’m pretty open, as long as it’s refreshing and not too sweet!

Q: If you could sit down and have lunch with any designer, who would it be and why?

You’ve heard of Joanna Gaines, right? I actually hardly watch HGTV or “Fixer Upper” because I don’t really have time to watch TV. I was actually drawn to her book while running errands in Target. Her journey inspires me. I don’t know any other designer like her. She inspired many to adopt that modern farmhouse look or, you know, “farmhouse chic”. She literally put Waco on the map! She’s doing way more than just designing; she’s impacting her community. Think about her Magnolia network: it has everything from shopping to programming to online workshops…she’s a really inspiring businesswoman and an amazing designer.

Q: If you could be an expert in any facet of interior design, what would it be?

Selling! If you can’t sell your design, someone else will tell you how to design.

Q: Where do you pull design inspiration from the most?

I’m open to inspiration from anywhere, but I do get a lot of inspiration from the set design of movies. When I was five years old, I fell in love with the design aesthetic of the house in “The Sound of Music” and have wanted to become a designer ever since then. And right now I’m really inspired by the sets and look of the Marvel movies.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A beach house in Coronado, San Diego. That’s my goal!