The One: Buddha’s Allure

The hutong find Tina Cassidy couldn't leave Beijing without.

Welcome to The One, where we hone in on a single, favorite element of a home—and explore how it pulls together an entire room. 

Antique Chinese Buddha head

Photo by Danielle Ossher

For Tina Cassidy, an author, mother, and PR maven, the one is actually the find from her trip to China last May: an antique Buddha head that now adorns a fireplace mantle in her Brookline home. Yearning to see the old soul of city, she ventured down Beijing’s hutongs (ancient narrow streets between residences), and there it sat in the window of a tiny, dusty shop completely off the beaten path.

Buddha’s face instantly captivated her—its peeling layers, serene eyes, and strikingly deep lips—and she knew she had to have it. Very old and incredibly fragile, Tina knew there was something very lovely about this Buddha and the way it looked so intently yet subtly. “It’s the China I wish I’d seen,” she said.

Back home, Tina thoughtfully placed Buddha atop a collection of vintage books close to her heart: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, traditional Italian folk songs, a volume of O. Henry short stories, The Canterbury Tales and poems Edna St. Vincent Millay. “This is who I am in one stack,” she said, smiling.

And Buddha is now a favorite among the singular, meaningful pieces you’ll find in every room, every corner of her home. Antique photographs, historic and graphic maps, carefully collected sea glass, works from local artists—each has it’s own backstory, and yet they all come together with ease to create a truly personal, inviting home.


Photo by Danielle Ossher

Tina Cassidy is the Senior Vice President & Chief Content Officer at InkHouse. She’s also the author of two booksJackie After O and Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born. She and her husband, Anthony Flint, live in an effortlessly redone (in looks, not work) historic home in Brookline with their three sons.