Monday, November 30, 2009

Anne Harwell & Christmas Chinoiserie

Some of my favorite Chinoiserie Christmas gift ideas are those of the talented artist and blogger Anne Harwell of Annechovie. Please check out her Etsy store for these and many other beautiful ideas. I have several of Anne's pieces in my own home and I am struck every day by the wonderful colors, design, and attention to detail. Anne also does commissioned work and will be happy to work with you on a painting of your home's exterior, a room, a vignette, a pet, or whatever strikes your fancy. Anne was most recently featured in House Beautiful. For Christmas hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, and perfect Christmas gifts, any of these would be a Chinoiserie Chic choice for the Chinoiserie lover in your life.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chinois Tea at the Willard Hotel

D.C. has gone Chinoiserie mad with the opening last week of the Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibition at the National Geographic, its last stop in the U.S. Many hotels and restaurants are having Chinoiserie themed menus and events as well. I was excited to attend an Afternoon Tea "Chinois" at the Willard Hotel. They have transformed their tea area called Peacock Alley into a Chinoiserie wonderland. Here are photos I took showing the beautiful floral arrangements, silk panels and pillows, and lanterns they used to dramatically decorate the space. Visually the place is stunning. Unfortunately, the food was mediocre, the tea lukewarm, the service perfunctory at best, and the noise deafening from a wedding in the same area. Peacock Alley is not a separate dining room, but the main corridor of the hotel with the gift shop and banquet halls. You can sip tea as tourists wandering the corridor gawk at you while you listen to terrible wedding music right out of the Wedding Singer for $49 a person before tax and tip. Take it from me and walk through the Willard for free and partake of the beautiful Chinoiserie display, then head to Chinatown or elsewhere for real hot tea and dim sum. Two favorites of mine for a fraction of the price and much better tea, food, and service are Mark's Duck House in Falls Church and Ching Ching Cha in Georgetown.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  A great point to remember when setting the table for the holidays is that all blue and white china mixes beautifully together. This Spode turkey pattern below called Festival is a favorite of mine. I mix this English china with pieces from China, Japan, France, and the Netherlands, old and new, flea market to rare antique to create an eclectic and elegant Chinoiserie table. 

(Photos courtesy of Carolyne Roehm)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Candles for the Chinoiserie Table

The time for holiday entertaining is upon us and I bet you will be stocking up on candles. Don't let anyone tell you that the only elegant choice for candles is ivory or white. Creative Candles makes stunning artisanal candles in 44 elegant and sophisticated colors. I love choosing colors to go with my Chinoiserie china patterns. With the Royal Crown Derby above, perhaps Cinnibar, Gold, or Christmas Red which is in fact a great Chinese Red. With the blue and white china below, what about Navy Blue or Paris Gray? With wonderful choices like Black, Eggplant, Cafe au Lait, Amethyst, Pistachio, Terra Cotta, Raspberry, Turquoise, or Watermelon, you will find many you love. These very high quality candles are unscented, virtually dripless and smokeless, have an elegant matte finish, and even come with beeswax fitter strips to secure. They have been featured in Martha Stewart Living and used at places like the White House, the Waldorf Astoria, and Lincoln Center. Their 39 inch tapers are reportedly the tallest in the world! Create your own beautiful combinations for holiday entertaining. For a great modern neutral try the Paris Gray or Slate Gray-two of my favorites. They can be ordered online and are available at many fine retailers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Weekend Chinoiserie Find

This weekend I found this very elegant vintage 1960s Baker Chinoiserie coffee table in Georgetown. It is molded brass and glass with a Chinese Chippendale style turned wood octagonal base. The wood base has a tortoiseshell finish on faux bamboo. The same Baker coffee table but with a pie crust top and mahogany finish is currently for sale on 1st dibs for $2475 here. (I snagged it for $325.00) In the picture above it is happily ensconced in my little sun room. Click on the picture to enlarge. The picture just below is it at the store. The last picture is its cousin at 1st dibs. As the description on 1st dibs says, it is absolutely splendid.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Chinoiserie Dining Room

As the focus this week for most shifts to Thanksgiving and the dining room takes center stage, here are some of my favorite Chinoiserie influenced dining rooms to serve as inspiration. The wonderful room above is by Michael Smith.

Michael Smith

Suzanne Kassler

Donna Benedetto

The Beach Studios

Ruthie Sommers

Via Cote de Texas

Phoebe Howard

Alessandra Branca

Allyn Cox

Decor Pad

Annie Selke

John Loecke