Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pagoda Week

Meg Braff
A very fun week is in store here at Chinoiserie Chic. This week we will focus our posts on that beloved icon of Chinoiserie-the pagoda. We will look at how interior designers use pagodas, where to find pagodas for your own home, pagoda fabric, pagoda wallpaper, pagoda furniture, pagodas in my own Chinoiserie home, and my interview with the queen of pagodas - Mary McDonald.


From House & Garden (a magazine I still miss), aren't these elephant lamp end tables fabulous?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Chinoiserie Patio

From the July 2011 Architectural Digest, a pink pool house with Chinese Chippendale furniture, pagodas, and Chinese garden stools.

Summer White Chinoiserie

Mary McDonald Blanc de Chine

Saturday Inspiration

The wallpaper is Thibaut Sheffield from the Sweet Life Collection in the orange colorway. I just love the combination of orange and blue.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Chinese Dragon

A very Chinoiserie Chic Chinese dragon on Etsy for $8.00. Grab him here.

Friday From My Chinoiserie Home

A few vignettes from my office with my collection of "singerie" monkeys.

Palm Beach Chic Faux Bamboo Chandelier

Faux bamboo chandeliers are a very hot trend and have become very pricey. This Vintage Faux Bamboo and Rattan Chandelier from LIV Vintage is very Palm Beach and quite unique. It would be great fun in a beach house, breakfast room, kitchen, dining room, child's room, or bedroom. Great price too at $145.00.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Inlaid Bone High/Low

I posted before on this fabulous inlaid bone side table at Wisteria above that is $399.00 and now totally backordered. Check out the table I scored yesterday at HomeGoods for $129.99 in this gorgeous purple that will be perfect in my home. I also saw it in gray. The tables are the same size and design. I completely love it. Please let me know if you find it in other colors. Happy hunting.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Chinese Chippendale Chair

This wonderful Chinese Chippendale Chair below is available at LIV vintage on Etsy for $85.00. Quite a steal. Leave it white or paint it in a fun color like these Chinese Chippendale chairs above in chic colors and Thibaut fabrics. This chair would be great for a desk, a vanity, or in a bedroom.

Alessandra Branca - China With A Twist

Today I have very exciting news-the launch of my new series Chinoiserie Chic Interior Designers. Each week I will feature one of my favorite interior designers. I selected the interior designers who I believe use Chinoiserie in their work most beautifully and effectively. I interviewed each of them about their love of Chinoiserie. You will be absolutely thrilled to see the lineup I have in store. I start today with a favorite of mine, Alessandra Branca. Raised in Rome, her grandfather was an art historian and a critic for the Vatican and her mother is a renowned botanical and natural history artist. She went to college in Lake Forest, Illinois where I grew up and lives in Chicago. I had the great pleasure of meeting her at a cocktail party and book signing in Georgetown in DC in my favorite home she decorated. It is the first home featured below, including a couple of shots of me. I have entitled the feature on Alessandra "China With A Twist" because her use of Chinoiserie is always with historical references, but tweaked. Her interior design style could best be described as embracing comfort, history, style, and whimsy. No wonder she uses Chinoiserie in her work. I have chosen below my favorite rooms of hers that include Chinoiserie elements. First, enjoy my interview with the very talented Alessandra Branca. Next week- Mary McDonald.

How do you use Chinoiserie?

 I use chinoiserie much the way you would use a great spice or ingredient… I love it most anywhere!!!

Why do you like to use Chinoiserie?

 Because it adds an element of fantasy and escapism… it is fun, exotic and chic all at once. I also love the quality of much of 18th and 19th century pieces and the depth they can bring to a room.  I also love to use painted paper and silk which is a classic Chinoiserie element.

What does Chinoiserie add to a room?

It adds a punch…and fantasy and depth…. whether it is a lacquered black, brown or red japanned piece or lacca povera in white, it is always artful and painterly.  It can become the art or sculpture in a room and yet be something practical like an armoire, a chest, a lamp or a dropfront desk. 

 What are your favorite Chinoiserie pieces?

 I love the armoires, mirrors and screens … each clearly is practical but adds an artful touch to a room. Of course I am clearly partial to painted paper and silk panels too!

To what do you attribute Chinoiserie’s appeal for centuries and its recent resurgence?

I think the timeless quality of many of the items can be attributed to the playfulness that is inherent in Chinoiserie as a decorative art.  Because the original pieces were influenced by the Jesuit Kirchner’s diary of his first trip to China, where no one else had been, there was this otherworldly quality to his recollections that inspired artists like Pillement and then later Chippendale and so so many others. We still find that people, myself included, are designing rooms, furniture and decorative accessories inspired by these fantastic concepts.  I suspect that the spirit that drives that influence is very much like the original one which was a fascination for something outside of our day to day life… that we could infuse with playfulness and spirit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From My Chinoiserie Home

I fell in love with this work of art in the home of interior designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd that she must love too because it pops up everywhere. I recently purchased this Lincoln Center giclee by Helen Frankenthaler from One Kings Lane that I hung yesterday in my living room. I think it has very much the same feel and colors.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kelly Hoppen

South African born British interior designer Kelly Hoppen will reportedly be designing the permanent residence of Prince William and Kate Middleton. While the British generally adore Chinoiserie, what I have seen of her work is quite sleek, minimalist, and modern. I was delighted to find these photos of rooms of hers that while maintaining her signature style, also include lovely touches of Chinoiserie.