Friday, September 9, 2011

Kendall Wilkinson - Timeless Chinoiserie

San Francisco based interior designer Kendall Wilkinson is a favorite of mine. She is the perfect designer to finish up our series on Chinoiserie and Color, because as you can see from these rooms I have chosen from her portfolio, she has a great eye for color. But whether she is using soft pastels or a bold palette, her look is never trendy. Her style is timeless, elegant, sophisticated, and classic. Her use of Chinoiserie is subtle - framed Chinoiserie panels, a faux bamboo bed or chair, hand painted Chinoiserie walls, a Chinese porcelain vase, or a beautiful Chinoiserie fabric. She often uses antique and vintage pieces. Be sure to look for her space this fall in LUXE Magazine's Maison de Luxe Show House in Beverly Hills.

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

A - In my experience, people respond to imagery that’s not only attractive, but that’s familiar. Chinoiserie has a historical aspect that makes it approachable, and on some level we all recognize it. To me, it also has a certain story-book “whimsy” which appeals to an array of audiences, and also adds life and movement to an inanimate thing like furniture. The resurgence has been fueled by the new ways it’s being manifested in fabrics, textures, accessories, etc.

Q - How do you use Chinoiserie?

A - Anyway I can! For many of my interiors, a Chinoiserie motif is stunning as painted panels tucked into picture molding, or as imagery dressing up a case piece. I also like to add touches of it in fabrics, vases or frames when a more subtle effect is needed.  
Q - Why do you like to use Chinoiserie? What does Chinoiserie add to a room?

A - Chinoiserie is also a good way to get an “artsy” feel without actually having traditional art pieces.  It elevates an ordinary object into something conversation worthy and that’s fun to look at.

Q - What are your favorite Chinoiserie pieces?

A - I particularly love the way a gold Chinoiserie motif pops off an antique black lacquered case piece. It reminds me of fancy jewelry on a little black dress.



  1. Yes, what a talent! And what a joy to be able to work in SF with all the fabulous homes and architecture in that city!! Janell

  2. Beautiful, and Kendal is beautiful too. You can't imagine how much I like your blog.