I fully realize this is a category that encompasses many things. I could have very easily done “yes to faux bamboo” or “yes to ginger jars,” and I probably will in the future. But I love the whimsy of all the different pieces together so here we are: chinoiserie.
Chinoiserie is a French word that means Chinese-esque. (The French are very creative). I’ve been researching 18th century decor this year, and chinoiserie pieces pop up quite a bit, but it entered the Western design consciousness in the 17th century. Europeans attempted to recreate Chinese porcelain and wallpapers, and the result was a blending of Chinese and European styles. Lacquered tables, painted tin (tole), fretwork–these are all a result of Europeans imitating East Asian artisans.
The style eventually fell out of favor in the late 18th century, but in the 20th century designers like Dorothy Draper infused their rooms with Chinoiserie elements. Chinoiserie can have a very society feel in a formal apartment, but when mixed with mid-century pieces in modern interiors, its whimsy is in full effect.
I have at least one chinoiserie-inspired piece in every room. They add lightness and humor–there is nothing serious about faux bamboo or rattan. So if you ever find yourself with a room that feels too stuffy and formal, get thee some faux bamboo.
Because of my schedule, we aren’t able to take a vacation this winter, a fact I am sorely lamenting. Going someplace warm, even for just a few days, makes the January/February doldrums so much more bearable. While New York hasn’t gotten the much-hyped blizzard of the century, it’s been damn cold and well, that’s enough!
In lieu of beaches, I’m making do with classic blue and white, hoping the palette will usher spring along. Certainly the weather, sensing my clump of empty blue-and-white vases, will warm up so that I can get some daffodils and tulips going. I’m pretty sure that’s how seasons works.
A few weeks ago, fresh fruit vendors started popping up along 37th Avenue in my neighborhood. They juice fruit on the spot, including my beloved pineapple. (I also tried my first horchata on the street recently–that stuff is pure sorcery). I will completely admit to bringing the fresh juice home and splashing in some rum because I demand fresh cocktail juices. It was a Saturday, okay?
Beyond my love for a pineapple-based cocktail, I love seeing a pineapple here and there in a home. They’re a symbol of hospitality, and gained popularity as a decorative motif in the 18th century. They hit all the right notes for me: a little offbeat, but classic, great in entryways and dining rooms.
As for my own plan for pineapples, I’ve been keeping a look out for a pair of pineapple sconces for the dining room. There are some on Etsy, but I’m stubborn and want to get mine from the flea here. Though I am currently pineapple-less, you don’t have to be. Shop everything pineapple-inspired below.