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.
Despite my attempts to hermetically seal myself inside the apartment this winter, I finally got a cold this week. So I spent most of the afternoon the other day on the sofa, indulging in some daytime Netflix.
I ended up watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a movie I should’ve seen years ago but never did. It’s a gorgeous film; the fight choreography is incredible and the scenery is lovely. But I kept getting distracted by one detail: flowers!
They’re chrysanthemums, and I am obsessed.
My meager research suggests they’re done in the Japanese kiku ogiku style, which coaxes a single bloom per stem. (My research also told me the New York Botanical Garden did a massive show of this style of arrangement this past fall, so now I am depressed).
I doubt I’d be successful growing (and coaxing) these myself, but boy do I want to get some sort of flowering plant going in a gorgeous container now. So I want to know: have you had success with indoor flowering plants? Which ones?
I knew from the start I wanted an ottoman with lucite legs, so it was just a matter of fabric selection. I originally wanted a large scale floral print, something ridiculously feminine and chinoiserie, but because of some hiccups I detailed here, I had to switch to a less fussy fabric. It was frustrating at the time, but ultimately, for the best.
As you can see, the rug is not exactly a neutral, so the ottoman provides a nice counterpoint to it. The print plays off of the green accents in the rug and balances the red, while the buffalo check itself is a good contrast to the ethnic rug design. In the end, I think a floral on top of this rug would have competed too much.
We’ve also finally settled on a good, workable furniture layout. The end tables are vintage ones I’ve had for years, and the lamp is another oldie–something I originally bought four years ago for our bedroom. The skirted table I wrote about in the fall is alive and well, just moved to a better spot in the room.