Masters of Chinoiserie
Did you happen to see House Beautiful’s March 2012 “Going Green” issue? In it, they feature a house decorated by well-known interior designer Meg Braff, who I’m convinced is the queen of Chinoiserie. Her rooms are divine! She always adds a Chinoiserie punch to otherwise traditional spaces.
An equally known queen of Chinoiserie is Mary McDonald, whom I couldn’t get enough of on Bravo’s TV’s Million Dollar Decorators. She’s very Beverly Hills-glam-drama and is an absolute design genius.
I’ll never forget first laying eyes on her office, featured in Domino Magazine a few years ago. I thought I had died and gone to Chinoiserie heaven!
Another Mary McDonald original:
I usually wouldn’t trust anyone who calls decorating “deliiiiicious!” but Martyn Lawrence Bullard obviously knows what he’s doing. He happens to be another designer featured on Million Dollar Decorators, and he’s really hit the big time in recent years! Every time I open Architectural Digest another home of his is featured.
Bullard’s aesthetic typically trends more Moroccan and Moorish than Chinoiserie, but check out a dining room of his featured in House Beautiful a few months ago:
What is it about Chinoiserie that makes a room hum? I think there’s something about Chinoiserie that is unexpected and even humorous. Note the clever pagoda chandelier above – what if it were a traditional crystal or old-fashioned brass chandelier instead? Coupled with the other traditional elements in the room it would just be SO serious. But the pagoda chandelier relaxes us (even makes us laugh!) and provides some real interest in the room.
Of course, not all Chinoiserie is ha-ha funny, but there is something about its whimsical touch. Whether it be a darling pair of foo dogs or a splash of “out-there” orange lacquer, Chinoiserie keeps it traditional, and also keeps it interesting.