August 20, 2007

Carleton Varney, Part VIII - The Oriental Look

Do you like these Carleton Varney posts? I do... It gives me the opportunity to do some research on the topic and to compare design trends over the course of the past 40 years.
This evening, during a blissful rain storm, I opened the Book of Decorating Ideas to a piece called "The Oriental Look". CV says if you have one of Grandmother's oriental rugs in storage, get it out now! He's always believed that a touch of black makes any room complete and a black laquered table would be a great finishing note. The oriental accessory is always a winner in home furnishings.
From Scalamandre wallpapers, to incredible silk furnishings, Asian accessories always bring an added element to almost any decor. Think British Colonial overstuffed rooms, or Zen spareness. While polar opposites, both have a touch of the oriental. A Buddha, a pagoda, a panda, a calligraphied symbol of welcome. These symbols can appear both modern and classic. While some of the pieces have changed over the years, the basic concept remains the same.

When you are choosing an oriental element, make sure that it has some meaning to you. Maybe it's a scroll painting from a trip to China or a set of dishes from Pearl River Mart in Chinatown. It could even be a menu from your favourite Chinese restaurant that marking a special occasion.
In my own house, I have an oriental rug, a Chinese silk painting, lots of Blue Willow china and other Asian elements. What do you have?


  1. One of my favourite things is a 1930s Mah jong table - even though I have as yet to find three friends for a 'Joy Luck' club.

  2. Prints, fabric, china, linen, furniture.... The list goes on! I love Asian and Chinoiserie elements.

  3. Fairfax,
    Beautiful note paper!

    Like Jennifer, my list is long: lamps, porcelain, chandelier, pagoda...


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