Beth Connolly, Chinoiserie Chic
Please, help me welcome today to The Shiny Pebble Designer Challenge, Beth Connolly from the ubiquitous Chinoiserie Chic. I believe that pretty much every design blog I have ever visited has her blog listed under their bloglists. As the third participant of the Challenge, Beth has, in my humble opinion, outdone herself. Boy, are you in for a treat…
Beth Connolly is the publisher of not one, but two very stylish blogs: Chinoiserie Chic (where she shares her "passion for the stylish, elegant, chic, fanciful and timeless world of Chinoiserie, a French term meaning Chinese-esque") and Style Redux, a blog about "great style - in fashion, interior design, and a bit of everything else. It may be vintage or new, budget or designer. It's all about living a life of style."
Trained as an attorney, Beth is a self-taught interior designer who works with a select group of clients. Her blog has appeared in several online and print publications, and to have a better insight into the designer behind the blog, please read this Washingtonian article.
In typical straight forward fashion, here is what she had to say in response to a few of my questions:
The Shiny Pebble: How do you define your style?
Beth Connolly: My design style is a chic and elegant mix of modern with French and English antiques, Chinoiserie, beautiful fabrics and wallpaper with a strong emphasis on accessories.
TSP: What inspires you?
TSP: What designer or life experience has influenced your design aesthetics?
BC: Probably a combination of living in Europe as a child, studying American decorative arts at Winterthur, and growing up amidst the great estates of Lake Forest, Illinois.
TSP: Where is your go to source?
To find out about her inspiration for my dining room, read on. Here is Beth, in her own words and fantastic imagery...
When Catherine contacted me about this design challenge, I had just posted the photo above on my blog Chinoiserie Chic. It is the window display of a Ralph Lauren store with a massive blue and white Chinese porcelain jar filled with polo mallets. I'm sure you've been in Ralph Lauren stores-always lots of dark wood punctuated with oversized blue and white Chinese porcelain. This was my inspiration. I wanted to keep the dining room furniture they already own and I also wanted to give this newly built home character and elegance. I knew that British colonial style would be perfect. This style developed under Queen Victoria when the British Empire stretched from India to the West Indies, encompassing elements from the Caribbean, the Far East, India, Africa, and even Hong Kong. It was about civilized people living in a tropical climate (like Houston), combining their tastes and furnishings with local ideas like Chinese porcelain, bamboo, linen slipcovers, and mahogany. The feel is romantic, sophisticated, and classic-very Out of Africa. It also works beautifully with Chinoiserie which is my passion.
First, we are leaving the table and six chairs, the buffet, the mirror, the pair of lamps, the pair of pictures, the sea grass rug, and the hutch. EVERYTHING else gets relocated.
In British colonial style, walls are painted in pale hues to reflect light, especially sea tones like pale blue or green. For paint I ALWAYS use either Farrow & Ball or Benjamin Moore's Historical Color Collection. These colors have a complexity and subtlety without equal.
Farrow & Ball Light Blue Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
Every room needs curtains. For this look, they need to be light and billowy. I would love to see pale hued silk taffeta in stripes or a solid, hung as high as possible. Restoration Hardware has lovely ones.
On top of the hutch will go a beautiful pair of blue and white Chinese ginger jars, as large as will fit. This will add a dramatic focal point.
On either side of the hutch I'd love to see a pair of framed silk Chinoiserie panels in blue and white. The pair of pictures currently there would work well in the room on a smaller wall.
Flanking the hutch beneath the panels will be a beautiful pair of Chinese garden stools or a huge pair of blue and white Chinese jars like in the Ralph Lauren photo above.
In the corner where the table and chair is now I'd love to see a Chinoiserie bar all set for entertaining guests.
The room needs a dramatic chandelier.
On the buffet between the lamps will go a beautiful blue and white Chinese porcelain vase for white roses or white lilies.
Consider a pair of plates on either side of the mirror.
Buy yourself Joe Nye's new book Flair for inspiration on setting the table.
The chairs will be reupholstered in blue cotton velvet or linen velvet. Slipcovers in white or off white washable linen would be a wonderful way to change the look for the summer and very British colonial.
You must have a Kentia palm in a Chinese fish bowl or dark brown basket to complete the look.
And finally, some wonderful rooms from my files to give you more inspiration, all of which have elements of this look. I love this style for your dining room. These pieces can be purchased over time which I prefer. I like a home to look like it has been collected over time. The price point is up to you-these looks can be found at HomeGoods and flea markets or the finest antique stores.
Isn’t this just magnificent?! I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about her style choices and a little bit of the history behind the look. Educational and visually stimulating! What else can you ask for? I truly appreciate the fact that she gave me options within each element choice. I found that I have a strong preference between the specific items she selected. That is an amazing attribute to the designing experience from a client's point of view.
Now, click on over to Splenderosa, where she has toiled thru the wee hours to come up with the perfect outfit that will dress me the first time I entertain in this fabulous room.
If you all enjoyed this makeover as much as I did and would love to see more entries and related posts, please check out the links below:
Amanda Burdge's Creating a Hip Space from a Traditional Place
Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, when Amy Forshew from Pemberley Collections will be doing her own version of this room. I am thinking seashells and sea grass…
Once again, thank you The Daily Basics for helping us spread the word of the challenge.
Hugs and Kisses!
Linking to: Remodelaholic, Woo-Hoo Wednesday and Tablescape Thursday