Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome Beth Connolly

IMG_0046_2_2 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?
BC: Style.

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?
BC: eBay

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.
a dining room

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.
FB light bluejpeg mpc0006962-2t
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.
ball post mary
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.
large_item_photo_559_1204316641 ChinoiserieSilkPanels_z

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.
xIMG_6050                                                      0025276_300 0025276_300

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.
pPOLO2-6936784_standard_v330pPOLO2-6968858_standard_v330Ashley Whittaker South Hampton 4

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.
joe nye book2

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.
x Office_9542_lSlipcovered-Dining-Chairs-HTOURS0107-deDining-Room_9186_l1147586_dining-table_xlamydmorris.090316_112final_thumb[2]  
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:
Christina Fluegge’s (Greige) Transitional Eclectic Mix

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


Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

Love those big blue vases!

Allie and Pattie said...

Fabulous! I like that she worked with your major pieces- that leaves a lot more room in the budget for those gorgeous accessories. And LOVE the bar!
xoxo Pattie

Unknown said...

Oh what a fabulous post! Welcome to wonderful and so talented Beth! I really enjoyed looking through the ictures of interiors. Beautiful rooms always inspire me! Thank you so very much for the wonderful post and fantatstic intorduction. Wishing you beautiful and inspirational the rest of the week. :-)))

Pemberley said...

I love Beth's style. She put together a fabulous dinning room which I love. I knew she would deliver as she does in her blog every single day. That's why she is listed on so many blog rolls and always a stop for me when I'm blog hopping. Well done Beth!

Sandra said...

Catherine - I love, love Beth's style. The Chinoiserie bar, what a great idea. And her remark "I like a home to look like it has been collected over time" is right on. I can't imagine who could top this design! Beautiful!

My Galveston Cottage said...

Love the blue and white and wow to the Zac Posen dress! I think you're going to have to buy more homes so you can have all these dining rooms. Seriously, nice ideas that we all can take with us. Thanks! -s

Unknown said...

Beth has a really great eye! Her suggestions and selections are spot on! And the paint color choices are some of my all time faves as well!

The Buzz Blog said...

Crazy for Chinoiserie - so much so, we dedicated a whole spring collection last year to the style! Love everything about this style...

Gwen Driscoll said...

Just love all the blue. Again, I state, can I do anything as pretty as all these fabulous designers? My wheels are turning and turning....Hope you are well.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking this beautiful decor to Woo Hoo! Wednesday and joining the Cinco de Mayo party.

*Chic Provence* said...

Some really gorgeous pieces; this style would be perfect in your dining room as Beth has so beautifully illustrated!

Great job!


Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Oh I just adore the idea of the Chinoiserie bar!
It is just so fun to see everyone's interpretations. Thanks for putting this together, Catherine :)

Pigtown*Design said...

Excellent! A few of the pix just stopped me in my tracks!

Anonymous said...

I follow both SR and CC....and LOVE all she has in mind! How are you going to choose? All so far have been magnificent! I've bought several blue and white chinoiserie
vases and jars at Home Goods!

Splenderosa said...

So far, my fave. Just so much fun for me collaborating on these rooms
with the fantasy outfits. xx's

Tammy @BeatriceBanks said...

Wonderful ideas! Can't wait to see what you do with it all!

pve design said...

Wow - ya know, I cut my hair because of your post and I think I am feeling the need for a change in my dining area......

Anne Marie said...

Catherine.......thanks for stopping by the farm today! it was so great to see you.....funny - how this post is soooo terrific, but my favorite image, is the skirt on the model - the deep charcoal gray one with a deep seam line -
love that!!

(would love to see a fashion post :)

Marija said...

I just love that Beth is suggesting keeping all of your large pieces and adding additional large, statement making pieces like the panels and the oversized ginger jars. And she's right, you could do this over time and it will be all the better for it!

The Shiny Pebble said...

Will - I love them too... already own a little collection that now I will just have to add on to.

Pattie - I have always been in love with the RL bar... I am seriously considering buying it!

Couture - she is fab. I am glad you got to see her work here first!

Pemberley - give it a few more months and yours will be plastered all over the blogosphere as well

Sandra - so glad you enjoyed it. I love the idea of a collected over time space as well

Love Where You Live - Splenderosa never disapoints.

the Zhush - I loved the wall color too... something I have been heavily considering since I moved here

The Buzz - I will have to check it out!!!!

The Shiny Pebble said...

Gwen - I only picked the best!

Always Nesting - this is definitely something to woo hoo about!

Chic Provence - I agree.

Naomi - another vote for the bar!

Pigtown Design - thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I am totally in love with most of the pictures myself.

Kelly - I don't know... I will have to enlist the help of my readers I am sure. I might just have to ck out HomeGoods since both of you have recommended it.

Splenderosa - I have come to trust your eye for design. Your taste is impecable.

Tammy - welcome and thanks for commenting

PVE - you are so sweet... I am actually liking my haircut better today. My dining room on the other hand remains an eye sore.

Anne Marie - I am so in love with that skirt I am trying to figure out how hard it would be to replicate it in raw charcoal blue linen

Marija - I need some drama in that room PRONTO!

Mary Ann said...

my favorite so far! i will be checking out the jewelry link like a treasure hunter...i am enjoying this! verbena cottage

Kathysue said...

Love what Beth has proposed and the fact that it is all doable over time and on any budget. I love blue and white porcelain pieces they always elevate a rooms look to me. Beth never disappoints her use of color andn gorgeous accessories in impeccable. Bravo Beth and Lucky you miss Shiny pebble!!! Happy Wednesday, Kathysue

carissa said...

i love the draperies she chose!!! i don't have any favorites... i can't help but LOVE LOVE LOVE all the designs!

Hamptontoes said...

Okay, really...this is an amazing post with one drool worthy photo after another. I just love the great bloggers out included. Gorgeous images!

Beth Connolly said...

Catherine-Thanks so much for this fun opportunity. I really enjoyed participating. Thank you to all for your lovely and supportive comments as well. Beth

Allison Shops said...

What a pretty post - so much info and inspiration! Dropping by from BNOTP.


Unknown said...

i love the paint colors, the ginger jars, and the chinese porcelain vases. i can't wait to see which direction you choose to go in!

Averill said...

Catherine, I came over here from Chinoiserie Chic and I love your blog! Beth has done a great job of pulling together a timeless and chic room. British colonial, b&w, Chinoiserie...these are right up my alley!

Averill said...

And just realized you live in Mo City -- I'm in Sugar Land! We're neighbors. :)

Karen said...

Hi, stopping by for the first time. I'm in love with this blog. A real feast for the eyes.

Chelsea Gwynne said...

Chinoiserie is a favorite blog of mine - just like yours! And Pemberley! It's like the Triple Crown!

Free Art Printables said...

I wanted to let you know you won my drawing at Ddna. Send me an e-mail :)

Coryanne Ettiene | Kitchen Living with Coryanne said...

I love Beth's style, the pictures are stunning...I am starting to think of Hacienda styles for have inspired my next post darling, thank you.

FC88 said...

I really enjoyed looking through these pictures of interior designs. I have a lot of blue Chinese vases at home. Now these really inspire me! Thank you so very much for the wonderful post and fantastic introduction. After I finish decorate with my blue vases, I will post them on my blog. Thanks again for the wonderful post!

Brianna! said...

Its all so gorgeous


Unknown said...

Thanks for linking up. Great ideas!


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