Thursday, August 14, 2008


Synchronized diving, track, the high beam—even beach volleyball—I must admit I’m mesmerized.
(courtesy of

Usually, I can barely turn on our state-of-the-art TV, but to watch the Olympic Games and the fabulous nonstop travel tours of China, I’ve managed to master the multiple remote controls and record-for-later features.
(courtesy of

Since I’m the sort of person who easily succumbs to the power of suggestion, I’ve been serving veggie stir fry more often than usual. I’ve also been fantasizing about decorating with fans, pagodas, paper lanterns and Chinoiserie.
(photo by Dan Mayers)

The word Chinoiserie was coined in the late 17th century to describe the Western world’s fascination with the architecture, art, fashion, and interior design of the Orient.
(Bird In Fruit Tree by Seabrook)

By the 1800s, fashionable European homes and grand estates boasted a “Chinese room” decorated with Asian style furniture and artifacts with a decidedly Asian appearance.
(Fishing Village by Thibaut)

As a suitable backdrop, the room’s walls were frequently covered with floral designs painted on hand-loomed silk or hand-painted Chinese panoramas made from tiny pieces of handmade paper pasted together to form long panels.
(de Gourney L’Eden in crystal grey)

Today, the de Gournay company recreates the 18th-century method as faithfully as possible, with small pieces of paper affixed to four-by-ten-foot panels. Artists then distress the panels to replicate the look of sundried paper before painting the designs. Then, as now, these papers are cost a king’s ransom.
(de Gourney Earlham on dark blue silk)

But thanks to technological advances in rotary printing and eco-friendly inks (with the look of layered, hand-applied pigment), several American wallpaper manufacturers now offer Chinoiserie’s romantic floral and exotic fauna patterns at prices even the masses can afford.
(Asian screen mural ($69) from Brewster)

So enjoy the Olympics and dream of your own Chinese room...
(Tea House from Thibaut)

And while you're watching those fabulous views of the Great Wall, remember that although these Tibetan artists may dance, they yearn to be FREE.
(courtesy of

*** BLOG DU JOUR ***
Since meeting at the Interior Design school, Emily and Lauren have turned their similar tastes in decor and their intense passion for fabric into a sassy blog. Visit the Material Girls for an irreverent take on the world of decorating and fashion.


Sometimes It's Good said...

Really beautiful artwork and wall papers.

Smart Living Today said...


After all the pageantry of the Olympics in China, thank you for your last comment on the Tibetan women dancing at the Great Wall desiring freedom. After all, it IS a wall...

Love your blog. Going to go look at the Material Girls!

Have a great weekend!


NeereAnDear said...

Fabulous wall papers... love the artistry and the painstaking process that goes into their designs..

Love your pics... As always full of COLOR!! Totally FANTABULOUS!!



Material Girls said...

Thanks so much for your kind words about our blog! Glad we found yours and will definitely be returning! Have a great day! :)
Emily @ Material Girls

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, our lives are surrounded by these accents in our interiors, exteriors, and gardens. I love it!!!! I feel very fortunate to get to have this as part of my life. And the chinoserie? Well, that's a given around here.


Susie Q said...

Beautiful post Barbara. We are Olympic crazy here. I think you know we have a Chinese daughter so this has all been so special for us to watch as a family. Love the asian prints...

My brother knows a lady who is on target to get a we are really watching the events closely!


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

The de Gourney L’Eden is just sublime! And so are paper lanterns!

Adore Eclectic Interiors said...

Great Post! I love the wallpaper from Thibaut. I've been thinking about decorating my powder room with an Asian influence since watching the Olympics.

I've referenced your name and blog in my blog - Simply Chic - as a good place to visit. I'll be back again soon.

Marleen, Simply Chic...for the love of decorating

Vintage Rose Collection said...

Hi Angel!!!
What a wonderful and creative way to celebrate China and the Olympic games Barbara...I am really enjoying them too.
It's werid because, We too, have been eating alot of chineses food lately. Strange how the subconcious mind works...
Love to you and wishing you a warm and sunny week!

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

I really enjoyed all the wallpaper and art work.Was that not just the most beautiful fan? Just gorgeous color.I would not be able to choose what wall art i like best.I want to thank you for visiting my site,and for leaving the nicest comments.I will put you on my links ,because I will be back fo a visit. Hugs Marie Antionette

Barbara said...

I would much rather look at your beautiful silk painting and hanging that watch the Olympics. Cannot stand spectator sport.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I love Chinoserie.....I think a piece of furniture of the Chinese influence looks great in any style home. Even if you don't think you have an oriental decorating style, just one piece adds great character to any home...

Oh! And the stir fry sounds wonderful, can I come for dinner?

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Barbara, I love your post and all the beautiful designs. We are really into the Olympics here and even kept up on vacation. Thank you for your visit to my anniversary post and giveaway. I was blessed by your thoughtful and kind words. See you again soon.
hugs, Celestina
la rea rose said...

I've been craving stir fry too, and just had to go and pick some up last night! Mine definately has a Midwestern flair (or lack of flair?) when I make it myself.

Julie said...

Great post - I have been thankful for the rain we have had ...which lessened my evening chores ..hence giving me more time to tune into the Olympics! Amazing athletes and scenery. I bust out laughing when they showed some of the food delicacies!

CIELO said...

Beautiful post and pics; as usual! Just came back from my trip to the galaxies :) and wanted to come by to say hello and thanks for running away with me for a while, and for all your warm wishes and concerns. Hopes for joy, bliss, laughter, faith, peace, and love be with you....



Anonymous said...


I recently started blogging and your blog is just so wonderful that I have added it to my favorites. It's beautiful! Please stop by any time! Of course, my blog can't compare to yours but I would love any suggestions! Thanks!

Cheery wave from


Anonymous said...

Beautiful wall papers.

I've only caught a bit of the Olympics here and there. Nice photos.

Hope all is well.

Fifi Flowers said...

Love the Chinoiserie... very pretty! Are you totally addicted to the Olympics and lacking sleep like most of America... lol!

My painting of the Getty from your photo is coming along very nicely! Will show it SOON!

If you have time to pull yourself away from the TV... leave China for a few minutes and come to Provence! Enjoy your weekend... Fifi

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara, I just read your comment on my blog about Blogger being nuts! I guess you straightened it out but wanted to lend support if you still need it. In the meantime, thanks for this stunning post!!!

Quoizel said...

I love the lamps in your pics.

Asheville Blinds said...

I think a piece of furniture of the Chinese influence looks great in any style home.