From antique shops to grandma’s closets, contemporary design chinoiserie-esque decor is ubiquitous
A GENRE OF REPRODUCTION DESIGN Chinoiserie originated in 17th and 18th century Western Europe and has long been associated with prosperity and Asian-inspired scenes. Often misunderstood as art imported from Asia, these pieces originated more as Western interpretations of Asian culture and were designed to appeal to European audiences, who were enthralled by the beautiful design and sense of worldly wonder they convey.
“Today, antique or original ginger glasses and other chinoiserie objects are still used as finishing accessories that can be notable for their value and legacy,” says Kelly Caron, owner and director of Kelly Caron Designs, ASID.
The current rise of the grandmillennial aesthetic has kept an eye on this perennial favorite—with a fresh twist.
“A grand millennial is a person who understands what ‘a classic’ is, but is also modern, independent and confident in presenting heirloom decor – the perfect blend of old and new,” adds Caron.
Revised iterations of familiar motifs have jumped from ceramics like ginger jars to other accessories like lamps or even larger design elements like wall coverings, fabric prints, tableware and more.
“Several of my recent Lowcountry clients have had fabulous collections of many styles of ginger glasses and chinoiserie items. So we made their interiors flexible to accommodate the needs of homeowners [pieces]by mixing old and new decorative items in the same context,” says Caron.
For one of her clients at the Colleton River Club in Bluffton, South Carolina, Caron curated the placement of ginger jars throughout the great room as the ideal complement to the calming coastal blue palette.
For those who prefer a stronger contrast to the typical blue and white, Caron suggests adding warm spice tones like orange to the mix. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colours, sizes and styles either.
But first, Caron recommends finding anchor pieces to act as a focal point. Then layer elegant frames or other charming accessories.
“I love hanging decorative plates on a wall or stand,” she says. “Stratification is important. It’s the touch that turns an ordinary built-in or otherwise space into an inviting, well-curated presentation.”
In another project at Palmetto Bluff, Caron pulled the homeowners’ ceramic collection onto the entryway, creating a cascading effect on the staircase.
For an easier respite, consider framing the front door with large, hand-painted planters – a tip from Caron’s own home.
“I love them any time of the year!” she says.
Kelly Caron is the Founder and Principal Designer of Kelly Caron Designs, ASID. Caron has become a leading force in the thriving Lowcountry design community over the past decade, setting the tone for a region characterized by its sleek luxury homes and stunning commercial spaces.
Endowed with degrees in Engineering, Design and Interior Architecture and a minor in Fine Arts – all from Appalachian State University – she continued her training at Boston Architectural College with a focus on sustainable design.
Caron successfully passed the NCIDQ and holds her professional ASID. Her captivating designs and unique ability to blend authenticity and natural elements have not only set a precedent for Lowcountry, but also placed Caron and her team at the center of evolving design trends, as reflected in publications, among others House Beautiful, Country Living, Garden & Gun and now Savannah HOMES Magazine.
Along with husband Nate and daughter Emma, Kelly enjoys outdoor adventures, local cultural events and giving back to the community.