Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Suzani and Chinoiserie ...

Who would have ever thought that a suzani, the beautiful embroidered textiles typically made by Central Asian brides as part of their dowry, would become so beautifully wedded to Chinoiserie pieces, the 17th century European movement inspired by Chinese artistic influence.

As many of you already know, I've been working on my bedroom now for a couple of months, and the piece de resistance is a huge antique Samarkand suzani that I had been waiting to arrive after ordering in Mid-June. Guess what was on my doorstep yesterday?

Yep, all wrapped up tight and secure it was everything I had hoped it be. I couldn't wait to get it upstairs and on the bed. I know you are probably thinking, yay, pictures of CDLV? Right? No! I'm not even nearly done with that room - but will be soon, and I promise I'll share them. Until then, you can virtually make decisions with me so we can get to the final product more quickly, sound good? Great!

Now, back to my original thought: Suzani and Chinoiserie. On either side of the bed I have a void. A friend, long-time blog reader, and very talented artist and I have been discussing options for custom work for the room, but I've not made decisions on where this work will go, or exactly what it will be. While I searched for inspiration I couldn't help but notice the natural connection Suzanis had with Chinoiserie elements when they're placed in the same space.

Michael S. Smith
Like this NYC bedroom decorated by Michael S. Smith. A beautiful Samarkand suzani draped over the foot of the bed plays perfectly against the large Chinoiserie screen used behind the bed. While the marriage of Suzani and Chinoiserie may have existed before Mr. Smith created this space here, he certainly ushered the use of both to the forefront of the decorating mind.

Miles Redd
In this dining room designed by Miles Redd, beautiful Chinoiserie wallpaper wraps the walls, Chinese porcelain and stone Foo Dogs pair up with this Samarkand suzani used as a tablecloth.
Mary McDonald
In this living room designed by Mary McDonald, she pairs Samarkand suzanis with Chinoserie jars and pottery, and framed Chinosierie papers.
Sid Bergamin
In this island home, Sid Bergamin did the same thing - pairing the blue and white Chinoiserie we all love with the bold pattern of a suzani draped over white upholstery.

Joni Webb
Blogger Extraordinaire, Joni Webb of the famed Cote de Texas uses a Bukhara suzani at the foot of her bed in a bedroom wrapped in hand painted Chinoiserie wallpaper by Simon P. Scott, owner of the the to-the-trade d├ęcor company, Jardins en Fleur. I love this room. I wish she had more paper to send to me.
Alex Papachristidis
In this New York apartment, Alex Papachristidis used suzanis as upholstery fabrics, pairing them up with this Bamboo Chinoiserie coffee table, and other Chinoiserie accessories.
Simply put - I need some Chinoiserie infusion in that room, and I couldn't think of any better way than with a big dose of it on either side of the bed, flanking the new tester canopy. As much as I love the papers of Gracie and de Gournay, they are way out of my budget. Even less costly wallpapers from Griffin & Wong are a lot more than I want to spend on panels for framing.
I went back to my friends at York Wallcoverings, and sure enough, they had a pre-printed Chinoiserie pattern that I think might fit the bill!
The mural comes in two sizes, a small option (linked above) at 6' total height, and a large option at 9' total height. Because I'll only need it for framed panels on either side of the bed, the 6' height is sufficient, and the more than 10' of width is perfect for picking out complimentary scenes.
I used York Wallcoverings for a screen I created for the Christmas Barn I did for the Lewiston Tour of Homes this past Christmas. Their paper was easy to use, and of beautiful quality! Best part, it's affordable! We all want the look of high end designer rooms, right? But unless you've got deep pockets, affording some of the luxurious finishes, like hand-painted wallpaper might be out of reach. That's where York comes to the rescue with this gorgeous mural.
Imagine this framed, in large scale. Might it look like this:

Suzanne Rheinstein
 I think it just might work ... stay tuned! 



  1. I'm really loving that bedroom pic :-)

  2. Thanks for the shout out! i actually got a new suzani - green - I need to take a pic of it for you!!! i changed my email - just in case you want it: cotedetexas@aol.com

  3. Suzani and ikat fabrics are very versatile thing for decoration, ,It give very good look on floor as well it also give same look on wall. Thank you for sharing. I really like your blog.
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  4. Spanking decoration . Feeling inspired after seeing you job . So thanks a lot for shared .

  5. I would like to use various kinds of Suzani. But now I am thinking to use Bukhara suzani at the foot of my bed in my bedroom as like Joni Webb of the famed Cote de Texas, because I am in love to watch his room by this blog. Really, it's a good experience to me about suzani and suzani embroidery.