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Anne Hepfer Designs

Asian Fusion

Chinoiserie has long enjoyed a love affair with design and decor enthusiasts. From the French, meaning “in the Chinese taste”, according to Laura Regensdorf (Elle Decor writer) it refers to the obsession that Europeans developed in the 17th and 18th centuries ”as tourists and traders ventured eastwards…Inspired by travellers’ sketchbooks and imported porcelain and lacquerware, designers layered their furniture, interiors, and ceramics with fantastical Chinese imagery”.

We are seeing so much of this graphic and whimsical trend right now in fabrics and millwork design – blossom and bird motifs in particular. Another key element of chinoiserie is the delicate artistic representation of this “architecture of joy” – several of my favourites are featured below.

One of my design idols, Hubert de Givenchy, in his preface to Chinoiseries, describes them  as “precious documents [that] retrace an époque when taste, extravagance, and a sense of fantasy were an essential part of the way in which parks and gardens were embellished, by perfectly inscribing them in nature, then furnishing them with dreams”.

Indulge in this perennially popular style with wallpapers and window treatments or you can equally opt to simply make a smaller homage by adding a pair of foo dogs on a mantle, a print, a ginger jar or an asian-inspired lacquered mirror into your space. Whisper a little something exotic into your home – such a perfect welcome for spring!

PS. If you’re looking for a little local inspiration, plan to visit Dragon Heir at 388 Carlaw Ave. in Toronto – 11,000 square feet of treasures to explore!


Charles Edwards Antiques

Home office of Aerin Lauder, photo by Anders Overgaard

Kendall Wilkinson Design

Bedroom of Pauline de Rothschild, design by John Fowler

Mary MacDonald

J. Savage Gibson, photo by Coastal Home


Bedroom of Maria Beatrice and Leonardo Ferragamo, photo by Elle Decor

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