one of maison21's clients has a sexy vintage chinoiserie writing table (black lacquer with gold leaf detail), that is oh so pretty and oh so useless. it has room to store maybe a pen and a couple sheets of paper, and that's it. so m21 has been searching for a companion piece to add a little storage and functionality, and turn the now merely decorative piece into a functional, working desk. anyone have a vintage chinoiserie blanket chest that maison21 can retrofit to serve as a file cabinet/bench by adding a cushion to the top? piece needs to fit under a large window with a low sill- any leads would be appreciated, as m21 is stumped.
anyway, during during his hunt, maison21 randomly came across a website- www.orientalfurniture.com- that is kind of a virtual chinatown. lots of kitsch- paper fans, buddha statues, shoji screens, etc- the flotsam of many different asian cultures (real and imagined) mashed into one store. just like in a real chinatown! and of course, just like real chinatown gift shop, there are always a few jewels amongst the tourist crap:
maison21 thought these towel sets were actually kind of cool- both simple and a bit dramatic. m21 isn't a big fan of embroidery on towels- he likes to keep it simple in the bath- but he'd make an exception for these (maybe). though the black & gold borders on kitsch, maison21 loves it the most- he sees it in a dark and dramatic powder room. $189 for 7 pcs.
maison21 knows from reading his blogging friend decorno's frequent "reader decorating dilemma" posts, that lots of fledgling decoristas have trouble finding wall art that has both size and impact, so one of these gold leaf screens would fill up 6 feet of wall space for 200 bucks. they ain't perfect by any means (that border- *shudder*), but maison21 can see one in a dining room with the walls lacquered eggplant or a chinese red. voila- instant drama!
these sunny yellow jar lamps are kinda fab (this pick is a shout out to habitually chic's current yellow obsession). you'd have to toss the not-right shade and finial first thing, but with a shorter, updated shade (maybe black), maison21 thinks these lamps would look far costlier than their $200.00 price tag. course, with new shades and finials, i guess they would be costlier too! oops!
last, maison21 thought that these silk covered journals would be great little inexpensive gifts- $15.00 each or $55.00 for a set of 4.
the orientalfurniture.com website put maison21 in the mind of another chinois on the cheap chinatown shopping standby, pearl river mart (if you live in manhattan, you already know of it). on their site, he saw this deliciously colorful chinese brocade fabric with a cherry blossom motif- at $12.50 a yard, he's sure someone, somewhere, can figure out a use for it:
a while back, maison21 bought a bunch of different size, shape, and color paper lanterns similar to these at pearl, added some cheap $3.99 cords from ikea ($5.50 at pearl river) and transformed a portion of a back yard that was basically a driveway with overgrown trees above it, into a festive courtyard for a summer party. he particularly loves this big 24" oval version for $12.50!
so whaddya y'all think? chic on the cheap? or cheapo chinois?