Month: October 2016

How to Cure a Halloween Hangover

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.  Wearing a costume, doling out candy, and partying like a pagan are activities that I relish each last day of October.  The only problem is, November 1st often turns out to be my least favorite day of the year.  Racked by headaches, nausea, and often embarrassment; Halloween hangovers are no joke.  Luckily, last year, I finally stumbled up on the cure…

In my experience, folks generally fall into two camps: those who starve a hangover and those who eat their way through it, devouring a smrogasbord of greasy, salty goodness.  If you belong to the former camp, I can’t help you.  However, if you belong to the latter, read on!

Halloween Hangover Cure

What you’ll need:

1 can of chili (I’m partial to either Stagg Ranch House Chicken Chili or Hormel No Beans)

2 cans of corned beef hash (it will shrink at you cook it)

1-2 eggs (per person you’re feeding)

A handful of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

A handful of scallions (or green onions), finely sliced

Optional: hot sauce

Preparation is simple (after all, you won’t be operating at your best when you make this meal):

Brown the corned beef hash in a frying pan, while simultaneously bringing the chili to a soft boil in a separate pot.  Make sure you leave one burner for a second frying pan.  When the 2 aforementioned items are almost ready, cook the eggs sunny side up.  Then, it’s just a matter of layering.  Place the corned beef hash at the base, sprinkling it with some shredded cheddar.  Then, ladle the chili over top–again–sprinkling more cheese.  Next, the egg(s), which are topped with scallions.  Hot sauce is optional–as is a bib.  DIG IN!

To your sober, healthy ear, this recipe may seem a little…unhealthy or even…unsophisticated.  Still, I guarantee you that your hungover self (and even your drunk self) will love it!

Of course, it never hurts to hydrate.  Plan ahead by drinking water all Halloween day before your ghoulish night activities.  Chug water before going to bed and leave a full glass (and a couple of Advil) on your nightstand.   Maybe even keep some coconut water in the fridge.

And poof!  Your hangover is cured.  You’re welcome.  Happy (early) Halloween!  Be safe.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms

Still on a high from my trip to Asia, it seems only fitting to pay homage to the East’s contributions to contemporary interior design.  Since the 17th century, Asian decorative arts have fascinated the West.  Fueled by admiration for the mysterious and exotic, Europeans distilled Eastern motifs into a whimsical, romanticized style known as chinoiserie.  While most cultural influences fall in and out of style, chinoiserie has enjoyed unmatched endurance.   Ceramic garden stools, ginger jars, and hand-painted wallpapers depicting trees and birds are common place in some of today’s most celebrated interiors.  And in this modern age, more authentic Asian furnishings–not to mention textiles–are more accessible than ever.   So, without further adieu, I give you 14 jaw-dropping chinoiserie and Asian-inspired rooms…

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms on Motley Decor

This bedroom expertly mixes cultural references; however, the Asian influences among them are perhaps the most palpable.  The walls are wrapped in texture-adding grasscloth in a moody teal shade (which–by the way–is 1 of 7 Fool-Proof Wall Colors).  Lacquered folding screens flank the bed paired with stylized bamboo chairs, enveloping the space with Asian flair.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms on Motley Decor

In this show house dining room, the Eastern allusions are more subtle.  The art on the far wall could arguably be construed as Asian-inspired with birds in flight, rendered in gold leaf.  The drapes too are a fretwork pattern, which is commonly associated with chinoiserie decor.

Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms

A motley of far-flung treasures from the East congregate in this guest room.  The chinoiserie cabinet is topped with a fish bowl planter.  The headboard is draped with (what I can only guess is) a fabric remnant from some breath-taking kimono.   All of this is set off by the silver mylar wall covering–a suitable, updated alternative to silver leaf.  (Bonus: see the living room of this house in one of my previous posts.)

Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms | See 13 More on

The pagoda day bed in this space provides for a stunning focal point that is unmistakably chinoiserie.  The mural also contributes to the exotic feel.  However, everything else in the room takes on a more streamlined and modern air, ushering the space into the present and allowing the showstoppers to do their job uninterrupted.  The balance is achieved pretty much perfect.

14 of the Most Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms | See 13 More on

Although as of late Kelly Wearstler’s work has skewed edgy, enchanting spaces with traditional leanings can be found in her body of work.  Above is one such example: the dining room of her former Hillcrest Estate.  Although the architecture is clearly modern, that didn’t stop Wearstler from filling her home with exotic antiques.  Here, East and West mingle to the delight of anyone lucky enough to dine in this space.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms | See 13 More on MotleyDecor

The interior of this Cape Cod home (which contains another room that was also featured previously on Motley Decor) is coated completely in this seductive, pine green lacquer.  In the bedroom–as you can see–it makes the blossom tones of the Chinese pillows sing.  The pierced fretwork shutters usurp the  undersized art in prominence and anoint the room with both light and chinoiserie vibes.

Vibrant Living Room with Asian Influences a la Eddie Ross // See 13 More Chinoiserie & Asian Inspired Rooms on Motley Decor

It’s no surprise that an avid collector like Eddie Ross would have an eclectic home.  His living room is a testament to this and a celebration of many cultures.  Asian references are counted among them.  Just look at that chinoiserie folding screen, that ceramic garden stool, that bamboo chest, those ginger jars…

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie Rooms

Windsor Smith, a designer known for her laid back yet elegant style, is responsible for this arresting vignette.  That pearly wallpaper with a chinoiserie motif is enough to inspire envy even in the most uncovetous of hearts.  (Mine is among them.)  The tone-on-tone layering of other white objets–the matte and shiny ceramics along the dull, fibrous linen of the chairs–is beautifully executed.  At the center is an Asian cabinet in stark, weighty black that delivers a surprising but welcome contrast.  Crystal sconces and brass hardware deliver an extra dose of glamour.

Chinoiserie room in blue and white with stunning details // The Most Exquisite Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms //

In this blue lacquered cave of a room lies a myriad of Eastern inspirations.  Where to start?  The palette of blue and white is characteristic of chinoiserie decor–as is the Greek key rug.  Asian textiles and pottery pepper the far wall.  The luminous gold leaf ceiling radiates Eastern elegance.  Even the conical cocktail tables–though contemporary–feel rooted in Asian design.  This home also contains a gorgeous blue & white, Asian-inspired bathroom.

Dining room with neutral chinoiserie wallpaper and candied apple red lacquer chippendale chairs // 14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie Rooms //

The first time I saw this room, I vowed to one day lacquer dining chairs in a candied apple red.  These Chippendale specimens ooze character–especially set against the backdrop of the neutral-hued chinoiserie wallpaper.

14 Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie Rooms // // Ideas & Inspiration for Home Decorators with Eclectic Taste

Still, large doses of saturated color are not a prerequisite for an inspiring chinoiserie space, as illustrated by this show house living room.  In a sea of white, cream, beige, and tan; whispers from the East rise above the din in the form of striking patterns and shapely silhouettes.  Again we see the Greek key motif, trimming the ottoman.  Swirling clouds adorn the side table.  And Chinese figurines, along with curvaceous urns, stand guard at the mantel.

A colorful dining room by Nick Olsen with a dash of chinoiserie | 13 More of the Most Stunning Asian Inspired Rooms

Taking on a more light-hearted and laid back feel is Nick Olsen’s dining room.  In a clever and unexpected pairing, Chinese Chippendale-like chairs bring Danish midcentury modern perches to the table.  Red vinyl upholstery unites the two styles.  A thin band of chinoiserie wallpaper lines the walls and, in this setting, trapezoid lampshades are reminiscent of pagodas.

Hutton Wilkinson's Living Room + 13 More Jaw-Dropping Chinoiserie & Asian-Inspired Rooms // Motley Decor

Let’s end on a high note.  Shall we?  Enter: Hutton Wilkinson, who embraced chinoiserie with enough zeal and grandeur to rival an 18th century aristocrat.  His walls are koi fish orange, juxtaposing his collection of jade green ceramics.  A generous strip of gold leaf highlights his art and penchant for symmetry.  Intricate garden stools and pagoda statues satisfy the need for sculptural elements.  This celebrated maximalist and right hand man to the late Tony Duquette never fails to amaze.  Be sure to check out Hutton Wilkinson’s dining room too!

What Japan Taught Me About Design

Visiting Japan was a deeply rewarding experience that precipitated lessons in design (among other things) that I will carry with me forever.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a sneak peak of what I’m referring to.  Either way, here are 4 aesthetic truths that the splendor of Japan has engrained in me.

There’s No Competing with Mother Nature

Design Lessons from Japan on Motley Decor... 1. There's no competing with Mother Nature

As a maximalist, walking into my room at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), I was struck by its simplicity.  The palette and materials were completely neutral and natural: warm wood finishes, woven tatami mats, and semi-transparent paper screens.  Adornments were limited to a singular tapestry accompanied by a lone vase.  However, as soon as my eyes beheld the view outside, it all made sense.  My room wasn’t the main event.  Rather, it was a frame for the lush, verdant, and utterly magical garden just beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Design Lessons from Japan on Motley Decor... 1. There's no competing with Mother Nature

In fact, the few minutes that I spent strolling through that garden were among the most memorable of my trip.  Every shade of green was represented in every fathomable texture–from dark, smooth pine needles to velvety, chartreuse moss.  Black dragonflies danced about as glittering koi slithered downstream.  Only birds could be heard and the air was spiced with an earthy, faintly medicinal aroma thanks to some morning showers.

Having returned home, I’m definitely motivated to focus more attention on landscaping.  And, if I ever achieve an enchanting garden (like the one I visited in Kinosaki-Onsen) I’ll have to remember my time in Japan and tone down the room that overlooks it.  Because we mortals simply can’t compete with the wonders of Mother Nature.

Food Presentation Is Important

What I Learned in Japan via MotleyDecor... 2. Food presentation is important

Another extraordinary perk about staying in a ryokan is having an elaborate meal served in your room.  Low slung lacquer tables are set with the greatest of care and small course after small course delights every sense.

What I Learned in Japan via MotleyDecor... 2. Food presentation is important

Each petite portion is plated to impress.  Notice how the pumpkin is cut to resemble a gingko leaf and how the gingko berry is skewered on a pine needle.  This is just one example of many.  Each serving is as beautiful as it is delicious.  Despite the small portions, the sheer number of courses is enough satisfy nearly any appetite.  I was blown away and humbled to think about how much work had gone into preparing our meal.  I felt immensely grateful for the experience.

And now that I’m home, it’s time to up my food presentation game.  For real.

Have a Signature Color

What I learned about design from visiting Japan | Motley Decor | Have a Signature Color

Kyoto is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines.  Every few blocks, you stumble up on a new one–even in crowded markets.  More often than not, they make themselves known  by their vibrant, blood orange entrances.

What I learned about design from visiting Japan | Motley Decor | Have a Signature Color

After some quick googling, I learned that this color is meant to purify the patrons who pass beneath so that they are fit to meet the gods within.

Unfortunately for me, this koi fish orange color did not cure me of the tremendous sense of gluttony I felt while in Japan–home of sushi, ramen, tempura, udon, sukiyaki, and the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.  However, it did impress up on me the importance of a signature color.  I hereby call dibs on green!

Nothing Conveys Grandeur Quite Like Gold

Nothing Conveys Grandeur LIke Gold | Design Lessons from a Trip to Japan on Motley Decor

I’ve long been a fan of the yellow metal hoarded by nearly every civilization since the beginning of time.  But, there’s something about the way the Japanese employ gold and feels especially majestic.  I suppose the best example is the Kinakuji Temple, a structure sheathed entirely in gold, crowning a reflective pond and nestled among dense vegetation.

Nothing Conveys Grandeur LIke Gold | Design Lessons from a Trip to Japan on Motley Decor

But, even in smaller doses–whether it’s the embroidery on an obi sash or the paint on this wall mural–gold enhances Japanese art forms with synergistic results.

I will strive for this level of grandeur the next time I apply gold leaf.

Until next time, sayonara!

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