This guest post by Lena Fransioli and Brooke Sheldon sheds some light on the Oz Chinois.
We’ve developed an obsession with Pinterest lately and have begun many boards that reflect our love of art and design. As we search the "pinterest-sphere", we often run across a Zoe Design mural that we painted 15 years ago. The photo is often labeled "chinoiserie" by those who pin it and we, for lack of a better term, have done the same.
We were contracted by the owners of this huge old place on the water in a small seaside town in Massachusetts. They wanted a mural above the wainscoting in a niche off the formal dining room.
The dining room is connected, spatially, to the great hall and the grand staircase. The niche off the dining room has a hidden door that goes into a butlers pantry and on through to the kitchen. Our task, disguise the hidden door and paint the walls in a decorative manner that tied in the colors of main living area.
Looking for inspiration, we decided to pull our colors from some large scale tapestries that were hanging on the walls of the grand staircase. They were mainly teal, forest green, and sepia. So, we had our color palette and the idea of doing something "tapestry-like". Now, we just had to fit it into a short horizontal space on three walls.
This is where the fun begins. Drawing on our art history backgrounds, we looked through our reference books for ideas. Lena chose 17th century “Indo-Chinese Scenic” tapestries for reference such as “The Concert” found in the Metropolitan Museum’s Collection. We loved the goats, the odd trees and plants, the swans. Using that idea, we designed a mural with these elements and tied it together with a strong border. The fabric with tassels at the top was a way of dealing with the odd space.
The resulting scenic wallpaper measures 25' 3" long by 8' 2" high.