What’s Old Is New: Blue and White Chinois Ceramics Get a Painterly Update

Hello everyone (or probably no one, seeing as this is a new business and my very first post :), and welcome to Home Glow! Before we get to my post on the latest chinois restyle, a little about me….

Those who know me know that, though I can’t throw together an outfit for Saturday night, I’ll decorate my house, your house, your sister’s house, your boyfriend’s apartment, etc., until I drive my husband crazy. For my own home, I will search and scan every consignment store, auction, eBay, Etsy, One King’s Lane, and every other outlet for the best price on that priceless, unique object until, if I were paying myself an hourly design fee, I’d be a millionaire.

My style is “fresh classic.” I love combining transitional and antique pieces as a home’s architecture allows and mixing them with updated patterns and colors to reflect youth, family, and happiness, without being “in your face” brash (or downright cheap and ugly).  I believe in decorating a home to last 10 or 20 years, and I only seek out those trends that I think have staying power. Hell, a home is expensive and takes long enough to furnish it the first time; I don’t feel like paying to redo it until my kids have graduated college.

I’ll be posting everyday Saturday morning. So when you can finally relax for 10 minutes in the morning and sip your coffee (before the kids start screaming for breakfast), come and join me here!

So speaking, let’s get on to my first Fresh, Classic Topic! Drumroll please….

Style Update: Painterly Blue & White Gourd Vases and Ginger Jars

Chinese blue and white ware has been around since the 14th century, with the Europeans getting into the copycat game as early as the 16th century. If you have the money to buy the below pieces (17th c.), would you please get them for me?

Chinese Double Gourd Vase
Chinese Double Gourd Vase
Chinese Ginger Jar
Chinese Ginger Jar

Anyway, you may be thinking, “I can see what is classic about these GORGEOUS pieces, but what in the world is fresh?”

And I would have to answer you as follows (just a couple of examples, because this idea has been blogged about umpteen times already):

Nick Olson, Photo by Reid Rolls
Nick Olson, Photo by Reid Rolls, via MyDomaine
Katie Rosenfeld, Photo by Michael Lee
Katie Rosenfeld, Photo by Michael Lee

So, yes, classic blue and white ceramics can be very fresh indeed when incorporated into rooms that already boast myriad modern and transitional elements and colors.

“But what about updating the double gourds and ginger jars themselves,” you ask. Ooooo, you’re gonna love this….

Home Glow Library
Photo by Eric Roth

Ok, I couldn’t resist putting my own room in this post, but it was the inspiration after all! Aren’t those gourd vases AWESOME? Anyway, I think they are. So vibrant. So abstract. But CLASSIC. I’ll tell you more about these particular vases now, but read to the end to get the full roundup of some more really great options and a discount code for subscribers.

Abigail’s Watercolor Chinese Ceramics

As soon as I saw these stunners, I knew they were the ones I wanted. Color quality is HUGE for me, and I swear, the glaze and depth of hue is just as deep and beautiful in person as it is in the publicity shots. I love the small twinge of aqua. The perfect balance of “tradition-with-a-twist,” they keep my library from feeling a little too steeped in history. Moreover — the price!! Believe me, at $106 (for the vase), these are a steal. They look like they cost three times that amount.

Abigail’s Watercolor Gourd Vase
Abigail’s Watercolor Urn

The Competition

If you aren’t convinced that Abigail’s options are the choice for you (read to the end for that extra incentive!), here are some of my other favorite updated takes on these two classic forms. Lamps, which so often make use of these shapes, are included as well. Some are affordable. Some are affordable if your name is Taylor Swift. But a girl can dream.

Chinese Ceramics

Jana Bek

Jana Bek’s double gourd brushtroke lamps have taken the design world by storm. Just check the last few iterations of the One Room Challenge on Calling It Home. All over the place, right? But with good reason. She recently came out with a ginger jar as well. This is a blue and white post, but these come in every color of the rainbow.

1. Smythson Blue Brushstroke Lamp

2. Water Ombre Lamp

3. Small Navy Brushstroke Ginger Jar

Williams-Sonoma Home

4. Ceramic Drip Vase

5. Ceramic Drip Ginger Jar

Dana Gibson

Dana Gibson is the queen of happy, chinois prep. Her lines are traditional and her colors are painterly pop. Again, she has a rainbow of hues and ginger jar lamps, too, but here are a few of her white and blues.

6. Sissinghurst Ginger Jar — I love this one.

7. Blue Mesh Ginger Jar

8. Navy Block Print Ginger Jar

Bungalow 5

9. Twig Blue & White Temple Jar

Emilia Ceramics

China meets Mexico. Handcrafted by the 4th generation, family-run business of Talavera Vazquez in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico. Variations are sign of each piece’s individuality and the human hands that made it.

10. Striped Tibor

11. Zig-Zag Tibor

Bunny Williams and John Richard

La crème de la crème. The John Richard pieces aren’t technically gourd vases or ginger jars, but they were just too beautiful to exclude. If you can afford them, use them! Or let me use them in a project for you!

12. Bunny Williams Brushstroke Lamp

13. Bunny Williams Chicken Feather Lamp

14. John Richard Gallery Size Tall Vase

15. John Richard Asian Gardens Lamp — Look at that shade!

Some “Budget” Options

16. Chairish — My sister found these beauties. Who will snatch them up?

17. DIY from The Joyful Home (Not Shown) — I think this project came out beautifully. Kudos, Michele!


Phew! Now for that extra incentive. For the next 30 days, new subscribers to my blog will receive a coupon code for an extra 10% off at Abigail’s. Can’t wait to hear from you!





6 thoughts on “What’s Old Is New: Blue and White Chinois Ceramics Get a Painterly Update”

  1. Loved your “Old is New: Blue and White” blog. Examples of the fresh new look were excellent and varied. Especially liked Abigail’s take! And your use of blue in the otherwise neutral pallet in “Colonial Eclectic” bedroom to add some pizzazz! Blog was great entertainment for the long ride home.

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