Blue and White Ginger Jars get a Room Makeover

Grant K. Gibson

As you all may know, earlier this week I was busy attending the Design Bloggers Conference, where for the past two days I had the pleasure of listening to a star studded panel of guest speakers, all of whom are influential in the world of interior design and blogging.

One of those guest speakers was Windsor Smith, an award winning designer known for her “elegant interiors infused with a modern sensibility”.  In her address, she noted that “Designers are part anthropologist because they observe how people live”. Windsor could not have said it any better.

Not too long ago,  my good friend and San Marino/Pasadena area realtor, Carrie Benuska,  went out and about looking at homes for a project I was working on. Upon entering a living room, Carrie immediately squealed with delight when she spotted a collection of different sized blue and white ginger jars prominently displayed in a bookcase.  She then enthusiastically shared how she loves to incorporate the very same blue and white ginger jars  into the decor of her own home.  Being the “anthropologist” that I am, I immediately caught on that her blue and white ginger jars were her prized possession, although with Carrie’s enthusiasm, this was not too hard to figure out! In interior design, not only must a designer listen to her client, but she must also be able to take what she has learned about her client and create to reflect’s the client’s personality, as a home should be a reflection of the client’s personality, not the designer’s.

I grew up in an area  where incorporating blue and white ginger jars into the one’s home decor was the norm in the most affluent San Marino and Pasadena homes.  When I hear the phrase “blue and white ginger jars”, I automatically get transported to the ’80s and the first thing I envision is traditional decor – center hall colonial, brass hall lantern,  toile drapery in a dusty and subdued color with upholstered Chippendale chairs to match.

I still see the same houses where little of the decor has changed, and the blue ginger jars, toile drapery, and Chippendale chairs remain just as they did 30 years ago.  However, I have also seen a shift towards taking traditional design elements such as the same  blue and white gingers jars and presenting them in a non-traditional way.  This creates an unexpected and entirely fresh and updated look; an entirely different vantage point.

Grant K. Gibson
In the case of San Francisco based interior designer Grant K Gibson, a very ENVIABLE vantage point.  For his dining room for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, Gibson uses a stenciled ebony and white wood floor with loads of paint layers to achieve a bold and flawless finish. A set of Louis XVI chairs upholstered in kelly green leather with antique brass nail head trim surrounds the burl wood dining table, custom designed in the manner of Milo Baughman.  A custom light fixture designed by Lindsey Adelman  hovers from above the same way an altocumulus cloud would, illuminating the surface below with small and intimate pockets of light.
Grant K. Gibson

Gibson also utilizes strong pops of bright citron in the abstract painting on the wall, the accessories above  the sideboard, and the toddler’s highchair in the foreground above.  Everything in the room is visually balanced.

Even with the bold pattern on the floor, the brightly hued Louis XVI chairs, the pops of citron, and the stunning light fixture above, it is the most subtle thing in the room – the collection of blue and white ginger jars, that takes center stage. Gibson effectively uses strong design elements which collectively bring focus to the one thing in the room that really matters.  He also adds clusters of peonies to his table scape of ginger jars, and in doing so, brings a feeling of  sensuality to the table.  In  yesterday’s keynote address at the Design Bloggers Conference, Barbara Barry so eloquently stated “Who doesn’t love a peony?  To me it’s like a Balenciaga gown ruffling and unfolding”.  In this case, the peonies that Gibson has placed in his ginger jar table scape serve as the icing on top of the cake. Just brilliant.
A client may come to a designer with a family heirloom or a treasured piece of artwork, and it is the designer’s job to showcase whatever that item or items may be, in the way that best reflects the client’s personality.  I have to admit, oftentimes that may not be such an easy task.  Here Gibson makes it seem effortless and has done more than achieve that task.  He has brought forth the past and made it current in the most flattering of ways.
Cheers,
Jeanne
p.s. – I soaked in  a TON of information at the Design Bloggers Conference this past week, and was thoroughly inspired.  I sat in awe as I listened to Barbara Barry speak about her design process and the way she sees the world.  I sat intently listening to Charlotte Moss’ words of wisdom and everything she stated reconfirmed my very same morals and ideals.
Also, exciting new opportunities have been presented to me as a result of this very blog that I started less than two months ago! If this is your first time here, thank you for visiting Cozy•Stylish•Chic and I hope you come back often.  For those of you who are return visitors, thank you for your continued support.  I truly am blessed to be sharing my point of view with you!

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