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Chic Chinoiserie

by habituallychic

09 . 18 . 07

I’m sure you’ve all read over at Style Court that it’s Asia Week. All the serious collector’s are in town this week for the auctions, gallery shows and other events. Christie’s was hopping on Sunday when I stopped by to check out what was up for auction, as was Sotheby’s. Another great place for fans of Asian art to visit in the city that is often overlooked, is the Japan Society Gallery.

So that got me thinking about writing an Asia Week related post when I ran across the beautiful apartment of fashion designer Josie Natori in the October 2007 issue of ELLE Decor. I think it a wonderful example of how one can mix contemporary furnishings and modern art with Asian artifacts to create a soothing zen interior.

Josie and her husband Ken worked with architect Calvin Tsao of Tsao & McKown who not only designed the interior but the majority of the furnishings. “This is the Natori sensibility” is how Josie Natori described her recently redesigned apartment.

I think it would be very easy for a serious collector of Asian artifacts to go crazy and overwhelm the space but in this apartment, there is a sense of restraint even though “many design decisions were dictated by objects the Natoris love as well as how the couple lives.” I love the Tang dynasty figurines that pose as a centerpiece on the Tsao designed dining table above.

Part of their antique textile collection was hung as wall hangings, while others conceal sliding wall panels. In the living room, a contemporary painting by artist James Nares feels right at home next to the glass cocktail table by Chris Cosma and a custom silk rug by Sam Kasten Handweaver.

The bronze desk above is also a Tsao design and looks so sculptural and modern in the corner of the family room. Just as in Robert Burke’s apartment, the Natori apartment is a carefully balanced mix of warm and cool tones that was apparently inspired by Charles James and Yves Saint Laurent. I’m going to remember that the next time I redecorate!

I love the niche for the Buddha in the English sycamore paneling in the music room. Josie is an accomplished piano player and actually celebrated her 50th birthday at Carnegie Hall with a performance for 3,000. Now that’s a birthday!

In the bedroom, an antique Chinese embroidery is used as a bedspread while a 19th century Chinese lacquer armoire acts as a pedestal for another Tang dynasty figurine. Mrs. Natori states that she’s never moving and I don’t blame her. The apartment is utter perfection!

Photos by William Waldron

Comments Closed

  1. katiedid September 19, 2007 | 4:42 am

    I am craving that bronze desk. It would work in so many situations I think. Wonderful post!

  2. Suzy September 19, 2007 | 5:22 am

    This was a great spread in Elle Decor. I also think its a great example of how to use Asian style but make it modern and not over the top. I will definitely be using these images for inspiration when I decorate a place of my own in HK finally…

  3. Anonymous September 19, 2007 | 9:37 am

    So sensibly soothingly chic!

    RJH dl H

  4. ALL THE BEST September 19, 2007 | 10:29 am

    I love the use of color and the over all calming effect, it so beautiful and chic!

  5. Habitually Chic September 19, 2007 | 6:20 pm

    Katie, I love that desk too! Everything in the apartment could by anyone, not just Asian art collectors. I think that’s the best part.

  6. Habitually Chic September 19, 2007 | 6:22 pm

    Suzy, I’m so glad you appreciated this apartment. I hope you’ll keep us posted on your decoration job!

  7. Habitually Chic September 19, 2007 | 6:23 pm

    RJH dl H and Ronda,

    So glad others think it’s as chic as I do!

  8. Jackie Von Tobel September 19, 2007 | 6:36 pm

    Very nice. It’s so reserved! It allows you to really concentrate on the beauty of each individual piece. So many times you see the homes of collectors and they are so chock full of treasures that they just look a mess. I love the furniture the designer used to compliment the antiques.

  9. Jordan Cappella September 20, 2007 | 3:12 am

    I agree with you and LOVE this apartment, so chic! I think the whole issue rocks.

  10. franki durbin September 21, 2007 | 7:41 pm

    Does this ever really go out of style? I just love how these seemingly over-the-top pieces actually calm a room and give it gravitas. In our mix of modern new pieces, its nice to have a few pieces with pedigree and a rich authentic history. And gorgeous, to boot!

  11. Maryam in Marrakesh September 23, 2007 | 7:50 am

    These photos just slay me! So very beautiful. I am so inspired by Asian design after living so many years in Nepal.

  12. Sadia Bruce September 24, 2007 | 4:48 am

    This spread floored me at first glance. Just amazing.

    Wonderful that you’ve shared.