Design Profile - Blue and White Porcelain

An Affair with Blue and White

We have a saying in our family, ‘Don’t gam it up,’ the precise origin of which is unclear but I am fairly certain it surfaced around the same time that the shabby chic style gained momentum. This cautionary directive is usually aimed at our familial tendency to enthusiastically add MORE.  And as these things go, the saying has gained a life of its own in our family lexicon, particularly between my sister and I, slipping seamlessly from noun to verb to adjective and back again, clearly carrying a negative connotation.

Mary McDonald

For instance, instead of adding a few pieces of patinaed furniture, my mother filled her living room to the gills with aged furniture and probably more than a few tattered chairs hanging on the walls.  Similarly, when embracing the transferware craze, her parlor walls were often covered top to toes with oil paintings surrounded by scads of blue and white plates.

In the same fashion, when I first moved into the Stamp, I immediately slammed an over large oil painting on the wall and promptly surrounded it with tons of my own collection of blue and white plates that I had been dragging around from apartment to apartment during my tenure as a singletonI scattered blue and white ginger jars, cache pots, and delft here and there.    I was very pleased with my efforts and smugly thought, ‘how very un-Pottery Barn.  Success!’ That is until my college friends visited Chez V and said, ‘wow, your house looks just like your mother’s.’  I was devastated.

the only evidence I can find of the plates/painting situation at that time...

more paintings and plates...

So it would seem that I had gammed it up. I practically ripped those plates off the wall as their car was pulling out of the drive.  I called my sister.  She understood.  I wrapped up all that blue and white and shoved it into the garage pile of stuff.  And so began a self-induced purge of all things overly traditional and to my mind, gammy.  

I feel it important to pause here for a qualifier:  my mother has great taste and has TONS of beautiful things.  In fact, I am lucky enough to have a fraction of her cast-offs.  But the fly in the ointment, or rather the gammy in the hammy, is that she has so much of it on display that each becomes lost in a sea of STUFF.  So I hope you can understand my reaction to  my friends' well-intended comments about the house.

Ruthie Sommers

However, time and again, at least according to my tear sheets and Pinterest, I find my eye returning to rooms with traditional influences, particularly with blue and white, that are reinterpreted for today.  My heart skips a beat when I see mass groupings of ginger jars.  And here I find myself, some years later, pulling out all that blue and white and trying to mix it back in with a fresh eye and a determined effort to toe the fine line between tastefully en masse and moons over my gammy.

home of Mark D Sikes via Habitually Chic

home of Scot Meacham Wood

Anna Spiro

Michael Penney

via And George

Anne Hepfer

Ashley Whittaker

Cote de Texas

Grant K. Gibson

Like with any affair, it seems I am destined to move seamlessly and sometimes painfully from love to hate and back again with all things blue and white.   At this moment, it is true love again, and not gammy over my hammy.
kisses,  mrs. V


shiree segerstrom said...

Mrs. V, You've hit on a weakness of mine once again. I have had a love of blue china my whole life. I have little dots of it here and there in my own home and enjoy it so much. My favorite collection is in my master bedroom where it adds a odd color touch to the black, white, golden tan color scheme. I love the way the pieces look with my vintage draperies. Shiree'

mrs. V | Chez V said...

Sounds lovely Shiree! I currently have my collection mainly massed in my tile room among the bookshelves.

therelishedroost said...

These are beautiful images, the perfect display of blue and white!

Great Blog!!


Unknown said...

We all go through those stages. I would have died if someone equated my home with my mothers taste, but years later I covet everything she did and had, only to have a few of her pieces now. I think you have awesome taste. Enjoy your week.
xo Nancy