Backing Up

Hey.  Quick question.  (How many forty-minute phone calls begin this way?)  I have an empty and awkward corner in my living room (we try not to discuss it in front of her, poor dear) where I’d like to have a Chinese screen.  Except.  Well, except that I tend to like the backs of Chinese screens better than the fronts.  That’s the wrong side, right?  Or were both sides displayed and those of us who have a quieter bent can just stand where there’s less show?  The screen pictured above seems perfect (even outside of the eight-paneled 1840-ness of it.)  Would you guess that that is the back?  And, can I just appreciate it like a Pilates-toned matron?  Or do I need to come to grips with the face-to-face?

Image, House and Garden, April 2003, design, Maxine Harrison; photography, Melanie Acevedo.

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11 thoughts on “Backing Up

  1. I really like this side and would not have even known it was the back. So I say use the side you love!

    Art by Karena

  2. Definitely use whichever side you like best! If you think it looks good, chances are, we will too… Who are we decorating our homes for anyway? We should be the ones we are satisfying! But it's nice to get that approval isn't it?

  3. As any sensible Pilate-toned (or not) matron will advise, "beyond ensuring that it won't fall over, the side you like is the side you should look at"!

    And who knows, maybe 5 years down the road you might enjoy the change to the other side.

  4. Yes, the reverse of lacquer screens can be just as beautiful as the front–sometimes, more beautiful. I love that screen, of course, I have a screen fetish (as well as being a chair-aholic). Thanks. Mary

  5. Screens! the most underused item around. I adore them. There are no rules, use the side you like.

  6. I have a 2-sided gilded leather screen that I display on a hinged riser, it shows both sides when manuevered into the corner, or you can reverse itas you change out your summer slipcovers (you do have those, don't you?)

  7. Are you channeling Coco Chanel, Billy Baldwin or Michael Smith? All three have used Coromandel screens to great effect. As for the sides, don't be afraid of the busier side. It will draw the eye into the pictorial scenes, as it was intended. But I understand if you need some restraint.

  8. So true, the backs are often much less busy, and thus a bit more cohesive, I find. I'm obsessed with screens, just wrote a whole blog about them, in fact, last week. Not one is back facing, admittedly, but give me time!

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