How to Decorate Your Home to Welcome The Year of The Rooster

Homes

January 17, 2017 | BY Venus Wong

Wendy Siu, the founder of Heather & March, shows us how to strike that perfect balance between honouring Lunar New Year traditions and maintaining a refined style at home

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

Traditional holidays are all about pomp and circumstance, and nowhere is that more evident than Hong Kong during Lunar New Year. The age-old practice of discarding the old and welcoming the new reigns supreme at this time of year, but creating a festive atmosphere that harmonises modern living and the tradition of the Chinese holiday is harder than it looks.

Given the fortuitous occasion, colours like red and gold become ubiquitous along with an abundance of calligraphy signage and zodiac cartoons. If you want to welcome the Year of The Fire Rooster with a little more subtlety, Wendy Siu has a few tricks. Here, the founder of Heather & March shows us how to strike that perfect balance between honouring traditions and maintaining a refined style.

 Go Easy on Crimson Colours

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

“Lunar New Year is such a traditional holiday, so we have less flexibility compared to Christmas when it comes to choosing the appropriate colour scheme,” Wendy Siu says. “Red, gold and silver always work, and any highly saturated shades that radiate happiness.”

Most people think of red as the default colour for Lunar New Year, but having all-red everything is clearly not the way to go. Purple could be a more neutral shade that still symbolises good fortune, and can be used all year round. Go with a bright purple like the shade pictured in this setup to communicate auspiciousness. Always avoid black: symbolising death, it's bad luck. The number four is also to be avoided, as it sounds like the word for death - respect cultural etiquette by keeping things in threes and fives and using bright colours. 

White dinner plate $1110, Turquoise dinner plate $1210, Soup bowl $1190,

Spoon $1190, Bone dish $930,  Chines tea cup & saucer $1970, Pickle dish $1970 all from Paradis, Raynaud

$930

Chinese tea cup & saucer Fontainebleau Raynaud $1230

White wine glass $1580 & Red wine glass $1630 from Toccata Montbronn

Toothpicks holder $2170, Snack server with three small dishes $4340, Oil & Vinegar set (crystal glass) $5680

A pair of chopstick & holder ring $1620

Dessert fork $790, dessert knife $960 and napkin ring $1970 up, all from Ercuis

Tablecloth Jardon D’hiver Le Jacquard Français $3640

Napkin Venezia Le Jacquard Français $360

 Load on the Patterns

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

The New Year signals the arrival of springtime, a period of renewal and prosperity. To get you and your guest into the same hopeful mindset, fine porcelain with elegant motifs of botanicals and nature will do the trick. The Paradis collection from Raynaud fits the bill perfectly. The exquisite Limoges porcelain collection, a collaboration with revered British wallpaper design firm Fromental, depicts birds of paradise, exotic plants and butterflies on a shimmery turquoise and white background which conveys happiness and new beginnings.

White dinner plate $1110, Turquoise dinner plate $1210, Soup bowl $1190, Spoon $1190, Bone dish $930, Chines tea cup & saucer

$1970, Teapot $6350, Pickle dish $1970 all from Paradis, Raynaud

Sugar bowl Verdure Raynaud $2970

White wine glass $1580 & Red wine glass $1630 from Toccata Montbronn

Toothpicks holder $2170, Snack server with three small dishes $4340, A pair of chopstick & holder ring $1620, Dessert fork $790,

dessert knife $960 and napkin ring $1970 up, al from Ercuis

Tablecloth Jardon D’hiver Le Jacquard Français $3640

 An East-Meets-West Charm

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

Honouring a traditional Asian holiday doesn’t mean you must serve everything in blue-and-white porcelain. Having dinnerware that has a classic Western presentation — enriched by a bit of Eastern flair — can instantly make your table setting very current. The French hand-painted ceramic vase depicts a traditional Chinese peony, bringing harmony to an East-meets-West table setting. The above Raynaud collection is designed by Hippolyte Romain, an illustrator and painter passionate about Chinese culture. The gorgeous silhouettes in an elegant red tone are inspired by both Chinese and French culture, creating a sophisticated and modern way to serve a traditional Chinese pudding. The traditional but casual Tang form and shape combine with the modern motifs to create a cosmopolitan feel: with its simple and sleek design, you can use this set well beyond the festive period.

Chinese bowl $700, Chinese tea cup $990, Chinese tea saucer $410, Plate $540,

Side dish $580 all from Marquises et Mandarins, Raynaud

Snack server with three small dishes , Ercuis $4340,

Dessert fork Vieux Paris Ercuis 790

Napkin, Noël $790

Normandy pitcher, Pivoines from Gien Prestige Collection $8190

Put a Lid on It

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

However, one thing should be in keeping with tradition: the Chinese enjoy many hot drinks and dishes during this holiday, and it will be wise to display soup bowls that come with lids. To be creative, sugar bowls can also be repurposed as vessels for custard, fruit stews and various sweet concoctions.

Chinese bowl $700, Chinese tea cup $990, Chinese tea saucer $410, Plate $540, Side dish $580,

all from Marquises et Mandarins, Raynaud

Snack server with three small dishes , Ercuis $4340,

Dessert fork Vieux Paris, Ercuis $790

A pair of chopstick & holder ring, Ercuis $1620

Napkin, Noël $790

Burano knife rest, Noël $830

Normandy pitcher, Pivoines from Gien Prestige Collection $8190

 Use Neutral Lucky Signs

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

Everyone knows it’s the Year of The Rooster, but being so literal about the theme is not really necessary. After all, showcasing motifs for every single animal in the Chinese zodiac means you’ll have to own a whole zoo.

Instead, stick with neutral animal iconography that always symbolises good luck, such as koi, goldfish, dragons and horses. These “evergreen” animals work for every Lunar New Year, and will always remain stylish. Goldfish are the easiest way to incorporate good luck into your decoration as this popular image pops up everywhere, while dragons and horses represent good energy and health - however, some people are superstitious about the clash of the zodiac signs, so be aware of this old custom. Siu suggests sticking with metallic or matte textures to keep things classy.

Carp round vase, Artel $9130

Tumbler, Staccato Montbronn $1790

Chinese soup bowl set, Mineral Platine Raynaud $2150

Bread and butter plate, Salamanque Raynaud $1420

Silver / gold plate sea bass , Odiot $3370

Star cup, Mineral Or Raynaud $2750

Placemet, Noël $2300

 Think Outside the Box

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

For Siu, the confectionery box is one of those traditional elements that can be replaced. “A tiered tray is much more unpredictable and sleek, and offers a fresh presentation to the treats,” she says.  Another stylish touch is using a star-shaped porcelain bowl — the unusual shape adds an element of modernity to the setup.

 Carp round vase, Artel $9130

Chinese soup bowl set, Mineral Platine Raynaud $2150

Bread and butter plate, Salamanque Raynaud $1420

Silver / gold plate sea bass , Odiot $3370

Placemet, Noël $2300

Star cup, Mineral Or Raynaud $2750

Dish, Mineral Or Raynaud $2170

Three tiers stand, Nuages Ercuis $14050

 Go Full Bloom

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

“Having the appropriate flowers is a very important element to show that this occasion is different than an ordinary dinner party,” Siu says. Classic flowers during Lunar New Year are peach blossoms, peony, jasmine, orchids, cat-tail and silver willow, lucky bamboo and red, purple or gold chrysanthemum.

Japanese potiche, Pivoines Musee from Gien Prestige Collection (hand painted limited edition) $48910

Tablecloth Jardon D’hiver, Le Jacquard Français $3640

 Embrace Prosperity

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Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu

Birds are seen by the Chinese as a prosperous sign due to their lively nature. This lovely Chinese cup and saucer from Raynaud will bring a bit of life and cuteness to your table setting.

White wine glass, Toccata Montbronn $1580

Chinese tea cup & saucer, Paradis Raynaud $1230

All products mentioned are available at the Heather & March flagship store, 216-218, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central. For more aspirational decor ideas, follow Heather & March on Instagram and Facebook.

Photographed by Jonathan Maloney and Inga Beckmann; Styling by Wendy Siu