French Country

DSCN2202“As I realized growing up in Paris that interior design was my passion, and then when I moved to the US, I began to communicate to my clients the importance of quality and timeless design to the French Country style. As we enter my ideal French Country home you can see that it is filled with a generous helping of stone and millwork, the best silks and other rich fabrics, antique floors and awe inspiring and abundant art work of all kinds. The furnishings are mostly dark worn woods and wrought iron. There are plentiful colors, but they are mostly subdued: greens, yellows and golds, along with rust reds, with accents of blue, providing a strong contrast with the woods and irons of the furnishings. The woods can be painted and the iron can be somewhat rusted, adding to the lived in, comfortable feel. The iron pieces can be light fixtures, tables and accessories like roosters, olives, sunflowers, grapes, and beetles. The French don’t like things to look brand new, there has to be an aged quality that adds character. Toile wallpaper, with its solid color patterns of repeating country scenes, is used in abundance. I like Toile on bedroom walls and window treatments, which gives a cozy and intimate feel. Toile colors in the bedroom should be wheat and cream or jade green and cream. Glazing, trompe l’oeil carved wood details and colored plaster walls add depth, contrast and character. Detailed beamed ceilings and chair rails add architectural interest. The natural wood or stone floors are covered with textured sisal wool or cotton rugs, and there should be a stone fireplace with a brick pattern hearth. Tiles, both stone and ceramic, and colored concrete are additional flooring options. I often tell my clients to assemble charming collections that add decorative detail and whimsy, like pill boxes and tin coffee or chocolate containers, wood turning or farmers tools, old metal advertising or traffic signs and apothecary jars.

“If possible the dining table should be round, so that conversation is easier with larger groups. Upholstered back, cabriole leg chairs are ideal, because they are comfortable during the long leisurely meals the French enjoy so much. Of course there must be flowers everywhere. The French love fresh flowers: roses, tulips and irises should be plentiful inside, and potted plants and flowers on balconies and window boxes and large planters should dot the outdoors.”

 

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