Friday, July 15, 2011

French Country Decorating

I have often been asked what the difference is between English country and French country decorating and other than colors, not a whole lot really.

When considering French country decor, think about the colors of the south of France.....the sun drenched lavender fields, sunflower gold, terracottas, deep reds and cerulean blue skies.  And therein lies the French country color palette.

As far as fabrics go, toile is probably the most used in French decor, mixed with ikats, ginghams and opposed to the floral chintzes of English design.  I'm sure the color scheme of yellow, blue and white comes to mind often when thinking about French country, and while it is a popular color scheme, there are many others, as you can see in the rooms below.  French ceramics are very colorful and oftentimes, a home's palette will be taken from a homeowner's collection of ceramics or china.

Also, as in English design, homeowners love their animals, animal art, pastoral scenes and overall animal themes such as dogs, roosters and cattle.

As mentioned yesterday regarding English country design, French country also involves most of the same elements as mixing old with the new, light woods mixed with dark woods, natural materials for floors, wall and timbered ceilings......and surrounding oneself with the collections one loves......whether it's books, ceramics, animal themed pieces, all adds up to comfy, snug rooms that are warm and welcoming.

The foremost French country decorator in North America is a man by the name of Charles Faudree, who is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He is a French country afficionado and is the turn to guy for his expertise.....many of his accessories are authentic vintage items that he picks up on his regular shopping trips to France and he now has his own furniture line of French style bergere chairs and his own fabric line.

All of the rooms below are by Charles Faudree, the first five are from his weekend cottage, called "The Roost", and the rest are from permanent homes he has will notice the difference between the cottage rooms and the traditional house interiors.  He has also published several books on the subject.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Notice the natural wood walls and ceiling, mix of beautiful fabrics - toiles, stripes and gingham, his quilt and his personal collection of books, ceramics - it reads French design in every way.

 Charles' beautiful blue and white ceramic collection and rooster in his cabin kitchen.

Again, beautiful mix of fabrics in blue and white and painted beamed ceiling.

Look how tiny and cosy this bathroom is and he has a vanity, a chest of drawers as well as a perfectly accented room with wall art and bath accessories conveniently placed.  Impeccable taste.

How much more inviting could this bed nook be for a guest?  Or a dog?

Another perfectly accessorized room with a tea table in front of the sofa.

This is the fireplace opposite the sofa above.  Dog art, ceramics, gilt frames.

An animal art filled foyer.

Rustic beamed ceiling and lots of animal art/ceramics.

Impeccable detail again - fabrics, books, collections and cosy furniture arrangements.

The wall opposite above sofa - stone fireplace, flowers, fabrics and animals.

Love this cosy little dining nook.

Love the sofa between the bookcases and again, the tea table instead of a lower coffee table.

All photos via Traditional Home

Thursday, July 14, 2011

English Country Decorating

This house is the epitome of English country the manor born, mind you! 

Imagine returning to this home every day and having these 5 little faces greeting you......or curling up by the fire with a favorite book......or cooking dinner in this kitchen..........surrounded by all the things you love......including a large basket on the kitchen table to place one of your pet chickens in while you putter about.

This is a larger version of the English cottage look of yesterday.......same details, but larger rooms......wonderful colors, chintz fabrics, comfy furniture, lots of wall art, plates, lamps, area rugs......and still cozy despite the size of the rooms.....because the homeowner has surrounded herself with the things she loved!

As a passionate Anglophile, this is my cup of tea!

All photos courtesy of Traditional Home

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

English Cottage Style

Hi Everyone,

I found some more pictures of The Holiday cottage (one of my favorite movies) and a perfect example of English country cottage.  If you haven't seen this movie yet, it's a must to check out.

The original post was published last July, so I am re-publishing it today.


Cottage style is all about comfort, so that's a priority when planning your decor.  Comfortable sofas and chairs, lots of pillows, lots of color, floral fabrics mixed with ginghams and stripes, books, soft lighting, art, tables by each chair and sofa, ottomans, area rugs and anything else you love.  You are there to relax in your cozy environment.

Carefree is another word to remember when thinking cottage style.....often the furniture is slipcovered for easy care, antiques mixed with new, and sometimes, painted furniture is common and offers a low maintenance lifestyle.

If using floral chintz on your draperies, then ensure your large upholstered pieces are a solid color or a co-ordinating small print.

Wall colors are usually soft and in natural shades such a whites, creams, greens, yellows and pinks in the traditional English cottages, but deeper colors are seen more often in the contemporary English home. 

And the finishing touch is fresh plants and flowers.

Cottage foyer - love the old wooden door!
Wood floor, antique bamboo coatstand, 
stuccoed walls and timbered ceiling

Low, timbered ceilings and stone wall in the living room
Paned windows, chintz curtains, soft lighting, flowers, books
Comfortable mix and match furniture
Tables by each chair and sofa

Open shelving, fireplace, eat in kitchen table
Blue and white transferware and gingham plates
Small, warm and cosy

Same elements as above photos
Charming cottage bedroom!
Timbered ceiling, fireplace
Big comfy bed and lots of lamp light!

And lastly, the tiny bathroom with 
a painted floor, antique dresser and 
zinc tub!

Above images from the movie, The Holiday and 
Hooked on Houses

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is a Cottage?

Often, when the term 'cottage' is mentioned, a beach is the first thing that comes to least in our part of the country.  Cottage living does not necessarily refer to summer, or weekend, living.  Far from it.

So today, I searched for the definition of 'cottage' and found the term was developed in the Middle Ages to describe what was then the home of a 'cotter' - a working peasant.  Also, 'cottage' was derived from a combination of the English word 'cote' which means 'hut', and the French word 'cot' which means 'hut' - in other words, a peasant's hut.  And the peasant's huts were understood to be 'cozy' because they were small.  Hence, cottage style living is always cozy.

'Cozy' has come a long way since the Middle Ages!  Cozy is no longer determined by size, and cottage is no longer determined by size, or location, for that matter.  The large summer cottages that were built for the very rich in Bar Harbor in the 19th century changed all that.

Over the years, cottages have developed certain characteristics that are common among them, such as shingled, stucco, timbered or stone siding, deeply slanted rooves, paned windows, gabled windows, chimneys and they are sometimes enclosed by picket fences with gates.

Some cottage elements are specific to the country they are in such as England, France, Sweden, etc., so we have English cottages, French cottages, Australian cottages and then we have the same for interior decorating...i.e., English country, French country, American country, refined, rustic, Victorian, shabby chic, traditional.....what does it all mean and how does one country's decor differ from another?

And are cottages always by a body of water?  Definitely not.....they can be found in the woods, mountains, rural and urban areas.

To try and sort it all out, let's look at some international cottage styles.  And tomorrow we will look at some interior design styles.

Tiny cottage in upstate New York
Hand built by a woman as her own retreat
Recycled materials

St. James Park, London, England
Stucco, gabled roof, (no thatches), bird house on roof

Traditional Irish cottage, Donegal
Steep roof, paned windows, colorful
Stone walls, gate

St. Bart's, Caribbean
Coastal cottage

Michigan full-time residential cottage
Decorative window panes, steep roof

Swedish cottage
Shingled, gables, veranda

Infamous Grey Gardens
Hamptons shingled cottage 1897

Contemporary Hamptons cottage
10,000 sq. ft.?
Shingles, gables, paned windows, chimneys

Australian cottage

Image 1 NY Times, Images 2 & 3 Wikipedia
Image 4 Coastal Living, Image 5 Cottages of Harbor Springs,
Image 6 Unknown, Image 7 East Hampton Historical Society
Image 8 Unknown, Image 9 Unknown

Monday, July 11, 2011

Serene Green

Just returned from a fun week with our high energy, 8 year old grandson Camilo, who needed a little company while his big sister, Olivia, was out of town with her mother at a highland dance competition.  Having raised one daughter, and not having daily contact with little boys, being around Cami for a week was an eye opening experience.  What energy!!  Up at 6 a.m. like clockwork, computer time, breakfast, in the pool for a couple of hours, out of the pool and cycle down the street to play and have lunch, cycle home, in the pool again, dinner, basketball at the top of the street or baseball down at the field, or maybe an hour or two of artwork, a little tv, bath and bed and out like a light!  And on top of all that, he's quite a little photographer as well, as evidenced by my profile photo......that's right, taken by no other than our very talented Camilo!  (And sister Olivia is equally as talented and energetic!)  They sure make it easy to be proud grandparents!

Thank heavens he has a lot of friends to share his energy burning days with and a father who is more than happy to play soccer, basketball or whatever with him when he gets home from his 12 hour workday.  I'm not sure I would have made it through the week without all their help since it was way beyond my normal pace.

I wonder if that's why I awoke this morning with serenity on my mind.  It must be time to chill out with some beautiful green scenes.


Images 1, 2 & 3 Diamond Baratta, Image 4 House & Home
Image 5 Mary MacDonald, Image 6 Southern Accents
Image 7 Unknown, Image 8 Monet's House, Giverny

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Cottage Garden Benches

I am off for a week with  my family, so am leaving you with a few more wonderful garden scenes.

Have a great week everyone........I'll be back soon!