The Art of French Dressing

French inspired fireplace and mantle vignette Chateau Lartigolle
French inspired fireplace and mantle vignette Chateau Lartigolle
French inspired fire place and mantle vignette at Chateau Lartigolle

French Country-style evokes memories of holidays in rural France and the lifestyle many hanker after, simpler and pared back. French linens on beds, sack cloth cushions, delicate lace panels, shutters and sturdy, functional wooden furniture. However, you need not be a slave to replicate every detail to reproduce this style. Add some modern paintings and lighting as successfully married together at La Souqueto  Chambres D’ Hotes  http://lasouqueto.com/

This style is in stark contrast to excesses of King Louis X1V and the ‘Versailles’ heavily gilded ornate furniture and lavish furnishings (with a lifestyle to match!). French Baroque with grand chandeliers, heavy drapes embellished with brocades hung at large windows and around beds in grand palaces.

Ornate French bedroom
Heavily adorned French bedroom

This of course is different to Parisian homes, where space is generally at a premium. Chic, pared down, with a considered use of available square footage. Think of the famous words of Coco Chanel ‘Less is more’ which is true for interiors as well as fashion.

Then, of course, there is the French Chateau, which can be a mix of ornate furniture, chandeliers, Toile de Jouy fabric and wallpaper, distressed painted wall treatments all add to the atmosphere, to simple lime washed walls.

Before investing in gallons of white paint as a starting point, what about colour? Homes in warmer climates use white to brighten their dark shuttered rooms, but can appear ‘cold’ in more northern homes. Think of the fields of sunflowers and lavender, Monet’s use of colour at his home in Girverny.

Perhaps there are elements from the traditional French interior styles you like and dislike. Try mixing the items you like together, oversized chandeliers with rustic wooden furniture. Simple Roman blinds made from French linen edged with a brocade, picking out colours within the room for a cohesive scheme. Do you want to create a romantic French feel to your bedroom (boudoir!) with lace, Toile in greys and blues or French country kitchen?

Chateau La Lartigolle http://www.lartigolle.com/ has beautifully and successfully transformed into a chic boutique country house hotel using a mixture of dark and ‘sludgy’ colours on their interior walls as well as wallpaper. They’ve mixed traditional French style with antique, modern and vintage pieces from 1930’s armchairs to 1950’s side tables, wall art from the 1960’s, including Jimmy Hendrix and modern contemporary pieces. The Chateau creates a surprising eclectic mix which is warm, comfortable and very easy to live with. Ideas to inspire and perhaps steal?

Dark red walls old leather armchair with interesting accessories makes a cosy corner
A cosy corner for a quiet read.
Blue Bedroom at Chateau Latigolle
The Blue Bedroom at Chateau Latigolle is calming and understated.
Mixed Vintage furniture in Chateau Latigolle
Mixed vintage pieces create a comfortable eclectic interior
White wall clock modern and contemporary art pop out against a dark grey wall
Mixed styles work well together
Modern art with pearlescent paint refllects light on a dark wall
Pearlescent paint reflects light in a dark corner.
A glass vignette on a table
A glass vignette
A mantle Piece styled with blue glass ornaments books and bust
A beautifully styled mantle piece
Hearth and fireplace style with Venician mirror bust blue glass and Chinese vases
A mixture of styles and arrangements makes a stunning focal point.
Jimmy Hendrix hangs on wall in Chateau Latigolle
Jimmy Hendrix hung on a sitting room wall at Chateau Latigolle
A glass window vignette at Chateau Latigolle
Window Vignette
Grand staircase dressed with chandelier and modern prints
A grand staircase with chandelier and modern prints

French Dressing

Summer is upon us, and we look forward to warmer days, relaxing and enjoying summertime activities with friends and family. We also look forward to a well earned holiday. Many head south to France to enjoy fine food, wine and the countryside.  French markets are a popular destination, and whilst falling in love with the many goods on offer, that we regret travelling by plane with one cabin bag allowance and should have bought the car, or better still a van, so as to take all these wonderful items home with us. Antique furniture, lace and linen fabrics which would look wonderful to create the French style in your home. Thankfully there are many suppliers online and nearer to home of French furniture and furnishings which solves the heartache! Etsy, and eBay are always good for sourcing. Or visit Lille in September when they hold an event selling an array of goods, just take your car!

 

So how do you recreate the French chic style? Keep it simple, pared down with a few well chosen pieces of furniture, furnishings and fabrics. ‘Less is more’ to quote Coco Chanel. French interiors do not look too contrived, but lived in.  Lots of gilding and Baroque interiors may have looked amazing in the French Chateau, but could look rather over the top in a suburban home, so use only on mirrors, picture frames and key items of furniture. Likewise, you may long for a French Boudoir style bedroom. Avoid too much red other wise it could look like the Moulin Rouge.

 

Key Colours – In Provence you will find sunny yellows and bight blue. Elsewhere reds, blues, gentle sludgy earthy tones. Colour’s like French  grey’s and linen are popular, especially in rural areas. These soft colour’s suit the British climate too, always appear calm and are  good base colour’s to start from. Paint your floor boards if you have them a neutral colour to reflect the light and enhance the decor, or leave bare for a more rustic vibe.  Lay a natural sisal or jute carpet for comfort.

 

Sludgy greys and blues
Sludgy greys and blues

Key Fabrics – French linens, gingham, Toil de Jouy and striped ticking in the key colours add to the laid back style. Use for curtains, cushions or upholstery.  Delicate French lace panels to create privacy, and add a feminine feel, and can be added as an extra layer to dress a window.

 

Key Furniture –  French antique furniture like an Armoire for storing linen and spare bedding can be a focal point on a landing. Or fill with a china display in your kitchen or dining room. A statement, decorative bed with simple bedding and accessories with a painted chest of drawers could be all that is required to recreate your bedroom from your holiday. Paint an old or outdated piece of furniture, and perhaps hand gild and distress slightly, which suits the French style chic.

Accessories – Baskets, china and  cushions make decorative  displays of everyday items.

 

Key Lighting – Chandeliers are very French, and suit both the country style and grander interpretations of French interiors. Lampshades covered in plain linen or Toile. For a more contemporary look try a galvanized or metal floor lamp.

Pictures from Pinterest