Tips for Buying Second Hand French Furniture And Accessories

1950s Vtg French Provincial Commode 3 Drawer Chest by Cassard Chateau Romano NYC

1950s French Provincial Commode by Cassard Chateau Romano NYC - Quality Is Key On Ebay

Vintage French Provincial furniture can look fabulous when it is re-finished.  Chances are you have seen these pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, on craigslist and kijiji that with a little improvement, these pieces can look old and worn to fit into a Provincial decorating theme.

Here are a couple tips to pulling off this look:

1.)  Inspect Before You Buy-

Like any vintage furniture, there are styles and brands that are not worth the money.  Whether you purchase second hand furniture on Craigslist, or a garage/estate sale, open up drawers in cabinets, sit in chairs and lean on tables. Hardwood furniture will allow you to do more with the piece than something with MDF.  You can strip down wood furniture and leave it raw, and pair it with iron hardware, typically seen in French interiors.  Hardwoods such as oak and maple are some of the strongest furniture. Decide if the piece is solid wood, or compressed wood.  Factor that in when making an offer on the furniture.  Even a low quality piece can be transformed, so decide where it is going, and what you plan on doing with it before you invest your hard earned cash.  Laminate and veneer furniture can be beautiful, so don't discount a piece just because it isn’t solid wood.  Depending on if you plan on stripping, or painting the piece will also determine if the piece will work for the project and placement in your home.

2.  Consider Reupholstering A French Sofa, Chair Or Settee

When looking at french upholstered pieces, consider what they may look like with new fabric.  I have seen sofas as low as $50 dollars, and when you factor in upholstery, you could get the look you want for under $500 dollars.  Investigate the businesses in your area which can either make slipcovers, or give a sofa or settee a brand new look with new fabric.

Vintage furniture has been made with better workmanship and quality products years ago. Instead of passing over an old Louis XV chair at a antique store, think of the potential with it having brand new heavy linen, and distressing applied to it's frame.

3.  Metal Furniture Is One Of The Staples Of French Style

Wrought iron tables, benches, shelves, and accessories are one of the foundational looks in Provence style. When you stumble across second hand metal furniture,  think of the potential as opposed to how it looks.  Rust can look terrific in an old world home, so if the piece is rusty, and old, it may work out to your advantage.  Metal furniture looks terrific outside, and works great when paired with stone for your interior.

4.  Re-Purpose With An Open Mind

Twin beds can be re-purposed into long benches, or made into a sofa for the patio.  A dresser can be turned into sink for the bathroom.  A long table can be chopped down to be an island for the kitchen.  Look at the bones to see if you can re-purpose it into something else.  Investigate the local wood carpenters in your area to pull off a design that may be a little bit more complicated.

5.  Strip Furniture For A Raw Look

There is nothing more sophisticated than looking at the beauty of wood.  Strip your furniture down to the bare bones, and work with old iron hardware and furniture ormolu to add an upscale French feel.  Heavily distress your pieces by creating dents and dings with heavy iron chains and hammers.  Work with wax or dead flat varnish to seal your wood for a matte appearance.

6.  Dulling Down Brightly Painted Furniture

To achieve that old world appearance, work with brown glaze.  Applying a coat of glaze, can dull down any brighter paint color making it appear more antique than freshly painted. Glaze often comes in a clear mixture which you can tint by adding regular paint to the mix. Brown produces the look of dirt which can make it appear as though the chest is several years old.

How To Glaze:

Buy your glaze in a quart or gallon size, and only pour out the amount I need for a project into a different plastic container. Simply mix in a quart container 75% glaze and %25 percent paint, or less. Brush on the glaze on your dresser, and simply remove with a damp WHITE face cloth a few moments later. After it dries your piece of furniture will have that antique appeal.

Continue reading Tips for Buying Second Hand French Furniture And Accessories

9 Homes Decorated Around The European Old World French Styles

"Gerard Tremolet's chateau in Normandy, France. 

French provincial color palettes are usually inspired by hues found in the countryside of France. Brick red, dark brown, forest green, cornflower blue and weathered white are all good candidates for the wall colors in a French provincial room. Muted shades, or those colors that have a bit of gray added, are best, as they amplify the time-worn appearance of the architecture often found in France. For an authentic look and feel, use a faux finish, such as color washing, to give the walls added depth, dimension and texture. The end result will be walls with an Old World appeal.

Add the classic look found in France by incorporating an armoire, or large carved storage cabinet. Armoires are often painted and distressed showing darker weathered wood. Use storage pieces to show off dishes, bedroom linens, jars, metal objects and plaster carvings.

Ladder-back chairs have also been quite popular with natural, rush seats for a country style French appearance.  Work with tufted, upholstered piece to accent the design style.

1. Marie-Lise Dulac Fery's Apartment in Lyon

The apartment is located in the 19th century old building in Lyon, it’s been completely renovated and redesigned. The long corridors were removed as well as the walls. Only the large and elegant arched windows and old doors were preserved. The owner, Marie-Lise Dulac Fery, is a young antiques dealer and decorator.

2. Monique Waque's Country House In Germany

Canadian Monique Waque's picturesque cottage seems like it comes straight out of a fairy tale. It was renovated by the previous owners and she re-decorated using the colors that evoke the French / Scandinavian style.

3. Gerard Tremolet's chateau in Normandy, France.

This home was featured in Elle Decor October 2012.  The walls and curtains are of a Thevenon toile de Jouy, and the bed's alcove is covered in taffeta, the armchair is Louis XV,and the rug is Russian."  You won't see a more classic French style home.

4. Aurélien Deleuze and his wife, Pascale

Aurélien Deleuze and his wife, Pascale, completed a careful restoration of 17th century chateau - Pau, South of France. The owners found gorgeous antiques in Parisian flea markets and every room is tastefully decorated in the French style.  The home has gorgeous stucco ceilings, original floors, a large kitchen with an impressive fireplace from the 1600s. In the dining room, a rustic table of chestnut planks is where the family has their dinners.

5. Nicky Haslam's Home

Your going to love the wallpaper in this home.  Fowler installed an over-sized Mauny wallpaper in the hall, staircase and second floor landing. Eventually it became so old and fragile, that Nicky asked Mauny to remake the discontinued print just for him – which they did.  WOW!

6. Chateau de Gizeux in the Loire

Ivy Clad featured remarkable pictures of Chateau de Gizeux, which originally was featured in the October 2012 World of Interiors article. The grand salon, as well as other rooms and corridors, were vandalized or fell into disrepair through lack of maintenance. In the Mid 16th century, the walls were elaborately painted by Italian artists to suit the tastes for courtly life favored by the then-owners. Visit the site HERE for more beautiful shots of the chateau inside and out.

7. Old Farmhouse of Sculptor Yves Bosquet

Since 1961, Yves Bosquet, sculptor and painter, resides in Waterloo, just outside Brussels, on an old farm, which in the past was used by Napoleon during his last defeat in 1815, to prepare and conduct the famous battle. The house is filled with a collection of precious objects. When Bosquet bought the home, there was enough space for a comfortable studio with a kiln. Over the time the owners, Bosquet and his wife, renovated the house and garden and added to it in the French country style. {corriere.it}

8. 11th Century French Property-Perigord, France

An 11th century French property is located in the Cognac Vineyards. The home is currently run as a hotel, with it's 11 suited bedrooms, and would be the perfect weekend getaway to the French countryside. Keeping with the French theme, this house has kept it's historical integrity throughout and immaculately maintained.

9. 17th Century In The Old World Style Home in Perigord, France- 

This home rests on 3.5 hectares of riverside grounds and parkland. The main house features 4 living rooms, 2 kitchens, 9 bedrooms (7 with en suites) & 2 studies. Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes

Continue reading 9 Homes Decorated Around The European Old World French Styles

Designer Tips – Decorating With The Color Green – Provence Style

Color Inspiration

Color Inspiration from here, , here, here, and here

There are so many ways to decorate with green, where do you start?   One starting point is to find a shade that you love.   Borrow color combination ideas from vintage packaging.  French packaging often pairs together colors that just work with one another.

Here are just a few of the colors that are found in France......

- Artichoke - the color of fresh uncooked artichoke.

- Fern Green is a vivid shade of green that resembles ferns. Fern green was used in 1902.

-Laurel green is a medium light hue of greenish gray, first used as a color in 1705.

-Myrtle green, represents the color of the leaves of the Myrtle plant, first used as a color in 1835

-Teal is a dark cyan color that is seen on the neck of a duck.  - Colors From Wikipedia

How To Decorate With Shades of Green

- Add In Green Foliage - Don’t forget the blossoms, says Nicole Sforza. "Consider green (or greenish) flowers. Forsythia branches, which bloom yellow before sprouting bright green leaves, look great on the console. The Billy buttons, arranged in a light green vase on the table, can last up to two weeks. Also try Lenten roses, which have soft green flowers and foliage." Real Simple Magazine

- Use Muted Shades of Green- In this link, Martha Stewart shows off 24 of the best rooms decorated around green that were originally featured in her magazines over the years.  In all the pictures, one common trait exists, - she uses old world colors that are muted.

- Pair Natural Wood With Lighter Blues and Green Painted Walls Natural Wood Tones- Stephanie Hoppen says "sandy beiges, and limewash finishes balance barely-there blue rooms. And don't forget about paint finishes. Chalky flat finishes are warm, while shiny blues will give a bit of a chill"

- Use Muted Softer Colors In Main Rooms, And Brighter Ones In Less Used Rooms- Sasha Emerson, an interior designer says  "When choosing a blue hue, consider how often you're in the room. For example, don't choose a very bold blue for a living room -- you might tire of the color. Save it for a den or a playroom and pick a more serene tone for central living spaces"

- Cooler Tones Can Work With Glass or Mirrors -Stephanie Hoppen says "Frosty blues are elegant with soft creams and shiny accents such as glass. Take the chill off icy colors by teaming them with warm browns, reds, or oranges"

- Pair Jewel Tones Together -Jennifer Flanders says, “The color emerald is synonymous with wealth, prosperity and luxury, so I think it naturally works with other colors that evoke the same air of richness and elegance.  Many other jewel tones mix well with emerald green, but in particular I love this color with deep blues and shimmery golds.”

Farrow-and-Ball Paint

Color Combinations- Real Simple Magazine gives us 4 color combinations.

  • Pair together moss green and soft blue.  Think about colors that play off nature.  The soft colors found in trees, and sky.  You can go bolder with both colors, or really soft subtle shades in the ligher hues.
  • Sea Foam Green and Chocolate.  Think about darker floors, with painted green distressed furniture.  Chocolate walls, with lighter green accessories.  Sea-foam wall colors, with darker rustic WOOD accessories.
  • Consider the classic Rugby- Kelly green and bright white. Go for a bit of a bold contrast with the brilliant Kelly green and white as an accent.
  • Pair together lime green and soft pink.  These two colors can give a soft appearance.  Consider filling an over-sized glass vase with pink cherry blossoms.

Shades of Green

 Home Beautiful's Color Selections

The Oprah Winfrey Collection

The Oprah Winfrey Collection

Check out my favorite pieces from Oprah's collection here

Cabinet Bonnier de La MossonCabinet Bonnier de La Mosson

Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson (1702 - 1744), was a French aristocrat who loved science and began collecting exotic insects, snakes, shells and birds. These wooden cases were acquired in 1744 when they were auctioned off following the death of Joseph Bonnier de la Maison, whom was an extremely knowledgeable amateur scientist and connoisseur of art.

They were installed in the King's Garden Room. Inside these five units made from Dutch wood decorated with serpents a collection of preserved ["dried"] animals. In 1935, the cabinets were disassembled, and were installed permanently in the the Museum of Natural History in the Jardin des Plantes central library in 1979. They are considered an "Historic Monument."

Borrow this look for yourself, by painting your French furniture a muted shade of light green, and use a shade of white paint to bring out the carved features in your french furniture....

Continue reading Designer Tips – Decorating With The Color Green – Provence Style

Great French Provincial Design Is a Philosophy More Than a Look

French Provence Style

French Provence Style-magazine.pierrefrey.com

New York interior designer Miles Redd says, "Life in the 21st Century means taking the best of history and making it work for you." That is a good philosophy to adopt, whether your design preferences are for contemporary, island chic, British Colonial or French Provincial. Selecting the best of the design traditions and adapting them to your individual lifestyle is the very essence of the design ethic.

What a Feeling

"Most of all, country French is a feeling," according to French Heritage. Speaking of furniture, the company, which was founded by French-born Jacques Wayser and his American wife, subscribes to the adage that there is no one "period" in history that encompasses French provincial. It is, rather, a way of life, and a philosophy that encompasses the past and adapts to modern needs, uses and sensibilities. In that sense, it is neither rigid, nor formal; it is, however, very personal and always changing to meet new needs and new circumstances.

That accounts for its undying popularity. French country design is seemingly always fresh, always appropriate, and always evolving.

Flexible and Inventive

Remaining true to the beloved French Provincial style ethic is simple when you first adopt the philosophy: Respect for the styles of the past and a willingness to revise, modernize and "make do" when necessary. The essence of court-originated style during the reigns of French monarchs was captured in informal style and inexpensive woods for the "common" folk in the provinces.

Well-made, sturdy furniture lasted for generations. However, years of use took their toll, and inventive families had to make repairs and replace parts, adapting to changing needs. In time, the painted finishes and well-used looks became well-loved as well.

Personal Choice Dictates

Today, the range of options in interior design is sometimes overwhelming. It can be daunting to face the myriad of decisions involved in completing an interior design scheme. The choice of country French as a decor, however, is a wise one, allowing a wide range of available choices with an emphasis on lasting comfort and individuality.

For all your choices, ranging from wall colors to floor coverings, from furniture to window coverings, and from accessories to art, you should realize that there are no hard and fast rules. If you prefer an uncluttered modern look, you can leave windows bare if there is no issue with privacy. On the other hand, wood blinds from TheShadeStore.com, in your choice of finishes, would give you room-darkening possibilities and be perfectly suited to a provincial scheme. You could soften the look with flowing draperies in a colorful toile print, or with gathered panels in a bright country check.

Animal-ish and Whimsy

Charles Faudree and Betty Lou Phillips are two of the most respected interior designers in the country; each has a personal style. They rely on a bit of "whimsy" to make a room come alive, utilizing color, layers of fabric, and a mix of textures and themes. Iconic French symbols appear as well: The fleur-de-lis, an occasional Napleonic bee, chickens, gold braid, and French words. According to their sites (CharlesFaudree.com, and BettyLouPhillips.com), advice given by each designer is the same: "Enjoy the style!"

Guest Post by Timothy Allen

 

Timothy is an interior designer with an eye for straight lines and Mediterranean styling.

Chateau Montgeoffroy

Chateau Montgeoffroy- www.ot-saumur.fr

Chateau Montgeoffroy

Chateau Montgeoffroy- magazine.pierrefrey.com

Continue reading Great French Provincial Design Is a Philosophy More Than a Look