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
French Provincial Carved Oak Linen Dining Chair–
Vtg Link Taylor 12 Drawer French Provincial Dresser
So you bought a vintage set of French Provincial furniture, and it looks as though it hasn’t been touched for 40 years. Is it salvageable? The answer is yes, heck yes! We show you the best techniques to update this style of furniture that will make it look like several hundred dollars.
1. Strip Your Set and Go All Natural
Raw wood has always looked good, and has never looked better. Over the summer I took all the furniture in my basement and united the finishes by removing the paint. Most of all the furniture I had in this one room was all miss-matched sets, but interesting enough, they all had the exact same wood underneath. The sofas we bought came with a mahogany finish, but underneath they were pine. After removing the paint from 6 pieces, I had a fully united set. I could then introduce color with the slipcovers and the paint finish on the walls.
Inspiration- A Louis XV Limed Oak Chest- here
Instead of Using a non-toxic stripping agent to get rid of the old paint or stain is the greenest way to go. Products like Franmar’s Soy Gel Paint and Urethane Remover work well to remove all types of abrasive paint and stain , while still being gentle on the environment. This product is also 100 percent biodegradable. It works by trapping particles within itself and keeping you from being exposed to them.
Soy Gel Paint Reviews:
Garden Web– “My current fave is Soy-Gel, which I got from the Real Milk Paint Co., though it can be ordered from the manufacturer and other suppliers. I added it to a recent order more out of curiosity, and without much hope. But holy smokes, it works like gang busters if left alone to do its thing. I haven’t done a big project with it yet, but I plan on stripping a pine floor. My test patches have been great! I have tried just about every chemical and mechanical method, and So far Soy-Gel is the best I’ve found.”
My Experience With Stippers:
After using many of the most popular strippers on the market and having very limited success, I decided to try out other methods, which lead me to Heat Guns.
After purchasing a Wagner Heat Gun for about $20 dollars, I was thrilled with the results. Not only did it work fast, it also saved me a great deal of money with chemical stripper. The heat gun I purchased has two settings, one high, and one low. After the heat gun starts heating up, you will notice the paint start to bubble, which you can scrape off with little effort. The best technique for removing paint is to slowly move the paint gun along the paint, for an even amount of heat in each section. Heat guns can also ruin wood if they are left on the wood too long, so you don’t want your heat gun positioned in one area for two long. The wood can turn dark, which can be impossible to sand out. While some suggest wood tools, instead of metal tools, I enjoy working with a multi purpose metal tool, such as this one from Shur-Line. Working with heat guns for stripping paint, it is imperative to buy a Respirator made for fumes. One of the draw backs of heating up the paint, is the fumes they produce, so a respirator is a must have when using this technique.
Products That Might Be Worth Trying:
– Wagner Power PaintEater – $59 Removes paint, ergonomic handle, and may be better than those attachments meant for your drill.
–Electric Paint Remover Sold through Chicago $63
–TruePower Electric Paint Remover-$39-
- Removes paint, paint chips, paint oxides and mildew, and feather finishes paint edges.
- Use on wood, masonite, concrete and steel
- Will not abrade surfaces – Perfect for large, flat, solid surfaces
MUST Have- Safety Gear
Breathing in fumes from stripper, stain or paint can create heath problems that can effect your lungs long term. If you have a garage, workshop, or even a storage shed, working from within it will help contain any harmful dust or debris from being let out into your yard or the surrounding area. Purchase a heavy duty respirator designed for paint fumes. I am so glad to come across the MSA Safety works Paint and Pesticide Respirator because it is comfortable to wear for several hours straight, and it will save your lungs for today and long term.
2. Old World Patina – Paint Or Stain?
After centuries of trying to perfect our furniture, it comes at no surprise that many companies are selling the all natural chalk paint and milk paint products that our ancestors used. Milk and chalk paints can be a sensational source of color. If you are after an old world Provence look, consider either stripping your furniture and staining it, or painting it, and distressing it.
Take the Finish Off
I have found for my furniture, stripping the existing finishes off allows the piece to age naturally over time without seeing several layers of existing paint. I sit at a beautiful curvy French desk all day long, and one of the areas where my arm hits as I type on my keyboard shows the white paint that the desk was painted in originally. The desk is blue, and the white just sticks out like a sore thumb. If I would have put the extra work into the desk, and removed the paint, then over time, the natural ware would show the wood. Wood or existing paint? Wood is so much more attractive.
Distressing looks so much nicer with the natural raw wood. Something about having the all natural wood showing through the finish allows for a nicer aged finish than simply painting over the existing paint or varnish. Working with the raw wood really can go a long way for creating the old world distressed finishes. Stripping all the existing paint gives you a raw look, rather than working over a poly finish.
Layer Your Colors:
Layering paint can produce a sensational old world effect. Try several tones of blue, and combine it with a layer of white. Consider several layers of paint which you can then hand sand, adding the right amount of distressing. Layer on a translucent glaze, or wax to complete the look.
Work With Stain Finishes:
Consider doing a “wash” instead of a solid color. After removing your paint finish, consider mixing your paint with part water, and applying a stain. You can also buy semi transparent stains through your local hardware store. Using a beige, and then white stain would produce the aged old world looks that are so well loved.
In this article we show a chest with beautiful texture on the drawers. A gray toned blue is used under a creamy white, with beautiful texture that shows off an old world paint finish. Adding texture can be easier than you think. Simply get a box of un-sanded grout. Paint your furniture using a base coat with NO grout added. Once it is dry, mix together a bit of grout with the existing paint. Next stipple on the finish with your paint brush and let it dry over night, or for two days. Once it is dry, lightly sand it, and add your top coat. Using the same technique, mix together half and half paint and un-sanded grout and paint on an even coat of paint. Using two colors like the picture shown in the article will produce the best results. For a subtle effect, consider using a creamy beige and white together. The colors don’t have to be opposites to work well. Once the dresser has dried over night, take a hand sander and start sanding the finish. The texture from the first coat will show through to the second coat. Add additional wax, or glaze to make the finish pop, or leave it as it is.
Old World Techniques -Additional Articles:
3. Go New And Modern With Color :
Do you like vibrant colors? The lines found in the French styled furniture can powerfully pull off the sensational bright colors. There are so many bright colors that I admire but don’t have the guts to put up on the walls, so why not put it on a piece of furniture.
Do you like the brighter colors, or the patterned printed chests? You might want to just buy spray paint for those high gloss mirrored finishes.
In the past I have hand painted gloss only to find paint lines from my brushes. With brighter red, or yellow, it can take up to 7 or 8 coats of paint, so spraying your paint just makes more sense. Often times the gloss you find in spray paint can be so much more vibrant and glossy than regular gloss paint in the quart size. Oil paint can produce sensational glossy finishes. Overall, I have found for those really glossy finishes, it is worth buying the spray paint, than hand painting. The coverage is faster, and the gloss is so much more vibrant and glass like.
Glossy finishes are best achieved with spray paint, and why not buy a case of your favorite color online? For some of my last couple projects, I have been really impressed with Krylon’s Paint and Primer sprays. I started looking online when my local hardware stores spray paint failed to impress me. Never do I see the lavenders, the soft grays, or light blues. The nicer colors are online, and many companies are starting to sell by the case.
French Chests From Cote France
Color Master Colors By Krylon. These colors above come from their website, and if you look on their website, you can toggle over the colors for the name of the paint swatch that you love. Type the specific paint name in Amazon, and you can buy it in cases of 6 with free shipping.
– Go Bold With Red- Part 1 Grand Sophisticated Interiors – The Swedish Furniture
– Go Bold With Red- Part 2 Country Interiors- The Swedish Furniture
– High Gloss Painted Furniture – The Painted Furniture Online
– Absolutely Breathtaking French Painted Furniture- French Style Authority
– How To Paint Black Furniture-A Dozen Examples Of Exceptional Black Painted Furniture- French Style Authority
– 10 Ways To Use Pink, Orange and Coral In Your Home- French Style Authority
– Decorating With Pastels For A French Styled Home- French Style Authority
4. Add Furniture Jewelry
Ormolu is the jewelry of the furniture trade. Antique and reproduction furniture ormolu can be found on ebay making it easier than ever to dress up that worn antique, or that vintage chest that is outdated.
Reproduction ormolu can be found in bronze, and there are sellers out there who also produce these beautiful appliques in stain-able wood filler. Being able to buy appliques in unlimited quantities allows you to dress up the chest of your dreams.
The high gloss looks found on bombe chests are often accented with heavy ormolu or furniture appliques.
Add Furniture Escutcheons
Dress up your chest with keyholes, or otherwise known as escutcheons. Buy a set of identical keyholes for each drawer of your chest. Keyholes can be gold leafed, or painted the same color as the chest. Consider dating your metal furniture appliques or keyholes with aging solutions. In this post ” 9 DIY Recipes For Rusty Hardware” From Hersite, you can get the look of aged hardware in your own home.
-French Furniture Restoration ~Gold Leafing Tips- French Style Authority
5. Pattern Your Furniture
Patterns can look so wonderful in a space lacking interest. There are several ways to get the look of a pattern on your chest, which range from complicated approaches to simple techniques.
One of the harder techniques would be hand painting furniture. For those who have the gifted talent of hand drawing, this may be a project that you can accomplish over a weekend. For those who don’t have the natural abilities of drawing, there are several other approaches that can give you a professional look without much try.
One of those ways is an overhead projector. An overhead projector may be your new best friend after seeing how simple it is to copy a design without much work than having a marker in your hand. With this chest, I simply photocopied a flower pattern from a cardboard box that I bought from Ikea. I had gold paint in one hand, and outlined the flower, and painted it in after I traced out the design. This zebra painted dresser was traced using an overhead projector, as well as this dresser. Overhead projectors allow you to trace a perfect, proportionate design right the first time. They also allow you to match up the existing pattern which has been already traced on to your furniture, allowing for even spacing for the next pattern. This also works quite nicely on walls. Take your favorite comic book, custom graphics from books and be able to re-produce them with ease.
Sébastien and Raphael Llado Levavasseur
There are some people, who just can’t stop gushing about their Provence inspired elegant bedrooms. You may also come across people, who hold minimalist contemporary furniture, in very high esteem. Yet, every once in a while, comes a creative soul, who wishes to incorporate furniture designs from widely varying historical ages, in his home.
The ensuing unique mix of tradition and modernity that their homes possess becomes an extension of their quirky and eclectic personalities. If you happen to be someone, who falls in this category, then the following 5 tips are sure to give you some great ideas.
1. Existing Furniture Must Be Removed
It doesn’t matter if you plan to combine tradition and modernity, in one particular room of your house. Your eclectic vision might even encompass your entire home. Whatever might be the case, a clean space is necessary in order to invite timeless design ideas to inspire your mind.
This means that rather than moving things around, and making haphazard additions and omissions to your design area, you should remove all furniture from it, and start from scratch.
2. Retain Pieces That Match Your Larger Schemes
Once you have removed all furniture from the particular room that you wish to design (or redesign, for that matter), you can proceed to think about what goes and what stays, in them. Here, you need to be objective about the furniture pieces that would mesh into your design, rather than letting your emotions rule.
Remember, only the truly deserving furniture pieces must find a place of honor in your eclectic home.
3. Rethink about Your Walls and Flooring
Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in the larger designing scheme of your house, so that you completely ignore the finer and subtler details. If you are not careful, you can end up with all the right furniture in your eclectic home, only to realize that the color of your walls, and the material of your floor, totally kills all your efforts.
In order to avoid this, it is advisable that you dabble with neutral colors and designs that go well with all kinds of furniture, be they from the 19th century, or the current era. This will give your home the poise and balance to carry off an assorted look.
4. Add New Pieces
Once you have got the basics right, then you can proceed to adding more and more appropriate furniture pieces to your room. The key here is to maintain a delicate balance between furniture from differ rent historical periods. You can approach several furniture West Palm Beach stores that have in-house design consultants, who can help you to acquire the right look.
5. Accessorize Leniently
In order to have a really eclectic house, which also feels like home, it is essential to add some personal details to it. You home will look more and more inviting, as you inject drapery, mirrors, framed photographs and art that mix well with the larger plan of your home. For instance: a postmodernist painting can strangely work well with old-fashioned motifs on a wooden chest of drawers, beneath it.
A combination of eras, in your home, is all about experimentation. Yet, with a bit of luck, you can also chance upon customized furniture packages Miami that make your task easy.
With its elegant decor based patinas, furniture and unusual objects unearthed in the region, ” Gustave “is a small house of the sixteenth century, in the walled city of Belleme, transformed into a delightful tea room, deli and curio shop. Read the original article at Magazine e-magDECO
Raphael and his dog Donut.
Sébastien and Raphael Llado Levavasseur
18 rue Ville Close, 61130 Bellême
Telephone: 00 33 (0) 2 33 73 94 89
A Louis XV Style Gilt Metal Mounted Painted Side Table
Petite Antique French Lady’s Writing Desk w/Orig. Tooled Leather
Provence Style Chest –Benjamin Wilson Antiques
Portrait of Lord Swedish Lisa Martino
Gustavian clock with a Louis XV style hunting table, with a Caned Louis XVI style bench
A Pair of Louis XV Style Fauteuils
Provence Style Chest Greenwich Living Antiques & Design Center
A 19th Century French Carved and Painted Provincial 3 Tier Table
French style decorating has become so popular because of beauty of the the old world looks that are associated with the style. There are a couple of elements that you can incorporate into your landscaping and the type of furniture you choose which will give you the classic French looks found in Provence.
1. Consider replacing your lawn with gravel. It sounds like a bad idea right? Create texture using raised garden beds, and add in patio furniture, water gardens, which adds a lot more texture than just plain grass.
Consider showcasing the lawn that you do have. If you have rectangular backyard, consider cutting around your lawn, forming a circle shape in the center of your property. A circular or square pattern which you can edge with stone or coordinating greenery can give you more of a designer look.
2. Add In Rustic Container Gardens- Garden style urns can really capture the old world romance that you see in Versailles. Paint can do wonders to those new resin urns that you see at home depot. To get a rustic look, start with painting your urn an oil paint in flat black. After it dries, mix together sand and brown paint and apply it to the urn. When it is almost dry, take the hose, and spray water on the urn. The pressure of the water will create a natural distressed effect that doesn’t look like you painted it yourself. Consider using this picture as your inspiration.
3. Create Order In Your Backyard- Pair common elements together to create a landscape that looks like it was designed by the pros. Plant fruit trees, instead of regular trees that will mature and produce dozens of fruit from year to year. Line up urns, and patio chairs along the edges. Line up shrubs and hedges in a row to draw special attention to these selected areas.
4. Consider investing in metal furniture that you don’t have to shelter over the winter. Having a large yard is a lot of maintenance. Wood furniture over time can root if it is left in the snow, while metal furniture, does a lot better in winter conditions. If you can shelter your furniture, do! If you cannot, purchase clear plastic shower curtains at your local dollar store to drape over some of your furniture. Wood, and metal furniture can be touched up with paint from year to year.
5. Folding outdoor furniture is really popular in France. Consider investing in a set of folding chairs which you can paint. Any sort of metal furniture will create the French mood you are after. Don’t worry if the furniture you choose is vintage, as anything can be improved with paint. Metal garden pots, posts, fences, chairs are all elements that are commonly seen in the French countryside. You cannot go wrong with anything metal in your back yard if you are after the French look.