Le Mas des Poiriers, – An 18th-Century Rhône Valley Farmhouse

After nearly a decade of blogging about beautiful homes, one in particular has captured my heart like none other… Le Mas des Poiriers, an 18th-century Rhône valley farmhouse. I dream of visiting one day, and I was delighted to receive a copy of Provence Style: Decorating with French Country Flair, written by homeowner Shauna Varvel with Alexandra Black, and released this month by Vendome!

Named for the working pear orchard on the grounds, the property was reimagined by noted local architect, Alexandre Lafourcade, who transformed a rough structure into a luxurious expression of the Provençal aesthetic, referencing historical influences, rural traditions, and Parisian taste.

Read more at theglampad.com

My Modern Take on Traditional Provence Interiors


Working closely with Shauna and Alexandre Lafourcade, the acclaimed French renovation specialist, I felt pressure as an American interior designer to bring the right balance and authenticity to the spaces. I admire so many things about French interiors. For me, the Mas had to be elegant without being stuffy, romantic without being frilly, and comfortable without sacrificing style. Here’s how I chose to salute French Provençal decoration at Le Mas des Poiriers:

Gingham and Florals

The use of gingham, or “Vichy,” fabric dates back to the seventeenth century where it appeared in Provence interiors. I paired elegant florals and Toile patterns (which originated in France) with simple gingham in the interiors of the house.  My favorite combination is in the Dining Room where I blended both fabrics on the South facade overlooking the gardens. I intentionally used blue and cream on this elevation to create a calming and cohesive elegance.

Read more at sblonginteriors.com


12 Ways To Bring The Rustic French Countryside Into Your Home

Château de Pintray Bed and Breakfast near Saint-Martin-le-Beau 

Château de Pintray : Bed and Breakfast near Saint-Martin-le-Beau –www.map-france.com

French country is a look that is comfortable and inviting. It is no wonder why it still remains to be one of the most popular styles to decorate around.

When you think about touring a French countryside home, you would expect to see classic printed drapery in the living room and natural stone floors throughout the house.  The walls would be finished in plaster and wooden furniture would be seen in a rough and distressed state.

Here are a few things you can do for your home to give it a classic French look:

Rough painted plaster walls are seen in most French interiors, and is a key element to achieving this style. Faux painters often start with an ivory base and use a sponge with darker shades of cream to give the look of plaster. Mixing translucent glaze with several shades of ivory softens the look, making it appear more realistic.

Natural stone floors can give the look of primitive France.  Architectural elements can be added such as a stone fireplace in the living room, iron lighting fixtures, and railings in staircases.  For tight budgets, consider polishing your concrete floors, instead of installing stone and using throw rugs which can bring back the warmth into the room.

Buy reproduction rustic furniture with raw or painted wood. A large dining table in a dull low-sheen finish gives the look of old age. Purchase ladderback, vertical slat chairs with rush seating for a provincial look. New upholstery or paint can update a vintage chair, so look for great chair frames which can be improved. The French style has always been one surrounded by natural elements of stone and brick and warm colors such as gold, burnt rust, and cobalt blue.  Furniture is featured in painted black, gray, corn yellow, deep grays.  Heirloom furniture with layers of patina show a history generations that have passed. Most important when buying a chair, buy a frame and style that you love!

Work With Opposite Colors– Typical French country interiors often have contrasting texture and color. Pale plaster walls and ceilings can be punctuated with dark rough wood beams. Colorful provincial printed fabrics can set against lighter-toned interiors.  If your interior is based around lighter colored walls and furniture, work with prints in blue and red, or purple and eggplant.  These warmer colors bring out the French country style.

Work With Copper– Think about accessorizing with copper pots, natural linens, and glass tableware for the kitchen areas.  Use a pot display rack in the windows above the sink or table to give that old world feel.

Decorate With Pottery- Colorful and muted pottery often adorns a French country table. Work with iron or wooden bowls for centerpieces, and iron candle stick holders to create the perfect centerpieces for your buffet tables.  Pottery, and colorful tablecloths are some of the classic marks of the French style.

La Valette Rouge Bleu cotton print by Braquenie - Pierre Frey. From the 18th century Chateau de Montgeoffroy in the French Loire Valley.

La Valette Rouge Bleu cotton print by Braquenie – Pierre Frey. From the 18th century Chateau de Montgeoffroy in the French Loire Valley.

Work With Traditional Printed Fabrics– The beautiful colors of the French countryside are seen in the traditional fabrics like basic plaids, checks, and stripes.  Classic prints combine shades of primary colors with greens, lavenders, and bright orange. Motifs include roosters, olives, sunflowers, grapes and lavender.  Often the most beautiful designs are arranged in intervals accompanied by a border.

Work With Toile – Toile has always been a traditional design seen in France.  Toile themes are often seen with animals, Chinese patterns and country scenes.  This classic 18th century look often is printed on linen or cotton.

Create Window Benches – Deeply cut window sills and benches are a feature in these old estates.  Tall, narrow windows with shutters were drawn to keep out the hot sun out in the summer. Windows and doorways often had wildly growing vines which added to the romantic aesthetic, but were functional in keeping things cool.  Create window seating which can be dressed up with bench upholstery and throw pillows.

Dried Flowers– Bright flowers are often seen in baskets, old pitchers and copper pots.  This is a fabulous way of bringing in the color lilac, orange or bright red into an interior.  Opt for the higher grade of faux flowers that have a wax type surface for your tables, or entry way consoles.  Consider installing window boxes outside to grow geraniums and lavender in the summer seasons.


Faux Ceiling Beams - Ana White

Ana White | Build a Beams of Light

Hefty beamed ceilings also are key architectural elements in old chateaus.  Styrofoam beams can be painted to look like real wood instead of going to the trouble and cost of the real thing.  Wood supports can be drilled into the ceiling, while thin plywood can be anchored into place to create a box, which then can be  faux painted.

Decorate With Baskets – Woven or wire baskets can hold magazines, plates, towels, bedding and so much more.  This natural element can be used for storage in the bathroom, on the floor in a bedroom to hold extra blankets.  Use it in the living room to contain throws or toys.  Baskets can be an inexpensive way of bring in the natural elements into the home.

Enjoy these inspirational photos of French Provincial style interiors below.


This reproduction Louis-style children’s desk from French company Jardin d’Ulysse comes with a matching chair and is aged to lend your child’s room an antique look. More furniture and accessories from Jardin d’Ulysse.

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

Inspiring Interiors blog featured some wonderful pictures of a 17th century farmhouse which is located in Catalonia, Spain. The home featured beautiful stone walls, and some beautiful white slip-covered sofas and dining room chairs. In the bedroom, sat some Louis XVI stools, and a Louis XVI antique french chair. In the living room area, a beautiful natural wood desk and a Louis XVI chair in white sit amongst white slip-covered furniture. Wood herringbone floors show throughout the home with plaster white walls. This home is very similar in style to those found in the countryside of France.

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

Home of designer Henri Quinta in Perpignan, France. Elle Decor.

Home of designer Henri Quinta in Perpignan, France. Elle Decor

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

18th Century Louis XVI SofaBermingham & Co. Antiques

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

17th Century Farmhouse With French Furniture

19th C. Louis XV Style Painted Armoire- Melissa Levinson Antiques

19th C. Louis XV Style Painted Armoire-  Melissa Levinson


Primitive Rustic Provence Decorating Ideas Shabby Chic Mania


A French Provincial Ebonized Oak Slant Front Bureau From Christies


Rustic Old World Decorating Ideas Marie Claire Maison

Colefax & Fowler 2010

Colefax and Fowler 2010


Old World Decorating Ideas Luc D’Hulst (source here)

Manuel Canovas From Mscott218 Photostream

Manuel Canovas From mscott218 – Flickr


17th and 18 Century Decorating Ideas Trouvais


Rustic Old World Decorating Ideas Bijsterveld


French Provence Decorating Ideas

French Sofa Sold by Karina Gentinetta

French Sofa  Sold by disegno Karina Gentinetta


French Provence Decorating Ideas – Axel Vervoordt


Swedish Bench French Country Decorating


French Country Decorating By Designer Betty Lou Phillips

French Provence

This beautiful French Provence interior with light plaster walls shows you that black furniture can really stand out against lighter interiors such as this. Stein World sells a really stunning black crackle finished chest that would be ideal in the bedroom, but also could double in a living room against a feature wall. Bombe chests like this are typically regarded as Italian, but also has some of the stunning features that French furniture is famous for.

A Fine Louis XV Painted and Parcel-Gilt CommodeA Fine Louis XV Painted and Parcel-Gilt Commode Bermingham & Co. Antiques

Laurel Painting Reproductions

Laurel Painting Reproductions, 1st-art-gallery.com

Le Grillon Voyageur

Le Grillon Voyageur, legrillonvoyageur.com

Architecture examples - Saint remy de Provence, Luberon

Architecture examples – Saint remy de Provence, Luberon

French Style Seen On Luc Productions web site.

French Style Decorating -Seen On Luc Productions web site.

Louis XV Petite BenchBermingham & Co. Antiques

Manuel Canovas

Manuel Canovas

De Rohan Chabot French Chateau- Architectural Digest

The Rohan-Chabot Family’s French Chateau– Architectural Digest

French Louis XV Style Settee Stamped Jansen Greenwich livingGreenwich Living Antiques

Pair of Gilded and Painted Louis XV Style Chairs

The Antique andArtisan Center – Stamford, CT

French Style Decorating Seen On Luc Productions web site.

French Style Dining Seen on Luc Productions web site.

French Style Decorating Seen On Luc Productions web site.

French Style Dining Seen on Luc Productions web site.

European Chef Apron Red Stripe - FrenchGardenHouse

European Chef Apron Red Stripe – FrenchGardenHouse

Linda McDougald Mirror Table

An antique French painted and gilded mirror is set within the custom-designed paneled walls that are finished in the manner of old French blue created by Greenville artist Jeff Renow. In front of the mirror sits an antique French desk. – Found on hgtv.com

Manuel Canovas

Manuel Canovas

17th century country house of the Marquise Marie-Anne-Françoise de Beauharnais (1757-1822) (related to Josephine, future Empress ) in the old village of Sézanne, France.

17th century country house of the Marquise Marie-Anne-Françoise de Beauharnais (1757-1822) (related to Josephine, future Empress ) in the old village of Sézanne, France.

Chateau de la Goujeonnerie outside of La Rochelle, France 2

Chateau de la Goujeonnerie outside of La Rochelle, France

Chateau de la Goujeonnerie outside of La Rochelle, France 4

Chateau de la Goujeonnerie outside of La Rochelle, France

Christiane De Nicolay-Mazery, Bernard Touillon

Christiane De Nicolay-Mazery, Bernard Touillon

John Hall Designs

 John Hall Designs – Fine Furniture since 1967

Château de Bresson ~ Moissieu-sur-Dolon ~ Isère ~ France

Château de Bresson ~ Moissieu-sur-Dolon ~ Isère ~ France

Chateau de Groussay

Chateau de Groussay

Chateau de Hautefort, Aquitaine

Chateau de Hautefort, Aquitaine


Bukowskis Auction

Chateau de Cheverny au beau milieu des chateaux de la Loire

Chateau de Cheverny au beau milieu des chateaux de la Loire

Don Ziebell.

Don Ziebell

Marie Claire

Marie Claire Maison



4 Ways To Get The French Provence Look For Less

French Style

 French Style Featured On The Essence Of Frenchness

Creating the Provencal country style in your home starts with the right colors, furnishings and decor. Here are some of the main must-haves to create this relaxed, elegant French Country decorating style.

1.  Go Bold With The Wall Colors

A home can be instantly transformed with color.  A color palette will govern all the other decorating considerations for your home.

French Provence style has always been known for their vibrant color choices.  The color palette has always been governed by the colors found in the flowers and landscape, so it is no wonder why vibrant blues, purples and greens have always been dominant colors in the Provence home.

You may want a muted palette with warm elegant furnishings, such as raw aged wicker, neutral ticking for upholstery, stone and raw wood to take the focal interest.  In this instance, consider accenting your home with the richer shades such as browns, found in the soils. Provence style was greatly influenced by the landscape of France, and inviting the colors found in nature  into your home will instantly change the tone.

2.  Architectural Elements

Consider introducing character into your home with architectural elements.  Ditch some of the modern looks in your home with something with age and old looks.  Exchange out your kitchen hardware, light switches, chandeliers, lamps, door hardware, sink faucets with older hardware with patina and age.  You can find brand new hardware with the old world patina and looks.

– Change out the lighting to a French crystal chandelier.  Consider investing the time into installing some antique sconces on the walls in your bathrooms, and bedroom.  Light from the wall will give your room the look of candles, than the overhead lighting we are used to.

-Consider hanging iron plaques above your stove.  Some of the plaques are quite large, and painted, making it a focal piece behind the stove, which is often hard to dress up.

-Wall Molding doesn’t have to be complicated.  Check out this easy DIY wall idea which could totally transform the look of your walls.

Interesting Articles:

-Buying Secondhand Cabinets: Yay or Nay? Cabinet Hardware Ideas

-Handles, Knobs, or Pulls: Which Type of Hardware Is Best for Your Room? Cabinet Hardware Ideas

-Using Cabinet Hardware to Bring Life to a Dull Kitchen or Bathroom – Cabinet Hardware Ideas

-5 Ways to Dress Up Worn-Out Furniture & Cabinetry- Cabinet Hardware Ideas

3.  Improve Vintage French Furniture

Invest in great pieces, and improve vintage furniture pieces with new upholstery.  My motto has always been “trade up”.  Fill your home with great inexpensive pieces, and as you find better ones, trade out the inexpensive pieces, with better quality furniture.  Your home can look fantastic with second hand furniture.  Often times some of the best pieces are the ones that you put some time and effort into.  A vintage French chair can be stripped of it’s paint, and re-painted, stained and upholstered.  A French sofa can be professionally upholstered and loved for 50 + years.  A side table and dresser can be the spotlight in a bedroom, and a small French side table can steal the attention with brighter paint and gold accents.  Collect pieces you love, and invest your time in making them better.

4.  Go With Solid Pecan Finishes

Balance out brighter wall colors with solid wood stained furniture.  You can buy vintage french furniture and strip it down to the solid wood.  You can find spectacular pieces on ebay, at garage sales or second hand stores.

One thing I have learned along the years, is stripping furniture paint is well worth the effort.  Wood can be painted, and then sanded down to look antique with the solid wood peeking through.  Stripping the paint down to the solid wood, also allows you to stain a piece a custom shade.  Consider investing in a heat gun.  This is one tool, I wish someone told me about years ago.  For less than $30 dollars, you can remove paint quicker without shelling out tons of money in stripper.  It enables you to use less stripper, remove more paint faster, making removing paint bearable.

Traditional Provence Furniture is usually made of walnut and either left a natural brown and polished to a high sheen, or painted. Pecan stains are found in the most elegant French homes.  For an authentic look, consider this stain first before others for that authentic Provence look.

Styled By:Mandy Keener Photographer:Nancy Nolan

At Home in Arkansas featured some beautiful photos of a home decorated around the old world interiors we see in Italy and France.  The house itself looks as if it were European, but in fact, this home is right here in the USA!  The homeowners wanted something country and rustic, borrowing from the classic looks found in France.

Here are some tips from the article:

“In the bath, we did limestone floors, but in a different way by insetting red Indian onyx. That red shows up in the French gothic revival altar from Avignon, which we used as a vanity. The kitchen island is inset with a single basin, extra-deep, bronze sink.”

The bathroom shows a fabulous cast iron bath with an exterior color matched to the paint on the bathroom walls.  ” We wanted it to appear old, as if it needed to be filled with water by hand. And the faucet is in the middle so you can lie on either end of the tub and look out over the balcony. That allowed us to take advantage of the wall space and to approach the bathroom in a different way. If it were my house, I’d enjoy a glass of wine there every evening.”

– Cottage Of The Week in France- Home Bunch

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