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