Friday, January 20, 2017

Light and Texture in the French Attic

Welcome to my "French Attic" 
-- my private little upstairs space where I write my blog and read and daydream.
Please, come on up. 

The sun is slipping away so early these days, but I'm just not ready for these dark days.
So I'm making some changes in my office to make the most of the daylight hours. 

Here is a "before" picture.
Notice how the outdoors changes with the seasons. 

And here's the "after."

 I swept the sheer curtains to the side of the tall windows instead of tying them in the middle 
to let in more light. I even washed the windows (inside and out!). What a difference! 
Who knew they were so dirty?

Another change in this space was moving my big red leather chair and ottoman 
to face the windows instead of into the room. 
I wasn't sure how it would look until I lugged it around and tried it. Yes! It works!
It's a perfect spot for reading or just watching the noisy Canada geese fly by on their way south. 

Light and texture are two important design elements that bring a French feel to any space.
As the light outside changes throughout the day, this room is bathed in dramatic shadows.

I removed the shabby chic floral slipcover, revealing the rich red leather
that seems to feel more like Fall/Winter than the summery print did.
It's a simple change that gives the space an atmosphere of sensual warmth.

Draping a chunky white throw and an airy piano shawl over the back of the chair
also lends some interesting texture to the smooth leather 

A sheepskin and a textured blanket on the leather ottoman cozies up the space and says 
"put your feet up!"
(Loved this book; you might enjoy it too.)

Roxy thinks this window seat is a good place to watch for squirrels . . .

or maybe take a little afternoon nap.
She blends in so well, sometimes I can't find her nestled in the blankets.

The top of a red mid-century modern stand in the corner adds a nice shiny accent 
and holds some of my favorite finds including 
a vase of white silk flowers and a vintage beaded compact.

On the opposite wall, an old wicker planter corrals favorite magazines 
and displays my collection of monogrammed linens. 

And a stack of vintage suitcases, a poster of Venice and an old hall tree in the corner 
makes me dream of traveling somewhere exotic in the winter months to come. 

My "French Attic" faces east and the morning light pours into this room, 
the windows unfettered by curtains and the glass sparkling in the sunlight.
I can watch the silent snow dressing my street in white in the morning
and the full moon floating up over the rooftops like a giant silver balloon in the evening.

As I watch the day drift by my French Attic windows,
I find a peaceful solitude in this room of my own.


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Transitioning from Christmas to Winter Decor

As we put away our holiday decorations for another year, it's easy to transition from Christmas 
to winter decor.  We store our Christmas trees, mangers, Santa hats, and stockings 
but are there some decorations we can leave out and enjoy for a few more months?
Yes, please. 

Outdoors, after the Christmas lights come down, try using some of your garden accessories 
with some left-over greenery in your front porch urns for a fresh wintry look. 

Snowshoes and ice skates slide easily from the holidays into a wintry foyer. 

Table centerpieces are easy to transition. 
Just remove your vintage holiday collectibles and add some pine cones or greenery. 
Antler sheds connect us to the outdoors 
and make us feel like we're in a snowed-in mountain lodge.

I loved adding red satin bows to Ron's silver bells for Christmas this year. 
So much so that I just couldn't pack them away. 
Instead, I took a few out of the windows and mixed them in with my kitchen ironstone.

A grouping of white candles in silver candlesticks
reflects a warm wintry feel in an old dining room mirror. 

The display on the console table didn't change at all after Christmas.
I think the white palette still works well with my ironstone and other white accessories
and I think it looks more wintry than Christmassy.
Besides, it was so pretty, I just couldn't dismantle it.

So, if you love your holiday decor like I do, take a second look around 
and see how you can mix it up to enjoy in the winter months ahead.


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Friday, January 6, 2017

Favorite French Country Posts for 2016

As we slip into a new year, I thought it would be fun to look back at 2016
 at some of my favorite French Country posts that you may have missed.
Some are in the top-viewed ranks; others are simply my personal favorites. 
To read more about each post, just click on the link.

This is my all-time number one most-viewed post . . . and also one of my all-time favorites. 
Tiny but with a lot of French soul. 

Old books add charm and warmth to a room, no matter what style it is. 

This chippy old farm table stole my heart.

A mix of cottage style plus formal design and voila!

Everyone needs an LBB, right?

Miss Roxy had to be in one of my 2016 faves. 

Can't go wrong with ironstone -- a classic.

I can't wait til spring. 

Even if you don't buy anything, it's fun to check out the insides of old houses.

Bringing the outdoors in -- how refreshing!

Looking back recaptures fond memories and teaches us a few lessons along the way
while looking forward brings exciting new challenges and fresh ideas.
I hope you'll stay tuned for a fun year in 2017.
Peace, joy and love to each of you! 


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Friday, December 30, 2016

What's your Design Horoscope for 2017?

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, most people think it's fun and entertaining to read them. I've culled some design-oriented information from various Internet sources about horoscope signs 
for 2017 and, if it's on the Internet, it must be true. Right?
Plus, I added a few extrapolations of my own.
So, I offer these horoscope design profiles for the new year . . .  just for fun! Which one are you?

Aries: March 21-April 19
Loves the outdoors and physical fitness. Ideal home: a townhome complex with amenities.  Design profile: Low maintenance, clean lines, efficient layout, fire elements (candles, fireplace). Color: Reds.

Taurus: April 20-May 20
Is practical, loves good food. Ideal home: charming cottage in older neighborhood. Design Profile: Attached to material possessions, enjoys rest and relaxation, warmth, touchable elements. Color: Greens and browns.

Gemini:  May 21-June 20
Loves to party, action-oriented. Ideal home: loft in the city. Design Profile:  Imaginative, likes change, rearranges furniture frequently, avoids clutter, feeling of space. Color:  Yellow.

Cancer:  June 21-July 22
Makes you feel at home, home is your sanctuary. Ideal home: vintage fixer-upper. Design Profile: Thrifty, lots of light, antiques, family heirlooms, old garden furniture, water features. Color: Grays and greens.

Leo:  July 23-August 22
Loves to entertain, a joy to be around. Ideal home: A mansion would be nice! Design Profile: Appreciates luxurious furnishings, superior quality, ultra modern. Lavish, loves drama. Color: Orange and yellows.

Virgo: August 23-September 22
Excellent eye for detail, often architects or designers.  Ideal home: Mid Century Modern. Design Profile: Good sense of space planning, a place for everything and everything in its place, timelessly elegant. Colors: Greens, browns, dark blues.

Libra: September 23-October 22
Social and popular, loves beauty.  Ideal home: Eastern-style apartment with a view. Design Profile: High standards, minimalist, understated design, exotic, loves flowers. Colors: Pastels.

Scorpio:  October 23-November 21
Mysticism, magnetic, intense. Ideal home: Attic loft. Design Profile: Desires privacy, darker surroundings, ethnic themes, opulent bedroom. Colors: Reds and purples.

Sagittarius: November 22-December 21
Loves freedom and open spaces. Positive, optimistic. Ideal home: Farmhouse or mountain cabin. Design Profile: Prefers relaxed, slightly messy design, eclectic, old furniture, dim lighting.  Colors: purples and blues.

Capricorn:  December 22-January 19
Caring, success-oriented.  Ideal home: High-rise condo. Design Profile: Conservative taste, structure, form and durability important. Partial to luxurious window dressings. Colors: earthy tones, browns and greens.

Aquarius: January 20-February 18
Intellectual and independent, loves a sense of freedom. Ideal home: Large spacious house. Design Profile: Has an intellectual approach to design, new and inventive, mixes modern with traditional. Colors aquas, blues, turquoise.

Pisces: February 19-March 20
Mystical, eccentric, compassionate.  Ideal home: A Yurt or a Tiny House. Design Profile: Great ideas, unfussy furniture, close to water, relaxed atmosphere, ethereal, well organized. home provides an anchor. Colors: greens.

There you have it. Does your profile match your actual design personality? 
Will you keep some of these characteristics in mind as you enter 2017? 
Or is it all a bunch of nonsense?

As for me, my profile (Cancer) hit the nail on the head perfectly.
My upstairs walls are all painted gray-green, I love antiques, and thrifty is my middle name! 
Happy New Year to all!


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Friday, December 23, 2016

A Lifetime Ago -- A Gift from the Past

Recently, I bought a big stack of old magazines for a couple of dollars in an antique mall.
They were all Victoria magazines from the last twenty years or so.

I have become quite a fan of Pinterest but I must say I LOVE magazines.
I love to hold them in my hands and take my time studying every detail of each picture.

While I was paying for these old issues,
the cashier told me the man who was selling them had recently lost his wife
and that he hoped they would go to someone who would enjoy them as she had.

I almost started crying right there in the mall.
It was so touching, I vowed to take care of them for her.

Now, as I wade through the stack, rationing them out slowly each day so they'll last longer,
I'll occasionally spot a ragged edge where a page has been torn out.
I smile, remembering the woman who had owned these magazines, and wonder who she was.
Sometimes, depending on the missing page, I can imagine what she might have been like.

If it's a tea-time article, I picture her at an antique table pouring tea for her friends,
using her grandmother's china and serving dainty finger sandwiches and fancy pastries.

If it's a story about decorating a cozy room,
 I can see her curled up in a comfy chair, reading a good book with a cup of tea.

Maybe it's a travelogue piece about Paris. Then I'm sure we would have been kindred spirits,
both yearning for a magical experience in a beautiful European city. 

Perhaps a garden photo has been carefully removed from the magazine and I know
she must have been an enthusiastic gardener, clipping ideas for next year's perennial bed. 

Sometimes, when I go to an estate sale, I feel sad when I see those things
that were meaningful to the previous owner.  I wonder about her but quickly move on
as I know I'll take care of those special things that I purchase as if they were my own.

So I pack up her ironstone or her vintage silverware and maybe a stack of decorating magazines
and I send her a thank you on the wind with a warm hug. 

"Don't you worry my friend," I whisper. "Your prized possessions are safe with me.
I'll take care of them for you."


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