How to add French Country Charm to your home ...
The absolute first rule of French Country Style: Respect the Heirloom!
A true County French home is light and airy, filled of soft fabric, natural wood tones, wrought iron, copper kitchenware, and rustic chandeliers, coupled with antiques, vintage and shabby chic items that have been handed down from family member to family member for centuries.
I traveled to the French countryside a few years ago and was mesmerized by the massive fields of sunflowers growing everywhere, with every face fixated on the sun. The villages were such a joy, often surrounded by pastures filled with sheep, or graceful vineyards sprawling.
Most villages offer a market one day a week allowing residents of surrounding villages to always have a wide selection of fresh foods, flowers and other fare. I must admit I simply loved the markets and the simple, healthy way of life in the French countryside.
Although France is dotted with castles, homes in the countryside are mostly modest. The centuries old rustic architecture most often displayed natural wooden beams in the ceilings and walls of old brick or rock displaying their weathered surface. Large rock or brick fireplaces are not only for heat but cooking.
Plaster walls were layered with the remains of multiple colors of paint, always muted and ranging from creamy white, soft pink, pale yellow, baby blues, and pale greens. On one episode of HGTV's Bargain Block, a Detroit home to restore came with a dining room of many colors of flaking paint. Designer Keith chose to scrape the flakes, sand until smooth, and left the walls as they were ... a way which appears in many European homes today. I loved it and so did the new homeowner.
One thing that makes a French Country home unique is the fabrics. Toile de Jouy is prominent featuring landscapes or figures printed mostly in one color. Pair these soft linen fabrics with stripes, plaids, checks, ginghams and small florals.
Wouldn't the bench below be beautiful at the foot of a bed.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
Comfort comes first when it comes to furnishings. Upholstered chairs and sofas with lots of pillows to curl up with, graceful chests and tables rustic or gently carved, often pine, natural, whitewashed or painted, but always showing the patina of their years of use in the home. Chairs are traditionally mismatched surrounding dining tables and upholstered chairs and benches are random styles as well.
You will also find wrought iron found in a sturdy pot rack or table legs. Who could resist the curved legs of a French Baker's marble topped table! Chandeliers may be iron or wood featuring candelabra bulbs, the kind that have been crafted for centuries in European design.
Bedrooms are a soft mix cozy bedding with wooden or iron beds, sometimes an old gate standing in as the headboard. And chandeliers are never strangers to a warm French boudoir. At the windows, you will find soft lace or small prints with dainty flowers.
The timeless style of French Country comes from the accessories. A balance of functional and heirloom accessories, pretty table linens, hints of gold, lots of art for the walls including landscapes and portraits, glass bottles, baskets, ceramic pots and cut flowers and greenery everywhere. Copper cookware is always present. Herbs are usually found growing in the kitchens which are mostly composed of individual furnishings and work tables rather than builtins. Food is prominent and usually fresh in the French countryside and you usually find bowls of fresh fruits and vegetables displayed ready to prepare.
Bistro tables and chairs and elaborate dining tables as well are waiting outside of French Country homes ready for a feast or to take a moment to appreciate the surroundings. Don't forget the linens!
Let's take a slideshow tour of a few French Country homes. To see even more and for credits of photos, go to my Pinterest board by clicking here. Click on any photo below to enlarge.
What better place to search for furniture or great accessories than at the Lakewood 400 Antiques Market! The Market is open the 3rd weekend every month and is a glorious treasure hunt sure to delight. You absolutely never know what you may find there! For info Click Here!
Jan Jones is a Designer, Artist, and the Author of
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