My French Country Brocante


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My French Country Home shawl

Sharon, from the blog My French Country Home, has a wonderful

eye for beauty, a penchant for treasure seeking, a picture perfect

home in Normandy…and has just filled her online brocante

with some extraordinary finds. As Sharon puts it:

Everything you see for sale here is old, and French.

Each item has a story to tell.

My French Country Home 18th c sleeves

18th c sleeves

Her latest finds come from a fine old family home in Brittany…

Exquisite treasures from the 18th through 20th century…

Like this pair of intricately embroidered engageantes that

would fall in a foot long froth at the sleeves of refined

ladies and gentlemen in the eighteenth century…


18th c printed cotton bodice

A precious 18th century printed cotton bodice

strewn with bright floral sprays

in the Indiennes style…more here

18th c printed cotton bodice

It was wonderful to be able to talk with Sharon

by phone the other day…she is so excited

to have been able to procure such a

wonderful collection…

18th c printed cotton bodice

A similar piece from one of my favorite books, Toile de Jouy

A late 18th century dress bodice in small checked pattern,

the lining was made from an old floral print bodice…

Antique clothing was often reworked into newer items…


Toile de Jouy

Another example from Toile de Jouy

An engageante extending from an

exuberantly floral sleeve…

18th c embroidered cloth

My favorite of Sharon’s pieces…

This breathtaking 18th tablecloth is festooned with

floral flourishes, crowns and dragonflies…

Fine imported cotton…more rare in 18th c France than linen…

18th c French fine cotton embroidered cloth

Pause…deep breath…

18th c French fine cotton embroidered cloth

I can imagine this hanging over a bed…or framed…

as far away as possible from the cranberry sauce!

Just outstanding….


Toile de Jouy Riffel & Rouart

18th century block print of roses and lilacs on cotton

in a sample book at the Musée de la Toile de Jouy here

The enduring love of gardens and the natural

world from across time…

Antique French nightdress

A lovely nightgown…

One of several antique clothing items

in Sharon’s brocante…

Visit My French Country Brocante here

My French Country Home

Sharon carefully launders the pieces

to gossamer perfection…

Her photography captures the

ethereal nature and fine details of all

the items…


Antique French fabric

L’enfant au dauphine c. 1765-81

Also at the Musée de la Toile de Jouy

Peak at the permanent collection here


Oberkampf at the door of the factory shop Labouchere gouache on paper

Reams of dyed linens…

How absolutely lovely…

Toile de Jouy

Printed Textiles in the classic French Style

Mélanie Riffel & Sophie Rouart

Marc Walter photography



Point of View



Recently Paris Apartment here and Gypsy Purple here have

posted this gorgeous photo of a pelmet trimmed, ciel de lit topped,

and luxuriously draped 18th century French bed…

Have you made up your mind about the couple that

lives in this house?

Though it’s made its way through the blog-o-sphere…I cropped

and posted this photo in July of ’09 in Red Burnished Neutrals here.

I was entranced by the gorgeous photography…and narrowed

in as close as possible to study all the details…

Of course…from my point of view…

The advantage of scanning your own photos is that it allows

you to zero in on the face cast in bronze at the table leg’s intersect…

or the artlessly off-center sketched nude beyond the doorway…

The glowing red of an antique leather chair

and voluminous carmine curtains….

Martin Morrell photography

Un-cropped…here is the original photo by Martin Morrell

A striking balance of soothing neutrals and overt avant-garde…

Have you changed your mind about the home-owners?

Another view of the bedroom…an 18th century Italian chandelier…

An ottoman covered in old French fabric and 17th century walnut wardrobe

from Piedmont. A Paula Rego painting…part of the owner’s

large collection of modern art….

Chintzes from the Tree of Life range by Braquenié

for Pierre Frey in a guest bedroom….

Dining room

The ballroom…added in the 1920’s…

More antique linen at the windows, 17th century chandelier

from Genoa and 18th century chairs from Turin…

Almost every view shown is painted with soothing neutrals…

yet adds a tiny bit of drama…

Or maybe not so tiny….

Red glass vase from Venice filled with

flowers from the garden on a stone plinth table…

Tea-soaked antique linen slipcovers…

A Martin Malone painting with 1930’s green leather chairs…

So…opening up the view a bit reveals quite a bit more

about the home’s heart…

What does your home say about you?

Petersham House

The 17th century home of Gael and Francesco Boglione

who created London’s Petersham Nurseries next door…

Petersham Nurseries click here

Vogue Living Australia May/June ’09

By the Light of the Sea

Daraux By the Light of the Sea

Jean-Loup Daraux

By the Light of the Sea

Photographs by Mario Ciampi

Daraux By the Light of the Sea

The colors and textures and exquisite details captured

in this gorgeous book have inspired me as I’ve worked on

my husband’s study. Love the use of antique hardware

and reclaimed wood. The sonorous quality of deep

natural tones balanced with just the right amount of

color and light…



Daraux By the light of the Sea

The artist, sculptor, collector Jean-Loup Daraux writes:

“I mixed contemporary with antique, languid serene colours with

others that were audacious, light refined materials with the raw, wood

and concrete, mosaics and metal. And of course I filled it with objects,

selected for their unlimited poetry.”


French design book

Detail of riveted door and antique French bronze watering can…

Jean-Loup again… “I love iron because it lies between the flame and

the anvil, because it comes down to us from the beginning of time”…

and “how can one not be enchanted by the successive repairs

on this very old watering can that I have had for so many years. “

Trouvais 18th c French bronze watering can


A detail I hadn’t really noticed until I recently found my own little

18th century French watering can (above) …

It reminds me of the French term “belle laide”…literally

“beautiful ugly”. And, as usual, I wonder where it’s been…

French Design book

You can catch glimpses of his antique watering cans

in several photos…I love homes that give a  sense of

the passions of those who live there…

French design


Here’s a larger photo that shows how all the elements are balanced…

the touch of purple…the verdigris of old copper in the cabinet…

the rough with the smooth…

French design book


Gorgeous composition of hard lines, strong color,

rough antiquity, Jean-Loup’s modern painting…

French design


Traditional study elements…the ladder, leather club chairs, a trio of

classically moulded bookcases, simple drapery hardware…

Beautifully underscored by the modernity of rough etched

concrete floors, the antiquity of over-sized antique crystal and urn…


French design book

In a foreword on Jean-Loup Daraux’s style, Guillaume Tournier writes:

“…to decorate a home is not to “dress” it, but to give it life, to fill it

with dreams and the irreplaceable: humanity, friendship and beauty.”

Of course I’m only scratching the surface of this beautiful book…

Lightly written…it’s a bit like poetry…and I find something new in

it every time I look through it…




Tall, Dark, and Handsome


Trouvais Study redo

Yes, I know you thought I was doing my bathroom…

but the plumber was cautiously, assiduously, slowly moving my shower pipes

and I didn’t want to lose my little crew so we started in on my husband’s study….

We’ve lived here for 18 years, but there’s something about being an empty nester

that just lights a fire under you. Plus, my husband  was going out of town for a week.

Drum roll. I’m sure you know the feeling….

You can see here how dramatically the roof cascades from a lofty 10 feet height

to 6 feet, with 7 additional feet of storage space beyond the wall. (You can also see

me ruminating on a chandelier for the space!). One has to hunch over to drag out

boxes out of the storage space so they tend to be forgotten in the furthest reaches…


Trouvais Study redo

My husband loved his desk but was resigned to give it up…at 80″ X 42″ it took

up alot of space on the floor. We discussed selling it or cutting it down to size,

perhaps with a drawer front. I wanted to make it easier for him to utilize the

storage space  and considered ordering a bank of cabinets to back their 24″ depth

into the wall. In  the end it just seemed easier, and less expensive, to keep the

desk and create a niche from the storage area, with deep shelves on either side…

Trouvais study redo

I had them add 4 plugs on each side and 2 recessed lights on dimmer…

The wood floors needs to be extended…I still have lots of painting to

do on shelves but am waiting for my husband to return to cast his vote on

whether to go dark or light in the niche…


I had a small sample pot of Farrow and Ball’s Charleston Gray….

and though this a second story, tree shrouded back room…

the dark, muddy gray just worked perfectly. I spent the day triple coating

the room…with a crisp Benjamin Moore White Diamond on

the trim…

Trouvais Study redo

My husband’s grandfather’s golf clubs in a vintage metal ice cream

container. Still lots to do before it’s certifiably handsome…

but it’s coming along. Cherry wood is usually not my thing

but it looks gorgeous with the Charleston Gray walls…

to be continued….

Have a wonderful Sunday…enjoy your extra hour!


Out is In


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House and Garden '06 Emma Jane Pilkington

Emma Jane Pilkington

House and Garden ’06

More here


Jean-Loup Daraux


A collection of 18th century French watering cans…

Jean-Loup Daraux

By the Light of the Sea

Bobby McAlpine bathroom

Bobby McAlpine

more here






Trouvais old roses


Big fan of moving the garden indoors…

Photo above my garden in the Spring…

Madame Ernest Calvat

Antique Bourbon rose c. 1888

Miss it already….



New Baths with Old Themes


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Barry Dixon Beautiful Baths BH&G '06

Barry Dixon

Busy…started second project to keep my

crew busy while the plumber took two days

to reroute lines…



Barry Dixon BH&G '06

Wonderful to have the weekend to regroup and daydream through

my vast (!) collection of old inspiration photos…

Check out Barry Dixon’s site here for more

of his portfolio…


Barry Dixon BH&G '06

Love the way the mosaic continues up the walls…

and antiquity tossed into the mix…


Barry Dixon Met Home June '08

I’m trying to go curb-less…

but meeting with resistance…



More Barry Dixon here

Top 3 photos from Beautiful Baths BH&G ’06

Last photo Metropolitan Home June ’08