Little Finds



Flea Market find

Just a little find…

a half set of 18th century French paste buckles

tucked in a velvet lined box….


flea market find

I carefully peeled back the

silk covered paper of the box lid lining

to find this lilting script….treasure!

Now to find an expert that will

get me behind that last bit of amber glue and paper!


Paste framed miniatures

Rare pair of French 18th c miniature paintings

in glittery paste frames…

When the world was lit by candlelight…

Aren’t these little beauties!

Found them in an old auction catalogue

and thought you’d like to see them.



More  18th c shoe buckles in More Finds here



Stripes, Florals, and Ruffles…


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World of Interiors June '05


World of Interiors June '05


World of Interiors June '05

And ruffles…

From Lillian Williams’ fabulous collection of 18th century French shoes…


Via World of Interiors June 2005

Photography Bruno Suet

Don’t worry…whatever goes out of style

comes back in..

Lest you doubt the depth of my obsession with

these dainty little marvels…

Earlier posts about 18th century shoes here

For 21st century update…see Sarah Klassen’s Haute Design post here

Temps Perdu


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18th century French Style

Lillian William’s flat in 1990’s New York…

A chateau apartment…a stop over on her quest to import

a great deal of 18th century France to the West Coast for her once

and forever fabulous, but now closed,  “La Vie de Soleil” shop in

San Francisco. I might have to blame my fascination with the 18th century

France on that wonderful fairy tale place..

Antique Swedish box

My collected group of French antique papers

in a robin’s egg blue 19th century Swedish box…

Ebay and auction purchases…the “Vente” paper from

French Country Home‘s burgeoning boutique here

Acquiring tangible bits of the past…one at a time…

French Script collage art

I do enjoy fooling around with copies of the script

and 18th century prints…like this heavily worked up coiffure…

From Love Letters post here

If you can imagine just how messy this process was…

you’ll understand the need for the textile below…

antique French textile

This c. 1790 Ladies powdering jacket

was auctioned of at Kerry Taylor auctions here

More at my Hairdressing post here

French 18th century antiques

Lillian William’s collection of ladies necessities…

Embroidered pocketbooks and buckles…

fans, thimbles and embossed metal sewing kit…

antique paste buckles

From earlier post More Finds here

Enjoying the 18th century from a safe,

well lit and less over-dressed perspective…

part of my own collection of antique buckles…

Antique French prints

More from Lillian Williams New York apartment…

circa 1990 World of Interiors ….

Walls mimicking the bright, saturated colors of the time…

Lillian, a passionate self taught expert on 18th century France,

was consulted for the gorgeous Dangerous Liaison’s film

with Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer…

which I hope everyone has seen…

Trouvaus auction item

18th century French chandelier

at recent auction…

I actually bid on this before realizing it was a mite too big for my office….

but the candlelight over my desktop would have been lovely….

18th century style

French Chateau doors…19th century…made for the theater?

Ambiance Antiques at 1stdibs


I’m only telling you about these because I have given up figuring

out where I could sneak these in….they’re up for grabs…

Many earlier posts on Lillian Williams here

From A La Refurb du Temps Perdu text Carol Prisant,

photography Michael Mundy World of Interiors 9/90

Ho Ho Ho

Christmas preparation Trouvais

After recently reading Vicki’s French Essence and Debra Shriver’s Stealing

Magnolias and French Kissed’s Favorite Things post here, and all the other blogs

lit up with their holiday finery….I thought you’d like to see what how my

Christmas decor is shaping up….



On the bright side… do you like my latest entry hall color? Tired of hoarding

paints, today I mixed all my leftover gray and taupe limewash paints together

and tossed them up while my husband cranked up the Christmas music and

clucked over what a messy painter I was.  The garland is for your benefit…

Hope you all have a wonderful week !


Christmas Blues and Chocolate



Cool teal tones wash over every surface in the butler’s pantry

of “Swan House” in Atlanta, massive covered silver platter …

This has such an “Upstairs Downstairs” look about it,

very “Gosford Park”…

Gosdord Park


If you haven’t already seen this film, its kitchen scenes are my favorite…

You’ll want to soak up every “British Country Manor” interior feature…

and then scurry down to your scullery to order your cooking staff to

whip up these gratifying doses of high grade chocolate. Or if you’ve

benevolently given the staff a few days off, try it yourself.

Molten Chocolate Puddings

5 1/4 oz dark chocolate

3 1/2 oz unsalted butter

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

thick (double) cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 355°

Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate is melted

and smooth. Place the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale. Gently fold in flour

and chocolate mixture and spoon into 4 lightly greased 1-cup capacity ovenproof dishes. Bake

for 12-15 minutes or until the puddings are puffed. Top with the cream to serve. Serves 4.


Trouvais kitchen

Individual souffle cups on my cabinet shelves…

Double Chocolate Cookies

4 1/4 oz dark chocolate, chopped

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 3/4 oz dark chocolate, extra, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 320°

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir

until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar for 8-10

minutes or until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat another 3-4

minutes. Stir the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and melted chocolate. Add the

extra chopped chocolate and stir to combine. Roll tablespoons of the mixture

into rounds. Place on baking trays lines with baking paper, allowing room for

the cookies to spread, and flatten slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes until slight cracks

have formed. Cool on wire racks. Makes 16.


Both recipes by Australian based author, food stylist, editor,  Donna Hay

click for online shopping site…

Trouvais agua tones

Vintage wide ribbons and grain sacks and toile…

Trouvais grainsacks with agua

All above from post last December…but just in the mood

for chocolate…intense blues…Gosford Park screen shots…

Trouvais lantern

A few good recent finds from sample sales…

One of a pair of huge zinc lanterns from Myra Hoefer

on One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag sale

and MarieBelle gift set from Gilt


Trouvais MarieBelle tea

MarieBelle…for the chocolate…teas…

but mostly for the gorgeous packaging….here

(Just as pretty…and a free gift from mother nature…

a carpet of moss outside my dining room…)

Fabric scraps from Cote Est…

more pretty brights here


Tim Walker blues

Tim Walker…

more here and here

Feeling the blues…in a good way…


Top photo Southern Accents ’06



In the Details



Antique Swedish

Porcelain kitchen at Thureholm…

Decorated in the 1740s

Walls, sideboards, doors decorated with scenes from

the Orient as a backdrop to the family’s collection of

blue and white porcelain imported from China…


antique Swedish porcelain


The recess above the decorative ledge was designed to hold a cup.

Busy these days on details and struck by the beauty of every

curve, every hue of this room….


The Swedish Room

Lars and Ursula Sjöberg

Photography Ingalill Snitt


Lars Bolander’s Swedish Design

Another view…page 9…


Happy Weekend


Trouvais bedroom

For those impatient readers….

the work crew…uhmmm….me…

is still working…

trouvais gray

Husband and both kids on vacation …

so I’m occasionally slacking on the job

Plaster architectural salvage

Here are  some paint dabs to show you

which way the wind is blowing….

My final choice gray for the master bedroom is a mix I made

of  Benjamin Moore White Heron and Pratt & Lambert Feather Gray

closest out of bucket paint is Benjamin Moore Athena…

Benjamin Moore Olympic Mountains also good…

Josephine Ryan

Essentially French by Josephine Ryan

photography Claire Richardson

Love all the movement and color fluctuation…

but eventually settled on soothing and calm…

I pulled out all my favorite bedding to make

sure whatever wall color I chose would be

able to adapt to a quick mood change..

Bella Notte aqua

from aquas and natural linens…

Bella Notte linens

to a whole range of grays…

Bella Notte

Even an inky graphite silk velvet quilted throw…

Trouvais bedroom gray

Neutral enough to be backstage to the outside garden, architectural salvage or

flea market finds, light enough to weather foggy weather and winter skies…

Enough color to embrace my antique barometer

so that it’s not floating unconnected on the wall…

but not so dark that it doesn’t stand out…

For MUCH more exciting goings on…

Mona of Providence Ltd Design is having a bookish give away


And Maryanne of Beadboard Country is having a trunk show and give away


Happy Bastille Day


Marie-Paul Pelle

Bouiliabaise and Clafouti on the menu tonight…

Sure wish I had this dress…the shoes…

perhaps the puppy….

Marie-Paule Pelle …from earlier post here

Bicorne hat

Happy La Fête Nationale to the French and French minded…

and anyone that wants an excuse to celebrate…

Bon Appetit! (why do I always hear that in

Julia Child’s lilting voice?)

Madame Issac Perriere



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cherries Trouvais


3 cups pitted cherries


1 and 1/4 cups milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour

Place the above ingredients in blender in order in which they are listed. Blend

at top speed for 1 minute, pour 1/4 inch layer of batter in baking dish or pie

plate* over moderate heat until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the

dish.  Remove from heat, spread the cherries over the batter, sprinkle with

an additional 1/3 cup sugar, pour the rest of batter on top and bake in

preheated 350º oven for about an hour. When a knife inserted into middle

comes out clean, it’s done.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm…

“The Clafouti (also spelled with a final “s” in both singular and plural) which

is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season is peasant cooking

for family meals, and about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine:

a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven.

It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm. ”

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child

c. 1965


A good recipe to have on hand in case you are not able to get

through all those cherries you picked the previous weekend!

* I’m nervous about heat cracking the baking dish on the stove top,

so I use my heavy cast iron Le Creuset pot



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Spring in full flower in Northern California…

From my garden in the cooler San Francisco bay area


emerging apples from early spring blossoms…


Ripening cherries…


foxglove’s enticing hues and patterns…

espalliered apple

Poppies and erigeron fronting an espaliered apple tree. Having a smallish garden,

I love placing fruit trees amidst roses and perennials. After my grandfather died,

my uncle, a polio survivor, had taken over the daily working of the ranch and orchards,

and I remember how keen he was on helping me pick out my first fruit tree, an espaliered

Bosc pear. He loved watching John Wayne westerns, and had equally as much swagger,

toughness, and kindness… He is one of many I miss this weekend…

walnut grove

Wide open canopy of a walnut grove at my mother’s ranch in the San Joaquin

valley less than two hours drive east into the heart of California…

I used to spend summers barefoot in these orchards, or up at dawn to grade

pears and peaches that were being sent off to markets or the local cannery…

My mother still has memories of walking these fields with her dad.

Memories can be so bittersweet…



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Lousi XV French lanterns

Louis XV style metal lantern style sconce…

one of two that flank my dining room French doors…

Because of the warbled old glass, you can just

barely make out the aqua candle inside…

18th century French Ikat

Throwing myself into change…finally upgraded my camera, my son switched

out my aging desktop computer for his homemade uber-computer. It is

wickedly fast and powerful and is making a decidedly loud hum at my right

elbow. He mentioned something about it needing new ball-bearings(!?!!) .

I tend to throw myself into change, full speed ahead. So all might go up

in a puff of technological smoke (probably me, not the computer)…

Bella Notte graphite

So in case the screen goes abruptly blank…

here are a few test photos of some favorite finds…

18th century French barometer

I’m on a bit of a “thing’ diet this spring.  Spring gardening always tempers my treasure

hunting impulse..the garden yields so many surprises of its own that I’m content

to count peony and rose buds.  Nevertheless, I  couldn’t resist this antique barometer

I found recently at at an auction. Made in Paris in 1763, it continues to amaze me that

it has passed centuries being settled on one wall after another…

Can’t help but be a little in awe of it…

Who peered into the tiny mercury filled vial on a

balmy summer evening, and what were they wearing?

Did they send someone to fetch them a shawl?

18th century French barometer

Who traced their fingers over the curves of the roses?

Planned a picnic, ordered raspberry plants to be set out or

a crop to be brought in…?

rococo tablescape

It fascinates me how antiques travel over time through countries and homes,

handed from one ardent admirer to the next. A conduit through which people

live their dreams and shape their lives, and then continue on bobbing along

in the stream of life until they enchant another owner…

Paris Cafe


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Stephen Jones John Galliano Voque

Stepping out of a Paris cafe swirled in coffee tones…

A romance in fawn and russet…

John Galliano mink-trimmed, floral embroidered

coat and kid gloves, Chanel brooch, velvet and tulle

hat by Stephen Jones for Galliano …

18th century French brocade top

18th century French embroidered silk blouse…

backed in linen, trimmed in green…

c. 1780

Bella Notte

My own Fawn Bella Notte …

Rose patterned Deluxe Marie, Whisper Linen, and Quilted Silk Velvet

French dressing room

Late afternoon shadows in my dressing room…

glints of gold, fawn linen duvet and silk balloon shade..

I’d like to imagine this is an attic room with

view across the rooftops of Paris…

French barometer c, 1763

French barometer

c. 1763

Carved and gilded carved roses and doves…

Par P. Gaffu ….Royal Paris

Limestone mantle

Cream coral topped carved limestone…

Yet another favorite picture…

Beautiful golden, cafe tones with an accent of crisp white

and indigo…

Designers Jenny Peters and Rachel Mbiango

Southern Accents March/April 2009

Top photo Vogue magazine Sep. 2007 here

Photographer Steven Meisel



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Peonies in the border garden

My hand me down camera is sensing that she will soon be replaced

and thus the “impressionistic” photos…Still the chaotic bowls of

lipstick pink “Kansas” peonies tumble prettily in the border…

painting a florid chorus of riotous full Spring. Other peonies are

pursed tightly, patiently, waiting their show…

18th century French barometer

And a glimpse of my newest find….

Made in Paris in 1763, this one weathered many seasons, many roses

and spring gardens…I have resolved lately to temper my temptations

for smaller finds, to make way for more significant ones.  And to wait, patiently,

until then. What treasure do you tuck into the corner of your dreams?

What tugs at your heart when you flip through books and magazines, go to

house tours or museums?For some of us its pretty china, lavish silver,

voluminous silks or the heavy hand of hand loomed linen, carved scrolls of

architectural salvage, miniature portraits, antique books, vintage watering

cans and farm tools.  Beyond peonies and spring borders and summer

sojourns, what thing do you love and wait for and why?

Happy weekend and happy hunting…

Old Finds


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French antiques with floral detail

I go in phases from great bursts of creativity to a conundrum phase….

like now, when I look at all my found treasures from over the years and

feel the urge to re-sort them. Often this is preceded by a new significant find

that I have to make room for…and then the older pieces are put in play…

Sort of like musical chairs….except that I don’t want any one

treasure to lose its seat!

French settee

I had just recently reupholstered this Louis XVI style chaise in a silvery blue peau de soie

a few years ago when I came across my SIGNED 18th century caned Louis XV canapé

here, back story here. A six foot long canape is not an easy item to tuck in just anywhere.

She has been in limbo for over a year, moving from kitchen to living room to dining room.

Usually awkwardly in front of something. So I’m thinking of moving Madame 18th century UP

into the master bedroom and Madame 19th DOWN to the dining room. I just don’t want to

hurt anything‘s feelings! When I was young I used to feel this way about my favorite

pajamas. I almost hated getting a new set and having to choose which one was to be

condemned to the drawer…

Bella Notte detail

Bella Notte Olivia pillowcase detail…

So I’m throwing everything up in the air (figuratively, of course)

and trying a new mix….you do that too, don’t you? Adding something new

is always a bit stressful…it shakes up the “world order” of one’s home…

there are always those “what was I thinking” self doubts, the rebalancing of the rest.

Outside a neighbor’s huge oak came down and barreled through a wide swath

of our side yard. Hadn’t planned on re-landscaping that area just yet. But with the

destruction comes the opportunity to create an even more beautiful area.

Change is good.

Antique c. 1820 console

I’ll show you my latest treasure soon… if it arrives mostly intact (silent prayer).

She’s old and going in the master bedroom….perhaps alongside the equally old canapé.

Will I look younger if I hang out with older things?

Antique French letters framed

Have a wonderful weekend….finding new treasures, loving your old treasure…

and maybe moving things around a bit….

Souvenir de Malmaison


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Antique French Roses

Sometimes I think I chose my antique roses as much for their names as their scent

or form, Souvenir de Malmaison c. 1843 at the back arch, Deuil de Dr. Reynaud

(otherwise known as Philémon Cochet c. 1862) at front. They have more than lived

up to their names and weathered late rains and hot summers with aplomb. I have

“pruned with a shovel” several old roses that sadly didn’t live up to their lovely

names in my garden… Varigata de Bologna, Charles de Mills, Madame Louise

Leveque…all lovely but not quite at home (it wasn’t them, it was me…)

peonies in a border

Here’s a still tightly wound herbaceous peony Kansas at back , and Sarah Bernhardt

in foreground…more difficult to grown in a Northern California garden than tree

peony varieties. I have over thirty plants that I fuss over, and am thrilled to get scores

of buds most years, but they are definitely not a high yield part of my garden. In the

midwest and in Ireland they are veritable weeds…but prima donnas in a hardly cold

enough micro-climate….



These showy gals showed up with bells on…

every garden need some carefree and pretty interlopers

Iris Pallida Varigata

A true friend….I placed Iris Pallida Varigata in my garden a decade ago…

puts on a lavender hued haze every spring and her glaucose striped swords

continue to add interest throughout the year….

Trouvais garden photos

In a corner between the house and the garden below…

Devoniensis c. 1838 at the pillar, Mme Isaac Pereire c. 1881

in foreground, modern Davis Austin rose Gertrude Jekyll at back …

As always…to be continued…

Note: I’ve changed the way I load my photos…

if you double click them you will get full page photos

Flowers and French Flea Markets


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Antique French Roses

A “best in show”  line up of my earliest roses…

A great weekend to garden and visit Flea Markets far and wide….

This weekend is Atelier de Campagne‘s container sale…

Earlier post here

I don’t know whether to ask for your luck in finding

something incredible, or to be able to leave without

having a terrifying tale to tell my husband…

Nevertheless…I will have my trusty camera

to share it all with you….

Florid Tones



Italian villa and gardens

From my files of all things garnet and glowing….

Sometimes colors just tease at me…beaconing me

to work them in to my home somehow….

Antique French silk brocade

An antique textile recently sold on Ebay

19th century French brocade…

18th century French shoes

Isabella de Borchgrave

Paper Illusions

Old French rose

Last year’s Madame Issac Perrier…

This year’s crop is just starting to flex their sepals…

once they reflex back the blooms are ready to pick

and bring their intoxicating scent indoors….

More old roses in French Garden Antiques here

Designer textilesDesigner textiles

Madeline Weinrib

Original handmade textiles….

French Script silk

Bejeweled Carolyn Quartermaine chairs…

all set for the performance…

Mozart script fabric …musical chairs….

Antiquities, French. raspberry reds

Michael Trapp’s home above his Connecticut antiques and garden shop…

Rooms to Inspire

Annie Kelly

Top photo House and Gardens April ’07

From Paolo Pejrone’s home in Northern Italy