I don't know about you, but the home on the cover of the current Veranda issue had me melting. It is in France, but is it also the work of a designer and client working for 10 years to accomplish perfection. I totally sympathized with the owner's comment about living through the construction; nothing is quick, there are always issues that come up, and with the stone and plaster the dust stays around for months.
There are so many things I love about this home; it is a classic example of French style for one: it's stylish and appropriate but not in your face. It's well thought-out. It's natural, organic. proportioned. It's not high-low to be sure; it's all high. I loved the little unexpected touches like the Kuba cloths on the consoles in the dining room.
So many people want to have their home instantly "done", but what if you want your home filled with antiques as this one is? For us, it means we shop a lot around the region and buy what we like and will keep moving it around until it finds a perfect place; we bought a few Ikea pieces until we find a suitable antique. For the walls, we have bought (and brought) was was relevant to us and to the house; R loves Orientalist art, so we have Bedouins on horseback; this is now up in the grande chambre for lack of a better place; it's a small but vigorous piece:
We have a French haystacks painting from the 20's also upstairs:
And a camel pastel, signed and dated:
And a few mirrors like this sunburst one, which was outside the kitchen for a long time until I recently moved it to the grand salon:
All of the works on paper, including this antique map of Beaune from a local dealer, are in the chambre de jardin on the ground floor now; I hope they will be soothing against the seagrass walls:
I have a passion for portraits, including this little bugler (or is that a French horn?) found locally; we will put him along the stairwell eventually:
The house has stairs to all levels; they are original and each of the balusters are nicely turned; I keep them waxed and clean; in-between the petit salon and grand salon, we will hang "the cardinal:" a 16th C Italian portrait of Cardinal Gonzaga, from a dealer in Paris; you can barely see here that the wall behind is painted a mushroom color; this was my idea, to add a little contrast. The painting is not framed yet; I will bring that from the US this fall; framing is crazy expensive in France:
The focus of the grand salon is the fireplace and seating area; we use this a lot after dinner and during the day; you see the lovely antique paneling that is on the walls;
When you first come up the stairs though, you see R's honey colored desk straight ahead of you, which was purchased from Phillipe, one of our local dealers; it is really a vintage Deco dining table, but it works with the color of the wood, and R loves deco-anything. Plus he has room to spread out his papers. He used to say all the time "Let's do Deco." I'd say gently, "Let's not do Deco." We have some nice deco side tables and accents, but in the meantime R bought a house in CA and let his Art Deco fantasies be fulfilled there. This house is not the place for Deco. The matching lamp to the one on the ground floor is here; the painting is 19th C Scandinavian train station. This room is spectacular because it has double aspect windows; a pair on each side; here the light is streaming in later in the day; this side faces the rooftops of the area and the nearby church tower:
The central view of the room is the mantel, with white moulded panel on top; the mirror was found locally; I had the idea to mirror and light the side cabinets, for digestif drinks and glasses. Previously they were plain glass shelves.
The seating arrangement is not in its final form; we have moved the old green sofa seen in the first photo above to the side in favor of R's choice of a brown leather Ikea sofa. The green sofa has fine carved wood detailing, but the cost to have it rebuilt was crazy. We bought the red sofa downstairs since then, and I want to sell this green one now; but while we still have space it's just pushed to the side. The other chairs were bought locally and are worn but very comfortable, eventually to be recovered. Behind the old green sofa and in front of the window is a game table and a pair of lovely fruitwood chairs with tiger stripe silk velvet; you see them in the petit salon photos in the last post. The backgammon board is set up there.
The center of the room holds a large Chinese chest, where I store all my linens, topped by a pair of classic plaster busts I have had for decades and an 18th C map of Burgundy; the round table is from a local dealer and covered with a $20 bed spread from Urban Outfitters. The table is a mini-library, with loads of books on Burgundy and design, and silver candlesticks and objets like a small bronze dog statue; I want to cover the table in an embroidered tobacco silk but this is ok for now. The morning light in this room is also very pretty; in the summer the windows are open and the air here is very clean.
For now, I have the starburst mirror hung here above the far wall; I had thought to have a portrait gallery here but I'm stalled on ideas for now, and the portraits seem better suited for the stairwell. That is a false door in the far left; centuries ago, we were told, the buildings were interconnected here:
The 19th C sleighbed against the wall was found in Lyon; this is a terrible pic below, looks like someone just woke up from a nap, which they probably did... This sleeps two comfortably and is our extra sleep space for guests. But it is also the best spot to nap in the late afternoon, curling up on the pieced fox throw from Tony and vintage silk and wool yellow pillows made from some drapery panels I bought at the NY Flea many years ago. Others pillows have been added since then, so it looks filled out. The oatmeal and yellow cashmere throw is from Bliss and picks up the yellows.
When I look at this post now, I am sure that it will take us 10 years to find just what we need to make the house perfect! It's a little depressing looking at the photos and feeling like things don't look very put together, but that doesn't stop us (or our guests) from having a relaxing stay. As you see, there is no TV on the first three floors; we are too busy cleaning and moving furniture around to watch TV.