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Home sweet Parisian home, whether you live in Paris or not.
Ines de la Fressange is stepping into the sanctuary with her new book Maison: Parisian Chic at Home (see my profile posts of her previous style books here, here and here), and along with her co-author Marin Montagut, they are both taking readers inside their own homes in Paris as well as inside 13 other Parisian apartments (the founder of Sézane, the duo behind the French decor and candle company Astier de Villatte, just to name a few).
With the opportunity to review a copy prior to its release just this past Tuesday, my decor curiosities are deeply inspired as while there are many reoccurring themes that must be Parisian go-to decor ideas, there was much reaffirming of the ideas I saw this past summer both in Paris, but also throughout the countryside. Many of which are simple and inexpensive ways to add your signature style to your sanctuary whether you rent or own.
I have created a list of 21 decor ideas found throughout the book, and if more than just a couple of these ideas speak to you, I highly recommend picking it up as the photography by Claire Cocano is intimate and brilliant, and the insights from the homes’ inhabitants are insightful and offer even more creative ideas.
Most importantly, and this was something I spoke with a handful of people while I was in France, the goal with Parisian and even French decor, is not about achieving perfection. Rather it is about creating a sense of bienevue (welcome) to whomever enters, a sense of ease and the ability to live and live well amongst the four walls (and perhaps a terrasse). From the details of essentials in the kitchen, to the touch of the outdoors with ubiquitous bud vases, simple, thoughtful decor takes time and is unique to each individual who lives in a space.
1.Welcome a variety of textiles
Velvet, linen, hemp, damask silks are recommended by Ines de la Fressange for use on cushions, mattress toppers and other details about the home.
2. Add the light of candles
Recently a reader asked about my favorite candles, and I am happy to share. I couldn’t agree more with this decor suggestion as while having flattering and welcoming light from lamps is a wonderful idea, the natural movement of a flame is a lovely complement. Below is a list of my favorite candles:
3. Use your “Sunday-best” tableware every day of the week
Whether the handmade ceramics you love or the treasures you found at a brocante while traveling or a secondhand shop by perusing, use them and enjoy how the presentation when you sit down to dine elevates the flavor (it really can!).
4. Collect old, slender glass bottles for single cut flowers
I am gradually adding to my collection and loving what I am finding. And even better, it saves money as you don’t have to buy a full bouquet.
5. Use straw or raffia baskets (French market totes) in various sizes for storage
In the book, you’ll see a picture of Ines’ home closet in which she has multiple baskets storing socks (large), make-up and accessories (small).
6. Collect tools of your creative craft
Painter and co-author of Maison: Parisian Chic at Home, Montagut, collects painter palettes and arranges them into a collection or scene in his living space. Often found at garage sales for pennies, they would certainly provide much conversation and color in a home.
7. Keep your eyes open for details to add to your home
Perhaps it is an old farm door to add to your kitchen épicerie or tiles for a backdrop, you never know when a unique and signature find will be discovered.
8. Create a backdrop for everyday life
As shared about Ivan Pericoli and Benoît Astier de Villatte’s apartment – their decor approach, is to welcome antiques (they need not always be expensive, perhaps more readily found in Europe, but such can be the case here in the states – secondhand shops often have many gems) and create a reading nook, a welcoming kitchenette, use beautiful ceramic dishes for everyday uses such as displaying fresh fruit, etc. to elevate the everyday experience.
9. Choose vintage lighting fixtures
I tend to always look up and around when I enter a space and upon seeing signature lighting fixtures cannot help but smile. It is the attention to such details that reveals something lovely about the inhabitant that tended to the decor.
10. Collect and pair or group demijohns
I saw many demijohns during my trip this past summer, and three of them were beautiful arranged in Sharon Santoni’s cottage in which I stayed. Often they are sold with their wicker cover, but after removing the wicker, the green brilliance (there are many sizes and clear glass as well) adds a touch of life and elegance, as well as simplicity to a room.
11. Welcome handmade or handcrafted items into your home, especially your kitchen
While functional, these items are often quite beautiful and can be easily displayed for eyecatching decor.
12. A wall with many mirrors for multiple perspectives
Multiple homes featured in the book had a wall or a portion of a wall full of many different sizes of mirrors – one in a bathroom and the other in a living room.
13. Glazed terra-cotta jugs and carafes
Multiple purposes can be found in Provençal finds such as glazed terra-cotta jugs and carafes for wine, water and olive oil as they make a lovely presentation on the table as well.
~Olive & Branch Profile post
14. White walls, colorful decor
Morgane Sézalory, the founder of Sézane (France’s leading online clothing company – see my most recent post on their fall collection) swears by a white palette (walls, ceiling, etc.) and lets the rest of her decor be thoughtfully colorful.
15. Collect vintage tableware and display it, don’t hide it.
If you have plates, a tea/coffee set or anything made of ceramic or porcelain that you love, why not put it on display? Use it, of course as well, but when not in use, allow it serve as your decor as well.
16. Old wooden cutting boards are both functional and beautiful to display in groupings
Wooden cutting boards seem to be just about everywhere online – Food52, Esty, etc., and if you are looking for trays or additional surfaces to cut upon as well as serve food, this idea is a wonderful way to create a decorative touch as well as function on-demand.
17. Paint doors or window frames black and juxtaposed with green foliage
Depending upon the exterior or interior wall color, one apartment featured in the book had a beautiful black door with brilliant green wisteria draped about it during the summer months. The contrast was impressive.
18. Multiple bud vases filled with seasonal foliage or blooms
Sharon Santoni demonstrated this idea beautifully in her guest cottage this summer, and it immediately captured my attention. I love the uniformity of having the same varietal, but each having their own vase.
19. One long, open shelf in the kitchen for everyday essentials
Depending upon the layout of your kitchen, and if you do not have cupboard space, adding a single, long, shelf above your cooking space with beautiful brackets to hold it place is a simple way to add decor and function.
20. Select beautiful, simple glass storage containers for your food, and don’t hesitate to use them as decor.
As I shared this past January, German Weck glass jars in oodles of sizes and shapes were my winter investment as I organized my kitchen cupboards; however, any glass container with a lid can enable you to store beautiful your food. Keep your eyes open and mix and match.
21. Add a globe
According to the book, globes are making a comeback in the world of decor – small or large, with ornate stands or simple, artistic bases, if the addition of a globe speaks to you, now is definitely the time to start hunting for one.
Whether you are a Francophile or a lover of signature style in your home, as you can see, it is the individual’s tastes that will make the home beautiful. Having grown up with a mother who would take me to garage sales, and on other treasure hunts for the home, I thoroughly enjoy the details that I have welcomed into my sanctuaries over the years. Along with travel, when we have patience with the process and refrain from buying the same thing everyone else is buying from a big brand store, we share a piece of ourselves with not only our guests who cross the threshold into our homes, but we remind ourselves on a daily basis what inspires us and thus keep our creative side perpetually piqued and comforted as well.
To pick up your own copy of Ines de la Fressange’s new book, Maison: Parisian Chic at Home, click here.
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