Thursday, January 18, 2007


Oh how my neck aches whenever I return from a buying trip in France. The French always say you can tell a tourist, because they are always looking up. After 33 trips, you would think the wonder of it all, would have subsided. NOT! The windows, the roofs, gables, downspouts, over-door decorations and moldings make my heart flutter. I am having an affair of the heart, in France, a love affair with ZINC.

My eye is now trained to always be on the lookout for that soft pale grey milky patina that may present itself as a window frame, a roof finial, body bucket, or a small piece of ornamentation.

Zinc is just another one of those wonderful things that can only be found in Europe in it's natural state.
Europeans wanted a material that would last (a zinc roof lasts for 100 years) and something that would endure harsh weather conditions. Many European cathedrals and old buildings still have the original roofs.

Natural zinc has a shiny metalic appearance which after about 18 months, becomes dark grey and matt. With age it continues to patina and has a somewhat chalky appearance. Also, no need to worry should it get scratched, in time it will repair itself. It is also lightweight and was easy to mold into elegant designs and architectural shapes.

Zinc is also safe. It does not rust and is a very natural material. Your body also needs zinc, so there was no need to worry about drinking collected rain water.

Zinc is a wonderful interior design element, because it has texture and the muted grey colour works with any palette. It works to bring the outdoors in and has a pure look.
So many ways to use it. The next time you are looking for an embellishment over a door, fireplace, or interesting border, consider antique zinc.
I always have pieces of zinc. Trim, window frames, watering cans, flower pots and roof finials.
If you want to get creative, I also have a large selection of zinc fragments that are great to use to embellish window treatments, include in wall treatments, or to use above pictures.
Feel free to call us anytime if your looking for that special something.
We have a large selection of country french antiques, traditional and shabby chateau.
A bientot

Monday, January 15, 2007

French Bistro/Brasserie Kitchen

Oh how sweet life is when your sitting in your favorite French Bistro, enjoying an aperitif with friends and discussing the events of the day.
There is a romance about France, so it's no surprise that we would want to re-create that ambiance in our homes.

For those of you looking for decorating ideas for a French Bistro Style Kitchen, here are my tips, directly imported dans ma tete.

Faux painting can instantly create the aged look, then, why not add some special touch with wall words. Visit for great ideas. They even have quotes with French translations.
For window treatments consider: an awning (perhaps from an old shutter), an antique iron window guard in the top or bottom, a valance from vintage french linen napkins.
Most kitchens in France have open shelving rather than hanging cabinets. Consider glassdoors if you have exisiting cabinets.

French iron chandeliers are "devine." Outdoor lanterns also work over sinks or islands.
Old French cuisine signs would be a nice touch. These are available on Ebay or at

Consider using vintage French jam jars instead of tumblers. They reflect light beautifully.
They will also hold your favorite Bordeaux, votive candles, or veggie sticks.

No French kitchen is complete without the wine rack. Don't forget when serving the wine, serve the eldest woman first, working your way down, according to age and then the men. That was my first lesson in France.

Bon bon verres and baskets are great to decorate any space you may have above your cabinets.

Bon Appetite

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Smell the Roses"

On one of my first buying trips in France, at the "Puces du Canal" in Lyon, I met a French
antiquariess, who would become one of my best friends, Genevieve. She helped me load a truck that day that 3 other people had attempted and said, No Way, would it all fit. Well, when you tell a woman you can't do it, that determination sets in. That was the day I learned "Russian Doll Packing."
That was 8 years ago. Since then, Genevieve has taught me a lot about French antiques, negoiating, the best places to buy, French culture, AND how to stop and smell the roses along the way.
Some of my best moments have been sharing good conversation while savoring Genevieve's Paella in her courtyard.
The stucco wall has a painted mural of Venice. Genevieve and Maurice honeymooned there 30 years ago. Although the elements have taken their toll, the beauty still remains.
And as you can see, it's impossible not to "Smell the Roses."