Sunday, September 28, 2008

anglais et français

In the early 90's I was driving through the winding hills
of Lancashire County, England, in search of the
village, my ancestors called home. Traveling the
pastoral landscape, I understood why they chose
Kentucky for their new home, in America.
There is a remarkable resemblance between
the two landscapes.
A twenty minute drive east of Louisville, you
find yourself surrounded by rolling acres of
pastures covered in bluegrass, an area
known as the Equestrian Capital of the world.

The horse barns are fit for the Queen's mares and
rightfully so, since Queen Elizabeth II's mares are
sired in Kentucky.

The life and scenery resembles that of the English
countryside and you feel like you have walked into
the world of Ralph Lauren. There is probably even
a fox hunt or two, taking place in the woods.

The quaint little town of Shelbyville, aka the Saddlebred
Capital, sits between Louisville and Lexington.
A picturesque town of civil war era homes and Victorian
storefronts line Main Street.

Shelbyville is a place where barley twist and
Staffordshire are hunted like fox, fireplaces are
flanked in wingchairs, and mahogany rules.

There is a fabulous Fine English Antique dealer in
town, Wakefield Scearce located at Science Hill,
which was once, one of the nations most prestigious
girl's preparatory schools.
Tourists come by the bus loads, especially during
the holidays, to view the rooms decorated in
period pieces and visit the basement vault, overflowing
with silver.

Well, the time has come for this lovely little town
to know some "Joie de Vivre".
My cousin recently purchased this building on
Main Street and will open the "Antique Market"
in late October.
European Antique Market will have a large
presence there and I hope to acquaint the town
with all the Louis's!

With the freshly updated facade, its now time to move inside. Tomorrow we start the "morning till midnight" merchandising. I'll be posting photos of our progress. We sit in between two other malls that offer mostly English and American primitive, so it is exciting that we will be a bit unique with our French antiques and brocante.

You can see it is pretty much a bare shell now. It will be an antique mall, so any dealers interested in renting space, feel free to contact me.

I might have to leave a bit early one day and drive a bit further east, to Versailles, as Keeneland opens October 3rd. I try to visit Churchill Downs and Keeneland at least once a year to participate in some Bluegrass culture. Keeneland makes for a wonderful way to spend a nice Autumn day, as it has to be one of the most beautiful turf racetracks in the country.

I even have my new outfit picked out. Ralph Lauren of course. Derby is about hats and the Keeneland fall meet is about boots!

All I need to do is add the French scarf and the
Louis Vuitton purse. :)
I think the English and French look go together quite well, don't you?
I just hope Shelbyville thinks the same!
Bisou and have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brocante et depot ventes

Two of the first words I learned in French.
Brocante (vintage) is not an easy word to say.
When you don't pronounce that guttural air (R)
sound, the French have not a clue what your
talking about. More than once, I've gotten blank
stares from the locals when asking where I
could find brocante shops.

Photo courtesy Art et Decoration

The Depot Vente (similar to our consignment shops),
sell used product. It can be any type of second hand
product. Took me a while to learn that though.
Lots of dry runs pulling into used car lots when I
spotted those signs. I finally caught on.
They can be some of the best places to pick up

Eventually you learn the ropes. You learn that "Vendu"
(Sold) is not someones last name and the correct way,
to say, "table de jeu". That is a whole nother story.
I've been lost in France more times than I can
count, although that is not a bad thing. However,
I can always find my way to L'Isle sur la Sorgue.
The best antiquing town in France. If your in
Provence it is a must!

Photos via Lisa-Antiquites

While your there, be sure to visit Lisa-Antiquites'.
A collection of fabulous French antiques and
Brocante, all with that "to die for" patina.

L'Isle sur la Sorgue is a picturesque village and an
antique lover's paradise. There is a market every
If you don't make it to France and your this side
of the pond, perhaps you can come to Kentucky.
I promise you will feel as though your in France.

These are a few of my French finds.
Architectural pieces, religious artifacts, paper bound
books, zinc wine cask labels and of course, the bust!

Boulangerie baskets, grain sacks, demi-johns and all
those wonderful Country French accessories.

Artist boxes, pottery, hanging pot racks and roosters.

Bergeres, antique mirrors, patisserie tables, absinthe glasses and signs.

Tole trays, mannequins, rustic buffets, bamboo, armoires
and sconces.

More roosters, more chairs, vaisseliers and all
things country!
Really would love to meet you some day!

Bisou mes amis!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Portfolio des Pastels

Maybe I should have named this Vendredi Visuals.
I wanted to share with you some typical Country French
rooms decorated in white and pastel color schemes.
I think you'll like them.

I love this Louis XV buffet deux corps
(buffet of two bodies).
These are great in any room of the house and just a
side note here, I happen to have one just like it, only
white with hints of a buttery yellow underneath.
Don't you just love those French metal doors?
They really make a statement when used in interior

A fireplace in the style of Louis XVI, what's not to love.
The chandelier is probably a reproduction, maybe from
Niermann Weeks or Aidan Gray.
We also carry Aidan Gray, so give us a call if you are
interested in their product.

Goes to show that all you really need is an
18th century gilt mirror and a French chandelier to
have a stunning room.
Louis XV style canapes are nice too!
Oh, another one of these fabulous Country French kitchens.
No built in upper wall cabinets, a farm style sink and a
Louis XVI style table serving as a work island.
I could mince garlic all day here.
An antique druggist cabinet complete with apothecary jars.
I love the tapered candles resting in the ice bucket and the
collection of white ironstone tureens.
Did you notice all the glasses are stemware? Great idea,
to serve your water and tea from stemware. It saves
that nice antique table from water rings. If you do
get water rings and they haven't penetrated the wood,
mix a little lime juice with cigarette ashes and Viola!
They instantly disappear.

A Louis XV style bed, dainty chevets and a draped corona.
Can't get any more French than this.
Another French signature. Boiseries painted in
coordinating colors. I have finally finished painting
all the recessed doors at my shop to resemble boiseries.
Love those little French touches.
Of course, no maison is complete without a bust or a piece
of statuary.
And no post complete without the plug.
We always have a large inventory of Louis XV and
Louis XVI styles, so if your looking for that special
French antique or French accessory, feel free to
contact us.
Bisou and I hope you have a beautiful weekend!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

la ligne invisible

Several years after leaving my corporate job to pursue my
passion, I was taking part in a survey. I came across the
How do you spend your free time?
I stared at the question, a big grin came across my face,
and I felt my heart lighten. You know, one of those
Ahhhh moments.
So foreign to me now, to separate my time into
I realized that line, that line we draw to separate the
dimensions of our life, had become invisible.
I love life when those lines that separate dimensions
become murky and invisible!
That is why I love Country French!

Country French design really has no lines that
define it, other than having a French influence.
It is more a lifestyle. A blending of
"Good French Things " in life.
Country French can be a chateau in a rural area
or a quaint cottage in centre ville.
Where statues worthy of a queen's glance can
share space with slat wood chairs.
A place where the line between interior and
exterior blend.

It is an appreciation of nature and being surrounded by
the color of her beauty.

Where there are no dimensions of time.
French antiques share
the stage with artisan works of today.
Where there exists a simplistic style

or a style that displays more sides of personality.

It is a dimension where memories are intertwined with today.

A style where aging patinas are respected and admired.

and rules are non-existent.

A place where tattered walls can display the finest
gilt or be an accessory to the rustic.

Country French is a decorating style that allows
you to sit at a chippy iron garden table, under
the glow of a fancy crystal dripping chandelier, and
share a glass of vintage wine with a good friend.
It is a style that encourages you to be yourself and enjoy
all "Good French Things".
A style where those lines that separate the dimensions
of you, become invisible.
Country French is the "Joie de Vivre".
My wish for all is that you experience a touch
of Country French in your life !!

Bisou mes ami's

PS. Just a little note to say I am a bit behind with
monitoring Sitemeter. I love to share links with
other blogs and if I have overlooked you and you
would like to be added to my blogroll, PLEASE
send me an email and I will be glad to exchange
links with you! Merci

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cote Sud Décoratrice

I would like to introduce you to the most famous
decorator in the South of France.
Meet Madame "Déesse du Soleil".

You've probably seen her work. She's world famous,
but really popular in Southern France.

She also has a very loyal following, especially this time of year.
They are called the Turnesols (sunflowers). They
absolutely can't take their eyes off of her. She also has
numerous fan clubs, coast to coast.

I love the work of Déesse du Soleil.
She has a real distinctive style. She prefers an
understated, soft look. In fact, if she thinks the
colors are too bright, she'll most often change them,
in time. She works slow too. She says that beautiful
things take time to evolve.

She told me that she loves France and she is flattered
when artists come to Provence to capture
her work. She said the French glorify her work, whether
interiors, exteriors, or the work she does in
the vineyards.

She loves when people enjoy the fruits of her labor, no
matter how small.

Déesse du Soleil tells me the highlight of her day is
receiving invitations to people's homes.
(Sounds like my kind of lady).

She is greeted with open windows.

And doors!

BUT, at times, the shutters will ask her to come back

Many mornings when she makes her entrance via the
bedroom, she must enter slowly, as not to startle,
(like at my friend, Michele's).

Not an issue though, when the cafe is close at hand.

It is important she says, to always take a token of
appreciation with her as a thank you when receiving
an invitation. Warmth is her favorite gift to take.

Then other times, she feels its added light that
would be most appreciated.

Photo by Nicholas Matheus

Many of her hosts want her presence just for the beauty she brings with her.

Photo courtesy Le Monde de Rose

She can be radiant when she enters the room.

Photo via Shootfactory via DesignersBlock

That is why many times you will see people with their back to her.

European Antique Market at Bellarmine Designers' Showcase House
Then again, many like to get as close as they can to her.

and idly pass the day.
She is quite the Décoratrice, I must say.
Humble, forever giving and has her own style.
One shining star! Be cautious though, when your
in her presence, sometimes she shines so bright..

Photo via Daylife
You gotta wear shades!