How to add French Country Style to your home’s Flooring

 
Herringbone wood flooring pattern in this French living room.

Herringbone wood flooring pattern in this French living room.

 

French Provincial also known as French Country style is such a warm cozy style.  For some it may be too fussy or feminine, but I find it warm and cozy.  I’ve always loved the look of French furniture with its Cabriole legs and delicate details. It has a style that stands out on its own and is easy to recognize. Some of these classic furniture pieces definitely have a feminine line, and I must admit I don’t just like it, I love it. An expert on all things French, my family can attest it is a passion that has always been with me. So how can you start to add French Country style to your home? Simple, start with the basics first the bottom layer of your design, your flooring. Here are some of the different types of flooring that bring French Country style into your home.

As designers we like to make sure each surface of a room is well designed from floor to ceiling. In a French home, there are certain finishes that add that French Country style. The first option you might consider is limestone flooring. When you think of a beautiful chateau, it is most likely to have some sort of limestone material. Whether in the exterior walls, floors or interior surround, limestone has been a staple in French design. I personally love the creamy color tones in antique limestone often installed in a random pattern. There is something about limestone that is very elegant yet rustic at the same time. It creates a beautiful backdrop for the other layers of the design composition. A great source for this type of flooring and other French items is a company in Texas called Chateau Domingue. You can view their products here are http://chateaudomingue.com/.

Random pattern stone flooring.

Random pattern stone flooring.

 
Here you even see the limestone being used as a door surround.

Here you even see the limestone being used as a door surround.

Second, when I think of France, I envision a beautiful Pied a Terre, with beautiful hardwood flooring and Boiserie paneling. In many French homes you’ll find hardwood flooring. You might find the hardwood floor in a herringbone pattern (as pictured above) or a patterned parquetry design. The parquetry designs are often abstract geometric shapes and look like works of art. These patterned floors really give a rich look and character to a space that screams French style. The French have such an appreciation for antique materials, and in many cases keep preserving them for the next generation. I quite agree, there is nothing like the patina of these aged materials. The richness of the antique wood brings such warmth into the design giving it that French Country feeling.

 
This is an example of a hardwood parquetry pattern. This particular example has the added decoration in the center which you may not see in other examples.

This is an example of a hardwood parquetry pattern. This particular example has the added decoration in the center which you may not see in other examples.

 

A third type of flooring that you might find in a French Country style home is something known as Tomettes. Tomettes, antique terracotta tiles, can be either hexagonal or octagonal in shape and in ranges of color from red to orange. Tomettes give an earthy grounded feeling to a space. The washed color in these antique tiles are really quite pretty and in a French Country kitchen would coordinate well with a beautiful collection of copper pots. A great source to check out for Tomettes is http://www.ceramiques-du-beaujolais.com/tomettes-terre-cuite.php#.XEpKqFxKiUk.

 
Here is an example of the Tomette tiles. The colors here are slightly toned down with the cream wash over the top.

Here is an example of the Tomette tiles. The colors here are slightly toned down with the cream wash over the top.

 

Adding the next layer to your French country style would possibly be a beautiful Aubusson or Savonnerie rug in a traditional French pattern. The Savonnerie carpet industry established in the 1700s produced rugs for the royalty, while the town of Aubusson produced carpets for the nobility and middle class. These detailed carpets were produced in either a woven style or cut pile style. The carpets were very ornate with different types of subjects often taken from great artists. A French Provincial home design was usually less ornate and simplified. These homes would have probably had an Aubusson rug. Layered on top of a beautiful hardwood or limestone floor, these carpets would add texture, absorb sound and be a second art piece adding additional pattern to the French Provincial style. These are 4 of my favorite choices for creating French Country style in your home. Even if you just choose one of these materials for your modern home, it will add great texture, pattern and elegance.

Take care,

Christina

Cut Flower Garden Planning

 
A close-up of the Cafe Au Lait Dahlia from last year’s garden.

A close-up of the Cafe Au Lait Dahlia from last year’s garden.

 

With most things dormant in the garden right now, it is the perfect time to begin planning for this new year’s garden growth. It is funny how your design tastes change over time. A garden design really isn’t any different. As we grow and change with passing time, so does our garden. I am always moving plants, and replacing plants. It seems to be a constant ongoing chore, but I am not complaining. It is one of the things I love most to do. It is so relaxing to just ponder in the garden and re-imagine it.

My seeds purchased from Floret Flower Farm online.

My seeds purchased from Floret Flower Farm online.

Last year, I discovered Erin Benzakein author of Floret Flower Farm’s book called Cut Flower Garden about growing your own flowers for cutting. So for Mother’s Day, my husband made me a flower box in the backyard to grow my own flowers for bouquets. I planted a few things to try at the end of last year. I grew some Cafe Au Lait Dahlia’s which I saw on Pinterest and in Erin’s book . I ordered the seeds online and planted them. They were very easy to grow. I was delighted by the results and inspired to grow more.

Now that winter is here, intrigued by the concept of growing flowers just for cutting, I decided I needed to plan out my flower box for this new year. I got the notice that Floret Flower Farm was releasing it’s seeds for this year and purchased some to try in my flower box.

I chose seeds strictly for their color and bloom style. I also chose colors that I thought I could use throughout the different seasons and that worked well with my home’s decor. I have some spring bloomers and some fall. As time goes by I’ll add the fall bulbs for the winter months. What I also really love about the seeds from Erin’s farm is that since the flowers are grown for cutting, she has some taller varieties you might not find at the local nursery.

My seeds have begun to sprout up already!

My seeds have begun to sprout up already!

I think there is definitely a lot you can learn from someone like Erin who grows flowers for a living and in mass quantity. The succession of planting, or constantly planting each month so you have a continual wave of blooms. Planting close together so you can maximize your space and get the most production possible from what planting area you have. As a designer something that I’ve learn over time is how very important repetition is in a garden. When plants are grown in succession, they really look beautiful especially in bloom.

Having a good plan in place really helps you fulfill your vision. As for my garden box, the seeds are planted. Now we wait with excited expectation for the harvest of blooms that will come forth soon.

 

Take care,

Christina