Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

13 Apr 2017

French Style - Top Ten Must Haves

If you want to get some ooo lala into your home, mix up some French style with other exotic pieces, then I'm here to help. I consulted some aficionados and put together a list of key elements that are seen in French homes and how you can work with them.

french linen bed sheet dyed by Gail at GZBB Antiques. I use it as a table cloth.

So I called the experts, one in France and one in San Fran, mother and daughter Kim and Johnelle Mancha.  Mignonne Decor is the beautiful store in Berkeley California, and having studied in Paris and Italy, Johnelle is quite the expert on eclectic interior design with a French flavour.  

Kim and her daughter are also the founders of Lush Getaways, where they will be hosting the most amazing retreat in the South of France later this year, it is booking now for September if you are interested, it will be a culinary adventure with antique hunting on the side, an old 17c manor house with salt water pool, yoga and cocktails, set in a beautiful typical french town. 

To kick off the list, my very favourite thing ..

1. Something Linen, or as much linen as possible. You can find many vintage and new items made from linen in France, bed sheets, tea towels, table cloths, napkins, curtains and shepherds smocks. The French have these large square pillows and are much more comfortable than cushions on a bed, perfect for sitting up in bed while you have a cafe au lait and croissant. 

large french pillow cases and linen peasant smock from GZBB mixed with new linen bedding from Soak and Sleep

details like religious statues are very french, curvy furniture too

2. Wooden chopping boards, a collection of imperfect ones for all your chopping needs. Collections of different shapes look great together in a kitchen as well as being practical.  Most have a hole in the handle so can also be hung from butchers hooks, they make an interesting wall decoration for the perfect rustic kitchen.

3. Old Glass Decanters and chippy vintage pottery and china. Most typically arranged in a lazy but stylish way on a dresser or open shelves.

4. A wild garden bouquet, not fussy or too prim, but roughly tied and placed in any container.

5. French Lavender potted plants, nothing says France more than this plant. Bring it inside for a few weeks before planting outside.

French shutters as wall decoration 

6. A rustic wooden farm table or something in the spirit of. This is on my wish list but I don't really have space so I have painted an old extending table with curvy legs, painted in colours with French overtones like grey and off white.  Keep your eyes peeled for an old scrubbed top one, pale pine planks with some history and tales of wine and song, summer salads and naughty deserts.

7. Lovely old glassware, cute little aperetif glasses for your traditional Apero, the most classic being Pernod or Ricard Pastis.
A ramshackle collection of Pernod or Ricard glasses and water bottles for when you have a Pastis on a long summer evening.

A drink that originally started as Absinthe, so strong it was an hallucinogenic and highly addictive, became adapted by Jules Pernod who took the ingredient of wormwood and changed it to the widely available and legal anise. Mix your Pernod or Ricard to three quarters of water and watch the dark yellow liquid turn to a milky pastel.  You can keep adding water to further dilute, sip slowly.

8. A chest of drawers with barrel front, think chateaux style, they are called a Bombay chest. Plenty of curves on this beauty for that faded grandeur feel.

9. Old books for styling up your bookshelf, interesting spines on topics your family would love. Start a collection of old ones with strange topics, fun to flick through while sipping your Pernod.

linen tea towels are an essential french item, old ones with embroidery 

10. Triple Milled Soap from France has been around since the 1700s and is the perfect luxury soap.  The process in soap making known as milling is done three times for extra fine quality and this special manufacturing method was invented by French soap makers. 

Have it on display in old china bowls, these with the stencil printing are very typically French.  Fill your bathroom with different scents and the pile the soaps high. 

If you want more inspiration for these looks I'm pinning daily to some boards over on Pinterest, for French interior style and food.

my Pinterest board for this is here : https://uk.pinterest.com/JaniceIssitt/french-inspired-by-france/

Other links you should check out : 

Lush Getaways France https://www.lush-getaways.com/
Mignonne Decor San Francisco
Kim in Brantome at her shop The Bohemians 
GZ BBAntiques selling at Uk Arthur Swallow Fairs.

In the summer I will be visiting Gail from GZ bbantiques at the Arthur Swallow Fair in Loseley and doing a shop the look for more key pieces.

Over on instagram I'm running a comp with the #behomefree hashtag so you can win the vintage embroidered linen tea towels featured above. Get tagging, until the next time, happy Easter, √† votre sant√© !!

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