Tag Archives: france

moving to the country – chapsal france

August 28, 2009

have you ever had the experience of going to a place you’ve never been before and feeling really and truly like its home? that was my experience in this little country village buried deep in the heart of france, this village of chapsal, in this house of julliard – right at home, and from the pictures below you’ll probably see why!

this house is at least 300 years old but it has belonged to the family of my friend for so long that no one really has any idea when exactly it was built – but they do know that at least 8 generations have been on this ground – how romantic is that! there is the big house, and the one i will be focusing on in this post, but there are also multiple out-buildings including a bread oven and the petite maison (little house, where my friends 93 yo aunt lives) and another house in the middle of construction (an old structure with a new roof and guts).

a giant fire place that dominate the first floor – its so big that there are actually chairs inside where you can sit! its so cozy and you would also imagine a necessity in a house this old in a climate that gets snow at in the winter – cant you just picture all the gatherings, activities, dinner parties that would take place in front of this magnificent focal point! and the paneling around it just to give it a bit of added rustic detail –

i tried really hard to get a picture of the fabulously modern light fixture that seems more than at home in its rustic setting – its sooooo great – mounted on the corner of the colossal bookshelf it provides lighting for the living room and eating nook- note the totally great and untraditional use of fabrics on the furniture too! i love it – its sleek and super chic and manages to tie everything together – just the way the mod. chairs did at the beach house – im working to find out the designer of this lamp – ill keep you updated on what i find out – an im so sorry i couldnt get a better picture – but maybe ill find a great product shot somewhere instead –
and how amazing are the benches at the old farm table – all smooth and shined from years and years of bums sitting there! i think this table and benches were my favorite part of any of the houses – its totally what i want for my kitchen someday!!

the bread oven – which was used a few weekends before for a bread festival in the village – imagine all the loves of bread made in here – its huge inside and would make any us wood-fired pizza place so jealous!
below i just included a few shots of the outside of the house and grounds around it – and the neighbor anthoni and his pooch bandi!!

life'sa beach – french beach house

August 26, 2009

this would be the lovely little slice of heaven belonging to a friend of mine who was gracious enough to extend an invitation to me for a visit- its a beautiful little house tucked away on a hillside above the town of giens – a perfect spot to relax and not have to use my brain for a bit – but i did get to exercise my eyes! besides the breathtaking view- the house was lovely and has a collection of things that sparked the idea roller coaster –
the color of this door is so amazing, a deep tealish, its the color of the mediterranean and has a definite nautical influence. it wouldn’t be the first color i would think of for a beach house and yet its perfect and sophisticated. i also love the way its complimentary to the terracotta tiles – so great!
this is part of the living area – its got that super casual sweep-out feel that i think is a necessity in making a beach house feel relaxing and uncomplicated and yet through a bit of accent color, furniture and light fixtures is updated and modern, all of which is pretty impressive seeing as this home was decorated 30 years ago!
don’t you just love this pendant light – i’m still working on trying to find out who makes it but it totally reminds me of the poul henningsen light from elisabeth dunker’s kitchen? and its a bit unexpected for a beach house but is still airy and light. one of the things i always admire in french homes is the wonderful use of tile, decorative and otherwise, but it always looks casual and sophisticated at the same time. these floors aren’t any exception – simple terracotta tiles with a unique shape running throughout the house becomes the neutral backdrop that unites all of the other elements of the decor.
and this chair! actually there is a pair of them in the room – i love it! its not light, white or neutral -again things i expect in a beach house – not that there is anything wrong with this – i just love the unexpectedness of this dark black – its such a strong element and another thing i love, the seat as the same color of the inside of that front door (remember its teal on the outside) and the rounded window in the background – again unexpected but uniting elements!!

on to my usual favorite room in any house – the kitchen! this one is no exception – again tiles! and the cabinets are all painted with white enamel paint and have red formica counter top!! totally great!!

below are just a few other spots in the house that i found myself drawn to – enjoy!!

there were a few of these fabulous glass lamps around the house – i love how simple they are – anyone have any suggestions for finding something similar state-side?

in bourges

August 25, 2009

hummm where to start really – i decided that traveling for me is like yoga -not only do i love the experience and the people i get to encounter but it forces the stretch of every part of my body, places i didn’t know i had (metaphorically speaking of course except for flying, the older i get the more it actually hurts) while remaining mentally calm and still – breathing it all in deep from within. “dont miss it”, “dont take your eyes off it”, “remain aware”, “remain open” – yoga.

so again where to start? well, from the end of course. on my last day in france i had to drive from the teeny tiny village of chapsal up to paris – on the way up i remained open, aware and tried not to miss it – this mantra lead me about 20 miles off the highway – and into the beautiful, stunning, breathtaking town of bourges
this is a very old and culturally centered city – at one time it was even the center for alchemy!!
i parked down at the bottom of the hill from the city center and walked up – the architecture and roof lines on the way up were simply stunning

i love this sign – apparently the city is known for having timber made houses, in fact it has a whole district of them which unfortunately i missed but perhaps that influence explains this awesome sign –

and how did i find this town your asking?? well they have a beacon off the highway also know as the gothic cathedral of saint etienne, an unesco world heritage site, and with out a doubt the most beautiful thing i have ever laid my little eyes on – construction on this cathedral was begun at the end of the 12th century and completed in the 13th. it is considered the earliest example of the high gothic style.

i was obsessed with the way the light was coming through this green glass window –

so this town is just one of those places that keeps getting better like a frosted chocolate molten cake! with each bite you get to something even better than what you just thought couldn’t get any better!!
so outside of this crazy beautiful cathedral is a breathtaking formal garden –

the way they mix plants, colors, flowers and textures together seems perhaps haphazard but all together sums up to be soulfully good – they included grasses, inpatients and coleus with things of more formality like rose and boxwood topiary

i sorta stalked this old couple as they walked among the garden at sunset, they were arm and arm just walking along enjoying the flowers. another total fantasy happening here – before i got to the cathedral or the garden – i came upon a little park area where there was live music emanating out form an iron framed gazebo while people of all ages danced and laughed an enjoyed themselves on the lovely summer evening –

its nice to see communities using public spaces which have been important to the towns for generations – so romantic

from napa to france – with wine in between

August 15, 2009

last weekend i had a wonderful friend in town and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves galavanting around napa and the city of sf i must say – its always so much fun to show someone your home who has never been there before – and tonight i am off to visit another dear friend at her home in france – i can not wait – i know the conversations will be as warm as the weather and it will be nice to relax – below is a photo of our picnic from pineridge winery in napa and what i anticipate my upcoming week to be filled with – i just keep pinching myself!!

i will be doing lots of work while i am there for the blog and hopefully will have a few treasures to bring back for the shop too!
Cheers! see you in a week