Style Plagiarism!

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image Jill Brinson’s house: my latest obsession.

Ever since House Beautiful’s December issue came out, I’ve been slightly obsessed with the cover story’s house – to say the least. It’s been a long time since one house has really excited me as much as this one and for me, that’s saying something. Since starting this blog, I’ve been exposed to a barrage of design – and to tell you the truth, not a lot in the magazines has thrilled me lately. I’ve thought about this and wondered – is it just me? It used to be that I would get a magazine and sit down with it and read most of its stories. I’d spend a few hours, maybe even days, thoroughly digesting an issue before carefully storing it away. But lately it seems I go through the magazines so much quicker – I rarely find an issue that takes me more than a day to absorb. Some magazines, I just flip through and toss on the spot. Others never even make it off the rack and into my house. These days, if a house in a magazine doesn’t grab me right away, I don’t waste time on it – after all, I can always go to the internet and jump from blog to blog to blog and spend hours reading all about someone’s charming cottage in a tiny town in Sweden that will never be published, or follow the ups and downs of a house being built in Australia, or even become engrossed in the saga of a bathroom redo somewhere in Alabama. With each quality magazine that is now gone – wonderful ones like Southern Accents and Country Home and Cottage Living – the pressure seems to build on those left. It’s as if I expect The Big Three to come up to the plate and really deliver a knockout punch each month. Am I expecting too much? Am I jaded?

image Close up of Brinson’s living room.

But then a magazine like House Beautiful’s December arrives and it just kills me. Two months later and the issue is still on my dashboard. If there was ever a better magazine issue – I haven’t seen it. I can barely even make it past the cover story. Every time I try to move forward, I go back to that house in Atlanta with its flowerless green garden. The pictures! Those huge, gorgeous pictures! Why every magazine hasn’t followed Editor Stephen Drucker’s lead is beyond me. He takes us to the front door and out the back – and everywhere else in between. But, he had a lot to work with. The house is fabulous, Belgium meets France on the way to Sweden via the downtown commercial district. Sigh. There’s no point in fantasizing about it really. It’s so unique there’s not another like it to be found anywhere. It’s not like you could casually say to your partner one Sunday – let’s find a house like THIS and move. There IS no house like THIS. I suppose you could find a old cottage somewhere and rip out a bunch of decrepit windows and replace them with huge steel ones. But then, what about those ceilings – those tall, beamed ceilings – how would you replicate the loft?! And if such a house did actually exist, would it have as wonderful a kitchen – one that even I would spend my days cooking up meals in there that would make Mr. Slippers Socks Man a contented one, for once. Perhaps the dining room could be copied – a carpenter could build identical cabinets with the arched doors and chicken wire. But you would still need the windows, the beams, the lanterns, the white dishes – and the cowhide on the table and the wicker chairs. It’s nice. The owner, the designer, the stylist – Jill Brinson – she’s something.

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Brinson is the Creative Director of Ballard Designs and she does interior design, she just designs – anything, everything. A stylist extraordinaire. There is nothing in her house that just “happens” to be there. It’s all planned and thought out – though probably not even consciously. Styling for her is like breathing. Oh, to be that talented! What a gift from God!

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The house was totally gutted and remodeled by the Brinsons. The kitchen became the dining room, the dining room became the kitchen so that it would lead directly to the flowerless green garden. In the bathroom above, Jill wanted her tub to look like a trough with the faucet coming directly from the wall. I love how the backsplash is made of wood, yet shaped like a marble slab.

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The green garden. It if flowers – it better flower green.

This house has invaded my brain. I wanted to take an hour on The Skirted Roundtable to talk about it – picture by picture, but I’m afraid Linda and Megan weren’t quite as “touched” by the fever as I was. But still, when Editor in Chief Stephen Drucker sat down at the table, it was all I could do to talk about anything BUT the house! I’m not crazy, I promise you. But haven’t you ever fallen madly and crazily in love? Did anyone else feel this way about this house – am I the only one?

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The House Beautiful cover with mi amour on the cover. Is anyone else out there as obsessed with the Brinson’s house as I am? Was there anyone else who kept this issue in their car for two months – just in case they needed inspiration at a red light? So, imagine my surprise and utter delight when I saw a blog with a magazine cover that looked like Jill’s living room.

image Valorie aka The Visual Vamp’s living room.

Valorie of the blog Visual Vamp – is obviously as love sick as I am. She spent a few days of her precious time trying to recreate the Brinson cover photo in her own home. There was something in the cover that reminded Vamp of her own house – an original Shotgun off Magazine Street in New Orleans. I can see why Vamp saw the similarities: her white sofa is reminiscent of Jill’s. Vamp owned two brown cowhides, just like Jill. With a little tweaking and a lot of styling – Vamp decided to go for it – she would style her living room to look like the cover story. Could she? Above is the Vamp’s living room before Jill Brinson. She flittered around and gathered her styling tools – and ended up with her version of the House Beautiful cover:

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Viola! Here is Vamp’s living room restyled ala Jill Brinson. Pretty good I think! She put her brown cowhide on the white leather sofa, just like Jill did. Vamp added two paisley pillows, just like Jill did. Vamp changed out her coffee table for a tea table. While Jill has a black metal table, the scale of the two tables is the same. Vamp added the hot pink throw and the pink flowers, just like Jill. Then she took a picture of her newly restyled living room, photoshopped it onto a fake House Beautiful magazine cover and there is it. Visual Vamp does Jill Brinson. When I saw this, I almost had a heart attack, I was so excited and jealous at the same time. Me too, me too, I cried! After all, my sofa is very similar to Jill’s (that’s about the only thing though.) I rushed off an email to Vamp: “ok, I’m throwing down the gauntlet (really, what does that mean?) – I’m going to restyle my family room like you did. Do you mind?” Of course in blogland, it helps to have manners and ask such things like, do you mind if blatantly copy your idea? Vamp didn’t care if I copied her idea, in fact she rushed an email back to me in two seconds with these words in the subject line” DO IT!!!!!! Who am I to refuse?

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Seriously though – how was I going to get this room to look like this:

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The shape of our sofas are very similar, and the height of our coffee tables are the same. That’s it!! After assessing the situation – I was ready to call it a day and hand the gauntlet back to Vamp and let her keep the damn gauntlet. But, it ate at me. Thinking about how much fun Vamp had had – how great she had made her living room look, how cute the fake magazine cover was, I got motivated again. Alright, I need the pillows. Jill’s fabulous pillows came from “Two Girls In Avignon” (how cute is that name?!) But, how far did I really want to take this game? Would I seriously order two pillows for a fun photoshoot? And I didn’t own a brown cowhide rug like Jill and Vamp did. Should I really go buy one at Ikea just for a picture? They cost a $100. Ridiculous. But, I did have brown velvet pillows that had recently replaced the zebra Oly ones:

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Then I had a brainstorm. The antique store Neal and Co. carries Les Indiennes fabric, maybe I could go there and borrow some fabric and wrap it around a pillow! All of a sudden I had a plan. Go beg some fabric from Cindy Neal. The brown velvet pillows can then take the place of the brown cowhide.

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Neal and Co. – What a bench, filled with Les Indiennes fabric pillows.

At Neal and Co. I was excited to learn that not only did they carry Les Indiennes fabric, but they had made up pillows in several different fabrics. While it’s not a paisley per se – it does have the “look” of one – so Cindy let me take a few out on approval. Yes! Late last night while all my family was sound asleep, I was styling the family room like some crazed maniac. At one point Ben came down for water and found the room a complete mess and asked simply - “what are you doing?” “Nothing.” I wonder what he would have thought had I told him I was trying to copy the cover of House Beautiful! Perfectly normal, I know!!! Especially at 3:00 in the morning. Well, I’m sure the Vamp understands. For the pink throw – I had gotten a shawl in that shade as a Christmas gift and thought it was a genius idea. Except it photographed a dull coral, not pink. And for flowers – I thought I’d just use my pink orchid. But it didn’t photograph good either. I dragged my suzani on the sofa along with the Les Indiennes pillows, using the brown velvet ones in place of the brown cowhide. It didn’t really look that great – certainly didn’t look much like Jill’s at all and I was prepared to pronounce Vamp the winner in the Plagiarize Jill Brinson contest – with just us two contestants. Oh well. That was fun, but a major disappointment. See what I mean:

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No – it really didn’t look all that great. I know Jill didn’t have a zebra rug either, but I didn’t have the energy to move it. You can hardly even see the pillows with the orchid overtaking the photo. The suzani looked alright –but it just didn’t look like the cover picture. And taking pictures at night does not capture the room at its prettiest. Oh well, tomorrow is another day! And, tomorrow I found I just couldn’t let it alone. I was first in line at Joanne’s this sunny Sunday morning buying a few yards of hot pink acrylic suede. And while I’m at it, I’ll buy some pink roses to match. And some green apples. If I am going to do this, I am going to at least try to do it right. Here’s what I came up with today:

image One more time – here’s the original cover picture of Jill Brinson’s living room.

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And my finished cover – completely different I know, but I’m kind of liking it!

Here is what it my room really looks like now:

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In Jill’s room, the throw is more lavender than pink, but I thought pink would look better in my house. And the more I thought about it, the less I really cared if it really looked like Jill’s or not. In truth, I was starting to like the Les Indiennes pillows. I had never gotten used to the plain brown velvet pillows – and I think these add a nice pop. And by a strange stroke of fortuitous luck, I had Hien Lam make me an extra set of pillows in hot pink linen, which I think I can add a few into this mix if I want to get rid of the pink throw.

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Here’s a closeup of the newly styled coffee table. Usually this table is jumble of Ben’s magazines and books and coin catalogues. It’s never nice and neat and styled. Today, I got him a basket to keep under the coffee table – for all his “very important reading materials” and hopefully I can keep the tabletop looking halfway decent from now on. I love the way the green apples look in the ironstone bowl. And the alabaster grapes are a favorite. My lacquer sewing box was the first “expensive” antique I bought years and years ago with money I had saved up for the HADA antiques show. For it’s entire life it’s been in the same place in the entry hall, but now I think it deserves a new home. The plates are French transferware.

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A different angle – I think I’ll look for a “real” throw in this color. This one is just a piece of fabric from Joanne’s. Or, I might bring in one of my pink linen pillows instead. I am so excited by the changes, all very subtle – just a few pillows truly, but I think it makes a huge difference. It was all an exercise – a fun project to have a little competition with Vamp - but out of that, I’ve gotten a new, fresh look. And along the way, I think I may now finally be able to put my obsession with Jill Brinson away for awhile. I know that every time I see my new pillows, I’ll think of her wonderful, unique house in Atlanta – and instead of being jealous of it, I will see it as inspiration for future projects. And what did Mr. Slippers Socks Man say about the changes?

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When he first came down later this morning, after I was through taking the pictures – he asked “can I sit down now?” and then “are you putting it all back, this looks so stupid.” How nice! After I explained that no, I wasn’t putting it back the way it was, I showed him his new basket for all his junk, I mean, coin catalogues. He buys gold coins just like Glenn Beck. And then he plopped down, despite it looking so stupid, and made himself at home. Him and those slippers socks. Oy. And extra points if you can find Georgie – in her camo colored coat.

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In the end – I had so much fun styling my room to look like Jill’s. It didn’t come out looking like hers at all but I actually learned a lot by doing this. Taking a few key elements from another room that you truly love might be all you need to spruce up your own room. And the few changes you make, might make you love your own room, all over again!

If anyone out there is a huge fan of Jill Brinson and wants to join Vamp and me in this styling contest – please do!!!!! We would love to see your results! To get your own magazine cover, go HERE. To visit to Jill Sharp Brinson’s web site – go HERE. To read Visual Vamp’s story of her restyling, go HERE.

AND IN OTHER NEWS:

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Don’t forget to vote in the Bloomingdales Big Window Challenge!!!! Please think about voting for Eddie Ross and Elle Decor’s window. This is how Eddie’s window looks from the street. It’s an amazing room, anchored by fabulous blue and white splatter wallpaper set inside blue molding. There are two other contestants, but we’re pulling for Eddie here. To see all three rooms – go HERE.

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I love how Eddie filled the shelves with blue and white porcelains! It’s so beautiful! Eddie is such a great talent and his window is the best of all three, in my opinion.

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I could have used that pink throw today in my room! I love the toile, ikat and leopard all mixed together.

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Be sure to vote TWICE a day for Eddie Ross – through this Thursday. For more information on how to vote, go HERE. Eddie needs us all!!!

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AND, one more reminder, Grant Gibson is at The Skirted Roundtable this week. To listen to this hot designer talk about design, go HERE!

Grant Gibson Visits!

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The boyishly handsome 6’4” tall Grant Gibson sits in front of series of architectural prints in his apartment.   Grant took the illustrations from a book and then placed them in $20. matching frames.    The apartment is full of his great buys mixed in with rarefied antiques.   Together, it makes for a beautiful and very sophisticated living space.  

 

This week Mr. Grant K. Gibson, interior designer and blogger from San Francisco, sits down at The Skirted Roundtable for a chat.  We were thrilled to get the chance to interview the young, charming, and uber-talented Gibson, who is currently riding a tidal wave of popularity that most of us can only dream about.   The New York Times recently did a large spread on Grant and his wonderful apartment and from that article, as you might imagine, even greater success has followed.  The Times article highlights Grant’s sophisticated rental  – pointing out all the thrifty measures he took to turn his place into something out of the pages of a magazine.   The story of his apartment begins with a space full of potential but in need of quite a bit of updating.  Grant bartered several months of free rent in exchange for sweat equity and it all paid off - the apartment is a stunner.   Grant started with a fresh coat of white paint on everything but his bedroom, while his doors all got a coat of glossy black paint.   He refinished his “pencil” colored hardwood floors himself, staining them a dark walnut.    He retiled his bathroom with the help of his aunt.   A built in banquette turned a bay window into the focal point of the dining room.    After the shell was ready, Grant installed his unique collection of antiques, art work, and accessories.  Did he please his most difficult client – himself?   Most assuredly!

 

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The living room in Grant’s apartment is filled with the accessories, books, and prints that he likes to collect.    On the sofa, the pillows are made of a Fortuny fabric that he found on 1st Dibs.

 

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An earlier photograph of his bookshelves in the living room.  Later Gibson added mirrors to the back of the shelves to expand the room.  The hanging lights are fabulous!    I love the frameless, oval portrait – am I the only who sees a resemblance?

 

 

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A close up of a vignette with one of his beautiful secretaries. 

 

 

image  The bay window in the living room:    a skirted table with Greek key trim sits next to an antique  Swedish Gustavian chair.   

 

 

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BEFORE:    Right after Grant moved into his new apartment, this photograph was taken, showing the exact same view as above.   You can see the “pencil” colored hardwoods before Grant refinished them a dark walnut.  The walls were painted red in this room and non descript shades covered the windows.   On the outside he calmly smiles, inside his mind is probably racing with all the possibilities he envisions for his new space.  

 

 

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The Dining Room with its banquette focal point.

The dining room is my personal favorite room in the apartment.   In the large bay window, Grant built in the cabinets which double as seating for dinner parties.   His dining room table?  The famous burlap skirted table from Ballard Designs!  Underneath, his dog crate is stowed here.   The blinds were another smart buy – from Target.   The sconces are from Europe, made out of antique door knockers!    Along the left wall, in front of pocket doors that are permanently shut – Gibson placed another skirted table – a rectangular one – that he uses for a buffet and TV stand.     I love this space – it’s so chic, so sophisticated – yet it is totally welcoming and warm.

 

image A scene from a recent party: here,  you can see the skirted console set up as a bar.  The TV has been removed for the evening. 

 

 image From a recent House Beautiful article:   Grant’s skirted console with the TV on it – the black flatscreen disappears against the black pocket doors.  You can barely even tell the TV is there.   What a great idea!   This technique could be adapted by using a black screen placed behind a flatscreen TV.

 

 

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A close up of his gorgeous Biedermeier secretary in the dining room.   A formal oil portrait rests above it.   By adding one or two pieces of antique furniture into each of his rooms, Grant adds an air of sophisticated luxe and richness to his space.   The importance of antiques in a room can’t be stressed enough, and Grant certainly makes the case for them.   

 

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The Blue Bedroom.

Grant’s bedroom, painted a deep blue, continues the sophisticated look.  The bed was a lucky find, Pottery Barn Teens used to sell this iron canopy for $500, but no longer.  Grant customized the bed by adding the luxurious mohair covered headboard.  More prints hang on the walls, along with a convex mirror.   Paint color:   Farrow and Ball’s Drawing Room Blue.  

 

 

image A close up of the window treatments in the bedroom.  The curtains are a linen, but Grant splurged on an expensive Greek Key trim. 

 

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A glimpse of the outside of Grant’s apartment.  Guess which one is his!!!!!   Of course the brown tortoise shell shades give it away.    The building is in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.   For now, Grant is happy with his rental and has no plans to move.  But, he says “When I do find the right place to buy, I'll want to do all of the same things that I did here.”  Thank goodness, because this place is perfection.  And like they say – you don’t mess with perfection!!!

 

 

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To listen to Grant’s interview on The Skirted Roundtable – go HERE.   For more views of Grant’s work – visit his web site HERE.  And finally, a huge thank you to Grant for letting us keep him up late Monday night!    You’re the best!!! 

 

Note:   A little Cote de Texas business:   First and Second place winners will be announced in the French Basketeer Rolling Cart giveaway as soon as possible.  The response was overwhelming!  I only wish I had 1,000 to pass out to all of you.  Thank you so much for all your support , loyalty and friendship.

Cote de Texas French Giveaway!

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image This picture was taken at the turn of the century in France – look at all those baskets! I wonder if any of them are still around today?

I am SO excited about announcing a new giveaway today, especially because the giveaway is a French product and of course, I love anything from France. When I first started this blog, I proudly stated I was going to talk about French design. In fact – my first blog story in May, 2007, which was also my shortest, and didn’t even include a picture, is all about French design! Here’s my very first blog story for your reading enjoyment. It’s tres embarrassing!

Welcome to my new, and first, blog! I am an interior designer in Houston, Texas who lives, lusts, and covets anything French (except men!) Not all of my clients (in fact most) feel the same about French Design that I do. Subsequently I am forced to design in styles that aren't personally what I would choose to live with. But, c'est la vie. I am planning to use this blog to indulge my love of French antiques, French furniture, and anything else pertaining to France! I also plan to showcase French design in Houston, so if you share my love of French and live on the gulf coast, you probably will find things you love here.
I am going to start with my own life, my house and the French antiques I've bought for it. I also plan to write about how my obsession with French antiques began.
Please leave me a comment if you have one.

I love that last line “please leave me a comment if you have one.” As if anyone besides my bestie Lisa was reading the blog! I did live up to one promise – to talk about how my obsession with French antiques began. On my mother’s birthday a few years back, I wrote about her and her influence on me as a true lover of French antiques. Read that story HERE.

imageI am not sure what they are selling here – Wine Tasting and Chemicals? But, I’d love to own every white dish in the left window. Amazing! French Ironstone. Notice the bicyclist's outfit! Such a happy bunch!

Proudly proclaiming Cote de Texas an all-French blog was a bit fanciful. Writing about a place you have visited only once, and a long time ago at that, seems a little strange I suppose. It’s not that I don’t want to go back to France for a holiday, or that I can’t – my husband would gladly go (well, make that reluctantly go) - it’s just the thought of being stuck in a metal tube some miles above the ocean for seven or eight hours doesn’t thrill me anymore. I’m not scared of flying, per se, I can and do fly on occasion. It’s just not something I want to do, or enjoy doing, so I avoid it if I can. If France was a two hour flight or an eight hour drive awa, I would be there all the time – but it’s not, of course So, for now, in order to write a “French blog” I have to rely on my dimming memories and fantasies of France, and travel visually through the pictures I find here and there on the internet and in magazines and books.

image This charmingly dressed Frenchman is selling paper lampshades on Lepic Street – circa 1900. He looks like a character out of a Hollywood movie. Notice the basket he carries to store his wares in.

Though I had initially planned to write mainly on French design, thankfully, over time, I have broadened my topics and I now write about more general design than just French. But, you can’t change spots, and my spots are definitely Francois. So, while searching for photographs to illustrate this story, you can imagine how thrilled I was to stumble upon a cache of almost 100 photographs of France, taken by Eugene Atget at the turn of the century! These pictures starkly illustrate how deeply good design is a part of every Frenchman, regardless of class or wealth. Take for instance the poor street salesman pictured above – with his cheap paper shades – he is dressed in something so charming, so stylish, it almost looks staged. Wearing a hat and striped cotton shirt with a small, rounded collar and thin bow tie, espadrilles and baggy blue pants – you wonder, would any other countryman dress this way, in any decade? And in the other photograph – the stacks and stacks of wonderfully shaped white ironstone – so plain a product, yet its fanciful curves sets it apart, as everything French does. Their architecture, the glorious buildings that the French live with day in and day out, yet they still refuse to take the beauty for granted. Instead, their buildings are revered and respected, preserved for future generations to enjoy. Here, we tear our old buildings down, driven by real estate greed. Still, try to copy their architecture and it comes off looking forced and phony as if only France is allowed its true beauty. Why does French architecture and design only look right in France and anywhere else, it’s a comical poseur. Why the French? Why do they always get everything so visually correct?

image An early clothing and decor shop on Descartes, 1909. Everything here would be considered an antique today – an antique is anything over 100 years old.

image A Corset shop in 1912. Thankfully we don’t have to wear these anymore!!!! Notice the beautiful fabric roses and scalloped lace linings. And notice too, that the mannequins have such tiny waists.

image The old Hotel Buffon. I love this streetscape with the coveted lantern – which today sells for a few $1,000! Cobblestone streets are so much more charming than paved ones. In Ft. Worth, there is one long street that runs through the town; the city has removed the pavement and uncovered the old cobbles. Just one problem - Ft. Worth doesn’t look like Paris! Why are the French cobblestones so quaint, yet ours just look primitive or backward?

image Another charming French street with another street lantern and the highly desired shutters that antique lovers collect. In district after district, the streets are lined with stone buildings like this – one more beautiful than the next. Why does no other city look like Paris? What is it about the French that makes them, as a nation, desire to live surrounded by beauty, while most everyone else settles for ugliness? Compare our towering, neon billboards, our modern skyscrapers with their dehumanizing scale, our suburbs filled with front loading garages that have replaced the front door, our endless shopping centers one more unattractive than the next? Why do we not demand or expect to live in beauty like the French?

image A marble floored lobby in 1910 – probably in an apartment building. So beautiful: the iron railing, the stone steps, the striped runner, the arched doors!

imageI love this picture of a “wine” merchant in 1910. What a pretty spot to spend a hour or so – unlike our beer joints! The bar is so interesting – the undulating counter – so different! Notice too, the clock, it looks just like my clock I bought at Round Top – that promptly crashed to the floor an hour after hanging it.

In color, a pink building looks all the more appealing. Today, things are the same in France as they have always have. Things might improve, but they don’t change. This could be yet another photograph from the turn of the century, except it was taken this year. The hanging lantern with its scrolled iron post looks as antique as the building. Why are our street lights so unappealing? Why did we let that happen instead of having pretty lanterns, that one detail that sets France’s streets apart? In my home town of West University – all the streetlights have recently been changed out to create some charm to our little neighborhood. But why did we ever settle for the ugly, bug-like lights for years and years before?

Two old storefronts painted bright red – Antiques and Decor. Is there any better shopping?

So Beautiful! An outdoor cafe awaits its customers. The modern car is the only clue this isn’t a vintage photograph. Where are the metal tables and chairs that fill our cafes here? Why are their French chairs always so charming, so beautiful - with their rush seats and curved lines?

Shutters, antiques, and hanging lanterns. Heaven on earth!

How can you resist anything in this country? The French understand design so well – here at home, we have only small pockets of it: The French Quarter, Charleston, Georgetown? What is your favorite charming neighborhood or city? Mine would be the French Quarter, no question.

Everything olives. I suppose those are tiny olive trees! Is there any fruit we pay such homage to? Do we have any shops with potted apple trees or fig trees lined outside in perfect whitewashed clay pots? And baskets, always baskets that add texture and beauty. Rubbermaid is our wicker. Vinyl is our rattan. We need to bring the charming basket back into our lives and banish the molded plastic!

A simple straw basket holds a French maiden’s yarn.

A Frenchman, dressed for the part in striped shirt and beret, makes baskets on the street.

The French use baskets for everything – at markets they hold fruits and nuts and beans. Don’t you wish we had markets like this everywhere? Why do we not demand beauty in our everyday lives?

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Provence: These French baskets are so cute and colorful. These totes are actually made in the former French colonies Madagascar and Morocco. How much chicer is it to carry a straw tote to market than to drag a paper bag around? Of course it is! It’s French!!!!

image Shopping for dinner – in a linen suit and a scarf with a red handkerchief peeking out. Even the dog has his own scarf. The Frenchman’s traditional rolling basket is just the right accessory to complete his look. Have I given you enough hints what the giveaway is already???? Have you guessed? No, it’s not a trip to France, but it’s a touch of France to bring some chic into your life!

THE GIVEAWAY:

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The giveaway: A French made rolling shopping cart! Isn’t this the cutest thing???!!!! I am so excited to be offering this giveaway today! The baskets are made in the Burgundy region of France by a third generation basketry and caning family. They are beautifully finished and available in honey (natural) or smoke (two tone brown lidded). If you are the winner – you can pick which color you want.

Baskets and the French have a long history – documented to have started back in the 11th century. Baskets in France are used for a variety of purposes: harvesting grapes (each wine region has its own basket shape and name,) olive picking, lavender gathering, toting glasses and wines bottles, picnics, bread making, carrying fish and eggs, chicken raising, wine storage, stowing clean and soiled laundry – and on and on. France has also gone green and baskets are used in place of plastic bags. This year, on January 1, a new law went into effect banning the distribution of plastic bags – a move that the French people overwhelmingly support. Most French carry their own bags and baskets while shopping. And many cars have two or three baskets stored in the trunk, ready for any impromptu shopping trip.

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The open lighter colored cart is in front, the darker, lidded cart is in back – if you are the winner, you have your pick!

French Basketeer is the company who is hosting this wonderful giveaway. They sell various authentic French baskets, carts and totes. French Basketeer was established in 2008, importing its baskets directly from the former French colonies of Madagascar and Morocco, where the baskets are made under the Fair Trade and Fair Wage treaty. The giveaway – the rolling baskets - is made in France – by a 3rd generation basketry and caning family.

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The darker carts – these are lidded.

In addition to the baskets and carts, French Basketeer offers reusable organic cotton net bags to use instead of plastic and paper bags. And, they carry doggy waste bags, tall kitchen bags, lawn & leaf and kitchen waste. bags French Basketeer products can be purchased online HERE, at select California farmers’ markets and at specialty retailers nationwide.

For today’s giveaway – there are actually TWO gifts. The First Place winner will receive the shopping cart – in the color of their choice. The Second Place winner will receive a tote bag – whichever one they choose.

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French Basketeer’s traditional French totes! So cute!! These are their summer colors. There are also winter colors.

Here are a few of my favorite totes French Basketeer sells:

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I might just have to get this tote – it’s my favorite! It reminds me of a patterned sisal rug!

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This would be so cute for the UT football games! Love it!

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Perfect for the beach or big design projects. You can order linings that zip up to close the tote – which is a great feature.

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The different totes come in different sizes – small, medium, and large!

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I’m having trouble finding a favorite color – I love the lime, the hot pink, and the orange. I also like the rust. This version is cute with the extra trim on top and on the corners.

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Another great summer look. The second place winner can choose whichever tote they like!

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Here, the shopping cart was styled by the company’s owner for Christmas. Romantic Homes magazine just finished a photoshoot at French Basketeer’s house – it will be in the March issue. I can’t wait to see it!

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The shopping cart – filled with freshly bought flowers – so beautiful.

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French Basketeer spotted their totes being used as dog carriers – here you can see the zipped lining up close.

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This chic shopper uses her bright yellow French Basketeer tote instead of a shopping bag.

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Small, medium, and large!

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I love the way the flowers look in the totes.

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Heaven! On weekends, French Basketeer can be found at outdoor shows. For the French Festival – a huge Eiffel Tower made out of wine corks was a big hit.

image The willow, or osier as the French call it, is shown here as it is harvested. This is the color of the brown tote – it’s natural, there is no dye used to make the rolling cart brown!

image Here are bundles of the blanc osier used for the lighter colored rolling carts.

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Rules for the giveaway:

All you have to do is go to the French Basketeer web site HERE and pick out the color of the Rolling Cart you would want if you win – either the white “honey” or the brown “smoke.” Remember the brown/smoke is lidded, the white/honey has an open top. AND, while you are at the web site – decide which tote you would want if you win Second Place. Be sure to state size, if applicable. THEN - Come back to the comments section and leave me a comment telling me what your choices for First and Second place are. Be sure to leave your name and email address! Very important!!! NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS CAN WIN!!!! I have to be able to email you if you are the winner!!!!!

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First Place: This white rolling cart, without the lid, is called “Honey” colored.

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This brown rolling cart with the lid is called “smoke.” You have your choice of either one.

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Second Place: Small, Medium, Large and a few Extra Large: Be sure to tell me which size you want!

The French Basketeer web site is HERE.

Check out their blog HERE.

The contest runs until Thursday night at 11:59 pm. I’ll announce the winners in the comment section shortly after that. Good luck! And a HUGE thank you to The French Basketeer for their generous donation!!! Thank you!!!!!


OK - CONTEST IS CLOSED!!!!! NO MORE COMMENTS PLEASE! WE HAVE A WINNER:

FIRST PLACE IS THE DECORINA BLOG, BEEP BEEP (she's a part time truckdriver!) yea!!!!

SECOND PLACE IS THE RUTHIE'S RENEWED TREASURES BLOG!!!!


OK = CONTACT ME YOU TWO AND CONGRATULATIONS.

Joni