14 March 2011

Americans In France

 

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Last month I wrote about some houses for rent in France.  This one house pictured above immediately struck me as being owned and decorated by an American, probably a southern one at that.  I don’t know why I felt that way – but I would have bet $100,000 on it (if I had the money that is!)   The house, of course, looked authentically Provencal, but it was the furnishings that looked so familiar:  the linen slipcovers, the silk pillows, a touch of leopard, the wonderful – just perfect antique French end tables,  the lamps – with their great lampshades, the painting that just happened to match the pillows, the beautiful Italian chandelier that is so trendy in the US right, the fur tossed over the arm of the antique bergere, gilt angel wings on the mantel, design books stacked, and maybe the biggest clue of all – an orchid in a urn.  Wow.  Who wouldn’t have guessed this was designed by an American?   Maybe that’s why I liked this house so much – it almost looked like home, but with a French backdrop.

 

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The guest room in that rental is also perfectly furnished, with French toile quilts, wildly expensive wood cuttings above each bed, upholstered French headboards, a smattering of gilt around, the just-right French antique night stand, and a chair – with matching fabric.  

One reader took the bait and called around to find out if indeed an American owned this house.   The answer:  of course!  Like I said, it’s not rocket science when it’s this obvious.   Makes me wonder….is this a one time happening?   Is it THAT obvious when an American decorates overseas?

 

 

 

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The best example of Americans designing in France is Atlanta interior designer Ginny Magher who rebuilt and decorated her gorgeous summer house, Mas de Baraquet,  in Provence.  The job was done by Bruno Lafourcade, one the premier restorers in France.  Who can forget the gorgeous spread in Veranda  1998?

 

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One of the guest room at Magher’s Provencal house. 

 

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Over the years, Magher has designed other houses in France, including this one with its stone fireplace and skirted tabled dining room.    In the decades since designing Magher’s house, Bruno Lafourcade, his wife and son have reached stardom in France, designing major houses and gardens. 

So let’s see if we find another American designed house in France:

 

HOUSE #1:

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This road leads to a gorgeous mas in Provence.  It got my attention because again, I’m convinced an American decorated it.

 

 

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This beautiful Provencal house, 18th century, is for sale through Sotheby’s.   The grounds are fabulous with a lake, tennis court, swimming pool, and a private garden.  Nine bedrooms and baths plus a 3 bedroom keeper’s house.    I love that gravel terrace at the front of the house.  Most interesting is that this house and garden was completely redone by the Lafourcades, the same people who did Ginny Magher’s house.  No wonder this is so gorgeous. 

 

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Another gravel sitting area amid the box and roses.


 

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Beautiful manicured beds off to the side of the mas.

 

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Symmetrical urns lead to a secret garden.

 

 

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I wonder if this is the keeper’s house?   Notice the tiny windows in the basement.   And notice the poor tree to the left – what terrible topping!   Whoever is pruning this tree has ruined it.

 

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The front yard, leading to the door. 

 

 


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Entering the house, immediately you can tell – it’s really, really special.  The flag floors are gorgeous – as are the double front doors.  Notice the carved doors leading into the living areas on the left and right – they resemble French armoire doors.   Outside you can see the fountain on the front lawn. 

 

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Up the stairs with the beautiful iron bannister and tiled treads.  Notice the entry hall below with the trendy lantern, large urn and framed prints.  Seeing this picture made me think an American owed this house.

 

 

 



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The living room is beautifully furnished, with chintz covered sofas.   The mantel is so pretty.  But, it’s the rug that makes me think  Americans own this house.  The faded, antique rug is so similar to those seen in the more upscale houses here.   Most interesting is that I don’t think it’s a southerner that owns it, rather an American from up north.   And I’m guessing this was designed early in the 2000s – hence the lack of any Swedish or Belgian influence that is so popular this decade.

 

 

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Across the main hall is the dining room, full of English styled furniture.   Which, to me, is another clue – a Frenchman would never decorate with English furniture – he would use French pieces. 

 

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Eat-in kitchen with great table and, again, English chairs. 

 

 

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The master bedroom, with the skirted table, another American clue.   I wonder where the stairs lead to? 

 

 

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The family room – I love this room!  To me, it looks exactly how an American would decorate it, with a mix of old whicker, French chairs, sofas, lanterns, mirrors and wonderful murals on the walls – a very faint design, just barely visible.   This house is so beautiful – very well done, perfectly decorated and landscaped.    

 

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An eating area that leads off the family room pictured before – notice the brick floor is the same here as in that room. 

 

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The swimming pool. 

 




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Another gravel eating terrace with fountain.  I can only imagine the view!

 

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The property is large – and extensively landscaped by the Lafourcades.

 

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There is even a lake!

 

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With a boat launch.   Hard to imagine how wonderful it would be live on this property.

 

 

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Rows and rows of olive trees.



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A tennis court comes with its own vine covered pergola that doubles as a spectator stand!   So, American or French designed?  I vote American.

 

  HOUSE #2:

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This 17th century house in Provence has 11 bedrooms and 12 acres of land.  

 

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To the side of the main house is the old chapel, which can also be used for parties or weddings.

 

 

  image  Behind the chapel are the remains of the original house on the property.  Here, next to the ruins  are the swimming pool and the tennis courts.  Gorgeous!

 

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The entrance hall.  Very dressy and refined with antique French furniture, crystal chandeliers, and sconces.   

 

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The study is filled with antique French furniture and French fabrics.

 

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The living room, with more antiques and chintz covered furniture.   For reasons that are hard to explain, to me – it seems as if a French family lives here, not an American.   The furniture appears to be a mix of pieces collected over a lifetime, as opposed to gathered quickly to furnish a summer getaway – as an American would do.   Do you agree?  Does this look French or American owned to you?

 

 

 

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The old chapel – what a beautiful space with all the stone arches and paintings of the saints.   Something tells an American would have tried to decorate this space – perhaps with light fixtures, new furniture, and a runner.    Somehow, the authentic  French version looks preferable.

So, American designed or French.  I vote French!

 

HOUSE #3:

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Le Mas de Cezanne, outside of Aix de Provence.  Beautiful, authentic stone mas with French blue shutters.  

 

 

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The grounds are gorgeous – here a box enclosed garden.

 

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Some pictures are too small – I’m sorry!   Here is the entry hall.  To me, this picture gives it away immediately – French or American?

 

 

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The living room with a skirted table, modern art, French antiques, great lamps – love love love this!

 

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The living room, with its seagrass rug and skirted table leads out to a covered porch.  Look at the beautiful French blue shutters and doors!

 

 

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The living room above leads out to this covered pergola.  So beautiful with its flower pots, wicker chairs, and iron furniture.  Soooo romantic~!!

 

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The kitchen looks like it was in a magazine.  Whoa.  Its fabulous – love the corner cabinet, the checked curtains, the farm sink, the huge cloche.

 

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A red door leads into the yellow study with its antique furniture and brick floors.  Wonderful windows. 

 

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The yellow study with the antique French bench and traditional checked fabrics.    Sooo cute!!!!

 

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The family room with more checked fabrics and an assortment of antique furniture. 

 

 

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The master bedroom with a quilt and canopy, antique furniture, wonderful lamp and shade, and more modern art. 

 

 

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The guest room has more wonderful lamps and antique furniture.  

 

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The grandkids room.   Notice the different teddy bear picture above each bed!  What a cute idea!!!!   Love the rug. 

 

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The swimming pool with its flower covered island.   How do you water those plants?

 

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Traditional French pots and an allee of cypress trees.   OK – French or American designed?    My guess is American all the way!!!   It’s so perfect looking, so decorated, everything looks like it was purchased especially for this house alone and is just waiting for a photoshoot.  

 

HOUSE #4:

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I think this is my favorite kind of house – a stone French mas with shutters and a collection of large and small windows with no landscape at the house, just gravel.   One day….one day.   I don’t care if I have to build it in Galena Park to afford it, I’ll do it one day!!!  hahahah!!!!   Galena Park.  Google it.    Notice another butchered topped tree.   Why????

 

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The same view – showing the wing on the left.    This house is very pretty inside, but the outside is just so wonderful!

 

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Located in the Luberon Valley, this is the view from the upstairs. 

 

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Iron and stone staircase, my favorite.  Terra cotta tiles.   The décor is a mix of antiques.

 

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The living room is located in what was probably once the barn.   The mantel is wonderful, the floor and doors are great.  But people – slipcovers don’t last forever!   It’s time for new ones – these have shrunk and don’t fit well, plus they should be ironed.   There are good slipcovers and bad slipcovers.  Look at the back of this sofa – see how it doesn’t fit properly?

 

 

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The master bedroom with a wicker sectional and canopy bed. 

 

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The guest room.   Hmm.

 

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The pergola at the front of the mas, probably right off the kitchen. 

 

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And the swimming pool.  OK, French or American?    I vote French.   A house like this would cost millions for an American – I just think an American who could afford this would spend more on the furnishings.   It would be more of a staged looking house if American’s owned it.  To a Frenchman, this is their reality – they don’t need to make it a cute stage, they live it. 

 

 

 

HOUSE #5:

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God.   Is there anything more gorgeous than this???????  Whoa.   I love how the house curves around on the left, creating a natural terrace.   All the blue shutters are so cute – and notice the arched gate.    Cute dog.  Cute BBQ pit.   So American???

 

 

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A view of the left side with its arched French doors and gravel terrace.  

 

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French lantern, stone fountain, birdcage – this reminds me of Velvet and Linen’s remodeled canal house garden HERE.

 

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OK, there is only one interior photograph from this house, but I just had to show the house anyway.  So this is tough to decide from one picture:  American or French?

 

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The swimming pool.    Did you decide yet?    I vote French.   The furnishings in the living room seem too disparate and unorganized for an American who would spend the millions on this house.   Also, I don’t recognize anything – the light fixture, the fabrics, the basket, etc.   Nothing looks like it came from America.

 

HOUSE #6:

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Beautiful mas, but the grounds look somewhat unkempt. 

 

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Gorgeous windows and fireplace.   Antique wood framed French furniture.  Beautiful mirror.  I’m voting French again.   I’m thinking that maybe Americans decorate too perfectly – everything matches, it’s all “done” just in case a magazine comes around to take photographs.   Also, Americans tend to use elements we all recognize – furniture, accessories, chandeliers.  All the trendy things that we see in all the stores and in the catalogues.   Again, I don’t recognize anything in this picture – not the fabrics, the accessories, the rug, the lights.    The French houses seem more individualized.

 

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I don’t think an American would decorate a summer house in such dark colors as burgundy and forest green.

 

 

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And the bedroom, with its odd shaped duvet – strikes me as non American owned.  What do you think?  French or American?

 

 

HOUSE #7:

After the first post, when I showed the American owned Provence house, a nearby neighbor, aka reader, emailed to show me her French property which she rents out.   We KNOW this house is American owned and designed.

 

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The reader’s vacation house,  L’Etiole, lies between two charming villages – here is Gordes, just a 7 minutes drive away.

 

 

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And, the village of Roussillon is just 4 minutes away from L’Etoile, the vacation rental.

 

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The house has 4 bedrooms – and they all look over this incredible valley!  Notice the hot air balloon in the sky!!!!  Reminds me of the movie Bobby Deerfield.  Or closer – the races in the summer at Del Mar, California.

 

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L’Etoile:   The charming stone house, and I do mean charming, is 3 stories.  Does it get any cuter than this?   Notice the French blue shutters and the little Juliet balconies.    The property, located in the Luberon Valley, is over 2 acres of land.  I can’t believe that someone who lives so close to me owns this house in France!!!!    They are sooo lucky!!!  Must be wonderful.

 

 

 

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The main living room has a linen upholstered French sofa and two slipcovered chairs.  But it is the stairs that are the focal point here – how beautiful are they?   So simple, yet so elegant!  Before moving in the owners did extensive remodeling:  the house was painted, a laundry room was added,  and they replaced all the light fixtures – some of which were custom made.   Also, the ceiling beams were lightened to their natural color. 

 

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Another view of the living room, with it’s fireplace which the owner had built using old stone.  In the mirror, you can see the dining area.  The owner completely furnished the house while on a tight budget.   Many pieces are antique, including the sofa, which was bought on Ebay from someone living in France.    Antique hemp fabric covers it.   The curtain fabrics are from France’s Les Olivades.  Originally the fabric was brought to Houston for their house here, but it was decided the fabric would work better in France, so, back it came,  tailored to fit L’Etoile’s windows.

 

 

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I love all the windows!!!   Most meals are eaten outside by the swimming pool and the summer kitchen.  This room is good for when its too chilly to eat outside.

 

       image  The fully furnished, newly rebuilt kitchen with its original vaulted ceiling.  Again – such cute little windows!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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The master bedroom with antique and Les Olivades linens.  This is the bedroom I would want to stay in  – I love the canopy and the duvet, the lamps and nightstands.  According to the owner, all mattresses are new and are high quality.    It’s funny that I know for sure this was decorated by an American, but if I saw it without knowing, I might have thought it was French owned!  I think it’s all the curtain fabrics that might make me think that. 

 

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Off the master bedroom is this sitting room.

 

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Another bedroom on the top floor. 

 

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All the bathrooms are totally new.  I love the skirts made of feed bags!  But, the feed bags give away it’s American owned.   I’m not sure that French people use feedbag fabrics like we do here.

 

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This bedroom has twin beds and is located on the 2nd floor, next to the master bedroom.   The house can sleep 8 comfortably.

 

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And, the children’s bedroom on the top floor.

 

 

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                   And another bathroom – with an antique mirror.  Cute light fixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              image Most activities center around the swimming pool.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            image                                 The owner outfitted this antique bed for use around the pool – too cute!!  Another hint it’s American owned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

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The summer kitchen is located off the swimming pool in an outbuilding.   New doors and windows were added to make the the room more open to the outside.  

 

 

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The summer kitchen is fully stocked and furnished so that all meals can be prepared poolside without having to go back inside the house.

 

 

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And finally, dinner outside at L’Etoile.  This picture alone makes me want to book a month here!  Soooo pretty.    If you are looking for a house to rent in Provence, consider this one.   To read all about L’Etoile, go HERE  and book your vacation.

 

Thank you for playing along today – French or American????

Most properties today came from  either Emile Garcin  or Sotheby’s. 

 

81 comments:

  1. I think 4 & 5 could be English-owned.

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  2. Mon Dieu! I want to live in every one. The pools alone are enough to make me envious! These are AMAZING homes. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Absolutely gorgeous homes... I like the American accents but what I really love is how many beautiful photos you use!

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  4. So gorgeous!
    I feel as if I've just eaten an entire box of Laduree macaroons!

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  5. Such amazing homes ! Thanks for posting. Now that you point it out I can see the American touches and I remember when you said it last month about the first !

    xxLily
    goldandgray.blogspot.com

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  6. Totally agree with you about the ones that are French owned. It seems the last house may have used some of the previous owners things. Sometimes the furnishings are sold with the house. Great post! Rindy

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  7. Once again, so many gorgeous pictures... a feast for my design-loving eyes. Does anyone know what the black and white large scale floral fabric is that is used on the canopy bed in the Magher house? That fabric has been catching my eye EVERYWHERE lately (it seriously haunts my dreams) and I would love to track some down for a pair of chairs I need to reupholster. I was shocked to note that it appeared in a 1998 magazine- It seems so fresh and current (or maybe just new to my eyes?!?!). Thanks!

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  8. I just love looking at lovely homes. You never fail to disappoint...
    They are all beautiful.

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  9. OOOoh Luscious...each of them. Quintessentially French on the outside, it would take me a looong while to even venture in, the outside is so gorgeous!

    Linda (Lime in the coconut....apparently signed in under my daughters account. sigh)

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  10. What a beautiful post. I loved all the homes but what really got me were the beautiful outdoor spaces - so magical!!!
    http://bjdhausdesign.blogspot.com/

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  11. I could live in any of them!

    Karen T.

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  12. Oh my goodness Joni. I love your comments and your style of writing. We have lived outside the U. S. five different countries for the last ten years........I would say yes......americans decorate differently.........and it is obvious when I walk into a house: )

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  13. Thanks for making my morning! This was so much fun to read!What a beautiful way to start the day!

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  14. A girl can dream, right? What a wonderful way to start a cold New England day. Thanks, Joni! About those poorly pruned trees, I'm just guessing here, but I think they were pruned so as not to block the views from the upstairs rooms. Just a thought.

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  15. The number of pillows on the bed are a dead giveaway. I noticed this in my many "French Country" decorating books--and I always prefer the ones that are authentically French rather than "decorated". I think the French, as a whole, love beautiful things but they are not decorating obsessed like we are here. It takes great restraint not to try to match everything, don't you think?

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  16. We have a house in a Burgundy wine town...After looking at these wonderful pictures, I feel we need a re-do! Great photos...great inspiration...My suitcases will be full this year!

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  17. Joni,

    This is a post I need to bookmark it. It's absolutely stunning!

    Congratulations!

    Have a wonderful day!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  18. Joni,

    This is a post I need to bookmark it. It's absolutely stunning!

    Congratulations!

    Have a wonderful day!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  19. All absolutely stunning. My favorite is the first one.
    Have a great day.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  20. Joni, as usual, your posts make me want to ditch everything and start over (which would be SO American, n'est-ce pas?). I do think that in America, we have an obsession (at least I do) for worrying about whether every little detail matches and plays off everything else. But, that is what makes it so fun, in my opinion! Maybe if I lived in a centuries old chateau or villa with amazing architecture, I would be a little more relaxed about trying to make the space look great...the great "bones" would already be in place. And that is what stands out to me in this post...the importance of the architecture. Seriously, it would be very hard to screw these homes up (pardon the French haha), no matter WHO did the decorating! Thanks again for a great post...your eye for detail is amazing!

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  21. American or French? This is a fun game you came up with! It's so fun to play. This should definitely be a regular feature in your blog.

    I grew up in Mexico, where the magazine racks feature magazines from the U.S. and Europe. My mom and I used to have fun comparing and contrasting the British and French decor with the american. European houses happen over time and have lots of character, while American houses are quickly staged. American houses though, always look crisp, clean and fresh.

    On the other side, when americans buy houses in Mexico and try to emulate the Mexican decorating style, they get it all wrong. They over do it and their rooms end up being cluttered and overcrowded. Mexicans tend to be more simple and austere. As with "authentic Mexican food", "authentic Mexican decorating style books" are anything but.

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  22. Beautiful post!

    I am SO in love with the first living room . . . perfection.

    Jennifer

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  23. All of the houses on the outside, including the grounds, are really beautiful. House No. 3 however has it all. The furnishings are perfectly suited and the outdoor living spaces have as much detail as the inside. Several of the other homes need a real face lift. Perhaps you will get a trip to France Joni to make your neighbor's house as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Judging by the furnishings, one would think the owners could barely afford it.

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  24. House #1 might be British-owned. But I agree with you on the rest. Try looking at inexpensive apartments for rent in Paris if you want to see a huge difference between American and French decorating.

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  25. Wow! What I love most about these homes are the gardens. They are so beautiful and romantic. One observation, Americans tend to be more pristine or perfect in interior design. A little uptight. Where the Europeans are more relaxed and a little messy except in the garden. Their gardens are perfection. Fabulous post again, Joni!

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  26. I just had so much fun reading this blog! Thank you so much for allowing me to see these beautiful homes through your experienced eyes.

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  27. Wow...that is what comes out of my mouth+I want a house in France. Thanks for the great Post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  28. Regarding the topping of the trees. This is called pollarding and has been done in Europe for centuries. Here's an explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding

    Basically it keeps big trees in place and allows top wood to be "harvested." It is an authentic way to handle pruning in Europe. Another one for the us or them column.

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  29. Beautiful places. It does make one want to call a travel agent.

    I snickered a bit when the owner of the last home talked about being on a "tight budget." I mean, really. Tight for someone who can afford a vacation home in Provence is not the same as tight for most of us. But after seeing the pics, I believe her. Her decor is underwhelming. I guess most folks who stay there, though, aren't as worried about the interiors when the surroundings are so gorgeous.

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  30. Wonderful post Joni! You made me dreaming today! Since I am blogging I have so much learned about the American way of decorating! And I am so glad that actually I do feel that I am beginning to recognize your way of decorating! I love that because you dare to mix different styles, and it is quiet interesting to see that it works!
    Love all the houses you showed here and tonight I am going to look at more of these houses on the sites you mentionned... You gave me the feeling to want more of it to see!
    Thank you Joni!I so appreciate all the work you put in your posts!
    xx
    Greet

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  31. Thank you for your amazing post. I think you and I should get our husbands and go visit these homes in person. Sharon

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  32. Joni...love every one of these homes! The history behind each is what fascinates me and would love to know more about the age and provenance of each one! Now to figure out how to incorporate ideas into a Southern US home...urghhhh!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Gwen

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  33. Thanks for pointing out the differences! It's so obvious once you showed one of each. Great lesson!

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  34. I would take any one of these homes they are all so stunning and talk about living the dream. About the only thing that makes me think Americans are stuck in a rut is the fact we are able to pick out American style decorating. Maybe we should loosen up a little and learn to embrace all styles.

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  35. kad445

    the fabric is by manuel canovas.

    hope this helps!
    Joni

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  36. Gorgeous homes and grounds! I think French decorating calls for fewer, smaller pillows, and lumpier looking beds and the collected over generations look.

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  37. I have see that tree topping in France but forgot the name of it. Thanks to the reader above. It's awful, and I swear, you would NEVER see that in College Station, although I have seen tree chopping in Austin, that is unintentionally "french." I am looking forward to going over this post in more detail. But I was interested in the early slip cover that had what looked like a waterfall on the arms and a skirt in front. Maybe is was long arm covers. Does any body know? Also, I loved the tile floor with the big square/little square, that appears to curve. That was super mediterranean looking. I've always loved that pattern.

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  38. Joni,

    I agree with your assessments. The two features that seem most non-American to me are the draperies/drapery rods and the throw pillows/bed pillows.

    I can't imagine that any American would choose heavy brass drapery rods, especially not with flimsily constructed drapes. And (except for the last homeowner who decorated on a shoe-string with an eye towards leasing) most Americans like fat, fluffy throw pillows and bed pillows, while many Europeans (including my Greek in-laws) think flat pillows are perfectly fine!

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  39. What a fun post! I think House #1 is English decorated. The furniture and color of the dining room look English to me. I also think House # 4 is French. The bedrooms look very French. House #5 is my favorite. I would love to have that garden to sit in on a daily basis. That could be my year round, rest of my life house I think! Thank you so much for taking the time to find such beautiful rooms and houses. I look forward to the email letting me know your blog has been updated! Sheila

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  40. Great post!
    I have so much to learn. Your knowledge is very helpful.
    I would not know a French lantern from an American.

    I never thought of it before...I guess I do lean towards matchy matchy. I am learning there are other ways to decorate. I do love the lived in, used and loved look, especially in light colors. It did exists before Shabby Chic :- }

    Thank you for the peak into Europe.

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  41. Loved the post, especially number 1's grounds. We live in the country and really want to landscape according to the surrounds like these houses, with lots of enfilade to the inside and out?- I do not want a suburban landscape. :)
    Anyway, loved to see the differences. When I lived in Norway they also thought it funny - our match match style, which if it's a modern home can be nice but on these old homes, not as much. I think the last house is obviously more modest -and a rental too, but I do like the decor and in time if she continues to collect things over in France it will build upon it just like the native french style. It's all very beautiful! Thanks.

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  42. Thank you for another beautiful piece! I always look forward to your next blog....
    I noticed that Greyfreth is now a sponser on your website. I just wanted to say beware, I purchased something almost a year ago, and after many lovely emails and assurances that the item would arrive and then was backordered, and then that I would receive a refund. I never received the items or a refund and now can't even get an email response. She simply took my money. I don't want anyone else to have the same experience.

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  43. Joni, Thanks for answering my fabric question! You are a lifesaver and have put to bed a long standing mystery for me... much appreciated!

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  44. For all the beautiful homes posted, it begs the question why you included the home in L'Etoile. Why would anyone spend the money to rent this under decorated space when they could rent something much more charming where the furnishings fit the price of the rent. You did your neighbor no favors today.

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  45. Interesting post - I started thinking about authentic French design/decor. For Christmas, I received the book - The World of Madeleine Castaing by Emily Evans Eerdmans. Wonderful book, a favorite now. She was so daring & exuberant in her designs and loved all the old "shabby"(now so expensive!) things - there definitely was a method to her "madness" though. I see hints of her influence in a few photos, but overall we American's play it very safe with our home decor. We do seem to copy things and are afraid to really express ourselves in our homes - Why is that?

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  46. Anon. 6:30 thanks for the tip on Greyfreth. That's what happens when a blog turns into big box advertising for money rather than staying with the original mission. I have ordered from one of the sites advertised here and had a good experience, but normally I stay away from the blogs who promote retail because shopping isn't my motive for reading the blog and I find the intrusion very offensive.

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  47. I do think you're right Joni. The American owned houses tend to look more "done" Like an ideal vision of a french house perhaps? While the French tend to keep it more simple. Whatever tho! They're all gorgeous! And I'm a drippy drooly mess now thanks to you! *winks* Vanna

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  48. This was an awesome post, Joni! The stuff my daydreams will be made of now....

    As a fellow Houstonian, I cracked up at your Galena Park comment!! I recently heard someone say that, "Galena Park is like Pasadena, but without the glitz." :)

    PS: Love your blog.

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  49. Joni, No 3 in Aix I rented years ago but in a very different state ... it was still an amazing property ....loved seeing it's makeover, whoever did it....xv

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  50. What an eye for detail you have. if you build that home Galena, I will just have to make the weeklong ( slight exaggeration ) drive across state to see it !
    What wonderful french provencial daydreams you have given me this morning !

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  51. This was a dream journey! I'm your newest follower.

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  52. So, basically if it's not perfect, it's French owned; if it's perfect it's American owned? Ouch... I loved most of the pictures, though.

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  53. Joni -

    I think I understand what french furniture is vs english..........but would you mind doing a tutorial?

    Many thanks

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  54. Instead of giving our observations as to what constitutes an American designed home vs. a French one, can we pause for a moment and think of the thousands of Japanese who do not have a home tonight. Perhaps a little reflection and stepping back into the real world while looking at others' reality would be in all of our best interests. I know this readership is not lacking in empathy, but this is just a reminder that some of our discussions are really not very important in the scheme of things.

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  55. what another incredible post joni and such fun playing along. i think 3 & 4 are non-american. when do we get the results? still here in england and visiting so many homes you are correct there is a difference.

    EUROPEANS; COLLECTED, inherited, over time. less use of designers, less access to furniture mass
    produced, 'bespoke' if funds allow. less matchy matchy. art on the walls are always a clue; definitely
    all over the board

    AMERICANS; seeking perfection, no or few inherited pieces, seeking immediate results versus over time, most items coordinate, art even coordinates and hung in perfection

    and yes those crazy trees; pollarding, like mentioned above. if you do not like them in leaf, you should see them in winter!
    you are the best
    debra

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  56. Anon 5:38, it really isn't difficult. An hour or more on the internet doing some research and a few visits to reputable antique firms will give you a great start. The differences are very obvious once you understand what you are looking at.

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  57. Now you've got me dreaming. The most amazing places!!! Swoon!! Being European(Swedish) having grown up there and lived in France for a couple of years I know exactly what you're saying. I can see if it's an American decorated interior in a flash! It can be summed up in one factor - the comfort factor. American homes, designs and hotels always put comfort first. Europeans think differently about interiors and keep it simpler.

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  58. Do you have the link to the Sotheby's website for house #1? I would like to prolong the fantasy a bit longer...

    And yes, Anonymous, we are remembering what is happening in Japan. It is the beauty in the world which makes the pain bearable.

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  59. Yes, the pool is so beautiful, I'm so envious! Ugh. If I'm gonna have a spacious garden like one of those, I'll install wrought iron doors for elegance and mysterious effect. Hah!

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  60. I have my favorites but truthfully would take any one of them.

    This American will be in France begining next month.

    I love Paris in the springtime...

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  61. http://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/sales/detail/180-l-885-4000015510/a-resplendent-provencal-country-home-tourves-pr-84

    anon - the link to the first house.

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  62. Seriously those bathrooms, the red striped sheets and that gloomy kitchen. Would anyone really aspire to spend vacation at L'Etoile? It looks like the Motel 6 of French rental.

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  63. Can't always tell. In response to an above comment about brass drapery rods being a giveaway as to French decorating. Having once lived in a small French town for a few years, with no expansive shopping available not only locally, but regionally as well - you do with what you have usually until you eventually change it out or the quirkiness has grown on you. Surprising how things, like exposed plumbing, a floor that bows down much more than it should, an ancient heating system with a mind of its own, and half-blocked off tunnels in your storage space leading to who knows where can become very interesting, in a good way. But with exception of a possessed heating system, of course.

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  64. What an interesting and informative post!

    The green stone and silver charm bracelet spoke to me.

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  65. Beautiful houses especially house # 1, 2 and 5. The landscape and the view is breathtaking! Great post, check out 3D Rendering

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  66. Joni, I loved your blog today; fascinating information and gorgeous pieces of jewelry.
    I loved the little mesh bag with the tiny heart...but everything was beautiful..

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  67. I LOVED the "Ballet Slipper Fantasy" necklace...it took me back to the 60's and weekly ballet classes in rural England!

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  68. bohemian meets modern becomes eclectic and oh so much fun!! the mere fact of these once vintage rhinestone buttons becoming now a wow of a pair of earrings, inspires me. tarnished laces creative vision to recycle reuse has found a way to be simply unique:) i love it

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  69. I love the use of salvages pieces from Tarnished Lace and particularly like the Antique Sterling Silver Victorian Card Case and Caribbean Blue Glass Crystal Necklace. I always like to invent an ancestor when I wear a piece of vintage jewelry and find myself wondering about the person that previously owned it. Thank you for a look at such unique, beautiful treasures.

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  70. What a great photos! When I am looking at your blog it seems that I am in a tour in royal house and it is an honor for me to read your blog. I really adore this and how I wish to live in a royal place like this. For me it is a palace. I was really amazed with the entire area,specially the swimming pool and the bed rooms. Big thanks for sharing this wonderful blog. Keep posting.



    Charles A

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  79. The swimming pool with the flower filled island? I would be worried about getting stung by a bee whenever I was in the pool during the daytime.

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  80. The penultiumate photo of House 1 - these are vines, not olive trees.

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