Pretty Rooms & Pretty Fabrics



Is chintz hot again? They’ve been saying “Chintz is Back” for a few years now.  Take it with a grain of salt - but,  I did find this new, gorgeous, gorgeous chintz that F. Schumacher just came out with:



Loving this chintz by Schumacher.  Love, love love!


It’s the colorway – gray and white with red – that makes this fabric so new and wonderful.  Whose design is it?  Who else but Alessandra Branca, of course.  Born in Rome and now living in Chicago,  Branca loves the classics – with a twist.   For example – in her red and black chintz, there’s just a hint of acid green in the leaves – another favorite color of hers.  The white background mixed with all the grays just screams “now.” 

Branca has a definite color palette.   If she isn’t doing red and black with yellow, she’s doing acid green.  And if she isn’t doing those colors – she’s doing navy.  That’s it.  



Yellows and reds with black accents.  Classic Branca.    An apartment like this never goes out of style.




Another apartment with Branca’s colors mixed with floral and striped fabrics.


It’s interesting how certain designers have limited palettes.  Branca is known for her red and black interiors.   But what if a client likes her aesthetic, but wants light pink and green interiors?  Well, Branca has done bright pink and lime green before.  But do you hire Branca if you want pastels?

Think about Rachel Ashwell with her light pink and green and turquoise palette.  What if you want Rachel and a red and black interior?  Do you have to hire Alessandra instead?

I wonder if designers with such rigid palettes lose clients?  Are you better off without a specific palette if you want a huge career? 

Glad that’s not my problem!!



Here is the Branca chintz – with complimentary fabrics from her new collection.



Here it is in another colorway – with the acid green and gray and black flowers on a white background.   Another smashing fabric. 



Since Branca is known for red and black, she also designed a toile fabric/wallpaper with a black background.  Shown here is another pretty toile fabric used as curtains – but it’s her striped fabrics that are a real knockout in this collection.   The striped fabric is heavy, crisp, and GORGEOUS in vivid colors.  One of the best stripes ever.  And again, here the chintz is shown as pillows.  I would love to see this chintz in a room with all white slipped furniture with curtains made out of that chintz. 



Shown large…



This would be so pretty mixed with navy blue or with hot pink. 




Another vignette of Branca’s new fabrics for Schumacher.

I have to say – Schumacher is really hitting it out of the ballpark these days with their newest designer collections.  Mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence Bullard both came out with smashing fabrics.



And then, there is the Wearstler Collection – think how much money Kelly Wearstler made for Schumacher on just this one fabric and wallpaper, which started its own huge trend?  After her very successful association with F. Schumacher, Wearstler left to join forces with Lee Jofa.  Why?  I could never figure that one out!




Schumacher picked a winner in Branca.   She is well known and extremely talented and will attract as many customers as McDonald and Bullard did.   When designing the new line, Branca used her own designs as the springboard – as seen in her own Chicago townhouse.




For instance, her love of stripes – is seen in the collection:



The Schumacher stripes are fabulous – they are printed on heavy, thick fabric.  The stripes are clear and bright.  Just beautiful in person.





Schumacher relied on Branca’s aesthetic for the collection:  her love of stripes, plaids, toiles and chintz – all done in her bright, clear colorways.




AND, Branca loves to use damasks and Fortunys – as seen in here in her NYC apartment.




She recreated her own line of damasks and Fortuny like fabrics – here with the Melograno and Anna damasks.



And Branca is famous for her use of toiles – as seen in her own Chicago townhouse.  Schumacher recreates toiles in her line – in reds and blacks and blues.



Here is one of the new toiles – the Continenti is available in three colorways.




But – for me – the best is the Elizabeth chintz – in either the red/gray or acid green colorway.  I am dying to use it somewhere!!


It seems like pretty rooms are making a comeback – especially those with beautiful fabrics.  These are the rooms that keep catching my eye – making me rethink the quiet, neutral palettes that I’ve loved for so long.

This room especially made me question solids only designing.


It was this room that made me realize that I’m just loving pattern lately.  This classic chintz from Colefax and Fowler helped make Tory Burch’s living room timeless.  The persimmon silk curtains – though plain – didn’t exactly hurt the design either.  This is English decorating from the 60s updated for today. 



Tree of Life fabrics – wow.  The fabric made me fall in love with this bedroom.  Totally.  I’m a sucker for a pretty Tree of Life fabric.  Michael Smith has a few in his collection.   But, there is something about this particular fabric – on the cream background – that is just gorgeous.



Here, the same fabric by BRAQUENIÉ as seen in Givency’s French country estate.  GORGEOUS!    Pierre Frey sells this fabric and others like it HERE.



In Lee Radziwell’s Paris apartment – she used a gorgeous toile fabric and placed it on an assortment of chairs and sofa –unifying them.



And across the sitting room – the hot pink picks up the deep pink in the toile.  The toile is just gorgeous.




This living room in Houston by Mario Buatta – a personal favorite.  Dated?  I don’t think so – although it was designed years ago.  I love it – still.   This house was recently totally redone when the owners moved out – and this classic house is now contemporary.  It’s scary how awful the new design is.   How to update the Buatta design for today without going contemporary – the walls could be white or cream instead of buttah yellow?  Maybe a different rug – apple matting perhaps, maybe less fabric choices? 




The bedroom in the same house- pattern upon pattern.  To update it for today – use less pattern,  add a seagrass or textured rug.  But still, this is gorgeous – can’t it just stay the same?



In England, Nicholas Haslam’s country house once owned by John Fowler. 



The country house garden room - with this fabulous chintz.  I wanted to redo my family room in this chintz for about a month.   I obsessed over it for weeks.



Using patterned fabrics for today – love the chintz fabric for the curtains.  This room is so perfect – the colors, the fabrics (velvets and linens mixed together,) the antiques – everything is fabulous:  Carol Glasser.   The peach velvet is especially wonderful.  Wouldn’t change a thing – not even an ashtray! 





Schuyler Samperton mixes prints and textiles with solid fabrics – wow!!!  This is a huge departure  for Samperton, choosing this colorway - but it works.  Love this house!    Samperton created a classic design but updated the colors to make it current.  Amazing.





Kathryn Ireland used two patterns in this bedroom – then mixed them with textiles.  LOVE!  This room looks exactly like it might have looked in the 30s or 40s in the English countryside or the Near East.  Fabulous – and love that rug!!!




Quieter, Suzanne Rheinstein, uses one print, mixed with a solid blush silk in this bedroom.  Her designs are so timeless.   Her fabric choices are always impeccable.




Love this!  The sofa actually came with the house from the previous owners.  Only in England would that happen.  So fabulous, timeless, classic.




Before she established her red and black and yellow palette – Alessandra Branca designed this rather quiet living room – using one busy print mixed with a colorful stripe.  Another example – of good design showing no age at all.   I would move in here today!


Are you also loving patterned fabrics lately?  Or are you scared to take the plunge? 



I wanted pattern.  I wanted the flowery chintz in the Haslam garden room.  But instead I chose a pattern that would work with everything I already had.   Another option would have been pillows instead of curtains.  Just be sure the pillows are large enough if you bring the pattern in that way – 22 or 24 inch.





Not convinced about patterned fabric?   Here, a muted gorgeous Robert Kime linen sets the tone and the mood.   Apple Matting again!  It really looks great.  This room makes me fall in love with design all over again.  Amelia Handegan.  She’s good.  Very, very good.



To see the new F. Schumacher, Alessandra Branca line of fabrics,

go HERE.



Do You Need A Place in Stay in France?



If you do - I have found the MOST perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a vacation house in the heart of Provence.   If not – stick around anyway for some beautiful before and after photographs!    The house,   Les Murets, is located on seven acres and has spectacular views of the nearby Luberon Mountains.  It’s a short hike from Gordes, the amazing town carved out of the mountain’s stone: 

 image The town of Gordes – shown above.

How did I find out about this Perfect Provencal House?   It seems that through the years the owners of this house and I keep bumping into each other – in cyberspace.  It’s a small world, as they say – even on the internet!

Where to start?

At the beginning?

Remember this story from a while ago?



A few years ago, I decorated a neighbor’s house using whites and aquas from Kravet’s Windsor Smith’s Collection. 



On the mantel, I used an antique mirror from Tara Shaw. 



But, much to my surprise – another blog wrote a story about this room – and photoshopped a piece of art work right over the mirror – thinking that it looked better.   Read the original blog story HERE.  It turned out the blog with the photoshopped art work was written by the Huff-Harrington ladies – Meg and Ann.  Huff-Harrington?

The bloggers, Huff-Harrington Fine Art, have an art gallery and their blog story using their art with my design made for a good time and lots of laughs.   I actually loved all their suggestions and over the years have gained a keen appreciation for Meg and Ann’s business acumen.  They have mixed a love of art and travel and France and created something quite special. 

What’s the saying? 

“If you do what you love, it’s not a job?”

  Besides the art gallery, there is also now Huff-Harrington Home, a home décor store.   Both the art gallery and the décor store have a strong online presence – and both have storefronts located in Buckhead, Atlanta. 

Huff-Harrington Home is filled with the goodies they find in France and Europe since Meg and Ann spend a lot of time overseas. 

Their new web site has just launched and it’s a thrill to see all their décor wares:



Above is just a small selection from their web site.  I’m going shopping there as soon as I finish writing this story!


Besides selling art at their gallery and furniture and accessories at their décor store – they also sponsor trips to France – “From Paris to Provence”  - is one of their more popular trips.  It features 3 days in Paris and 5 days in Provence.   There are also painting trips and antique shopping trips to Provence.  More information is found HERE.

The story continues… 

After the blog story about the photoshopped art -

I showed this beautiful apartment in Paris:



A totally renovated apartment in Paris, two bedrooms.  French doors divide the dining room/kitchen from the living room.



Remember its darling kitchen with the touch of pink check chairs?   Yes, that really is the kitchen.  And yes, you can stay there while in Paris!



It’s hard to tell where the dining room ends and the kitchen begins!

Well, it turned out this beautiful apartment was restored by the Huff-Harrington ladies and is available for lease through Paris Perfect HERE

Recently, after showing you yet another apartment from Paris Perfect, I was thrilled to learn that in addition to their Paris apartment, the ladies from Huff-Harrington also have a house in Provence that they have been lovingly restoring for the past few years – Les Murets.  The house is also where their Provence trips are based.  And, it is available for lease. 

Ready to visit?


Here’s a quick look at its floorplan – if you are like me and are into that sort of thing.



There are actually two houses each with their own front door.   The large house features 3 double bedrooms, a small bedroom and a study/single bedroom.  The Petite Maison, or guest house, has its own living room and bedroom with a small kitchen, a bathroom with shower, and a sleeping loft that has two single beds.  



Take me there!  Yes!  This is the charming house, Les Murets, that has been recently  restored.    The lavender means it’s summer there.   So charming!  So romantic! 

The house as it appears today – after a few years of renovation:  creamy stucco walls and a traditional tile roof, French blue wood shutters and stone terraces along with new landscaping. 



A view of the side of the house.  The terrace (center section) is where most meals are eaten in the summer and spring.   To the right of the terrace is one of the guest rooms and to the left is the large, two story high living room.



8B as captured by Sheryl Lott painting

Over the years, the house has been painted by some of the Huff-Harrington artists.   Here, Sheryl Lott painted the house.





9A Before Front patio

BEFORE:   A wall of slider doors overlooked the terrace, which was replaced with French doors.



9B After Front patio

AFTER:  The same view of the house showing the front patio with its French blue shutters, creamy stucco, tiled roof, and stone terrace and new French doors. 




10A Terrace before haircut

Here’s a before view of the terrace – showing the landscaping not yet trimmed.  The trees had blocked part of the view of the Luberons.



10B Terrace after haircut

AFTER:  The terrace with its view of the Luberon Mountains.  After the landscaping was trimmed, the view became much more prominent. 




10C another view of Terrace after haircut

And another view. 




The view at a fiery dusk of the Luberon Mountains.



8C as captured by artist Nancy Franke

Here – the house was painted, by Nancy Franke.




11A Courtyard before

BEFORE:  Here is the courtyard – showing the area between the main house and the guest house – which is on the right.



11B Courtyard after sorry not a great picture

AFTER:  The courtyard today with its freshly painted stucco and French shutters.  The Petite Maison is reached through the door at the right.  The door straight ahead leads to the large house kitchen.   An iron pergola was installed over the terrace with wisteria vines being trained to cover the courtyard in shade.


11C Courtyard painted by Nancy Franke

The courtyard painted by Huff-Harrington artist – Nancy Franke.




2A Front hall

BEFORE:  The front hall with its sliding glass doors and stone walls.




2B Front Hall Les Murets

AFTER:  The front hall in an earlier renovation.



AFTER:  The front hall today is half office and half main hall located off the large terrace.  Through the door is one of the guest rooms.




And today – the front hall overlooks the terrace.



The newly installed French doors replace the old sliders.



6A Living room before

BEFORE:  The living room.


6B LR after

AFTER:  The living room today!  Notice the doorway between the kitchen and the living area was opened up.  And notice the beautiful newly installed – antique fireplace mantel.  Gorgeous.  I love the balcony overlooking this tall, two story room.



6D Before Mantel

BEFORE:  The mantel.



AFTER:  Today – the antique mantel is now the focal point that it should be. 




AFTER:  Looking the other direction.  There is a dining room table at the end of the living room.  The large French doors open onto the terrace that overlooks the mountain.  Just beautiful!!!!  Love the décor – simple French furniture in linens and white slips.  Easy to keep clean, especially with guests.




I love this view of the living room – the corner of the living room.





Here’s an early view of the renovation.  I like this  too!!!  So much!  Today, there are darker gray curtains and colors brought into the décor. 





Sunset at Les Murets’  dining room.



5A 5dining room before

BEFORE:  The dining room/kitchen, overlooking the courtyard.




5B again Other higher res kitchen where DR used to be

TODAY:  The kitchen has been totally redone.  Instead of the dining table – the chairs are set up around the island.  aNow, the French door leads to the courtyard – without the table in the way.  Beautiful French appliances. 




AFTER:  The island takes the place of the breakfast table, freeing up space. 




1A Alex's bedroom before

BEFORE:  The bedroom downstairs, off the front hall.



1C Alex's bedroom another view after

AFTER:  Today, the same bedroom, totally renovated.  The ensuite bathroom is through the wood door.


1B Beds in alex's bedroom

Another view.  This French door leads out to the side of the house.  While the other door leads to the side of the terrace.



Love the mirror on the wall!  Pretty bedroom.




3A Christie's room before

BEFORE:  The bedroom at the back of the front hall.




AFTER:  Through the wooden door is its own bathroom.




After:  Another single bedroom off the kitchen.




4A Study before

BEFORE:  The study, upstairs.



4B office after

AFTER:  The study upstairs – an earlier renovation.  Love the art work and curtains!



4C Office recently converted to a bedroom

AFTER:  And more recently, the same space, converted into an extra bedroom.  The French door overlooks the courtyard.




This bedroom has a balcony that overlooks the living room – the curtains close off to provide privacy.  Love this room!!  So romantic with both the balconies!



7A MBR before

BEFORE:  The master bedroom, upstairs with its private balcony.



AFTER:  Today, the master bedroom.  Love this!!!!!



AFTER:  another view of the master bedroom.  So cute!



Petite Maison:


12A Guest House Les Murets

In the guest house – the bedroom and living area are combined.  Here’s an early renovation.


12B Guest hours got a little facelift

TODAY:  And, a more recent redecoration – adding more color.


12C Guest House Kitchen

TODAY:  The kitchen in the guesthouse.  So cute! 




The upstairs loft bedroom in the guesthouse.






Here’s a picture of one of the bathrooms – totally renovated.   Love the sink vanity – and the tiny window.



        image               After an afternoon rain – the view of the Luberons.             


     image The swimming pool and pool house.




The swimming pool can be heated if you want the water warmer.



Like to paint?  Consider taking the painting week at Les Murets. 




10D Can you tell I love this terrace

The terrace set for afternoon drinks.


I love this list of 100 Fun Things To Do at Les Murets HERE.

A few favorite ideas:

#22. Celebrate your wedding anniversary with lunch at Domaine de la Capelongue.

#23. Celebrate it again the next night with a catered meal, at home, and ask the wine merchant in Coustellet to pick out the wine for you.

#74. Go for dinner at the delightful Bistrot a Michel in Cabrieres and walk home, in the moonlight. (Love this one!!!  Sounds so romantic!)

#100. Or, if you are like my daughter Alexandra, spend a week happily at the house without ever leaving the property!    (Hmmm – I’d probably be like Alexandra!)

Still – read the list of 100 things to do – it gives you ideas of ways to have a good time no matter where you are – whether at home or in Provence!!!


10E just before dinner with one of our groups

Dinner set out on the terrace. Just beautiful.

And remember how I told you that Huff-Harrington and Cote de Texas keep bumping into each other?

Here’s this:

Look at this piece of art work Huff-Harrington sell:

13A Joni's retreat. Laura Shubert 30 x 40   This painting by Laura Shubert turned up on the Huff-Harrington web site!  Look familiar?  HERE.




It’s a painting of my living room!  To say I was stunned would be an understatement.  I think Ann and Meg were too!

It seems that someone had given the artist a picture of my living room and she painted it.   When Huff-Harrington saw it – they recognized it and sent me a photo of it! Small world indeed!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    13B lifeimitatingart at Huff Harrington Home

The painting displayed at the gallery. 


I have never met Ann or Meg of Huff-Harrington in person– though I feel like we have, a million times before!  I guess when you share similar aesthetics, your paths are sure to cross – like ours have over the years – which is what makes blogging all the more fun and personable. 

A huge thanks for sharing Les Murets with us!


To rent either the house in Provence or the apartment in France, go HERE.

And to learn more about their fabulous trips to France, go HERE.

And, now, if you will excuse me, I’m going shopping in Europe – on the Huff-Harrington Home web site HERE right now!