Wonderful New Giveaway–Jewelry by Karen Sugarman

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One of my favorite sponsors is also one of my longest and most loyal sponsors – Karen Sugarman Designs.    I’m totally in love with her jewelry which she designs – and I love to read about the inspiration behind her pieces, which she writes about in her blog HERE.
 
Karen’s last blog entry was about this necklace – owned by Elizabeth Taylor, which she was inspired to recreate.
 
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Elizabeth Taylor’s necklace was made of antique ivory opera tokens from the 18th and 19th century, and was valued at $1,500 to $2,000 but was auctioned at $314,500.00!!  


Inspired by the token necklace, Karen designed this one and offered others for sale either like this or with individualized tokens.
 
 
 
Recently she wrote HERE about a work in progress token necklace that she is currently making for a client – each token was hand drawn and created especially for the client.  It’s a fascinating story and makes me wish I had ordered one myself.  It’s just so beautiful!   
 
 
Antique Chinese Game Counter Peridot Baroque Pearls Necklace
I especially love this necklace Karen designed – with an antique Chinese gaming counter hanging from a chain of peridot and pearls.   Beautiful!


Multicolored Moonstone Necklace Antique Gilt Carnelian Fob - Elise III Necklace image 4
Another favorite is this antique carnelian fob – love it.   And I love Karen’s styling too.   Her presentation is an art in itself.


Guilloche Locket Grisaille Putti Pink Pearls Labradorite Necklace image 5
There is this antique Victorian peacock blue guilloche mourning locket – hanging from pearls.


A Shell Of An Idea III Necklace - Antique Angel Skin Coral Cameo image 3
My absolute favorite – this antique cameo on a necklace of shells.  Perfection.
 
 
Ruby Red Venetian Glass Intaglio Cameo Fleur de Lis Pink Opaline Crystal Rhinestone Earrings - Vittoria Earrings
There are also bracelets and earrings – such as this stunning pair 0f red intaglios surrounded by pink opaline.
 
 
The giveaway necklace was inspired by Karen’s love of the Quatrefoil shape.
The quatrefoil is an ancient Christian symbol used in architecture – the name is derived from the Latin word for four leaves – as the Quatrefoil resembles a four leaf clover.  
In Christianity – the four sided shape is said to symbolize the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 
The height of the Quatrefoil’s popularity was during the Gothic and Renaissance eras – but today, the Quatrefoil is experiencing a resurgence – and it’s shape can be found everywhere.

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An example of a quatrefoil found in architecture.   This is at the Croyland Abbey and depicts the life of St. Guthlac.  


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A stained glass quatrefoil found in a church in Chiswick, England.






















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Here is an architectural example from today – the kitchen in actor Robert Pattinson’s house boasts a quatrefoil window.


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This gorgeous example is from the kitchen in Velvet and Linen’s new house.  There is a matching quatrefoil on the opposite side of this space in the living room. 
 
 
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McAlpine Tankersley designed this quatrefoil window for a house in Nashville.
 
 
 
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And another by McAlpine Tankersley – this window lays on its side.
 
 
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Suzanne Kasler designed this chair using a quatrefoil for inspiration.
 
 
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Kasler also designed this line of quatrefoil lamps.


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Charming shutters using the design.

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Fountains in the quatrefoil shape are popular.


The quatrefoil is a very popular design in papers, in linens, and in fabrics. 
 
 
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You can even get the shape in tiles – in fact this is what inspired Karen Sugarman in her jewelry design – this tile is what she wanted for her master bathroom renovation – until she priced it.  Stunning!
 
And here is the giveaway – this beautiful mother of pearl quatrefoil necklace, hanging from a chain of pearls and crystals:

KARENS
 
The Rules:
To enter the giveaway – you need to first visit Karen Sugarman’s web site HERE,
look around and find your favorite item.  Then, come back here and leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece was.  That’s all!
Be sure to leave your email address on the comment if you are Anonymous!!
The contest starts today – November 25 and lasts until Thursday, November 28th at 11:59 pm.
And as an extra bonus – any piece you purchase will be discounted by 15 per cent!
To receive your discount – be sure to enter the coupon code “Cote de Texas 2013” before you purchase anything.
 
Karen’s pieces make the perfect Christmas gift so look around in order to use the 15 per cent discount!!!
 
Good luck!!!
And finally, a huge thank you to Karen Sugarman for another wonderful giveaway!!!!






































Make Me Cry

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WARNING:  This blog story has NOTHING to do with interior design!  So, please indulge me this one time!
A friend sent me a Youtube video of a baby girl intently watching while her mother sings her Sara Evans’ hit song “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.”  This amazing and wonderful video has gone viral with millions of hits and last week even The Ellen Show joined in and had the baby and her parents on the program.


What made the video so special was that while her mother sang her the song, the 10 month old little girl began to cry – not because she was hungry or colicky - but because she was so moved by either the melody or her mother’s voice hitting the high notes.
Sweet emotional baby


Everyone knows that certain music can elicit tears – but from a little baby?


   That video reminded me that a few years ago I had written a blog story about music and why it makes us cry – but I never published it since it had nothing to do with interior design.  But now this video has inspired me to pull it out and freshen it up a bit.


Why DOES music make us cry?  Is it the melodies or the words or both?   Classical music with no lyrics can bring on the floodgates, and listening to music in a foreign language can also make you weep.  Is it the high notes that bring on emotion?


Twenty years ago, the British psychologist John Sloboda conducted an experiment on why we are moved by music.   He asked people to write down the passages of songs that made them either cry or have a physcial reaction, such as goosebumps.  There were 20 passages that induced tears and Dr. Slobada analyzed them - noting this trend:  18 of the passages contained an "appoggiatura" - a note that clashes with the melody to create a dissonant sound.   This sound creates tension in the listener.  When the notes return to the melody that is expected, the tension resolves, and it feels good.  At that point, the listener may experience chills.  If there are several appoggiaturas occuring next to each other in the melody - this will generate a cycle ot tension and release which provokes an even stronger reaction - and thus, tears.


I thought it would make an interesting discussion to have you see what songs make me cry and then you can leave a comment with your own choices – and we can all enjoy listening to some wonderful music.


In putting out my list - I realised how personal it really is.   Some of the songs are from my childhold, some from when Ben and I first met, and others are those I have enjoyed during sad times.  Another warning – I have a very eclectic taste in music!!

So, get out your hankies – but try not to cry too much!




The emotional baby video. 



I Don’t Want to Live Without You by Foreigner



This was a favorite of Ben’s and mine.  We would watch the video and just weep at both the lyrics, the images and the music.   Of course back then – we were in the throes of our great passion and this was “our song.”





Keep me in Your Hearts For Awhile



Warren Zevon wrote this song when he was dying of cancer.  It’s a love song to his family.   Enough said.







Probably my favorite score from a movie – just hearing the opening strains make me sob.  To listen to Atticus Fitch famous closing arguments in Tom Robinson’s trial, go HERE






This song by Lily Allen, Chinese, is a love song written for her mother.  The English Capital Childrens Choir singing this song makes it all the more sweet.  




The Book of Love


 It’s hard to pick ONE Peter Gabriel song that makes you cry – so many do because his voice is just so beautiful.  This song, The Book of Love, is so emotional – I can listen to it over and over again for one hour straight. 


Adele



OK I know this is a cliché.  But is there a better break up song to cry to than this?  No.  I didn’t think so!   This song inspired the Wall Street Journal to write an article of why songs make us cry!



The River 




My all time favorite Christmas song – by Joni Mitchell – the 60s singer songwriter who just celebrated her 70th birthday.  A total tearjerker – caused by her lyrics and the notes. 






I dare you not to cry at this one!   Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli’s Time to Say Goodbye.  I know it’s an easy choice,  but it’s so incredible.









Oh God, this song by Nanci Griffith is a killer about farmers - “you’ll be the mule, I’ll be the plow, we’ll work it out – there’s still a lot of love here in these troubled fields.”  Not sure why a song about the dustbowl makes me cry, but it’s the combination of the lyrics and her vocals.








This song, by my all-time favorite band, The National, is heard at the end of the movie Warrior.   I’m never sure if it’s the movie or the music that brings on the tears.  If you aren’t familiar with The National which features the fabulous baritone of Matt Berninger, the dual guitars of the Dessner twins, and impeccable percussion by Bryan Devendorf, I can’t recommend them enough.






A college boyfriend introduced me to this album by Frank Sinatra "Old Blue Eyes is Back."  So many great songs are on it – and his voice was so fabulous at this age.  Of course, college love make you cry over songs like this – Dream Away – written by Paul Williams.






Oh such a sweet song about a dying man - with all his faults - and how wonderful he is despite it all.   The King and I's Something Wonderful - sung by Carly Simon.






OK, OK - Bella's Lullaby from Twilight!  Of course!   Carter Burwell wrote this underlying song for his wife when they broke up.  When he was asked to write the soundtrack for the first Twilight movie, he asked his wife's permission to use their "love song" which she of course gave.  He didn't write the score for the second or third movie in the series, but, he was brought back for the final 4th and 5th movies - where he wove this love song throughout the soundtracks.  It's a beautiful melody.







This song sums up so much - growing up with the Beatles in the 60s,  John Lennon’s untimely murder – and this pure long song to Yoko whom I think the entire world hated, blaming her for breaking up the Beatles.  John didn't care – the bad press seemed to make him love her all that much more.  This song came out after he had been shot by a deranged fan.   John had such a beautiful voice.  I know many people thought of the Beatles as John Lennon and Paul McCartney - cowriting all the songs, but when you really know their individual voices you can tell who wrote which song.  John was the real talent there - in my opinion.  His Dream is one of the prettiest songs ever written – especially with his falsetto soaring  HERE. Imagine.  Julia.  Dear Prudence. Across the Universe.  I’m Happy Just to Dance with You, I Should have Known Better, Nowhere Man, Please Please Me and so many others. 






There is something about the falsetto voice of the rarely heard Eagle Timothy B. Schmidt – who also wrote this song – that tears me up each time I hear it. It is one of the few songs that both Ben and I love.







My favorite female singer songwriter, Ani di Franco.  She’s an acquired taste, but this song – the lyrics and the melody – gets me every time.   di Franco is an incredible woman in the music industry.  She refused to sign with a record label and did it all on her own, creating her own label.  In doing so, she lost out on a huge career, but she is a critic’s darling and has never once had to compromise her vision or art for the big bucks.  Yeah, I am a huge fan. 



So many great songs are from Funny Girl, which me and my family actually saw on Broadway back then!  But, My Man, still gives me goosebumps and tears when Barbra sings goodbye to bad-boy Nicky Arnstein.    Barbra is famous for tearjerkers, but this one is my personal favorite.






There are so many great Dave Matthews Band love songs – Satellite, Crash, You & Me, Baby Blue, Grace is Gone,  that bring on the tears.  It was so hard to decide though between Crash or Lover Lay Down



Touch your lips just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I'm bare boned and crazy for you
When you come crash
Into me, baby
And I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream
If I've gone overboard
Then I'm begging you
To forgive me
In my haste
When I'm holding you so girl
Close to me



or when Dave starts telling her to hike up her skirt, a little more -
well.. DAVE!  He is the epitome of the sexy rock god. 



So although my first choice was Lover Lay Down, I had to go with Crash Into Me.  But I put them both on here anyway.  Who can choose???? 





This one is so personal.  Elisabeth, my daughter, was a huge Spice Girls fan.  We took a limo to see them in concert and she even had a Spice Girls birthday party with a fake Spice Girl that totally fooled her.  This song that the girls sing to their mothers in the audience against the backdrop of their private home movies was a killer for me.  I never make it through without crying – even ten years later.  Even writing this.




So this is a small compilation of music that has effected me emotionally through the years.  I tried to edit the list to keep it manageable and I know there are much better choices that I have forgotten about or just didn't think of.



I would love to hear your favorite songs that bring on the tears or the goosebumps or just good memories.  If you have a link on youtube to the song - include it in the comment.  If  not - don't worry - we'll find it ourselves.

Tour the Provence Guest House: Le Petite Bijou

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Is there someone you know or someone you’ve read about who is living the life you you’ve always wanted to?  Vicki Archer is my someone.   Vicki, a best selling author, writes the beautiful blog “French Essence” which recently celebrated its 5th anniversary.  Vicki lived in Australia, was married and had three small children when she visited Provence in 1999 and fell in love at first sight, as she describes it, with an abandoned and decrepit 17th century olive farm. 

 

 

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Ms. Vicki, sitting down for once!

 

She and her husband bought the farm, Mas de Berard, and began the long and laborious process of renovating it.  To simplify life, they moved to London in order to be closer to Provence.  It took three years before the farmhouse was restored and today they split their time between the two countries.   London?  Provence?   Does it get any better than that?   I didn’t think so. 

Over the years, I have written about Vicki a few times and we interviewed her on The Skirted Roundtable.  Obsessed?  Moi?  Just a little.  One look at Mas de Berard and its easy to see why anyone would gladly trade places with her.    

Vicki is kept busy.  Running the farm isn’t just sitting back and admiring its beautiful gardens – it’s hard work.  When the olives ripen, Vicki is right there helping in the harvest.   And besides taking care of both her houses, she managed to find time to write two books about life in France.   Still, a few years ago, Vicki decided she needed yet another project and she and husband found an abandoned townhouse in St. Remy de Provence,  a short five minutes from their farm.    The two turned the wreck into a charming guest house which is now available for rent.  

Vicki was sweet enough to share the before and after pictures of  the guest house “Le Petite Bijou,” which I am thrilled to show you today!  But first, let’s take a look at Mas de Berard again.

 

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Mas de Berard, Vicki Archer’s 17th century farmhouse in Provence

 

 

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The interiors are wonderful, pure French.

 

 

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Vicki always mixes the new with the old – like here in her library.

 

 

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The master bedroom has this wonderful bed. 

 

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The fireplace in her master bedroom.  I love the colors in this room.

 

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Vicki’s daughter’s bedroom is my favorite room in the house.

 

 

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The kitchen – the heart of every Provencal mas.

 

 

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The stone stairs meet the terra cotta tiles.

 

 

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As much as I love the interiors, Mas de Berard’s property is spectacular.   Here, the Les Alpilles mountain range is seen in the distance.

 

 

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The grounds are especially beautiful during the lavender blooming season. 

 

 

 

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Here is the olive grove in front of the mountain range.  Does it get more beautiful anywhere?   Imagine how lucky Vicki and her family are to wake up to this beauty each morning?

 

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Remember the water rill from a few weeks ago at actor Robert Pattinson’s L.A. house?  Vicki has her own water rill – here surrounded by blooming lavender.

 

 

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A longer view of the rill.

 

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Blooming flowers on the front yard.

 

 

 

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The rill is flanked by tall cypress. 

 

 

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It’s a shame the blooming season doesn’t last longer.

 

 

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Vicki says the lavender is a lot of work – but worth it.  At the end of the season, she bundles the lavender up and puts it in bowls around the house.  Other lavender is tossed into the fireplaces – the oil is used as a starter.

 

 

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Roses on a pergola.   These beautiful photographs of the farm by Carla Coulson mostly come from Vicki’s books.

 

 

 

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Facing towards Mas de Berard.

 

 

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And here, the rill gushes into the stone trough on the terrace.

 

 

 

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Here, the terrace under the pergola.

 

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Wisteria growing on the pergola.

 

 

 

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Al fresco dinner on the terrace.  Through the metal window is the living room, previously seen.

 

 

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So Provence- love the shutters.

 

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Heaven on earth.

 

 

 

 

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  White roses surround the front door.  I’ve always wondered how Vicki leaves and goes back to London?   But, she loves London as much as Provence. 

 

 

 

 

Le Petite Bijou

 

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For the past few years Vicki and her husband have been busy renovating Le Petite Bijou, their new guesthouse in the historic district of St. Remy-de-Provence.    They hired Hugues Bosc, the talented architect who designed Mas de Berard, to restore the house – but Vicki took on the interiors - scouring the brocantes for antiques and furniture.  The predominant color scheme is greige- that beautiful color between gray and green.  The only pattern is a few choice toiles and chintzes.   The mood is quiet and peaceful and it’s a perfect place to stay and refuel while antiquing or touring the South of France.

 

 

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  The house is in the middle of the historic village – next to the Musee des Alpilles and the Hotel de Sade – where the red A is.

 

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To reach it by foot or bicycle – there’s a large town square with a café.  Go past the Musee through the stone arch in the corner. 

 

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Looking back towards the town square – past the arch in the corner - is the Musee des Alpilles. 

 

 

 

 

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You continue through the arch to another arch.  So charming!

 

 

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The cobbled street continues under the stone bridge.

 

 

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BEFORE:    And finally the house comes into view – here is how it looked 3 years ago when Vicki and her husband first saw it – abandoned and falling down. 

 

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And here is the house when construction started.  The entry was moved to the garage instead of the front door – which is seen here in the middle in blue. 

 

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From the balcony, the view of the hotel across the street.

 

 

 

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The scaffolding goes up.  Renovating in Provence calls for extreme patience.  Getting permits can take months and even years.   The grounds under St. Remy are Roman ruins, so great pains are taken to be sure no archeological relics are destroyed when renovating properties. 

 

 

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Rebuilding the roof.  Upstairs will be two bedrooms, one bathroom.

 

 

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A detail over the door.

 

 

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The stairs before.

 

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Interesting to see the roof being prepared for the beams.  This will be the living/dining room.

 

 

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Wood beams and steel door.   The entry hall.  These beams were later whitewashed. 

 

 

 

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Notice the arched wood shutter with braces that fits on the outside of the steel door.    The dining table will sit in front of this window/door.

 

 

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The galley kitchen – most appliances will be hidden behind cabinets.

 

 

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Open shelving going in.

 

 

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The sink cabinet – before.

 

 

AFTER:

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And here is the façade, all cleaned up.  The shutters are now a light blue/gray – much more subtle than their original color.   The original bush has been cut back to make it more manageable.  The large bedroom is located here on the second floor – behind the shutters.

 

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Love the address plates.

 

 

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The front door was restored, along with its stone surround – even though this is no longer used as the entrance into the house.

 

 

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Original hardware remains.

 

 

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And welcome to the entry hall, which is the former garage.  The terra cotta tiles are from Mas de Berard – there was enough left over to use here throughout the first floor.  I’m in love!  This is so, so charming the way that Vicki put it all together.  I really love the gilt frame inside the trumeau.  Just love this!

 

 

 

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A close up - I really like the metal plants.  If you can ever find these – buy them!  They look so great on a mantel or on a bakers rack, like this one.

 

 

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Across the entry is this bench filled with baskets ready for the market.  Love the candle stands.  Above are great looking white washed beams.

 

 

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Going through the entry is this small hallway – with a commode found in an antique shop in Provence. 

 

 

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Close up of the small pass-through hall.  Love the mirror Vicki added and I really love the apothecary jars.   There is a powder room across from this hall.   

 

 

 

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The main room is a combination living/dining room with the kitchen off to the side.  At the window are linen panels.   Next to the French chair are two chairs covered in aubergine linen.

 

 

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Vicki does interesting vignettes – notice the charming drum.  Behind this chair are the  wood tread stairs that lead up to the two bedrooms.

 

 

 

 

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Next to the stairs are this pair of chairs that sit under a wonderful set of botanicals.   Vicki likes to mix the new with the old – here she puts a set of classic nesting tables next to antiques.  Aren’t these botanicals fabulous?

 

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The focal point of the room is this painted bookcase in the dining area.  The sofa is covered in a subtle toile that looks like Bennison Roses in pink.   The terra cotta tiles pick up the color of these fabrics.

 

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This shows the sofa with its end tables and the dining table behind it.  The kitchen is to the right.  

 

 

 

 

 

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The dining room table is painted and sits underneath a crystal chandelier, which is the main light fixture in the room.

 

 

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The arched window/door opens off the dining room to the neighborhood outside.

 

 

 

 

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Vicki mixes white dishes with red and white transferware.  Beautiful monogrammed linen napkins.

 

 

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Vicki accessorized the bookcase with paintings and books.

 

 

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The kitchen is located through the opening.   Along this side of the kitchen galley are cabinets that hide the oven and refrigerator and microwave.

 

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The countertop is a stone from the region.  At the top shelves are a collection of small paintings.

 

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The kitchen is fully stocked if the guests would rather cook than eat out.  There is also a chef available for those who want to eat in, but not cook.  So many choices!

 

 

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Appliances hiding behind the cabinets in the kitchen.

Paint color?   The walls are similar to Farrow & Ball’s ‘elephant’s breath, while the woodwork is paler, a colour resembling Farrow and Ball’s ‘skimming stone.’

 

Ready to go upstairs?

 

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At the landing is a vignette with a chest, clock and sconce.

 

 

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Down the hall is a collection of paintings in gilt frames flanked by sconces.

 

 

imageThere are two bedrooms upstairs.  This is the smaller one that has a balcony.  Beautiful linen pillowcases.

 

 

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Upstairs – there are hardwoods.   Across from the bed are two bergeres with a toile fabric.

 

 

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Another vignette by Vicki.  She puts her favorite caramels out for the guests. 

 

 

 

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Vanity mirror repurposed as a book holder by Vicki!

 

 

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The back of the chairs are traditionally upholstered in ticking.

 

 

 

 

 

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The balcony off the smaller bedroom. 

 

 

 

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Even the balcony is charmingly furnished!

 

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The view towards the other direction.

 

 

 

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The larger bedroom has two bergeres and painted nightstands.  Notice how Vicki places prints or mirrors behind each nightstand in both bedrooms.

 

 

 

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There is a vaulted ceiling with painted beams.  This headboard is tufted in linen and the dust ruffle is out of the same linen.

 

 

 

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Notice the pretty doors and cabinets.   Along one wall is a painted chest with a mirror and lamps.

 

 

 

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Closeup of the fashion prints and lamp.

 

 

 

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A stack of large antique books act as a side table next to the bergere.

 

 

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French doors open to the view of the historic area of St. Remy.

 

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The view from the Juliet balcony window in the large bedroom.

 

 

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View at night.

 

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The two windows in the large bedroom – notice the curtain gatherings, it looks so pretty.

 

 

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The bathroom sink with its Venetian mirror and sconces.

 

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There is a tub and a shower – for both options.

 

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Sweet. 

 

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Heated rack for towels.

 

 

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I’m ready!  I’ll spend a week here and then a week in the country at the Huff Harrington house we saw a few months ago HERE.   Care to join me?

 

I hope you enjoyed this tour of Le Petite Bijou in St. Remy!   A huge thank you to Vicki for all her gorgeous photographs.

 

 

To contact Vicki Archer about renting Le Petite Bijou, go HERE.

To read Vicki’s blog, French Essence, go HERE

To listen to the Skirted Roundtable interview of Vicki, go HERE