Miles of French Country style and Provence inspired lovely images of interiors and exteriors await in this Pinterest-worthy collection of photos, but first a secret. One of the perks of being a blogger of interior design inspiration is every once in awhile, one is treated to a brush with greatness. The French farmhouse “La Castellane” in the photo above belongs to the legendary designer Kathryn M Ireland, and I have long admired both it and her since discovering Kathryn’s book Summers in France.
The home near the town of Montclar dates to 1760 and is located near hilltop towns in an area often referred to as the Tuscany of France. (No, I only wish I received an invite to Le Castellane!) Anyway, when I read somewhere online a couple of years back she was selling the family’s farmhouse, I could not believe it.
The home represents more than twenty years of renovations and love breathed into it. The home served as Kathryn’s lab and launched her professional career as an interior designer. So the next chance I had to contact her about a quasi-related blog story, I asked how she was able to part with the treasure since I assumed it had changed hands.
Kathryn told me her kids had a fit, she took it off the market, and that the boys would never let her sell it! Maybe a small thing to you, but for blogging designgeeks like moi, for a moment I felt like a design insider! Not to mention, I was relieved to hear La Castellane still belonged to the family. I haven’t corresponded with her in some time, so maybe some of you will know whether the farmhouse remains hers. Are you also tickled by the fact someone named Ireland who was born in England, raised in Scotland, and based in Los Angeles is leading off our French farmhouse parade? Ha!
Here is what Kathryn Ireland told My Domaine about the place:“I came up with my first fabric collection there, inspired by the French countryside…It was the first house I ever did, and one of the reasons I went into the decorating business. The décor is comfortable and unpretentious. I decorated La Castellane just as I do when decorating for other people. To this day I draw much inspiration from this property.”
Curious about Kathryn M Ireland? Born in England and raised in London and Scotland, Kathryn Ireland arrived in Los Angeles in 1986. Prior to launching her interior design business in the early ’90s, Kathryn was an actress, clothing designer, and filmmaker. Today she is considered one of the most influential interior and textile designers in the world.
French Country and French Farmhouse inspired home decor and furnishings are also weaved in with affiliate links to sources of lovely in the same spirit. You won’t pay extra for using these links, yet I’ll earn a small commission (yay!). Meet me at the finish line after all the visual inspiration to share your thoughts.
Pretty Provence-inspired Farmhouse lovely?
Sometimes Provence breathes in Utah…
“Closer to Authentic” French Farmhouse Decor Ideas
Maybe these decor ideas are obvious outside of mainstream America, but one google or browse ’round Pinterest, and it would seem there are more than a few contrived attempts at the look which can fall flat and result in a less than charming outcome.
1. Think about the context of French Farmhouse style. French farmhouse style originates from the lovely landscape of rural France with its hills and valleys. If you can’t travel to the south of France, do spend time online or at the library in order to better understand the romance and allure. 2. Study the layering and mixing the French do so masterfully. There is often a sense of refinement in French Country homes where a mix of old and new result in interiors which feel balanced and sensible, yet soulful and interesting. Old World charm and collected antiques and family treasures impart a sense of rich character. 3. Train your eye to see beauty where things don’t match. Many Americans still opt for matchy furniture which would never do for a French farmhouse. The French country approach to furnishing a home is more organic in creating a harmonious and unhomogenized look that is truly undecorated and never overwrought. 4. Distress is not Distressing. As French Country is a style which imparts a sense of age and tradition, scratches, rust, and signs of wear are to be celebrated. Antiques and vintage pieces are treasured with their desirable patina. While Americans rush out to buy a new rug after it fades or frays, their European counterparts might prize the threadbare rug. 5. Trendy trends? Mais non. Instead of jumping on the trendy bandwagons, see the beauty in timeless, tumbledown, and timeworn finishes, patina, and character from age and wear.
How do the French accessorize in their French Country homes? Houzz reports French Country home decor accents always have a purpose: “Rarely will accessories in a French country room be purely decorative. They usually have an undertone of usefulness: wall-hung plates that can be pulled down for service, jugs and jars that house kitchen staples, baskets that corral plump produce from the garden. Open shelving is a natural partner for this look — everyday items enjoy pride of place rather than languishing behind cabinet doors.”
The best way to capture a more authentic Provence-inspired look may be to simply BEGIN and know there will be misses along the way. The French Country lovin’ Londoner Ireland once told the French Guy from New Jersey (SergetheConcierge) “Anytime you endeavor to make a statement or to do good work, you always encounter hurdles…the whole effort of reclaiming the house from ruin became a baptism by fire and gave me the confidence to pursue a career as a professional interior designer. La Castellane is my laboratory to try things out, things I’ve gone on to recreate for clients in my interior design work.”
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Peace to you right where you are.
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