The French Lesson
As for the glossary terms (scroll way down) related to French houses, interiors, and design…my French is not so good, and we are often exploring French influences here. After finding some help on Chateau Domingue’s site, I searched a bit more for home-related vocabulary. Feel free to enlighten me with more.
BTW. While not French in origin, the word that kept springing to mind as I devoured these images of old stone buildings was: patina.
Patina: The natural aging of the stone surface through oxidation and other exposures that enhance the color and texture of the surface.
Do the French have descriptive terms related to ‘patina?’ The Italians began using the word in the 17th century to refer to the green film developing on the surface of copper. Later, it was used to describe surface appearances of objects growing beautiful with age. Patina can even describe someone’s vibe.
I found this bit somewhere online: She carries the patina of old money and good breeding. (I’m afraid the patina carried by moi is decidedly more Kraft dinner and public school! What patina do you carry?)
I promise I will end this word-nerd geekfest.
I’m nominated for Amara’s Best Written Blog…do you like my writing style? I’d be ever so grateful for the vote.
Atelier: Workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer; originally from 14th century Old French atelier, referring to a carpenter’s workshop piled with wood.
Bars: A term used in southern France referring to slabs of rectangular limestone usually laid in a running bond pattern. Originally cut to uniform sizes in order to span the floor joists.
Bastide: A bastide is a local name for a manor house in Provence, in the south of France, located in the countryside or in a village, and originally occupied by a wealthy farmer. It was larger and more elegant than the farmhouse called a mas and was square or rectangular, with a tile roof, walls of stone sometimes covered with stucco or whitewashed, and often was built in a square around a courtyard. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many bastides were used as summer houses by wealthy citizens of Marseille.
Bibelot: Small object of curiosity, beauty or rarity.
Bon état: Good condition.
Bouchard: The bouchard is a hammer with many points like a meat tenderizer and especially effective for finishing the surface of harder stones.
Cabriole: Legs which curve out from the seat & inward toward the foot in an S shape.
Chambres d’hôtes: Guesthouse, B&B.
Charentaise: Stone house found throughout Poitou-Charentes.
Château: French stately home, sometimes part of a wine-producing estate.
Château fort: Castle (fortified).
Chaumière: A French cottage, thatched cottage or “petite maison.”
Chinoiserie: Style of ornamentation chiefly from the mid-17th to mid-18th century in Europe, then revived during the Regency (1811-1820), characterized by intricate patterns and an extensive use of motifs identified as Chinese. Currently, it is a style of decorative or fine art based on imitations of Chinese motifs.
Cour: Courtyard or yard.
Credence: Small table or sideboard.
Dalles: Square and rectangular stones laid in an opus romain, or seemingly random pattern.
Évier: Kitchen sink.
not French but helpful…Fattoria: A term for a large farmer estate in and around Tuscany.
Ferme, corps de ferme: Farmhouse/farmstead.
Fermette: Small farmhouse.
Gîte: Holiday cottage.
Jardinière: Plant container.
Longère: Long, rectangular house common in Brittany and Normandy.
Maison à colombages: Half-timbered house.
Maison de campagne: Country house.
Maison de maître: Mansion or manor, usually in a town or village (literally ‘master’s house’).
Maison de ville: Town house.
Manoir: Manor, usually in the country.
Mas: Traditional farmhouse in the Provence region of France. A mas was a largely self-sufficient economic unit, which could produce its own fruit, vegetables, grain, milk, meat and even floor. Usually constructed of local stone, the kitchen and room for animals was on the ground floor, and bedrooms, storage places for food and often a room for raising silkworms on the upper floor. Not every farmhouse in Provence is a mas. A mas was distinct from the other traditional kind of house, the bastide, which was the home of a wealthy family.
Monument historique: Listed building.
Objet d’art: Means literally “art object”, or an object of artistic worth or curiosity, especially a small object. It therefore covers a wide range of works, usually small and three-dimensional, of high quality and finish, in areas of the decorative arts.
Papier peint: Wallpaper.
Parefeuille: Terracotta rectangular tiles originally used to line ceilings between beams, now reclaimed and also used for flooring.
Plain-pied: Single storey.
Rénover: To renovate.
Restaurer: To restore.
Séjour: Living room.
Trumeau: Decorative treatment used over mirrors, windows, doors or mantels. Used often in Louis XV & Louis XVI periods.
Did you know many of these design terms? I must admit, I didn’t even know a grenier was an attic even though I have experienced the wonder of shopping vide greniers (“empty attic” sales) in Paris!
Peace to you right where you are.
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