Secrets to Capture Rustic Elegance in European Country Interiors

Years ago, as proprietor Ruth Gay of Houston-based Chateau Domingue built her amazing Old World style home, securing authentic construction materials and architectural salvage from Europe was a challenge. However, the process was ultimately a fortuitous challenge as she discovered a niche market. A business opportunity (sourcing one of a kind design elements and monumental European antiques) bloomed into Chateau Domingue. Secrets to Capture Rustic Elegance in European Country Interiors tours her unforgettable home and explores European inspired design underpinnings.

Country French dining room with rustic wood ceiling (reclaimed from Europe by Chateau Domingue), stone floors, and exquisite antique stone fireplace.
Photo: Chateau Domingue – in case you adore sophisticated decor. How to Master Rustic Elegance in European Country Style, French, and also Old World timeless design inspiration.

Secrets to Capture Rustic Elegance in European Country Style

Design: Pamela Pierce Source: Chateau Domingue Photos: courtesy of Chateau Domingue

Breathtaking French limestone staircase in Ruth Gay's country French home - Chateau Domingue.

Let’s revisit this house tour of Ruth Gay’s unforgettable home!

A sophisticated European country designed interior (Chateau Domingue and Pamela Pierce) is a breathlessly beautiful example of how to master elegant rustic refined European Country style. #frenchcountry #interiordesign #europeanantiques #oldworldstyle #rusticdecor #Frenchhome #housetour
Photo: Chateau Domingue – in case you adore elegant French decor. Mastering Elegant Rustic Refined European Country Style as well as French and Old World timeless design inspiration.

Decorating Ideas for Authentic European Country Interiors

A European country inspired approach may be less concerned with shopping for eye candy as it is with bringing soul to a home with thoughtful, natural, authentic gestures.

Rustic elegant French country dining room with authentic antiques and reclaimed materials from Chateau Domingue. #oldworldstyle #diningroom #countryfrench

1. Aim High for Authenticity

Notice how her beautiful home is accessorized. One would never guess this home is new construction thanks to authentic antiques, ancient stone, and imported materials.

Country French House Tour - come see Chateau Domingue's Ruth Gay's stunning Houston home on Hello Lovely!
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And look closer. The airy ethereal mood also gets help from pale plaster walls, creamy limestone, and muted painted furniture.

A sophisticated European country designed interior (Chateau Domingue and Pamela Pierce) is a breathlessly beautiful example of how to master elegant rustic refined European Country style. #frenchcountry #interiordesign #europeanantiques #oldworldstyle #rusticdecor #Frenchhome #housetour
Photo: Chateau Domingue – in case you adore sophisticated French design. Mastering Elegant Rustic Refined European Country Style as well as French and Old World timeless design inspiration.

2. Welcome a Wealth of Natural Goodness

Incorporate natural materials whenever possible. Natural materials used in the construction contribute to the character, quality, and mood of the decor as well. Beautiful, well-earned PATINA is everywhere in these interiors–from the wood planked ceilings to the aged stone and furnishings.

Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #shelves
Photo: Chateau Domingue – in case you adore sophisticated decor. Mastering Elegant Rustic Refined European Country Style as well as French and Old World timeless design inspiration.

3. Accessories Should Work Hard

Expect more from the accessories in the mix. Many Americans equate “decorating” with the placement of accessories they think will enhance the anchor pieces in a space. However, it’s a more European country sensibility to include only pieces with purpose that also happen to be good looking.

Is the accessory useful? Can it be pulled into service? Does the piece have potential to store essentials? Will it stand the test of time? Is it high quality and multi-functional?

Ruth Gay's gorgeous rosy dining room with Old World French elegance. Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #diningroom #romantic

4. Aim for Quality Accessories

If you are accustomed to seasonal decoration, consider a shift toward timeless pieces of high quality. Note the open shelves in Ruth Gay’s dining room and the quality of the collected objects upon them.

You’ll notice purposeful baskets, dishes, receptacles for flowers, and pitchers. While it could be costly to amass these pieces in one fell swoop, invest in one at a time.

Ruth Gay's gorgeous rosy dining room with Old World French elegance. Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #diningroom #romantic

European inspired sensibility eschews mediocrity and aims for high quality. However, that doesn’t mean every mediocre decor piece must go! Rather, one can slowly upgrade and delight in having less but better.

Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor
Photo: Chateau Domingue – in case you admire elegant French country. Photo gallery of a breathtaking French country home in Houston as well design observations about European inspired decor.

5. Say No to Excessive Filler

Who likes dusting a too-busy shelf? It is one thing to enjoy a collection and quite another to fill every tabletop in the name of “interest.” Excessive filler can impart a diluted, mediocre effect which lacks character and quality.

Authentic antique reclaimed materials from Europe in a newly built kitchen with Old World charm - Chateau Domingue. #frenchkitchen #frenchantiques #frenchlimestone #frenchcountry

While collections can make a profound impact in a space, they can also create sensory overload. Over-styling that feels contrived seems unnatural whereas “underbaked’ (a term learned from Tom Scheerer) can feel just right.

Antique French farmhouse table, sideboard, and collected European country treasures in Ruth Gay's dining room. Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #apothecaryjars #diningroom

6. Consider Room Dimensions When Building

American homes are typically more spacious than European counterparts. If you’re determined to achieve the charm of European country interiors you admire, bear in mind it’s trickier within sprawling square footage.

Building a home? Consider room dimensions and ceiling heights and how they might contribute to the intimacy you wish to promote.

Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #religiousart
Photo: Chateau Domingue – in case you admire French country decor. Photo gallery of a breathtaking French country home in Houston as well design observations about European inspired decor.

Rustic Yet Refined European Country Inspired Decor Ideas

Guiding Principles…Not Secrets

What is the secret to a rustic yet refined European Country French inspired design plan for your home? 

French farmhouse photos and design inspiration. Rustic decor, weathered stone and doors, European antiques, and French country decorating inspiration. #frenchfarmhouse #rusticdecor #frenchcountry #interiordesign #frenchinspiration #frenchhomes #frenchdecor #europeanfarmhouse

There is no use trying to simplify with the 1-2-3s of French country decor or a quick and dirty guide to score the look. Yet we can study, observe, and learn from the masters to notice guiding principles running like a common thread through beautiful European Country interiors.

Chateau Domingue antique limestone fireplace with fluted detail, French confit pot, and reclaimed lantern in a serene interior within Ruth Gay's breathtaking Houston home. #oldworld #limestonefireplace #frenchfireplace #antiquefireplacesurround

Tour a 16th Century manor house to get a feel for the architecture.

1. Begin With the Bones & Architecture

Hang on to your wallets because I am kicking off this list of principles with the steepest challenge! Beautiful bones are a decidedly tall order…

Serene, understated French country dining chair and rustic farm table with simple glass bottles used as vases - Chateau Domingue.

which is why partnering with an expert such as Houston-based Chateau Domingue is a blessed privilege.

Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #diningroom #fireplace
Photo: Chateau Domingue – Photo gallery of a breathtaking French country home in Houston as well design observations about European inspired decor.

2. Happily Invest in European Antiques

Importing and collecting beautiful pieces, art, and fixtures should not be done in haste. Enjoy the hunt and give yourself time to enjoy the process with travel, collaboration with experts, shopping brocantes, attending auctions, and antique shopping!

A sophisticated European country designed interior (Chateau Domingue and Pamela Pierce) is a breathlessly beautiful example of how to master elegant rustic refined European Country style. #frenchcountry #interiordesign #europeanantiques #oldworldstyle #rusticdecor #Frenchhome #housetour
Rustic elegance, decor inspiration, and also photos of Chateau Domingue founder Ruth Gay’s breathtaking home.
Rugged reclaimed stone walls and floor in a hall with treasures from Chateau Domingue - in Ruth Gay's exquisite French home.
Rustic elegance inside Ruth Gay’s home with interior design by Pamela Pierce…hello lovely indeed.

3. Don’t Rush It

A rustically elegant, authentically layered, timeless interior design plan takes time and most likely necessitates help from experts and designers.

Americans are prone to feverishly rush and plow ahead, and we’re often rewarded for hustling as fast as we can.

A sophisticated European country designed interior (Chateau Domingue and Pamela Pierce) is a breathlessly beautiful example of how to master elegant rustic refined European Country style. #frenchcountry #interiordesign #europeanantiques #oldworldstyle #rusticdecor #Frenchhome #housetour
Decor inspiration with photos of Chateau Domingue founder Ruth Gay’s breathtaking home as well as rustic elegance principles.

We have much to learn from European and French culture and practices.

Chateau Domingue antiques and reclaimed stone in a breathtaking Houston home with interior design by Pamela Pierce. #chateaudomingue #frenchfarmhouse #interiordesign #oldworld #pamelapierce #reclaimedstone
Beautiful antique doors from Chateau Domingue as well as photo gallery of Ruth Gay’s home.

Who knows how we might benefit from incorporating slower European daily rhythms into our daily lives to savor the present and the process.

Antique French fireplace cheminee examples - Chateau Domingue.
Chateau Domingue…in case you admire limestone French mantels.

When you are seeking a similar look, antiques and reclaimed authentic materials are your friend!

Tour this 17th Century property in Cologne to get into the spirit!

Limestone floors and walls in a French living room - Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #livingroom
In case you love Pamela Pierce interior design and ruffles!
A sophisticated European country designed interior (Chateau Domingue and Pamela Pierce) is a breathlessly beautiful example of how to master elegant rustic refined European Country style. #frenchcountry #interiordesign #europeanantiques #oldworldstyle #rusticdecor #Frenchhome #housetour
Photo gallery of a breathtaking French home as well as a discussion of European country design principles.
Three pairs of 18th century French doors, barrel vaulted ceiling clad in 17th century stone from a French Vineyard, and blissful upholstered pieces grace Ruth Gay's office.#chateaudomingue #antiques #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #lantern #limestone #oldworld
Three pairs of 18th century French doors, barrel vaulted ceiling clad in 17th century stone from a French Vineyard, and upholstered pieces grace Ruth Gay’s office…certainly lovely, indeed!

Overview: Chateau Domingue

Chateau Domingue is an invaluable source to create timelessly authentic, European country inspired interiors.

Ruth Gay sources the following 15th to 19th century architectural elements and monumental antiques from Europe:

Warm rugged antique stone sink in a beautiful country French kitchen - Chateau Domingue.
Ruth Gay’s amazing Houston business as well as photo gallery of her home.

Antique Furniture

Stone surrounds

Mantels

Authentic country French bath with antique stone sink and wall mount faucet - in Ruth Gay's (Chateau Domingue) home. Come tour more of the exquisite interiors!
In case you love Old World homes and antiques!

Gates

Fountains

Garden Decor

Doors & Windows

Hardware

Wood Flooring

Tiles

Stone Flooring

Lighting

as well as the unexpected

Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #antiques #limestone #ruthgay
Elegant understated interior design inspiration photos of a house built with reclaimed materials from Europe…certainly charming indeed.

Unexpected? Say your dream is to own an authentic, French stone, petite 15th century chapel…well, I’d bring you good tidings of great joy because

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS CHATEAU DOMINGUE!

This remarkable petite chapel was in stock a few seasons ago:

Chateau Domingue salvaged this French stone petite chapel. Provençal reclaimed elements include: rubble stone, seven original 15th century surrounds, terracotta roof tiles and Dalles Drome limestone flooring.
Provençal reclaimed elements include: rubble stone, seven original 15th century surrounds, terracotta roof tiles and Dalles Drome limestone flooring…certainly lovely indeed.
Chateau Domingue salvaged this French stone petite chapel. Provençal reclaimed elements include: rubble stone, seven original 15th century surrounds, terracotta roof tiles and Dalles Drome limestone flooring.

Chateau Domingue Doors

Where else can you find such bespoke treasures!?!

Chateau Domingue Timeless European Elegance and French farmhouse style converge in this house tour of founder Ruth Gay's home on Hello Lovely. Reclaimed stone, antique doors and mantels, and one of a kind architectural elements. #housetour #frenchcountry #frenchfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #chateaudomingue #rusticdecor #pamelapierce #elegantdecor #antiquedoors
Elegant understated interior design inspiration photos of a house built with reclaimed materials from Europe…certainly charming indeed.

Domingue Architectural Finishes

Creating a timeless look for interiors can often be achieved with beautiful plaster and wall finishes, and Chateau Domingue also offers Domingue Architectural Finishes.

With 140 colors (developed by Eve Ashcraft) for lime wash and mineral paint and 12 shades for plaster, the options for executing a “just right” finish are vast.

Domingue Finishes on a house exterior. Chateau Domingue. #chateaudomingue #exterior
Elegant understated interior design inspiration photos of a house built with reclaimed materials from Europe…certainly charming indeed.

My heart is happy and full of gratitude to Chateau Domingue and its lovely curator, Ruth Gay, for sharing her family’s home with us. Do pay them a visit:

IN PERSON:  3560 W 12th Street, Houston, Texas 77008 or online.

Gratitude quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #thankfulness #gratitutdequote

This house tour and discussion continues in the second installment RIGHT HERE. For even more rustic European inspired design inspiration, see this and this house tour.

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE, and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

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Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
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Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
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Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
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Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
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Terracotta Pots & Basket
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French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
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Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
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French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
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Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
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Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
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Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
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Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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2 Comments

  1. October 1, 2019 / 7:28 pm

    Michele what a treat this post was, I felt like you were taking me on a personal tour. I really enjoyed hearing your views not only on the design features of this gorgeous chateau but your comments on American decorating habits. I’m drawn to the majestic serenity in this home and I attribute so much to the age of the materials and the feeling of spaciousness throughout. You’re right in some ways it does seem like it represents the antithesis of American decorating these days. I liked your comment on clutter too. So much design wisdom here. I just wrote a post about my reaction to seeing so much conformity in the blogger world today and I wondered out loud if Pinterest wasn’t making us all the equivalent of Stepford Wives Design Clones. I’m redoing my bathroom right now and I’m having to take a break from Pinterest because I notice it can make me second guess my decorating decision. Creativity is such an organic experience I think we have to protect the process. I’m rambling now. Love to you.
    xo
    Leslie

    • Michele
      Author
      October 2, 2019 / 10:24 am

      Thanks so much for reading, Leslie! The authenticity and tranquility in Ruth’s home is staggering. I rambled on and on over on your post because you gave me much food for thought. You always do – I think because we live in similar realms. I used to think I was simply a lazy decorator, leaving things undone and underbaked, but I think I’m just super cocky about my creative endeavors! It’s just like my abstract paintings – I intuitively KNOW when they are done or if they are keepers. I don’t second guess it or stew about what others may think about it. I don’t do much thinking at all – it’s more like going into a trance. So Pinterest doesn’t distract or annoy me since I’m personally uninterested in trends for the most part and simply need to be aware of them as a business blogger. 🙂

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing