30 May 2011

The Brocante at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Flea markets are the same the world over. Vendors are often more interested in each other's gossip than in selling stuff to you:) Sellers have always "just left" to get coffee, leaving their neighbor to watch their stall just when you desperately want an item. Lunchtime rolls around and all vendors everywhere pull out delectable lunches they have brought in, only to make you notice your hunger pangs as you settle for a local skyrocket-priced carnival food. And, of course, everywhere there is much posturing and haggling over prices... all part of the fun!

The brocante in l'Isle sur la Sorgue at Easter was just like all the rest of the flea markets I've been to... except for the things you can buy, the setting, and... yes, the lunches. This was not our local Alemany Flea with corn dogs on a stick!

We had an unforgettable adventure there on the Chic Provence Design Tour... come with us next spring!

the entrance to the park where the flea market is held
in Isle sur la Sorgue, France

OK so we did just fine for lunch...here at
the Cafe de France!

we drooled over these hand blown wine jugs from
the early 20 C....and one of us bought one

this 19th C small rug is now a table runner for
one of our Tour attendees...isn't it beautiful!

great old planters were everywhere

the statue and the setting are so elegant..wait
until those vines are filled out and blooming!

loved this little grouping of vibrantly upholstered
furniture...looks like Designer's Guild

I think these are hitching posts...and not
sure what the curvy iron is..but love it!

original tile floor in one of the
buildings in town

metal cafe chairs, always chic!

rusted old garden statuary

highly styled mid-century stall

I love "terre melee" and this vase is
a superb example of the mixed clay
technique from Vallauris

funny little mid-century Michelin Tire guys!
(what are they up to anyway?)

the selection of vintage silver was phenomenal
at this stall

this wonderful Gustavian bench would look
great with cushions in a Swedish frame of mind

more tile floor from around town

pillow covers made from vintage
French sheets and grain sacks

love this navy and white tile floor

the magical view up the Sorgue River


thanks for visiting!....Kit

29 May 2011

Small Joy

If there were any way at all to ease the suffering and burdens of those in our tornado-ravaged South, any of us would do just about anything.

While searching for wallpaper for a new client, I came across this charming, small group of paper that reminded me somehow of the South in days long gone by. These lighthearted wallpapers and fabrics could bring a little bit of cheer to our weary souls, even for just a sweet little moment in time, even if we just look at them and remember simpler, happier days.

"Brocante" from the charming Brian Yates collection

from the Gustavian collection of Zoffany

"Chinese Rose" from the charming Brian Yates collection

"Chinese Rose" from the charming Brian Yates collection

"Early Bird" from the charming Brian Yates collection


Thanks for visiting! ... Kit

17 May 2011

La Tendance Bleu-Vert

These luscious jugs and pots dipped in blue, green, turquoise, mint and pistachio paints are making me long for the summer days and sunshine of Provence (it's still raining and grey in San Francisco! Summer, where are you?) As I sit at my desk wrapped in a scarf and dressed in all black layers and Merrill boots to chase the chill away from our grey day, these images give me a little hope for sunnier days!

Enjoy a little soothing color break...these colors are very easy on the eyes!

all jugs, pots and paints at Coté Maison


Then seeing all these wonderful hot weather blues and greens in Catherine André's Summer 2011 collection made me realize that, yes, blue-green is definitely hot this summer, in France, anyway!

all clothing and accessories Catherine André


So of course I checked out the fabrics by Pierre Frey, just to be sure...and yes, lots of blue and green in fabrics and wallpapers to be found.

all fabrics by Pierre Frey


thanks for visiting! ... Kit

14 May 2011

Country Chic

For a designer, nothing is more delightful than clients with great taste and a modern point of view. We are nearing the completion of the remodeling and decorating of this "country chic" home and are getting excited at seeing the final installation in the next few weeks. I thought you'd enjoy seeing a little of our design thought process in inspiration and fabric choices that we have used in this wonderful living room.

In the next few weeks as we finish, I'll post the before and after pictures of the entire beautiful transformation where we used as much existing material and furnishings as possible to create a really wonderful living space for this young family!

the wonderful eclecticism of this country chic room taken from
Elle Decor magazine was an inspiration for my client when we
had our first meeting...the room has the same many windows
and an all-white light and airy feel

as we developed exactly the look for her living room, we left
the orange behind and went with a purer palette of reds, blues, whites
and linens; we were completely taken with the Travers collection from
Zimmer-Rhode shown here

these are the fabrics we chose:

the stunning jacquard and the stripes in navy/white
are Travers Batik Leaf and La Verna in Ink;
the beautiful cotton print is Fairie Enchantee Toile from Quadrille;
the solid linen is the Belgian Linen from Restoration Hardware;
and the red stripe is a vintage fabric from France


thanks for visiting!... Kit

10 May 2011

French Comfort Food

We had a cheerful Mother's Day brunch last Sunday! We set the table with a vintage French grain sack as a runner and used colorful accessories, including gold crowns to symbolize all mothers, and roosters to symbolize all fathers (without whom there would be no mothers :). Garden roses, lavender, orange blossoms and lilies filled a Deruta pitcher. In addition to a luscious quiche, we served a piquant ruby red grapefruit & avocado salad, spring asparagus, blood orange lemonade and a chilled rosé Bandol, along with a basket of croissants and strong café au lait. A wonderful family gathering!

The quiche was inspired by all the wonderful little 4" quiches we had in Provence at Easter...convenient, nutritious and delicious, these little quiches are truly the eat-out-of-hand comfort food of France! I was missing those delectable morsels, so for Mother's Day I decided to try the Tartine recipe. If you have been lucky enough to visit their bakery in San Francisco, you will understand! In this amazing book, some of the best secrets of French bakers are revealed, and they work beautifully!

Oh, and the pretty strawberry cake? Easy street...store bought vanilla cake embellished with the most delicious strawberries found at the farmers market.

these little out-of-the-hand quiches are the
comfort food of France...and they are

our Mother's Day brunch table: simple and rustic with vintage
grain sack runner and old crockery


Bacon & Langostino Quiche

1 (10 inch) quiche or 6 to 8 servings

adapted from Tartine (buy it here)

There are two small but important differences between this quiche filling and most others. The first is that part of the liquid is creme fraiche, which makes the filling smoother and slightly tart. The other is the presence of a small amount of flour. This idea comes from Boulangerie Artisanal des Maures, a bakery in the Var region of France.

1 fully baked and cooled 10-inch tart shell (recipe below, it's worth it!)

5 large eggs

3 tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup Creme fraiche

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground fresh black pepper

1 tbs finely chopped fresh thyme

6 slices well-cooked bacon, crumbled

3/4 cup langostinos, cooked lightly

3/4 cup grated aged gruyere

3/4 cup slivered kale

Have pie shell ready for filling. Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.

Place 1 egg and the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl and mix at high speed or by hand with a whisk until smooth. Mix or whisk in the remaining 4 eggs until blended. In a medium bowl, whisk the creme fraiche until it is perfectly smooth and then whisk in the milk. Pour the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve held over the milk mixture. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and thyme. (you can prepare the custard up to 4 days in advance before baking; cover and refrigerate)

Scatter the bacon, then the langostinos, then the kale, then the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell. Pour the egg mixture into the shell and gently press down any solids that have floated on the top. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake until the filling is just set, about 30 minutes longer. The center of the quiche should feel slightly firm, rather than liquidy, when touched. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set up, so that it will slice neatly. It can be served warm or at room temperature. To serve a fully coled quiche warm, cover it with aluminum foil and reheat it in a 325 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.

Flaky Tart Dough
two 9-inch or 10-inch tart or pie shells

1 tsp salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5 tbs very cold unsalted butter

In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep very cold until ready to use.

To make the dough in a food processor, put the flour in the work bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still in pieces the size of peas. Add the water-and-salt mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks.

On a lightly floured work surface, divid the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or for up to overnight.

To line a tart pan or pie dish, place a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking, and work quickly to prevent the dough from becoming warm. Lightly dust the work surface with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. If lining a pie dish, cut out a circle 2 inches larger than the dish. If lining a tart pan with a removable bottom, cut out a circle 1 1/2 inches larger than the pan. Carefully transfer the round to the pan (fold it in half or into quarters to simplify the transfer if necessary), easing it into the bottom and sides and then pressing gently into place. Trim the dough even with the rim of the tart pan with a sharp knife, or leave a 1/2 inch overhang, fold the overhang under, and flute or crimp the edge.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pastry shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights.

For a fully baked shell, bake the shells until the surface looks light brown, about 25 minutes; to check, lift a corner of the paper. Remove from the oven and remove the weights and paper. Return the shells to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling. They will keep,well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.



Thanks for visiting! ... Kit


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