30 July 2010

Violet Trends While France Vacations!

A lilac-drenched coffee
machine from Krups

Since tomorrow is August 1, as anyone who has ever visited, lived in or done business with France knows, forget about getting much done in the next thirty days..or until "la rentrée ", when the kids go back to school and the adults trudge back to the workplace!

For one solid month, tout le monde will be on les vacances leaving us here in the New World green with envy for all the time the French have off from work! So while they are at the mountains, by the seashore or on the islands, we here in America can take a vacation from our white-cabinets-stainless-appliances-white-tile-ebonized-floors-kitchens and check out these cuisines a la francaise in what looks to be a seriously trending color over there: le violet (or..purple!)

They made me smile; they made me think of vacation homes. They also made me wonder just a little bit about who is really brave enough to do an entire kitchen in purple?

What do you think?

A liberal use of purple makes a very strong statement
in this contemporary French kitchen!

Fabulous retro-style refrigerator comes in brilliant colors from Gorenje!

Deep aubergine cabinets and island make a rich
and sophisticated statement in this chic urban kitchen..

I do adore these cassis color cabinets by Mobalpa!

Efficient French kitchenette with violet cabinets
tucked into small space looks great!

A purple blender...fun!

Even venerable Emile Henry is in on the
trend with this Fig colored cocotte!

And just to be quite sure you get the point, here
is a very purple Brabantia dust bin!

all images Côté Maison


To Each His Own Summer!

17 July 2010

A Simple Summer Backyard Wedding à la Chic Provence

The appeal of the backyard wedding is stronger than ever. Brides today want to have their weddings in unique, personalized and..yes, less expensive settings. So, rather than rent the magnificent hotel ballroom or the caves at the local winery, if the backyard has some nice features and lends itself to a little sprucing up and has enough elbowroom for guests, it’s the perfect solution!

Pear & Pepper Fine Events and Catering asked me to designed this small, intimate and very chic wedding setting for an upcoming bride to see an example of just how charming and effective a backyard wedding can be. She was enchanted, P&P was happy, and she booked us both for the wedding!

For an early evening wedding, nothing is more glamorous than
flickering tea lights casting a soft glow on crystal,
silver, shimmering table linens and beautiful flowers. Don't you agree?

The centerpiece is a simple and elegant arrangement of vintage bottles
on a footed silver tray with a different flower stem in each..
very effective, charming and doesn't cost the earth!

Pear and Pepper designed this pitch perfect menu of delicious
Provencal dishes for the small wedding. The amazing
Provencal wines they chose will accompany each course. Yum!

Because the wedding is small..24 guests..we used gorgeous
dishes, glassware and napkins from Anthropologie for the settings.
The bride is thrilled to keep these lovely items for
her new home. And with the money she saves by having
a backyard wedding, she can keep all 24 settings, or give as
gifts to her bridal party. Notice the plums from the tree?
It's a signature of Chic Provence event design to use things from
nature whenever the opportunity presents itself!

A richness is created by the textures and jewel tones of the
patterned champagne and small tumblers (here used for tea lights), the
Ikat patterned napkins, the rich tones of the flowers and
the plum color of the ..well, plums from the tree!

This version is a little different; the cloches are placed on each plate and
the ikat napkins are hanging to show off their lovely design. We tried this
version earlier in the afternoon and decided the look just didn't work.
That's the fun part of design..it's always a process!

Although I designed the center table only, we Photoshopped in two more
tables to give the bride a realistic view of
three 48" square tables, each seating eight people.

We think we like the
"Louis Ghost" chairs (not sure). Do you?
A sheer lavender layer over old French linen tablecloths
is the perfect color for anchoring our scheme.


inspiration pieces: the rich purple votives,
and the bottle arrangement centerpieces we are designing
for a large fundraiser in the fall


some photos by Kit and the better ones by

14 July 2010

Célébrons la France!

Today is her day!

To celebrate, here are some charming paintings of Provence. I find these paintings by Provence artist Christian Guinet a little breath of fresh air! He is clearly passionate about the region, and the naive style is reminiscent of the tourist paintings of the 1950's, although he is a contemporary artist. Their offhanded charm works well in a retro-chic setting.

Poppies in Provence

A Village Street in Provence

The French Riviera

Lavender in Provence


11 July 2010

Cool. Period.

When he could no longer go for a swim in the ocean, Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954) brought the water inside. Confined to a wheelchair, he created The Swimming Pool, a 56-foot long frieze of blue bathers silhouetted against a wide band, to adorn the walls of his dining room at the Hôtel Régina in Nice in 1952. In an ultimate interior design moment, he deliberately used his brilliant talent to create an idealized environment for himself.

I love this mural and would have loved to see it installed in his dining room. He created the nine-panel mural in two parts: gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white painted paper mounted on none other than that perennial favorite...burlap!

And now, with searingly hot July temperatures all over the Northern Hemisphere, we can appreciate Matisse's last great collage even more and thank him for the very cool inspiration.

images courtesy of


Think how pleased Matisse might
be today to see his works viewed by billions of
people all over the world on the internet!

07 July 2010

A Tiny Doll's House: Très Sophistiquée

These exquisite little vignettes are the creation of one of my favorite designers: Idarica Gazzoni in Italy. These lilliputian rooms showcase her designs in wallpaper, fabric and furniture, and I find them absolutely enchanting! I think her work has an endearing handmade quality about it, and she always designs perfectly for the particular space in which she is working.

Doesn't this dollhouse make you want to take Ken and Barbie out right now for a little Prada upgrade?

Take a little tour here, then be sure to check out the rest of her fresh and creative designs! The best part is that you can get these amazing cartes and tissuti in grown up sizes to bring the sophistication of l'Italie into your real home. Her website will give you sources in the USA.




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