French floral ticking stripes and dainty checks. Pastoral toile and crisp white linens with delicate details. I am working on a new look for several rooms inspired by a beautiful antique daybed that I have had for several years.
This daybed to me is the epitome of the look I am after. Beautiful florals, tickings and warm colors. Lovely carvings and lines. Painted finishes that are gilded and worn. Lots of pillows and pretty on repeat. It was perfect in the greenhouse while working on my book- and has since been up in the attic tucked under the eave and it is one of my favorite French cottage style pieces. You can read more about when I found this about 5 years ago HERE
French Cottage Design Ideas
I have long been a fan of French cottage style. Which to me is a lovely mix and mingle of those French country design elements with cottage style elements. It is a little bit of the high and low style if you will- with comfortable, welcoming, rustic elements mixed with the unexpected and exquisite grand touches.
Simplicity + Refined
Though I already loved the incredible king of French Country Charles Faudree when we moved into this house- I felt the more simple rustic style of our cottage lent itself a bit more towards that less formal style. We didn’t have many formal or grand rooms and there was a lot of chipping paint, raw woods, wood plank walls and old hardwood floors covered in years of stains, gouges and old paint- aka- what you also might also call patina and character.
So when I looked at Charles Faudree designs and homes- they were so elegant and beautiful. And I wondered how to mix the more refined elements of that French Country style with the rustic cottage feeling our home had. And to be honest, when we first moved in- with the ceilings open to the attic and broken windows- they gave me a bit of pause on going in that direction. But when I found that chandelier and put it in the kitchen to replace the ceiling fan with the beer bottle pull. I kid you not. Yes- this was our kitchen when we toured the house before we moved in- and there is the beer bottle pull hanging down.
I could see how it could come together. And that is where my blog name and style ‘French Country Cottage’ actually came from. This is our kitchen After Below.
For those who are new here- our house definitely did not start out looking like it does now. It was an old cottage in the country that had never been lived in full time and was in terrible disrepair. We were young and on a very tight budget after spending so much to buy the house-and so it took us a bit to finish it like we wanted to. Which actually turned into a good thing. It gave us time to learn how the house ‘lived’ – the sunlight patterns, the room flow, etc. And also, it let the house ‘speak’ to us a bit too.
See the post about Our Living Room BEFORE HERE
French Country Cottage Style
That mix & mingle. Patterns and pretty details- gilding, carved raw wood, linens, velvets, brocades, worn paint and oversized mirrors. With simple style furniture like farm tables and built in cupboards, simple cottons and pretty floral fabrics. And fresh flowers of course. They are kind of one of my signature things to have in decor.
Over the years, I have edited some of the things out that didn’t really fit my style any longer- and brought in pieces that spoke to me even louder. Just as how when you live in a house you learn all about the idiosyncrasies and little details and over time- you learn how to make it Your Home. Finding your style and what speaks to you is kind of like the same thing. You learn to listen to that flip flop in your stomach when you see a beautiful piece at a flea market- and know that it is the one. You wait to find the splurge pieces that you know will be the show stopper in your room. You gather and collect fabrics, trimmings and moody paintings for creating the perfect English cottage sitting area.
I believe for me- one of the strongest draws for French Country style is that it is elegant, detailed and grand- and more polished in some ways. And yet- it is also so incredibly comfortable and welcoming. It isn’t pretentious- the raw finishes, chippy gilded paint & beautiful fabrics that are a little threadbare all make sure of that. Paired with the simple lines, painted finishes and more unpolished details in cottage style- it is a perfect match.
Bringing it Back
I could go on and on about all of the things that speak to me about each of the styles and how they mingle together. But since we are looking at some changes coming over here in the house- and what is inspiring me- let’s talk about what elements I am thinking of bringing back into the house.
Using an old photo of our bedroom about 10 years ago – because- the patterns. I have always had some patterns in rotation in the house – from florals to tickings to checks. But I am craving more of it right now-thinking subtle and layers of patterns.
Oh how I miss the wallpaper that was in the bathroom! Not that I miss it as in I don’t love the bathroom design now- I absolutely love the bathroom as it is with marble and painted planks. But I have always loved wallpaper and I do miss the wallpaper in the house.
The thing about wallpaper is when you grow tired of pattern overload-or want to change the colors, etc. in a room- it is a bit harder to do that if the walls are covered. So I have mostly leaned in the direction of bringing in those patterns I love with easily changeable things – like fabrics. BUT even so- I am contemplating. And a confession: Underneath the beaded board walls in my daughters old room- there is a whole lot of English country vining wallpaper. I just might have to uncover it.
Painted wood walls, painted furniture, painted cupboards in the kitchen, etc. I am a big fan of creamy white paint as a backdrop and an accent. We are refreshing the paint in a couple rooms- and I will probably stick with my go- to Simply White since it does play so nicely with the light in our home. But I will change one thing in some rooms. The finish.
We will be using Semi-Gloss in the main house- floor and ceiling. In one of our rooms we had used a satin finish previously- which was okay. But I have learned how much I am not all about flat paint in the house. To me, it seems to absorb light and I love the bounce of light that a semi-gloss finish brings.
One exception currently is the cottage living room where we have used a rich black paint on the bookcases. That is one place I do prefer a matte finish. I had painted it originally with a more gloss finish and it just wasn’t working- so we updated with a matte black. You can read more HERE
I already mentioned different patterns- but I would love to bring in some different upholstery finishes. I mentioned recently I was scouring marketplace for vintage chairs for the living room. My husband has requested a comfy chair – so I am on the lookout for one that comfy AND fits the style. Thinking vintage leather or velvet maybe something with a nice well worn patina.
Did you know that my oldest son jokes and talks about how I used to sew things with burlap- even now? He does. He apparently remembers that big old layered ruffled burlap tablecloth I made back.in.the.day. when I first started blogging. That was a job folks and apparently I chattered about what a job it was because he remembers it like it was yesterday. And he always asks me what I am working on for the blog- and does it involve burlap. He is a funny guy.
Much to his point- I do love a little burlap. I have these dining chairs with the fabulous vintage fabric on the back at the dining table as we speak. And their upholstery on the fronts are nothing but the original burlap. So burlap is in the house again. haha.
But I am Not planing on bringing any other burlap into the house folks. Thinking fabrics more like what is on the back of the chairs. Beautiful patterns and textures.
So, yes, some changes are on the way in the house. From wallpaper, to vintage furniture and fabrics and even more raw finish wood.
So, a semi- kind of vision board here- more like a vision post I suppose. Just sharing some things that are inspiring me for this. I will share what I find as far as patterns and wallpaper and furniture as I go- and of course take stay tuned for the new look coming soon.
Are you doing any room refreshes this year? What look is speaking to you right now?
Happy Wednesday all.