Livable Luxury - WOW!
As we move into Lent, the season of restraint after the glorious excess of Mardi Gras, one designer comes to mind as the epitome of French design’s understanding of excess and restraint, Mlle. Coco Chanel. She revolutionized the way we dress and the way we look, out with the corset and in with comfort. In her words, ““luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” So, what does this have to do with decorating and redesigning a room?
Simple, everything. That brings us to the point of this discussion,
borrowing elements of men’s wear and emphasizing comfort over the constraints of then popular fashions, Mlle. Chanel led women into a fashion freedom that is relevant today over a hundred years after the first Coco Channel creation. She gave us simple suits paired with lavish accessories creating an effortlessly chic style that has endured the test of time like the French Farmhouse. Are we tracking now?
Apply Coco’s wisdom on dressing oneself to dressing one’s home, our most personal and profound retreat. It is wonderful to have a style icon advocate creating a chic and comfortable mix. Mlle. Chanel introduced the world to the concept of “livable luxury” and that concept, my friends goes right to your front door and straight into your living room. “Livable luxury”, wow.
So how does Mlle. Chanel impact your world and your life in this fast paced twenty first century. Let’s take a look at her design principles.
1. Comfort is luxury.
Make sure that every spot you sit is as comfortable and cozy as possible.
2. Neutrals will last forever.
Blend textures and a mélange of timeless basic fabrics to create a cohesive and classic interior.
3. Mix high and low.
Antiques and prized family heirlooms mix with every day, well-designed, livable additions, I.E., upholstered sofas, chairs, ottomans, lamps, tvs and sound systems. In other words, don’t make your family and friends sit in a museum of small antique chairs all night. Ouch!
4. Accessorize the basics.
Build your style from the ground up adding layers of luxury to the foundation of basics. For example, neutral sofas and timeless tables
(rules two and three) topped with bowls of Mardi Gras beads or baskets filled with Easter eggs and bunnies.
5. Personalize with confidence.
No two homes should be alike. Make you home unique with layers of meaningful and useful objects. Share your home with pride and confidence.
6. Buy the best quality you can.
Note, there are plenty of well-priced furnishings and décor available today. It is all about the mix. Fully enjoy your home at every stage and spending level. Don’t wait until you have everything you want, or everything is perfect, because it never will be perfect and it wasn’t intended to be. Life evolves and so should our homes.
French Farmhouse style is timeless and delicious, not only for now but for forever.
VOILA and Bon Jour.
Since 1702 when Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico the Gulf Coast has been “French.” And that my friends, means everything when decorating a room.
The French influence on the Gulf Coast is best defined in two words, excess and restraint. Two seemingly incompatible ideas that are perhaps more easily understood when discussion cooking, and not, Mardi Gras itself.
The French Farmhouse style is like creole cooking—a wonderful mix of a lot of things that in the end are simple, uncomplicated and so, so satisfying. See--excess and restraint.
French Farmhouse style incorporates the wonderful antiques and decor of the southeast and blends them with delicate French style, so like our beloved creole cooking—are homes are always awesome but never created the same way twice, not created in a day, but curated from well-loved family favorites and well-considered new furniture and accessory finds, just like our gumbo recipes.
As for the French Farmhouse style and Mardi Gras--well “Laissez les bons temps rouler” or “let the good times roll.” Each Spring we enjoy weeks of fun and tons of excess as we head into Lent, the long season of reflection and restraint.
Like Mardi Gras celebrations, the French Farmhouse decor begins with a lot of choices and then distills down the patterns, and colors and finishes into the best possible mix for results that are considered and unexpected combinations of styles not normally found together.
During Mardi Gras, downtown streets are blocked to create parade routes for the lavish floats and costumed masquers throwing trinkets to the crowd. The mélange is an eclectic and welcoming gathering of friends and families, children on the shoulders of parents, ball guests in the streets in all their formal finery, street vendors selling everything from treasured Mardi Gras trinkets to bunt cake sprinkled with powdered sugar. Aromas fill the air, and the beer and wine are flowing.
Like Mardi Gras, French Farmhouse Style is an eclectic mix, encouraged to be spontaneous and easygoing, “aged to perfection but never perfect.” Bringing diverse objet’s together to become fast friends.
Does this design style make your heart sing and want to dance in the streets? How do you develop this style that is practical, unique and engaging? Look for our next blog entry later this month, as we continue to celebrate Mardi Gras, our rich Southern heritage and one of our favorite Gulf Coast La Z-Boy lifestyles, French Farmhouse.
In the meantime, “Laissez les bons temps rouler”!