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.