Be Inspired: French provincial

Warm and cosy, the French Provincial decorating style is a reflection of the homes in Provence in the South of France in the 17th and 18th century.

Think colours inspired by the landscape, sprawling farmhouse tables, stone floors and rough plastered walls. It remains one of the most popular interior design aesthetics in the world and can be integrated into any home. In this article, we share some helpful tips to show you how to bring a splash of French provincial into your home.

From our projects with our clients, it’s clear that the French provincial design style remains popular because it combines elegance with functionality. Those who lived in rural France during this period couldn’t afford ornate pieces of furniture found in many city dwellings, so for this reason French provincial furniture is sturdy and often beautifully simple. Signature pieces include armoires, buffets and of course farmhouse tables where the family can gather.

Today,  the popular and aspirational ‘Hampton’ style of homes draw much influence from the traditional French provincial designs. Adding hints of metallic, statement pendent lights and whites rather than creams can modernise the look.

10 ways to get the French Provincial look

  1. Feature an elegantly carved armoire in your home (a tall cupboard with shelving). You’d always find an armoire in a French house during this period because they did not have closets. Why? Well closets were considered a room and people were taxed according to the number of rooms they had.
  2. Mirrors are a wonderful French provincial accessory and a great way of reflecting light around the room. Choose a carved wood mirror or something gold.
  3. Shutters are a popular feature of these homes and were normally painted in cheery bright colours. White, however is a classic, timeless choice.
  4. Opt for natural raw materials. Natural stone floors look stunning in a French provincial home, as do distressed ceiling beams, rough plastered walls and lots of wooden details.
  5. The colour palette of a French provincial home is inspired by the landscape. Lean towards warm gold, earthly grass greens, brilliant cobalt blues, and russet reds. Base colours should be creams and whites.
  6. Another common characteristic of a French rural home is a fireplace which the family can gather around during the chilly months. Baskets full of wood add to this homely aesthetic.
  7. Women in France in the 17th and 18th century spent much of their time embroidering so include some of this lovely needlework in your home, whether it be an embroidered pillow, drapery or bed linen. Don’t forget plenty of upholstered furniture – we can recommend our expert upholsterer for this.
  8. When choosing textiles look out for traditional prints that take their cue from nature, such as vines, sunflowers, olives and roosters arranged in geometric patterns. A particularly famed French fabric is Toile de Jouy, a cotton or linen material with a white and beige colour scheme.
  9. A great deal of the charm of the French provincial style is how inviting and personal it looks.  Accessorise your home with rustic baskets, old copper pots, colourful ceramics, wrought iron and fresh flowers.
  10. For a modern look, mix French provincial pieces with modern furniture. You can always give antique furniture a contemporary twist by adding crystal knobs or having a sheet of glass or mirror fitted to the top.

Take a look at our favourite spaces below for inspiration

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to learn more about the French Provincial Design style and how it would work in your home please call Bernadette on 0417 088 602 to book a consultation.

10 ways to get the french provincial look

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We collect all our favourite interior design images, including those used in this post, on our Pinterest page.

Take a look here.

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Celebrity Insider: Shay Mitchell’s Los Angeles Home

Canadian actress Shay Mitchell – known for her role in hit US TV series Pretty Little Liars – first saw Consort Design‘s work at the Honest Company HQ when visiting Jessica Alba (we take you inside, here). Following the firm on Instagram, Mitchell then went on to hire the team to redecorate her Spanish style L.A. home.

Mitchell wanted to create a ‘mature’ space to base herself in as she enters the next stage in her career, with injections of Moroccan and French flair. She worked with Consort Design to bring this vision to life.

There are several contrasting yet complementary spaces in the home, such as the dark and dramatic ‘den’ room with its custom made jade-green velvet lounge and ‘Down Pipe’ paint by Farrow and Ball versus the light and airy formal living room, complete with monochrome Moroccan tiles, Lawrence of LaBrea rug and the cocktail table from Lawson-Fenning.

Take a look…

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Images by Tessa Neustadt from here.

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How to: Hamptons kitchen with a modern take

The Hamptons style is one of our most requested from clients. The beauty of this aesthetic is that it doesn’t date. Sure there are updates to be made from time to time, but if you get the basics of the Hamptons style right, your space will stay current for years to come.

To help you identify some key ‘must haves’ when designing your Hamptons-style kitchen, we’ve put together our four biggest tips. Take a read then explore some of our favourite Hamptons-inspired kitchens below.

1.Go all out on white

White is the colour palette of the Hamptons look and should be the foundation for your kitchen. Choose white cabinetry, white walls and white window frames. However, you can add in elements of black or very dark timber – perhaps on your island bench – to provide even more sophistication and a boldness to the design.

2. Choose your pendant lights carefully

As Hamptons-style kitchens are simple in style, choosing statement pendant lights can add personality to the space. Copper is a great option to contrast the white, while steel is a look that is very current and black works well to balance darker cabinetry. Choose a series of pendants in the same size equally positioned along the top of your island bench for the best result.

3. Have fun with your furniture

A must-have for a modern Hamptons kitchen? Beautiful upholstered or timber stools and dining chairs. Because a Hamptons kitchen is very minimal in aesthetic and doesn’t rely on intricate timber or tiles, bringing in some texture and pattern through your furniture adds depth and detail to the room (as well as comfort!).

4. Contrasting timber floors

Our final must-have for Hamptons-inspired kitchens are timber floors in a mid to deep timber tone. As you scroll through the images below, look carefully at the different floor options and you’ll see that the darker tones really pop and add a wow factor to the space. Consider the rest of the timber throughout your home and be sure to match the tones so that your new kitchen complements rather than clashes with your existing designs.

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All images from our Kitchen Pinterest board.

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Celebrity Insider: Meg Ryan’s New York Loft

Actress turned director Meg Ryan has a lesser known passion: the world of interiors. Ryan recently completed the renovation of her ninth home – this time with the help of designer Monique Gibson and architect Joel Barkley.

Her sprawling New York loft was once Cindy Sherman‘s photo studio. Now, light floods through the huge windows and the former darkroom is Ryan’s cloakroom.

A neutral colour palette runs throughout the home, with texture and interest added in the way of intricate light hangings, Ryan’s collection of art and an eclectic mix of furniture gathered from many vintage stores.

The kitchen area sees an industrial light from a second hand store in Maine illuminate the area, while fabrics by Rogers & Goffigon wrap the living room’s sofas. These are complemented by a Stéphane Parmentier lava-stone stool, a painting of Ryan by John Mellencamp and a Pablo Avilla wire tree sculpture.

The dining room features a striking custom-made bronze table by Maison Gerard, which is surrounded by Bentwood chairs from Lee Calicchio. Overhead hangs a high impact, salvaged lantern and mantel from United House Wrecking.

Through to the monochrome bathroom and a Water Monopoly stand-alone tub sits above a tiled platform. Matching Urban Archaeology vanities are customised with Grigio Carnico marble tops creating a sophisticated space.

Take a look…

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Inside five unforgettable Paris fashion stores

There’s no denying that Paris is an epicentre of global fashion. It is host to the ‘Paris Fashion Week’; part of the four major global fashion weeks (the others being in London, Milan and New York). In fact, the first recognised Paris Fashion Week was held in 1973 as a fundraiser to restore the Palace of Versailles.

Fast forward to today, and the city sets the agenda for trends and influences we see coming in to not only our wardrobes, but our homes too. We’ve looked inside five of our favourite Paris fashion stores to showcase their incredible interiors.

1. Sonia Rykiel 

Located on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, the Sonia Rykiel store pays homage to the Left Bank’s rich history of authors and publishers. It was recently renovated to bring in 50,000 books, turning the store into a quasi library, with bookshelves running the length of the walls. Whether a book lover or fashion fan, this pop up concept is abound with old world charm.

Images from here and here

2. Lydia Courteille

Just like the jewellery the brand is famous for, the interior of the Lydia Courteille store on rue Saint-Honoré is like a gem itself. With sapphire-toned upholstery, gem encrusted decorations and cabinet display themes that range from under the sea to Russian royalty, the space makes up for its tiny size with huge amounts of theatrical ambience.

Images from here and here.

3. Christian Dior

Dior’s Avenue Montaigne flagship store is steeped in history. It was in this former townhouse that Christian Dior created his five-floor fashion boutique in 1946, full of ready-to-wear and haute couture collections. Within seven years of opening the doors, it had expanded to house more than 1,000 staff and 28 workshops. Today, it features room after room of luxury, almost like a mini Paris itself.

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Images from here.

4. Azzedine Alaïa

Running over three levels, the Azzedine Alaïa store is housed in an 18th-century mansion and uniquely has no window displays. With white Carrara marble, an incredible chandelier made up of brushed metal garlands that stretch down the run of the circular, internal staircase, and UFO-like circular light fixtures, the space is a modern oasis in the historic city of Paris.


Images from here and here.

5. Le Bon Marché

While Gustave Eiffel is most well known as being the engineer behind the Eiffel Tower, he also worked with architect Louis-Charles Boileau to create the 323,000-square-foot mall – Le Bon Marché in 1852. It’s Left Bank’s oldest department store and attracts 15,000 people through its doors each day. Design wise, its roof is almost like a crystal with its glimmering shards of glass, while marble and stone surfaces are the perfect accompaniment to its haute couture stores.

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Images from here.

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Vince Camuto’s Former $72 Million Hamptons Compound

While he passed away last year, John Vincent ‘Vince’ Camuto’s legacy lives on. The co-founder of the international women’s brand Nine West, Camuto created an equally as stylish home. The Hamptons are renowned for being home to the stars, and the expansive estate occupied by Camuto certainly has many star qualities about it.

Camuto first visited ‘Villa Maria’ about a decade ago, which was then occupied by nuns and in need of major renovations. However, impressed by its size and vista of Mecox Bay, Camuto could see huge potential for the historical Hamptons home. He went on to buy the 11-bedroom estate and undertook a six year renovation with an architect and landscaper to bring the 1919 mansion back to its former glory, with a few contemporary touches along the way.

Today, the 15 acre grounds feature a guest cottage, carriage house, pool and atrium, while inside the house itself are a sauna, wine cellar and a staggering 12.5 bathrooms. The decor is quintessentially ‘Hamptons’ with beiges and blues, natural fibres and classic upholstering, but there are touches of Italian flair too with zebra throws, coffered ceilings and Venetian plaster work. Take a look…

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Images from here and here.

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Celebrity Insider: Kim Kardashian’s $40 million Airbnb penthouse

Being a Kardashian, Kim certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to travelling. She, husband Kanye West and their two daughters are staying in a five bedroom, six bathroom, three storey penthouse, overlooking the Hudson River in New York. However, this stay isn’t costing them a cent. In a clever PR stunt, international rental company Airbnb is putting up the Kardashian-West family in this $10,000-a-night triplex penthouse as Kanye travels the country on his Saint Pablo Tour.

With an outdoor kitchen, private rooftop pool, home gym, sauna and state-of-the art, marble-topped kitchen, the pad is worth $30 million. The 7,200 square foot triplex also features floor to ceiling windows to take in the New York’s signature skyline, while the kids can keep themselves entertained in the play area complete with a teepee, art easel and mini dining set. Take a look…

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Celebrity insider: Bobbi Brown’s coastal retreat

Bobbi Brown first cut her teeth in the makeup industry on a shoot for Vogue, which she bluffed her way into assuring organisers that she could ‘do’ hair and makeup.

Brown told Into the Gloss that she then “went to the store and bought every hair product I could think of. On the day of the shoot, the model showed up and she had this short hair. I was really lucky, because I would have been screwed!”

Having studied Theatrical Makeup and Photography at Emerson College in Boston, Brown worked her way up the career ladder to reach her goal of managing the makeup for a cover of Vogue, which incidentally was model Naomi Campbell’s first cover too. However, Brown soon realised she didn’t want the lifestyle that came with being a freelance makeup artist.

So, after getting engaged, becoming pregnant and moving to ‘the suburbs’ in New Jersey, Brown started on a new path: developing a collection of edited, natural-looking makeup.

Today, Brown is the founder and CCO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, has authored eight books and is the contributing beauty and lifestyle editor of America’s ‘Health’ magazine.

Brown’s escape from the day to day management of her empire is one hour’s drive from New York City. It’s a shingled, five bedroom, four bathroom home on the oceanfront of Bay Head, New Jersey.

The interiors are quintessentially ‘Bobbi Brown’, with natural timbers and elegant, relaxed and timeless decor and colours, while classic Ralph Lauren chairs, a 19th century farm table and a Louise Vuitton trunk. Take a look…

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Photos by Alice Gao. Images from here.

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SoHo’s stylish new hotel with a social conscience

New York’s SoHo district is known for its stylish boutiques, hotels and restaurants, but a new boutique hotel could have raised the bar. 11 Howard, by Design Hotels, mixes style with substance to create a progressive, community space.

The 221-room boutique property describes itself as offering conscious hospitality, combining Scandinavian design with ‘hyperlocalism’. This begins with the property’s design, which was a collaboration between Anda Andrei Design and Danish firm Space Copenhagen. The brief was to create something that endures, not something ‘trendy’.

Oak-plank floors and natural bamboo rugs complement custom furniture and lighting exclusively designed for the hotel by Space Copenhagen. Commissioned artworks by artists such as Katie Yang, Dan Attoe and Hiroshi Sugimoto dress the suites, which also feature 11-foot-high ceilings and oversized windows. The bathrooms are finished in marble and brass, with organic botanical body products for guests to enjoy.

11 Howard serves as a community hub and has partnered with a range of local businesses and not-for-profit groups. Inside is the co-working space, the ’11H Collective’, while a portion of each room rate is donated to the Global Poverty Project.  It’s also very technologically progressive, with self-check in and smart room service delivery.

It’s much more than ‘just’ a hotel, and with that, it brings a new standard to the idea of a ‘home away from home’. Take a look…

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Images: 11 Howard

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Celebrity insider: Martha Stewart’s Maine estate

Tucked deeply in Northeast America’s Maine sits the imposing 63 acre estate, ‘Skylands’ – Martha Stewart’s summer home .

Sitting high on a hill on Mount Desert Island overlooking Seal Harbor, the house was built in 1925 by architect Duncan Candler for the automotive executive Edsel Ford.

The lifestyle mogul acquired the fully furnished property in 1997 along with almost everything owned by the Ford family, yet, despite her home-making fame, much of the house remains unchanged. Martha supposedly considers herself the ‘caretaker of an American treasure’, making only small touches to fit with the original aesthetic. 

With three-stories, a dozen bedrooms and several outbuildings, the vine-wrapped entertaining areas and ledges soften the otherwise looming facade. The property also has a flower-arranging room, an indoor squash court, mechanics’ garage, greenhouse, stable, 200-seat Catholic church and 36-foot vintage Hinckley picnic boat.

The details at Skylands are extremely considered and, by no surprise, built for entertaining. For example, the white painted stools in the kitchen have been cut to various heights so that ‘everyone can sit at the same level’.

Look in on Martha Stewart’s estate below…

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Images from here.

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