I love the word.
But, more than loving the word, I love using it to describe a certain sense of style. Whether in fashion or home decor, it's a style that I think of as carefree, almost careless, indifferent, and definitely not studied or planned. When I think of this style, I almost automatically think of French Country style.
I love the mixing of elements in this image...the sturdy almost masculine ram with the gorgeous undoubtedly feminine white flowers. The image is from one of my absolute favorite home decor books of all time, The New French Decor: Living With Timeless Objects, by Michele Lalande. I have literally spent hours studying the details in the photos in this book...not because I want to copy anything in there (and, even if I wanted to, I couldn't because so many of the pieces are French antiques and rare), but because I want my brain to absorb the elements and the style. For, this is the look I love in my home...that comfortable, unplanned, carefree look that still exudes a sense of style.
Here's another fun one from the same book...incorporating vintage images into kitchen decor...love it!
Don't you just love the use of food and every day objects to enhance a vignette? The eggplants totally make this one divine!
Then, there's Texas designer Carol Bolton, a long time favorite of mine. Look what she's done with an old army cot, painted chair, stump, ball of string and handful of green onions...who would ever think of green onions in a shot like this? I love her furniture...her pairing of different fabrics and trims just tickles me silly. And, I love her liberal use of cheesecloth and gauze (all tea dyed, of course)...beautiful drape, inexpensive and oh so comfortable.
This image is from the book Designers in Residence from Victoria (Claire Whitcomb).
My copy of Comfortable Country by Enrica Stabile is well worn and much loved. These images from the book demonstrate the effective use of everyday objects in designing your home...imagine the use of an old ironing board to prop up a frame or old photo or a woven bark knitting basket...so very cool.
I dream of someday having a studio that is large, open and airy...much like this sunroom, also from the same book. I want a huge farmhouse table to stand in the middle of the room so that I can create from any side and so that I can spread out and make lots of messes :).
Oh, this room just inspires me to create! I think an old army cot like the one put together by Carol Bolton would fit beautifully into this room.
Then, of course, there's the outside...I am always on the lookout for some of the vintage wood/metal French folding chairs like the ones pictured here. I noticed that Ballard Designs had some on sale a couple of weeks ago but I really want them to be crackly and peely...and this shade of blue, which would be so perfect in my backyard. This image is also from Comfortable Country.
I've often thought about the ability of the French to demonstrate this sense of style with such apparent ease. I wonder if it's something that's innate or taught. Are people born with a certain sense of style or do they learn it? I'd really be interested in hearing what you think about this...I don't think there are any right or wrong answers to these questions but rather, just our opinions...would love to hear yours.