french ~~ my favorite french style/living book revealed

(laughing)  Oui!  Just what everyone (and her sister) was dying to know (not!).  Well, without further ado, voila!:

(teehee.  notice how i copied the book jacket’s book on a chair idea for my photo?)

“Bringing It Home France” is my favorite book on how to incorporate French style, realistically, in one’s own life.  It is the only book on the subject that I have come across that presents the French lifestyle and decor in an attainable, authentic way.  I have perused many, many other books on French decor and most have left me feeling at most slightly inspired and more often–empty (never Betty Lou me).  While beautiful, they are just too much fluff and over the top for me with impossible to achieve looks unless I am a millionaire.

“Bringing It Home France” (from here I will abbreviate it BIHF) was written by Cheryl MacLachlan.  She actually wrote a series of “Bringing It Home…” books which include England, Sweden and Italy.  BIHF has a mix of aesthetics–from the lavish to the more eclectic, humble interior.  But with any interior, how it is achieved is explained; the different kinds/uses of fabrics in decor (from table cloths, to curtains, to bed linens), how to decorate walls (whether with art, pictures or trompe l’oeil), the origin of different porcelain, the different periods of French furniture, entertaining customs, dining menus and so much more.  This book really has it all and I have referred to it over and over.  Recently, I did so again before choosing new curtains for my living room.

You may recall in this post that I discovered a rather large hole in one my sheer panels in the living room.  For a very brief moment I was disappointed  but then I was overjoyed because it meant I could get different curtains in the living room (just ask my friend Diane about my reaction because she was there when I first saw the hole). Yay!  Before I started shopping (online of course) I remembered seeing what I liked in the “BIHF” book.  Out it came once again so I could have a refresher on French window dressing.

Now you have to know a couple of things about me.  I am not big into window dressings… period.  I would almost prefer no curtains, blinds, valances before anything else but there is the issue of privacy  and the need to avoid  questions by puzzled friends (“where are your curtains?”  “why are your windows bare?”).  So I tend to go with simple which is why I never changed the living room curtains that were here when we first bought our house three years ago.  This is what was up and it was fine…they worked:

After my refresher with “BIHF”, I decided I wanted to maintain the simple look but add a little flourish.  I wanted “silk” panels that pooled (or puddled) on the floor.  With this in mind, I started my mad hunt on Etsy and Ebay for vintage (of course) silk panels–four of them…in champagne.  Totally unrealistic and a huge waste of time.  Why I thought I could find something like that in a quick time frame is beyond me.  I had to resort to buying new.  I searched for “the perfect” panels at many stores until I found an affordable answer to my ideal.  Thank you, “World Market”.  OK, so they aren’t real silk (which are expensive–Pottery Barn had real silk, similar style, at about 5x the cost) but they do look it.  And the color is exactly what I hoped for:

Working on the pooling…

Rockefeller digs the new French feel of his favorite corner:

I was totally inspired by my beloved book for this new look in the living room.  I plan on keeping these panels until another hole forms in one of them.  I wonder how long it will take for that to happen.

As for my book, I think I am going to keep it out so I can re-read it encore.

Go find your inspiration. : )


PS  Viveka has a great post about curtains too.  Check it out.


40 thoughts on “french ~~ my favorite french style/living book revealed

  1. Heather, wonderful … perfect to your window size and color shades in the room is beautiful – love steel blue and champagne shade together. Very classy and Rockefeller suits the decor too – love your chair … I’m so envy. Thanks for your support.


    • And I loved the pictures of your warm and inviting kitchen/dining area. Home decor is fun but I always tend to do it as frugally as possible. All the furniture you see has been bought second hand–even the blue sofa. Love the blue and champagne together too! My dream interior would be all white/off white upholstered pieces with the dark woods circa 1930s. But I am working with what I have for now.


      • Everything white is a bit pale for me and it doesn’t give anything of personality, like being at a hospital, no soul in a white home. In my book have you got – it perfectly right. The blue sofa is stunning – and those chairs. Perfect. Will introduce my bedroom next time.


  2. I must hunt down and have a look at this book! I feel exactly the same as you about window dressings. Thank God my new place is kitted out with blinds. Your new curtains look beautiful – in fact I LOVE your whole room. It looks so inviting and I’d love to curl up on that sofa with Rockefeller. Is he allowed on the furniture, or is he strictly paws off? He knows where the best place is anyway – next to the heat.


    • When we bought this house the only window dressing we had to change was the blind in our bedroom and new panels in the dining room (the previous owner’s panels had faded from the western sun).

      You will love that book should you find it. I did see that Amazon (US) has it for cheap.

      Rockefeller has never been a furniture jumper. Sometimes he snuggles with me in the reading chair but usually we have him with us in the family room (which is just off where you see part of the french door). For now though, I have to keep him from jumping up on and down off the sofa in the family room. I pick him up like a little invalid and he snuggles right in. Just love him!


    • Thank you, JMB. Our little fireplace was a big seller for us on this place. I think it is so charming in the room. I call it my little Paris apartment stove. : )


  3. Love that stove as well as the curtains! I’ve put this book into my Amazon wishlist (Christmas is coming!). I, too, find a lot of posh decorating books completely OTT. The Perfectly Imperfect Home is one I am finding quite useful. I must check out Bring It Home: Britain for a laugh (given that I live in Britain).


    • I must confess, I ordered the “Bringing It Home England” book after I wrote this post. I will let you know what I think about it. All her books have such great reviews on Amazon. I wanted the Sweden one too but it was way too expensive.


  4. Love your new curtains you have a flare for french decor. Rocky is in my favorite spot. In fact I’m sitiing next to our fireplace this Sunday AM. My favorite spot in my home. Have a wonderful day. Mom


    • I have a visual…you have such a beautiful fireplace. If you want beautiful curtains, you should check World Market out. xo


  5. Oh my gosh, Heather. That room is PERFECT. How I would love to give my ‘living room’ that kind of a feel…but I will have to wait until I can entice the hubby to ripping out the carpet and putting in wood floors. Might be a long wait.


    • You are too sweet. In my previous house I had to wait forever before I could enjoy the wood floors under the carpet. This house has beautiful wood floors everywhere…oak downstairs and pine planks upstairs. Only one bedroom/storage room has carpet. Although I wouldn’t dream of covering them, I do miss the warmth of carpet sometimes. : )


  6. What a lovely cozy room. I could easily snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea and your book! Rockafeller looks pretty comfy by the fire. I’ll be checking this book out, it’s right up my alley. You always have such great ideas Heather.


    • Thank you, ma chere. I am often found in the striped chair/ottoman reading or working on the computer with the fireplace on. Rockefeller is usually where you see him too.


  7. Bonjour Heather,
    New on your blog… Love your cozy and neat home and your new curtains as well. In our home – which is in Florida; our family moved from France a few years ago), we have no curtains at all…. My mother once called our home (all white inside) a hospital!!! LOL! A home is like a wardrobe… It needs to adapt to circumstances!
    By the way, Rockefeller is adorable. I showed his photo to our baby girl (chocolate lab) and she said he was awesome and looked very French!
    All the best from Florida,
    Anne / Playing with scarves – when not mopping the floor either 😉


    • Anne, I am glad you found me and I hope you enjoy what you read. Of course, knowing you are the real deal French woman, I will always value your input! ; ) I have already wandered around your blog–LOVE!

      Aren’t dogs the best?


  8. You have a lovely living room and I like the idea of how you have your curtains. The book sounds fantastic and I understand why you keep re-reading it.
    Is Rockefeller any better yet? Have a HAPPY Sunday! 🙂


    • Thanks, Happy Lady. Yes, Rockefeller is doing better. The vet was very please last Wednesday with the results so far. But it will be another 2 months before he is using the leg 100%. Can you believe it is such a long road to recovery? Crazy.


    • Oh my goodness…he LOVES that spot by the fire. He is knocked out right now as I type this—snoring.. He never seems to get too hot but if he does he will slowly get up, look at me like I did something wrong, and move over to an outside wall and collapse there to cool off. Too funny.


    • Thanks! You know, I am not sure. I bought it at an antique/boutique. It has a vintage style to it but I don’t know how old it is. I liked all the pleating on it.


    • Tea is on, my dear. Paris blend OK for you? I just wrote above that this chair was a rescue. You should have seen some of the other furniture it was “too late” for…some of it had been super nice but literally just went to rot. It is really a sad story in general. I may post about it one day. xo


    • Oui! Nicely done. You need to come down and take a peek at them in person. Plus we got the bedroom furniture all situated now too. : ) Big changes for the boudoir!


    • Thank you, Lisa. The curtains were super easy. The hardware was already in place so I just changed out the panels. I am very happy with my decision.


  9. Love your photo of the chair with the book, just like the cover. Your living room looks like a lovely place to relax by the fire. We have the same stove at the cottage in Maine but in black.


    • Oh, I just love my little stove. It does a pretty good job of heating most of the downstairs—except the way back bathroom where it matter the most. : )


  10. Pingback: vintage ~~ new to us boudoir furniture | vintage french chic

  11. Pingback: simple life ~~ hit the floor…snoring | chez bliss

  12. Pingback: home chic ~~ small changes with big rewards | chez bliss

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