For years I had been a huge fan of French Country Style. I had red toile in my family room, as well as roosters and other quintessential French Country touches throughout my house. However, as part of my lightening up and paring down over the last couple of years that I’ve shared here and on Instagram, I would say that what I most gravitate to now is more of a Swedish influenced style. I think of it as similar to French, but lighter, both in color and in spirit. Both have a a very European sensibility, yet the Swedish take is just a little more spare, a little lighter, a little simpler. There is usually very little color, and if there is, it’s pale, pale versions of blues, greens, or greys. Swedish furniture is influenced by Neoclassical style, with very little ornamentation or embellishment. Another thing that is a big part of Swedish style is symmetry (love!). I think the style is so versatile; it mixes well with many other styles, and can be incorporated into so many different spaces and mixed easily with different periods. Most of these inspiration photos are a mix of French and Swedish or other European antiques, but to me, that’s ideal. The theme here is the lightness of the rooms.
I know, how original, right? I’m writing about white kitchens – hardly an earth shattering, can’t-believe-those-are-trending topic! But my love for them is deep, and has never waned. In fact, I have always had a white kitchen. Yep, I’ve had three kitchens in my adult life that I’ve picked and/or remodeled myself, and all three have been white. I had one before they were in style, I have one now that they are “back,” and I’m sure I will have one until the day I die.
Today I want to continue to talk about the series I started a couple of months ago on how to achieve a house with a “collected” look. To me, the ideal house is one which looks personal, and unique, and not like someone just ordered everything from a catalog. Just to refresh, in the first three posts I talked about how every room needs something vintage and/or antique, that even the most antique-y rooms need something modern, and lastly, how every house needs a collection (or two) to help achieve that “collected over time” look. That leads us to today. And today, I’m talking about art (something I’m quite a fan of, actually!) I think every house needs at least some real art. I know that it’s very much the trend right now to have only other items on the walls; mirrors, letters, numbers, plates, or wood or plaster fragments, and although I love all of those items, I still believe a house should have some actual art. I have spoken to quite a few people about this and what seems to be the case is that they are actually afraid! They might buy a print at Home Goods, but they don’t know how, or where to start, in buying real art. Now lest you think I mean expensive, I definitely don’t. True genuine paintings, whether they be oil or watercolor, can be purchased very inexpensively if you shop antiques or resale stores, buy on Ebay, or even at garage sales. In fact, many times they are the same, or even less money, than buying a print at a catalog store. There is something that art brings to a space that, literally, nothing else can do. First of all, there is color. Most of the things above don’t bring color to a room. Since I personally have a mostly white and/or neutral house, many times the colors in the artwork are one of the few ways I’ve brought color to the room. Art also brings a depth that inanimate objects simply don’t have. Art is alive. A piece (or two) of art in a room can make the room! When I was growing up (and certainly before), people decorated only with art. You couldn’t go to a Home Goods or World Market and buy a cute reproduction map, or a cool mirror, or giant letters. And I will grant you that many houses in the past had too much art (it can definitely go the other way!). But a mix of new and found wall decor that isn’t art, mixed in with real, actual paintings, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that! Shall we take a look?
I’ve been wanting to write about some of the blogs and/or designers that inspire me for awhile now, so I thought for a change for today’s Friday Favorites, I would share one of my absolute favorites, Tone on Tone. Tone on Tone is the blog written by antiques store owner and designer, Loi Thai. It features a lot of Swedish style furniture, collections and vignettes from his Maryland antique store of the same name, and photos from his (two!) stunningly designed houses. I was first made aware of Loi Thai when his gorgeous home and Swedish antiques-filled shop was featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine. In addition to being a wonderful designer and antique store owner, Loi is also an incredibly talented gardener. His topiaries are legendary! He is also an avid collector; creamware, ironstone, architectural salvage pieces, and antique silver are some of the items he collects. I have featured photos from his house in several of my posts already, as he is such an inspiring designer and his mix of old and new, French and Swedish, speaks to me so clearly. If you have not seen his work yet, you are in for a real treat!
If some of you have been following me for awhile now, you know that I did a post on adding just one piece of contemporary or modern furniture to an otherwise mostly antique room a few months ago (you can read the original post here). I had just purchased a side table from Wisteria and at the time, I was debating returning it and getting the coffee table version instead. Well, I did! And it finally arrived after months of back order. I am so happy that I made the decision to spend the money shipping the first one back. The coffee table is perfect! I love the white marble top, the size, and the pounded gold edges.
I love Spring! Everything about it is so cheerful and full of promise. One of the things that I look forward to the most is planting fresh flowers in the garden, and one of my absolute favorites is lavender. Though I am usually a “white flowers only” girl, for some reason, the soft purple color and of course, that fragrance, really speak to me in the Spring. Also, it is drought tolerant so it grows really well here, even in the heat of summer. But I love it inside as well; it’s adorable in pots around the house (it looks especially good in galvanized buckets) and looks amazing on a kitchen counter!