Friday, December 14, 2018

Cottage Living Room Concept - Faudree Influence

I have been wandering about the internet from fabric site to fabric site shopping.  I have what I refer to as DADD; Design Attention Deficit Disorder. Squirrel!  I find a fabric, fall smitten, design a room around that fabric, while wandering about looking for a coordinating fabric - I fall smitten with a fabric...repeat.  Before I know it I have pages of concepts.  I've travelled so far down the proverbial rabbit hole I'm catching myself designing concepts in colors I could never live with - Help! I decided to take a look back at someone who greatly influence me. 

Growing up in Fort Worth while being infatuated with interior design I fell smitten to a specific Interior Designer from Tulsa, Charles Faudree.  During the mid 1980's he was the go to designer of the DFW area.  Soon, he became an award wining master of interiors whose influence reached worldwide.  This girl from Fort Worth was forever inspired with the soft spoken master of design.   Faudree had a comfortable style; mixing fabrics including checks and toile paired with English, also French antiques, a blend of rustic with refined, then topped by layers of found objects.  I have each book he wrote, every magazine he appeared in and often find myself with my nose deeply within their pages, analyzing every detail. Young and in design school at the time, his aesthetic was often recognizable in my projects. I came to adore all things French, learned to mix textures, patterns, rustic with refined, dreamed of following within his footprints. Isn't it interesting how a person you've never met can have such an impact upon you?   He's long since passed, yet his legacy of work continues to influence people today.  If you haven't met him, please allow me to introduce you through this Traditional Home Magazine Christmas layout of his cabin, then located just outside Tulsa, it remains my favorite of his many homes - 

Charles Faudree with his companion, Nicholas  Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine

Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine 

The upper walls are dressed in Pierre Frey Petite Parc a gorgeous cotton, linen blend toile featuring flowers and birds.  He paired the wall covering with a stripe on the French side chairs, a large check on the French armchairs flanking the fireplace then added another linear pattern in the drapes.  A hint of gold in the drapery rings, then again upon the candelier suspended above a rustic iron based table filled with books, florals and found objects creates the Faudree magic.  The ceilings beams are one of my favorite details in this space; a mix of natural and painted rather than one or the other creates more interest upon the ceiling. 

Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine 

In the main living space the cathedral ceiling and wood floors are again finished in a wash of white.  Fabric choices are continued in this space to create continuity.  This is the first time I saw a seagrass rug, the texture is beautiful and speaks to the rustic chippy finish upon many of the French antiques.  I adored the Dutch door and longed for my own one day.  I studied his furniture plan; he created small pockets of furniture a game space, alongside the windows two chairs paired with a small table is the perfect place for a cup of coffee and moment of reflection, the center conversation area surrounds the fireplace, while the dining area includes a bench alongside the dining table. He punctuated the space with a large antique heirloom quality French tapestry. I'd never seen a tapestry paired with chippy furniture, cotton/linen fabrics and seagrass before, for me it was sure perfection. It appears as though Nicholas agrees.   If you'd like to read more about Charles Faudree and his cabin click here

The fireplace wall of the conversation area.  Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine. 

When Mr. GDC and I stepped into the cottage the little voice in my head screamed "This is it, your Charles Faudree house!".  (I hope everyone else has a little voice in their head and I'm not the only one.)  Within those first few steps, I fell as smitten with this cottage as I had years ago with Charles Faudree, I knew this was my opportunity to attempt a channeling of his aesthetic into our own cottage. Instantly I said "Full price, whatever the owner wants!", our elated Realtor broke into giggles, she knew she had found me a rare find, a house that spoke to my heart.  So much for artful negotiation! 

Now that we are here, I've had my nose poised once again in my collection of frayed and worn Charles Faudree books.  Timidly, I've put together four concept pages under his influence, striving to channel just a glint of his brilliance while remaining true to our family style. 

On a budget, I plan to keep most of our furniture, refinishing or recovering as needed. I long for a space that has texture, interest, a collected feel and of course speaks French - similar to those magical Faudree spaces. 

No 1: Neutral color scheme grounded with black.  I chose two toile, a damask and traditional floral to combine with a few more modern geometric fabric patterns.  This scheme is along the thought of the new modern traditional.  The black providing a more contemporary, modern edge, while the toiles and check define the room as French. I could easily add a pair of black/white modern paintings to juxtapose the antique tapestry fragments. 

No 2: The choices here create a shaded color scheme; brick and wine fabrics paired with taupe to bring in our main upholstered pieces.  These fabrics are mostly traditional with just a hint of modern in the circle patterned fabrics.  I repeated the circle idea in the drapery border, the dot velvet pillow, the taupe geometric and the lower right corner circle brick fabric. This selection is a return to color.  

No. 3: The choices here are somewhat monochromatic with shades of navy paired with taupe.  All fabrics in this collection are traditional with two having a slight chinoiserie feel.  The toile, chinoiserie, also check fabrics speak French in the scheme. 

No 4: This concept is most neutral with shades of grey, taupe and camel.  Here I chose a selection of traditional, geometric, modern, and casual patterns.  This scheme relies upon pattern and texture to create interest.  This space would be an eclectic, quiet, layered room, with art becoming the focal point.  The toile, damask and traditional floral create an underlying French feel. 

What do you think?  Do any of these concept pages appeal to you?  If you'd be so kind as to leave me a comment, I would greatly appreciate it.  I'm curious to learn your thoughts.  I'll be pondering in hope of coming to a decision.  I like each concept for different reasons. Any of the four would work well for the living room.  Perhaps since I haven't an obvious choice, the search should continue.  Honestly, I'd like to move forward rather than - squirrel! I am hopelessly fabric fickle.   

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Exterior Christmas Cheer 

We are so busy this Christmas season; unpacking, organizing, painting.  We opted for a little light exterior Christmas d├ęcor this year.  We draped the double front doors with lit faux greenery garland, then added two wreaths suspended from pretty grey metallic ribbon. 

There are brackets on the door canopy support post, I added a couple of oversized acorns, greenery, also a bow.  Honestly, I was uncertain about those brackets, my aunt used to say "Put a bow on it", so I did. Upon the porch I added a pair of clay pots and poinsettia on either side of the double doors.

At night the new wall sconces shine down upon the poinsettia, spotlighting them. 

The front of the house has different sized and style windows.  I chose to hang faux greenery wreaths suspended from the grey metallic ribbon at the center of each window to create a little continuity.  The ribbon is stapled to the top of the window frame, leaving about 6" of ribbon tails to dangle from the frame.  

The final touch of Christmas cheer is on the gate.  I repeated another wreath; decorated with a large acorn, a few neutral poinsettia and a hint of greenery, then finished off with a large bow. 

This year, we've a little Christmas cheer.   

Until next time, wishing you a happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Oh Christmas Tree! - Steps to creating the floral designer look

We have a petite tree; six feet tall and "skinny".  Since the tree is petite, through the years it's been placed in pots, baskets, then last  year inside the cargo trunk in an effort to give it more height and presence.  It is a simple tree and every year I consider purchasing a new one.  For me I use it as a beginning, somewhat like a frame, then fill it out with stems of mixed greenery.  I'm the daughter of a retired floral designer.  The designer style tree looks complicated, here's a secret, it isn't.  Follow these steps to obtain the designer tree look - 

Step one: Frame

Set the tree up.  Most people leave their trees in the traditional cone shape.  If you love a cone, then stop there.  Me, I'm a quirky soul, I love a noble fir because the architecture of a noble fir allows for layers of ornaments. The tall spaces between the branch tiers are perfect for large ornaments.   I take the tree frame and twist the branches together to form tiers similar to a noble fir.

The method I use is to divide the branches into sections, by taking the branches next to one another, pulling them tightly in one direction, then twist them together to hold them in place.  I usually combine two to three branches to make a section. I flatten the branches out creating layers much like a noble fir.  Once the tree is set up layer a tree skirt around the bottom to hide the stand.  I usually have our tree in a pot, box or basket so I use Spanish Moss to camouflage the tree base from view.

Step two: Lights

I average 150 lights per linear foot.  I realize it seems like an over abundance of lights, for that designer look you need a evenly and fully lit tree.  I've found through the years that 150 is the magic number I seem to use.  Make certain when stringing lights together that you follow the manufacturers instruction on how many strings of lights are suggested to plug in end to end. Exceeding that number can cause blown fuses, or a possible fire.

When applying lights rather than circle the tree applying the lights to the exterior only, I apply lights to each branch, tucking them from the center of the tree pole outward to the end of the branch, then back to the tree pole and repeat.  This method creates a well, evenly lit tree and gives depth to the shape of the tree since the center is lit as well as the exterior.

Where plugs are plugged in to one another I wrap a branch around the joined plugs in an effort to camouflage the connection.

Step Three:  Greenery 

 I use a combination of pine, silvered cedar, and a frosted, silvered, pinecone dotted greenery.  Keep in mind when choosing greenery to chose something that will not blend in to the branches of your tree; a different shade of green, different leaf, something with berries, something flocked or glittered are the perfect choices. 

Consider using 6 stems per foot as a guide.  You'll use more at the bottom, less at the top due to the cone shape.  I begin at the bottom of the tree and work my way upward; taking each stem of greenery and applying to the branches tucking the stems inside the branches to hide them.

I stagger the stems of greenery between the layers of branches which prevents the tree from having too many of the same type greenery together, giving the tree a more natural look. The layers of greenery hide the light wires. 

When reaching the top of the tree I tuck the branches around the top creating a "crown" effect.  At first I layered the long branches of cedar, then came back and added three pine stems along with three sticks featuring faux ice crystals for a hint of natural woodsy style. 


Step Four:  Ornaments - the fun stuff 

Mr. GDC and Jr. are the ornamentation crew.  Each year after the lights, greenery and top is completed, I make myself a cup of tea and perch myself, along with our pup upon a the settee to watch the ornamentation crew work.  This has been our family tradition for years.  The first several years we had only unbreakable ornaments, Jr.'s favorite things was to toss them at the tree and see how many would stick. Boys.  He's grown up, now we have a beautiful collection of mercury, also hand blown ornaments with the original mix of unbreakable ones; a bit of old, of new, our family tradition.  

Maybe next year we'll go wild and add some color to our tree decorations?  Maybe we'll jump and buy a new tree?  For now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Must buy a plant for this basket! It's on the very long "to do" list! 

Happy Decking the Halls!  No matter how you chose to decorate your tree, they are all beautiful! Until next time, wishing you all the best -