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Friday, October 1, 2010

French Girl Friday, Chapter Six. La Maison

La Maison, the home. How many times through the years have I tried to put a French flair into my personal space. Oh how many times I have obviously gotten it very wrong. It was more so the American view of or more so the American retail view of. I knew this of course , as I flipped adoringly through books telling me how to achieve the look in my own home and realizing that it was always to be out of reach. You do not achieve the look, it just becomes. It just is. Unless of course you have a lot of money and can pay very close attention to detail ( like how they can reproduce it in the movies) ...and let's face it...we often like the idea of, the romance of what we have grown accustomed to as French decor for the home. I still bring touches in...but now I admit it is more like an American, who went to France and brought home a few gift store trinkets to add to her nest. I am ok with that. I like the kitch, and as long as one admits that, I think it matters not what is the proper way.

In reading this chapter this morning , and it was a full one. Far too much to go over. Once again, I urge you to buy the book. I did however see a few quotes that I wish to share that stood out. As always first however, I shall tell you the names of the sections within the chapter.....

French Girl Style
To Tour the French Girl's Home
Le Foyer
Le Salon
Le Boudoir
La Salle de Bain
La Cuisine
Other Corners of the French Girl's Home

Right off the bat was a quote from Coco Chanel ...."It's not houses I love. it's the life I live in them" 
***I am trying harder and harder to live by this, having moved away from or lost homes I loved and adored, and now being in an apartment ...true thus far the life I have lived in this apartment has not been a life I love, but I am , as I said working on that. And still keep hope that one day, I shall again have a true house in which to call my own and make my own.

The next quote(s) is from, Debra Ollivier,  the author of the book...just a few snippets from the intro to the chapter...

"There's something in the space-call it soul, call it energy-that is so clearly a reflection of the inhabitant's aesthetic . And I've experienced this sense of place in the home of every French girl I know. "
*** This seems hard for me to achieve in an apartment, my hands being tied by rules and regulations , not to mention lack of cash flow. I had it in my homes. I was told perhaps, in my own way I was tapping into my inner French Girl.

" The French girl's "corner of the world" is warm and usually smaller that it's American counterpart. It is intimate by default, by architecture, by design, by historical imperative. So much lived experience is jumbled into small spaces in her world, so much busy layering and patterning of life, that while she may renovate or redecorate, her home always becomes more of who she is over time. "

*** I have not stayed longer that three years in one place in the last nearly 6 years. But before that I had stayed put for 14 years and it seemed our home was finally becoming what is stated above. I had dreamed that our cottage that we lost would do the same, and it felt like it would be...I as I said do not think I can achieve that here, but one day.....maybe.

"Equally part and parcel of the French home is its sense of permanence."
*** See above.

"There is a tendency in French life to exude a certain tasteful frugality no matter what one's social standing"

*** I think I have this down pat LOL

"The French aesthetic is not one thing-it's many things, layered, textured and idiosyncratic" 

The French Girl style types: 
Classic, Chic, Bohemian, Provincial 
*** This reminds me of the French girl's fashion styles, it would seem it transcends into their dwellings as well. But then are we not taught to draw upon our closet for color and decor ideas? Guess it is the same there. Ah....once again a tiny link to call upon.  This section goes into great detail, and it is a wonderful read...I do hope you will buy the book and read it , as once again it is too much info to put here and well there are those copy right laws that I am ever tippy toeing around.

One part, that is in this section, in a gray highlighted box that I do wish to share....

" The French Accent
Doing more with less, the French girl has a natural flair for using accessories: pillows in various patterns and shapes, colorful panels instead of curtains, delicious textured fabrics thrown against a sofa or wrapped around the base of a table lamp. She might paint a single wall, a balustrade or ceiling moldings in a dramatic color for accent. ( The French girl may be understated, but if she loves color , she'll experiment.) And she never forgets flowers, to set off a radiant burst of color on any available surface. "

*** Ok, well then again, maybe I do have a touch of the French girls decor aesthetic within this sounds like what I have done to all my spaces that I have lived in. Even this one.
"Borrow A Page from the French Girl's Book: Home
Forge a home according to your own unique tastes. Take the time to accumulate meaningful objects. Let history into your home. Create comfortable spaces for wining, dining and conversing. Invest in an excellent dining table that seats at least six. Light your space well, but gently. See your own unique, distinct signature in every room of your home. Be picky. Go off the beaten path for doorknobs and details. Live in your home like you'll be there the rest of your life."

*** I have had this before, followed this before. My husband and I are in what I consider, and hope to be an in between/limbo part of our lives and that it will change in time , and as I have been saying, perhaps, if not really true French decor/style, I/we will at least be able to tap in to the wise words on home that have been expressed above. 

One final quote that struck "home" for me , mostly cause we , my husband and I live in an apartment, and it made me wonder if we could truly call it our home, or simply just a place to live....I shall have to think on that one...what are your thoughts.....

" No matter how much I tried , my French friend could not accept that anything with a sense of permanence and a sense of place could be considered a true home. If home is where the heart is 
( so the logic goes), then the heart must be firmly planted in order to grow."

*** If that is the case....well then our apartment will never be a home. My heart will never firmly plant itself here....I find that sad, but it is just the honest truth. I am prepared to live with that, I truly do not have a choice. Like many things that are going on in my life , this too is out of reach far enough that I can seem to even bother grasping for it....I still hope to have it be once again within my life time, but for now , I need to just come to terms with it. Adjust, and be as at home as I can in this space of ours.
Next Friday's chapter is the final, before the conclusion. It is about working and business....not much I can truly relate to , or at least currently. I have worked over my life time. But it is just not , in the foreseeable future something I shall be doing again. But I shall highlight and share a few things as I am aware many of you do. 

I am not sure what book I shall pick up for Friday's to share, relate to, and reflect upon. I may take a small break till I can pick the perfect one up....I am thinking of the book about life according to Coco Chanel or another on how to be a lady...just for a hoot. I am always concerned about copy rights, not getting permission, so it has to be the perfect one that I can do short quotes be patient. I might not do all one book. It might be a different type of book....I am open to all and any suggestions.


  1. I enjoy reading your series...but at the same time it's making me want to hop on a plane tomorrow! I've never visited a place and felt such a strong attraction to go back...and maybe even live there someday :) I hope you make it there someday!


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