French Inspiration: Antiquing 1 comment

June 22, 2015, posted by Michelle – On a recent excursion around some of the antique shops and brocantes (second hand shops) in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon I spotted heaps of silverware, some vintage monogrammed linens in blues and greens, a pinkish-purple side table, a never ending jumble of trinkets and a gorgeous French commode table. In an effort to take a short cut from one street to another I stumbled into a courtyard where I found a beautiful old disused fountain? pedestal? surrounded by plants and climbing vines. The small statue on top is Mary, who is found in niches on buildings all over downtown. I never know what interesting things I’ll find but I’m always inspired by the beauty of this neighborhood and all its antique shops.
silverwaretorchonscourtyardside tabletrinketstable

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How Pretty is Your Powder Room?

powder roomJune 9, 2015, posted by Gina – The word “powder room” may seem to be in same league as words like “pocket book” or “slacks”,  words that our mother still uses though they are outmoded. Yet powder room is still used today to describe a half bath and in public, women frequently ask about the whereabouts of the powder room instead of bathroom or restroom.

Since a powder room is mainly used by guests, we believe it should be a wonderfully inviting spot in your home. We will share a few tips on how to make a powder room a perfect place to extend your hospitality.

guest napkins
In this photo we see some lovely paper hand towels in a nice wicker basket made especially for them. We like offering these when we have larger parties as a typical cloth towel would get pretty wet with a number of guests visiting the powder room. Once our shop is up and running, we will offer a great variety of paper hand towels.

But we realize some people prefer linens, so we also always offer a pretty cloth hand towel. We love the fresh, crisp look of white for spring and summer months.


Here’s where the fun really gets started. We love to use trays and this lovely European tray holds a luxurious rosemary mint hand soap, a bar of soap, a candle and a delicious smelling diffuser. We love to ignite our guest’s sense of smell and this tray of goodies is certainly capable of doing just that. We plan to sell many of these items in our online shop.

coral linen towels
Creating a mood with hand towels is fun, easy and inexpensive. We change the hand towels on this rack to correspond with the current season. These linen towels with a coral motif are summery and bring the beach to mind. We can’t wait to offer unique hand towels in our shop that will help you usher in the seasons in your own home or that you can give as gifts.

Last but not least, we always put fresh flowers in our powder room when we have guests.  It is just one more way to welcome your guests into your home with a warm and comfortable vibe.

What finishing touches do you put around your home when you have guests? Do you like to change small details to reflect the changing seasons? We’d like to hear about your ideas. Click the title of this post to open the comment form and let us hear from you!


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Design Obsession

Magnolia Trio

June 4, 2015, posted by Gina -Are you familiar with the very popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper, starring Chip and Joanna Gaines? If not, Chip and Joanna are a husband and wife team based in Waco, Texas who show distressed homes to house hunting couples. Chip and Joanna find the worst looking houses and show the couple what the home could look like after a renovation. The show continues with Chip overseeing the construction end of the project and Joanna working on all the design aspects. Joanna has a great sense of style that combines rustic with industrial elements. She finds some very unique items and in fact has a store called Magnolia.

I am totally obsessed with this show; the scenery is so beautiful and it’s great being able to explore the architecture of that area via the show. There is not one home they have renovated or designed that I have not fallen in love with. One of my favorite redo’s is “Young Family Takes on History”. In this episode you can see how Joanna chooses items for the house and it is so much fun to watch her do her thing.

The little trio of vases you see in the photo above came from Joanna’s online shop. The scrolled ironwork holds glass vases that I think are actually test tubes. I created small arrangements for them though single flowers would work as well.

You can see the episodes online and shop online too. Check it out, you won’t be sorry and if you are like me, you will be hooked.

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Up Close and Personal

Floral palette
June 3, 2015, posted by Gina – Last week we gave you a tour of the table settings and general décor we created for a bridal luncheon and now we’d like to share some photos and information on the floral arrangements and a couple of other details.

Above you see the floral palette we chose for the day. Color harmony is an important aspect of floral design and by looking at a typical color wheel, you can see many formulas for creating color combinations. We chose an analogous palette which uses colors that are found next to each other on the color wheel.

footbath arrangement
If you love blue and white porcelain as much as we do then you can certainly appreciate this footbath. Many of you may wonder just why in the world it is called a footbath. Well here’s a little history:

Footbaths originated in China during the Ming Dynasty and were traditionally used only by women from the wealthiest families who practiced foot binding. In turn, this practice became popular as a means of displaying status. So how in the world did we end up using them for flowers? It turns out that in the 1980’s and exporter began shipping beautiful porcelain footbaths all over the world. Interior designers embraced them as they were as pretty as the ever popular fish bowls but were the perfect size for a dining table or sideboard. Who knew?

In this arrangement, we used a magenta kalanchoe, maidenhair fern and a bit of Spanish moss. When we open our shop, we plan to offer footbaths so you can easily create a wonderful centerpiece just like we did.

This smaller blue and white planter was used as a companion and we love how it echoed our color palette on this table.

small blue and white planter

This arrangement in a vintage rose bowl carried on our color palette and we particularly loved the fully open white roses. We will be offering new and vintage varieties of containers like this one when our shop is up and running.

Rose Bowl
Back in the day, before paper cocktail napkins were so widely available, beautiful linen cocktail napkins were used. These light blue ones are just so pretty and we think perfect for a beautiful, special event. These are vintage and we are planning on offering some of the finest vintage linens around once our shop is open.

Blue linen cocktail napkins

PlacecardThese place cards were specially created by a professional calligrapher to coordinate with the flowers for the luncheon. Place cards seem to be used mostly for larger functions but we believe it adds a special touch and truly gives a warm welcome to each person. Blank place cards can be found at most craft stores and are really fun and easy to incorporate into your event. In our case, we wanted to use place cards to insure that the bride and her bridesmaids were able to sit together and enjoy the day. After all, the luncheon was in their honor.

Do you add special touches to your tables? Do you have some favorite containers and planters that you use for special arrangements? We’d like to hear about your ideas, so please leave a comment by clicking on the title of this post to expand the comment form.

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Lunch in Lyon 2 comments

May 27, 2015, posted by Michelle – Last week I hosted a lunch at my apartment for a few ladies. I wanted the table to be very colorful and fresh so I bought some hot pink place mats, an Emile Henry yellow-green table runner with an orange stripe and some super thick lime green paper napkins. I folded the napkins into flowers and every time I’ve done this people want me to show them how. Well, I learned from this guy’s video. For the centerpiece, I put some gorgeous pink peonies in a vase which I placed on a white tray with a few tangerines and … voilà… a simple, colorful table:spring table
The menu was onion tart, chicken piccata and fresh green peas sauteed with bacon. It’s the custom here to serve cheese before the dessert so I served an Etorki Basque cheese which everyone loved. I’ve never been a great dessert maker which is just as well since, this being France, you can’t walk a block without stumbling upon a pâtisserie full of luscious tarts and cakes. I happily stumbled into one and came out with this delicious and pretty lemon and white chocolate cake:
Lemon and white chocolate cake

Do you add special touches to your table? Do you like using bright colors or do you prefer more subtle tones? We’d like to hear your thoughts so please leave any comments you may have by clicking on the title of this post and a comment form will appear at the end of the post.

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Color Inspiration

Hôtel Île Rousse, Bandol, France

Hôtel Île Rousse, Bandol, France

May 8, 2015, posted by Michelle – Earlier this spring I was in Bandol on the Côte d’Azur for a few days and, as usual, found myself taking pictures of whatever caught my attention. I really loved the lobby of the Hôtel Île Rousse, especially the chandelier. The blue, white and grey color scheme was modern and fresh and the lime green rectangular planters injected a pop of color and were surprisingly placed on the corner of each coffee table rather than in the center.

The cheery lemon yellow shutters on the otherwise sober façade of this house perched on the coastline made me smile.

lemon shutters

Breathtaking color and I’ve never seen a stone wall, tree trunks and a gate incorporated into one entry point!
Aqua gate

Do you have certain colors you tend to gravitate towards? Or maybe you like changing accessories and re-painting according to trends? Tell us how you use color in your home, just click on the title of this post and the comment form will expand at the bottom of the post.

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Before and After

April 8, 2015, posted by Gina – I am always looking for inspiration and ideas for flowers, table scapes and home décor. I read several home decorating blogs (a few of my favorites are listed in the sidebar) and magazines and never fail to find designs and ideas that give my own creativity a boost. I really enjoy “before and after”  articles, be they total renovations, updating accents and accessories or simply rearranging furniture for a new look. So, I decided to share my own personal before and after with you. Voilà, my home….
Before Family and DiningFamily room and diningThe first two photos above show the before and after of our entry and dining room (taken from the family room). Before, the dining room china cabinet made the entire space look heavy, as if it were leaning to the right. This illusion was helped by the fact that the opposite entry wall was so empty and devoid of warmth. The neutral color had no personality and made the two spaces appear to be one, though it was not unified. The after photo shows how using color, lighting, window treatments and accessories brought warmth and interest while creating two uniquely separate yet cohesive spaces.

Before Family RoomFamily roomThese two photos above are the before and after of our family room. Huge difference! We did a few very simple things like removing the lower shelving in the built-in to make room for the flatscreen, added a mantle above the fireplace and hung a large tapestry to break up the brick, had custom drapes made and placed the furniture in a more inviting and cozy arrangement.

Before KitchenKitchenAnd the final before and after is the kitchen (photo taken from the keeping room). I think you’d agree the most enjoyable addition was  our adopted black lab, Emma; see her there on the floor? Painting the base of the island white and adding backless bar stools changed the oppressive feel in the center of the kitchen and freed up the flow. We recently bought an antique European table with eight chairs and recovered the seat cushions with a casual buffalo check.  A few well placed, interesting and colorful accessories and plants put the finishing touches on these rooms.

Have you renovated or redecorated a home? Did you make sweeping changes or cosmetic ones? We’d really like to hear about your home decorating experiences and ideas. Click on the title of this post to open the comment form and share your stories with us.

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French Silk Market 3 comments

February 14, 2015 – The 10th annual Silk Market was recently held in Lyon, France. Vendors were selling everything from pocket squares to bolts of gorgeous silk fabrics. We spent a morning there talkisilkng to designers and manufacturers and swooning over the large variety of beautiful silk fabrics and goods. We purchased yards and yards of fabulous ribbon from Julien Faure and can’t wait for next year’s market.


A little background about Lyonnais Silk: Lyon was the capital of the European silk market for centuries. By the mid-1800s there were 60,000 looms in operation and the silk trade employed an estimated 90,000 people. The luxurious silks found throughout the Palace of Versailles were created in Lyon. Though only a few silk manufactures exist in Lyon today, the silk industry left an indelible mark on the city which proudly preserves this part of its rich history.

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