I’ve been doing some posts on some little details I’m adding to our French period home, but I thought I’d do one on other things to introduce some French period style to your home. Some of these projects are bigger, some small, but they’re pretty much all in the affordable range – particularly if you salvage some of these things from your local flea market, eBay, charity shops etc. So here they are…
Fingerplates And Doorknobs
I’ve been doing loads of posts on these and, believe it or not, there are more to come. There are the brass doorknobs that where already in our home when we moved in, and are a staple of most period homes, which I’ve finished off with these uniquely French style fingerplates.
I’ve started to introduce vintage glass doorknobs, with Art Deco mirrored fingerplates. Also you can find these beautifully decorated porcelain ones, often labelled as Limogés porcelain.
Buying brass fingerplates new was very prohibitive – they worked out at about £20 for an Art Nouveau style one, or sometimes I could find two for the same amountof a style I didn’t like as much. The postal fee to France was excessive though. Buying vintage ones on the UK eBay site was eye wateringly expensive as well! However a quick look on French eBay revealed a whole different picture!
Also I’ve often found going to my local Brocante was far cheaper. I think this may be because a shop has physical space, so needs quicker turnover to pay their bills. Whereas thee are many people on eBay who sell these items just because they have them and as a result it creates a false pricing structure. So shop around and try different ways of buying them to make sure you keep costs down.
Every French home needs a beautiful armoire – the curved detailing and elegant shapes are gorgeous. Living in France they are relatively numerous; I’ve observed French fashions seem to go more towards the new unless it’s an antique piece.
When you buy a genuine French one it’s worth noting that they don’t tend to have a clothes rail, but shelves. Great if you want somewhere to store folded clothes, handbags etc. Not so great for dresses. It’s easily rectified by maintaining one shelf and inserting a curtain pole; though maybe not something you want to do with an expensive antique.
Alternatively you may pay more, but you can buy a purpose made Armoire in the UK, US etc. But, for me, just one of these beautiful pieces of furniture would be worth it.
These are more a period house addition, not particularly French.
There are actually some Bakelite versions of dolly light switches in parts of the house that were evidently seen as unimportant; the garage, the attic, the old maid’s bedroom (really, there’s a little room in the attic that the maid of the doctor slept in years ago). I love them, but I really love brass versions.
I’ve actually found some of these using eBay and, like the fingerplates, they are a lot less expensive than new ones on the market and even less expensive than the reclaimed ones you can buy in the UK.
However as period style is more popular in the UK (and America I imagine) there are alternatives. I found these dolly switches pictured aboveon this site, they’re a reproduction of an original Art Nouveau design. I love it and even though I have some I’m seriously thinking about ordering just one for my dining room. Admittedly it’s a bit of a waste and it goes outside my attempts to make the house as Earth friendly as possible – but it’s just so gorgeous! It’s the delivery price again that’s giving me pause.
I did say some of these suggestions were a little more expensive than others and, depending n where you live, this is definitely in that bracket.
I’ve actually just bought one from the French site leboncoin; a real bargain at 50€. It’s taking a little time to strip the old putty, paintwork and rust in order to replace the glass and ensure it’s protected from rusting further. However it’s still going to be a more expensive outlay as it will need to be put up professionally due to it’s weight.
It will be worth it though as I love these – they’re so typically French! I’d never seen glass porches before I started coming to France and I fell immediately in love with them. They let in light whilst providing protection from any inclement weather for you or your guests whilst you wait to get in the house. Perfect!
Since I made my front of the house decor plan I’ve changed my mind on some items. Shutters are really expensive – about 160€ per shutter, not a pair, a shutter. So 320€ per window. We have a lot of windows!
As the front of the house is shadier they’re not essential, so having bought a marquise I’ve made other plans (more on that later).
However lots of the ancient stone houses that still have them have these little shutter holders too. I adore them. You can get them on French eBay super easy and inexpensive – if you’re in another country though it’s going to come down to delivery again.
A really inexpensive addition, baguette bins are awesome! They hold your baguettes and have a little draw on the bottom to get rid of the crumbs. Kind of like a toaster draw. Love them! Haven’t got me one yet, but when we start our kitchen it’s going to be on my list!
Did you know each design has a name? They do. Maybe that’s another post though. They’re lovely.
One of the things I love to do is keep my out for these and collect them. Then when it’s a particular saints feast we can make a little tray display like this.
Whether you’re Catholic or not these worn, plaster devotionals are beautiful and evocative. Personally I love to have the ones that have belonged to others; it always seems to me a beautiful symbol of the eternal nature of the Church knowing that in my home is something that has probably belonged to someone who either is or are on their way to being a saint triumphant.
Decorated Plates And Soup Dishes
Again, this is more a period touch that a particular French one. They are also inexpensive. I love hanging vintage plates on the walls, and having beautiful soup dishes displayed on shelves. I haven’t actually used any yet, the girls have been too little for them, but that may be happening in the future.
Baroque Gold Mirrors
These can be really expensive – but if you find one a little damaged on the gold plaster work you can get yourself a bargain. I have and I’ve been thinking about what to do to mend mine – if it works I promise to post my method (so subscribe to get that in your feed or inbox).
My mirror isn’t up in our new house yet, I’m patiently waiting for the right place to put it. But here’s a picture of it in the old house.
3 thoughts on “10 Details For A French Period Home”
Your home is lovely and inviting.
Thank you Cindy. You must be celebrating with the news today of the possible Scotus pick? We’re watching with hope this side of the pond!