This is a very brief post today; I just thought I’d share these images that have inspired me whilst I’ve been thinking about how to style not only my sofa table, but a bookcase that I’m working on to go in the living room.
Obviously I’ve chosen many of these as they can be described as French Country. However I’ve also chosen them because of what they’ve used to display.
I like the use of baskets, symmetrical lamps, stacked books as well as other touches. What’s interesting is how some stylists have used many items (I probably veer to that side) and others have let the furniture speak for itself.
Take a look and I’d love to hear your feedback- which ones do you like and why?
I’ve spoken about how I was trying to develop a cohesive look for our living room and I shared how I was inspired by American French Country decor.
This part 2 isn’t about aesthetics so much as how best to use the lay out of the room. The room itself is an L shape, and as a result it’s a little “bitty”. A bit here, a bit there. FYI – I’m about to go through why I felt this was important, so feel free to scroll down for the options to hide your tv.
With the huge corner fireplace (still hate it) the part near the dining room has a chunk of its floor space missing along with the dreaded L shape.
The tv outlet is on a wall near to the doorway with a glass cupboard just next to it, making it tricky to use the space well. Particularly as this is the narrowest part of the room.
Furthermore there is a wall with bi-fold doors leading to the dining room and one with a semi circle of windows leading onto the garden.
In addition to all that we got some disappointing news this week. I had someone round to advise me about the fireplace. The only option that worked was the conservatory one and that is estimated at 7-8,000€. More on that later.
Eventually I thought that to make the best of the L shape I should have two separate sections; a tv and reading section. I plan to put a floor to ceiling bookcase in the sunny side of the room as well as comfy sofas. I also plan to divide the room with a sofa – so it will look something like this…
This floor plan is just a sketch; in reality the central sofa will sit back a little so it’s not directly in front of the tv.
However at present the tv cabinet was taking up a good chunk of the connecting area, so to make the sofa divider work I had to wall mount the tv (on the plan you can see the symbol for it just above that central tv. I really didn’t want a big tv on the wall – it’s hardly a part of French Country decor. So I started to look around on the internet for ideas to hide it and these are the solutions I came up with.
1 Behind picture screens
There are lots of different options to do this, and you can find lots of examples on Pinterest for how to do it. I would have loved to do this, but as the outlet for the tv signal is in between the door and window it would have been difficult to fold them back conveniently.
2 Behind a bi-fold painting
I liked this option the best. Notice how they’ve put plug sockets directly behind where the tv will be mounted and inset the whole thing in the wall. Gorgeous!
3 Behind a standing screen
It was whilst I was painting that I suddenly realized that just standing a screen in front of the tv would have the same affect as above without the hassle. Then I realized that with my girls running round it wouldn’t be practical for us. But if you have older children or are generally child free then this could be your perfect solution.
4 Inside a cupboard
You could convert an existing cupboard to do this. However it would take up valuable floor space.
5 In a wall mounted unit
Similar to above.
6 Behind sliding screens
these are great options, but the window and door again.
7 Behind bi-fold mirrors
I love these! Love them!
They look a little expensive though and I haven’t seen anything like it in France.
8 Behind a map
A great idea for a more eclectic home.
9 Behind a tapestry
This. This is my French Country solution. I’ll update you soon on how I’m putting it in place.
Do any of these solutions suitable for you? Or have you come up with something else?
This wardrobe was a 30€ bargain at my local brocante. You can see from the before photos below that it was a well made piece of furniture. With its interior lined with fabric, intricate carved details, it’s draw lined side cupboard and brass fittings – I fell in love with it.
The wood was worn in places though, some of the trim had been knocked off and it was very dark in the little bedroom I planned to make its home. I decided to paint it with chalk paint and highlight the ornate carvings. I’m not going to bore you with the application of chalk paint – it’s not new and there are lots of how tos on Pinterest that are excellent quality. Instead I thought I’d focus on how to highlight the trim.
FYI – normally I’d remove all the hardware, but this was impossible with this scenario, so this has affected the way I’ve dealt with the piece.
Remove all the drawers
I spray painted the shelf like drawers entirely with gold paint. I then spray painted the interior of the other drawers. prior to painting them with chalk paint.
Paint with chalk paint
I know you will probably know all about chalk paint, but I love to use it as when it, inevitably, gets knocked and some comes off it doesn’t leave ugly, chip holes.
I put on about two to three thick coats. I needed the extra layer to cover the dark stain. Thank God the old stain didn’t bleed into the paint like when I up cycled this secrátaire.
Sand with very fine sand paper
I find doing small, circular motions the best to sand. It’s not a glass like finish, but it is smooth to the touch.
Start with the Flower
You can see my paint here, which is acrylic paint. You notice I have two shades of the pink and green along with white…
Start with the paler pink and paint the roses, not forgetting the underneath of the flowers…
I needed a couple of coats, but there’s minimal drying time. Take a flat artists brush and put some coral pink on there, then start to dab it in the gap between the bud and its exterior petals. Add some within the centre of the bud and underneath and at the edges of the petals.Keep blending to have darker and lighter pinks.You’ll notice I used darker in the crevices on the bud’s petals.
As that’s drying move onto the leaves.
You can see my different shades of green with the white below. Start with the darker shade in the crevices, then start to add a little of the lighter green to give it some dimension, then start to add more lighter shades on the tips and high points of the leaves, as if sunlight is catching it there.
Paint the ribbon with the coral colour, without adding any lighter paint.
Go over the coral and exterior trim with gold paint.
Start to highlight areas of the relief in gold as below. Just after this was dry I went round with my flat brush again and painted the chalk paint over the top to clean up the edges.
Wax the painted finish
Complete the entire wardrobe with chalk paint, highlighting the relief and adding gold to any other details you want to. When this is done wax the exterior of the wardrobe with transparent wax. Then you may want to take some dark wax and give it an aged feel.
Add gold to any interior areas you want to
As I had some interior areas that I felt could do with some extra highlight I painted these gold too.
Use acrylic varnish on the inside
The interior of the wardrobe is going to have a lot more wear on it, so you may want to varnish this with water based, transparent varnish. You can even use this on the exterior instead of wax if you wanted to.
This is what the wardrobe looks like when completed…
It reminds me of the one in Beauty and the Beast….,
(I don’t know whether that’s a good thing). It goes beautifully with the secrétaire in the corner. I’ve got a dressing table and some chairs to finish then I’ll post an update.
I haven’t been posting or even reading other blogs as I’ve been hard at it trying to complete the front hallway.
Do you remember when I said I was only going to do a little bit at a time? Ha! I’ve put up a cornice, a picture rail, painted it, added details to the doors….I’m aching 😩, but now it’s taking shape and I’m so happy and excited 🤩.
With lots more to do I thought I’d take the time to share these little glimpses of how it’s taking shape.
Here are my beautiful, vintage Sacred Heart if Jesus and Mary statues on a gold shelf…
Without intending to it seems that the décore of the hallway compliments them beautifully.
This relief is marble and incredibly heavy. I bought the little lights when we first started coming to France. As I dreamed of living here I tucked them away. Now they’re on our wall!
This Art Nouveau holy water fountain is perfect here isn’t it? It’s in pewter and compliments the doors superbly. As you can see I’ve yet to finish the first set of panels as I’m waiting for some more pieces.
I’ll post on the details I’ve added to the doors soon.
You may have noticed my long absence; I’ve had so much to contend with and in the middle of it all I decided to start the second part of our mouldings. I cannot tell you what a mistake that was! It turned out to be a huge job -not the mouldings themselves, which were simple, but I suddenly found myself doing lots of other work around them too.
I’ve seen on Pinterest lots of helpful ‘how tos’ on wainscoting or panels to your walls. I always think they look classic and they’re on my decorating want list for the other entrance.
However with the main entrance I wanted something more classicly French that would still go with my Art Noufaux doors (how to here). So I came up with this way to add faux panels (take a look at the more intricate panels in my first how to here).
Throughout the hallway was textured wallpaper with an underlay of very thin polystyrene. This had been used because the plaster beneath was rough and in some places falling a part. So the reason I’ve been delayed, amongst other things, is I’ve been stripping most of the wallpaper off and plastering the wall as well as starting to work on covering the seams of the remaining wallpaper to paint.
I’ve also added a picture rail. If you want a how to for either of these let me know in the comment box below.
For the panels I used19mm half rounds and more decorative wood appliques. The ones I used are here…
You need to decide if you want rectangles or squares for the panels. I chose rectangles as they elongate the room. I cut all my half rounds into the same length though as the height and length of the mounding still were very different so they actually created the rectangular shape.
Unlike the other panels I painted the wall before I applied them to make it easier to decorate post paneling. However I’m not sure if this was the best thing. I’m going for a two tone look in this section and I think I wasted paint in the middle which will be painted over with a taupe colour. Here’s my inspiration for this section by the way….
One benefit of painting first is that you can see blue through the fretwork of the scrolls, as you can see here…
I’d also pre painted the lengths and scrolls. Painting delicate details in situ can be tricky so this gave me a head start. My gold liquid paint is a slightly lighter colour, so I’m going to use the two shades as a detail itself.
As I had to work around the radiator, which I’ve sprayed the same shade of blue and it’s given it a new lease of life, it naturally led to my considering it in the placing of the panels considering its dimensions. Would I place it near the wall, and therefore have the entire panel on display, or would I have some of the detail behind the radiator itself? I went for the latter as I wanted the panels to be parallel to each other and, as there was no impediment on the other side, the spacing wouldn’t look right.
Work out the spacing?
Prior to continuing I placed what would be the upper half of the panels on the floor running alongside the wall to have an idea of how they’d fit. Satisfied I carried on to the next part.
Obviously when I was working out where to place the mouldings I measured the half rounds in addition to the lengths of the appliqués and then with the depth. As I was going to have two panels I subtracted the total of the two from the length of the wall and I was left with 32 cms. So I decided to allow for the majority of the gap in between and divided the space as 10cms, panel length, 12cms, panel length, 10cms.
I did the same with the depth, deciding on a distance of 5cms between the wall and the length of the wood scroll.
Adding the first detail
Just like my previous tutorial I used no more nails and immediately applied some to the back of the first, wooden scroll. I measured 5cms down and 10cms in and applied it to the wall. Using my infra red beamed spirit level I continued along.
Adding the first length
NMN was added to the half round and applied to the wall with the spirit level’s aid. However I checked the distance from the dado rail with my measure as we’ll.
It’s really important to do this as in an old house like this (ours is definitely pre 1850s, they only kept records after that date, so it could be sìgnificantly older) there is often movement in the walls etc. So although the houses are solid they may not be 100% level. As a result a level line might not coincide with the dado rail.
Continue with the rest of the rectangle.
Measure the width between the rectangles and start again
Is this sounding simple? It is. It would probably be tricker if I didn’t have the dado rail already. After the internal double doors, where I plan to continue the moulding, there’s no dado rail. I’ll have to apply a dado rail there and I’ll post about that then.
In the corners it was too small for individual panels without them looking odd, so I continued the panel around the bend. This meant still using four of the scrolls, the same half round length for the depth and a significantly reduced horizontal half round.
I glued the two top scrolls first, then worked out the different length for the top horizontal. Having glued the verticals and the second scrolls I worked out the next horizontal before gluing. Like with the previous panels I checked the measurements throughout.
More odd areas
The next odd areas where too narrow for double scrolls, so I used this carved, corner detail and a scroll without any horizontal half rounds. I’m actually really pleased how this one turned out.
I painted the interiors this taupe colour, but I feel it’s a little strong. I intend to add a raised stencil to that area in the blue to tone it down. I’ll update you on that as well.
I’ve also used a complimentary gold to highlight the scroll detail and, as you can see in my last ‘odd area’ I’ve started to highlight parts in gold.
Of course, I’ve done it all out of order as I should have started with the ceiling first. However I was waiting for coving to arrive and was too eager. Next will be door details and following that the coving, ceiling details and a feature between the picture rail and the coving. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of it and let me know in the comments what you think – I’d love your feedback!
It may seem strange that I’ve started the hallway when we’re still working on the kitchen, I’ve not completed the curtains in the hallway, or the final couch upholstery (I always wait for my hubby to be travelling for work and the children’s to be in school to sew), and even the dining room isn’t at the point I’d like it to be. However, having finished the Art Noufaux window (how to here) on our front door I thought to myself that on days when I can’t get a lot else done I can do a small section at a time.
So here’s how I’ve started to give our hallway a more classic, French Provincial look along with that painted ceiling medallion we put up last year.
Choose possible decorative mouldings
As you can see in order to create the panelling I’m using decorative wood mouldings. If you go to eBay and put this phrase in you will find lots of options that come up and I started by watching ones that cause my eye.
I found this exampler wood moulding on Pinterest which demonstrates how each one is made from adding additional shapes to one another…
Make a plan
The first thing to do is get an idea of how you want your layout to look and what pieces you could use to achieve it. I saved images from eBay and used the edit function to frame them as close as possible in order to use them in a design. Then in a document I inserted the images and played around with them. Mine ended up looking like this….
You’ll notice how I’ve made a note of the height and width of each piece as I needed to ensure that the entire width didn’t exceed the panel and that the design would work overall.
I changed the design slightly on application, but this enabled me to have an idea of what to order.
Here is what I used to make the panels and the links where you can buy them…
I tried to use carvings that were classically French but also reflected the stylised flowers of Art Nouveau because of the doors. I think it was successful 🤷♀️.
Place the central piece
I put the central piece in place first as it’s wide and I wanted to make sure I have enough space for it.
I measure and marked a halfway, central point then used my spirit level to draw a line as a guide for positioning the moulding.
I use no more nails glue, wiping any excess with a wet baby wipe. Immediately after I placed it I used my spirit level again to make sure it was positioned right so that, if necessary, I could move it slightly whilst the glue was still wet.
Start to measure out the outer design
The height of my area was 230cms and my lengths of curved wood are 200cms. I marked my lengths at the half way point, I applied glue to one and placed it with the half way mark in line with the central point.
Then, using a spirit level make sure they are in the correct position all the way down. I used one with a beam; it really helped throughout the process as it gives an indicator of where the length should run from start to finish.
Whenever you’ve finished gluing a moulding in place use a wet wipe to gently wipe away the excess so you aren’t left with unslightly bumps when it’s dried.
Repeat with the second length, then add your corner mouldings prior to your horizontal lengths so that you can ensure you have sufficient space. Once the corners are glued in place, again ensuring they are level, measure, cut and place the horizontal lengths.
You may notice a slight gap between my length and the corner moulding on the left. When it’s comes time to paint and finish it all I’ll just fill this with wood filler – I’ll update you on that later.
To to add mouldings at the top and the base
As you can see I have a design, consisting of two seperate mouldings, towards the top and the bottom of the panel. I placed my first moulding by measuring halfway along the base to find the midway point, then I just placed the first one so that the centre of the moulding was in line with this. When I later placed these it was necessary to measure the distance from the edge of the panel too to ensure there was a mirrored image.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a free hand to take pictures of this part, but here’s an image of how I knew that the tip of the upper Mouldings was central wit her the laser spirit level.
I’d chosen a longer, thinner moulding to compliment this first shape as it elongated the section. The moulding had broken in the post, but i managed to fit it together when gluing and will smooth it over with wood filler when I do the gap.
Can you see how I’ve chosen the mouldings to fit together? This is a ‘toe to toe’ meeting as it were, I’ll give you a close up of the alternative next.
Add the final mouldings
I also added two more mouldings to the central one. Again it elongated the central moulding and the fact that this central part was bigger than the two ends gav et the entire panel balance.
When you chose your mouldings really consider how they’d fit together if you want a similar look -it makes the planning part essential. Here the mouldings is in the indentation of the central one so it ends up looking like all one piece.
Give it a coat of primer
No matter the final effect your going for you will need to give the naked wood a coat of primer, otherwise you’ll waste expensive paint.
A bonus of using mouldings is that, depending on how many mouldings you’re going to create, you might want to take things slow. It’s not a hard process, but this panel took a couple of hours to do, so an intricate group of panneling will take a while and you may not finish straight away.
With this method I can do a panel or section a week and my down stairs hallway could be done by Christmas without too much stress. I couldn’t do this without anaglypta or something like that, so that and the fact that this is significantly less expensive than the former is a real plus.
Painting it with primer gives it a cohesive look in the meantime.
At the risk of sounding pantomimey – what do you think of I think so far? (Altogether now children – rubbish! 😉)
After my Art NouFaux stained glass front door and update of the front of the house I’m adding additional details. I absolutely love these signs, as the post shows, and I thought of a way to get a similar look for our house. It’s normal in France to have your name near your door so, even though I already had the iron number on the door, I thought this would be a good solution. It’s sooooo simple. Honestly, one of the easiest crafts I’ve ever done. Here are the simple steps…
Spray paint a picture frame to make it weatherproof
We have a French glass porch, so I’m not expecting the weather to be able to get at this too much. However it always pays to weather proof. Mine started off grey, but I thought it would blend too much with the stone, so I chose black and gold throughout.
Spray front and back. I intend to attach mine and try and seal it to waterproof it from behind, but just to give it a bit of extra protection I think it’s advisable.
Spray paint the wooden backing and glass with mirror bronze paint
As my frame is round I spray painted the insert that goes behind the picture gold too. I didn’t know how see through the colour would be and didn’t want the mirror like shine to be diminished.
I originally thought of doing this with an actual mirror, but then realised there might be accidents outside my house with glare from the sun 🤭 😆. I wouldn’t have been popular in the village!
So this mirrored finish gives the same feel, but without the danger.
Create your design and print it on clear, waterslide decal paper
I used a frame from the graphics fairy and a monogram. There’s obviously no point in my doing a print out for this. Follow the instructions on your packaging, but you can see my how to here for this craft. This is a picture of the image before sealing and the decal clearly stands out from the backing. The mirror image looked super shiny too.
As I’d cut the decal out too small you could just about see the edging in the one above, so I redid it. But, like pinning your hair in a chignon, finding a couple of stray hairs and attempting to make it perfect, it wasn’t to be. I had the decal équivalant of a messy chignon, because it kept puckering. I don’t know why. I tried a couple of more times to no avail. Tant pis!
Seal the image with glossy, acrylic craft varnish
So, on my slightly less satisfactory, final attempt I used this really thick craft varnish to create a waterproof finish and seal the gaps between the glass and the picture edge. Make sure it’s glossy to keep the mirror shine.
On the second image i don’t know if you can see that the letter is slightly raised from the backing giving it a 3D affect. I haven’t put it up yet, but I’ll update you when I do.
The front of our house isn’t finished yet and I’ve had a change of mind about what I’m going to do with it since writing this post here. Since then I’ve bought an old marquise, a French glass porch, and I’ve been spent some time refurbishing it. It needed a professional to put it up outside the front of the house, and the putty now needs to dry prior to another coat of paint. So I’ll post again towards the end of the summer when it’s completely painted, I just couldn’t resist sharing now.
Here is the house when we moved in…..
…..and here is the main entrance now….
Here is a better shot of the lavender colour I painted it……
As you can see it was damaged as it was put up. The colour is unusual, but I think it compliments the grey of the ancient stone really well; it brings out a mauve hue don’t you think?
You can see the Art NouFaux stained glass that I recently finished (how I did that is all here). I’m really pleased how this has turned out and think it’s compliments the marquise really well.
I’ve added this period doorbell….
as well as the brass door handle and iron house number. If you look back in the original photo you can see that the door handle was a plain white and I managed to find this brass one which adds a lot more character. The house number is attached with no more nails. The fleur de lys design goes with the art noufaux and period of the house I think.
The doormat is just a simple rubber one that I settled on instead of the iron one I originally wanted. I saw it in a shop and it did the trick for a fraction of the price without the worry of rust.
Apart from the marquise I’ll be painting the garage doors in the lavender, as well as an external light to hang from the porch.
Outside the main door is this twirling topiary, which I think is so French. In fact these are the second set I’ve bought. My first was a set of topiary with two ball shapes. One of them was snapped in half by last year’s snow, then one of the others were burnt, literallly in parts, when we went away over the summer vacation last year. There was a heatwave here in France and the ball on top died. I ended up cutting that off and it’s now in its own seperate pot; I hope to shape it as it continues grow (perhaps I should take the label from that pot? 😳 😆 ).
Just before we moved in on the 20th December 2017 there was a Christmas fête here in our village and we went as a family. I took a photo of the house and it looked all sad and gloomy; I was already imagining how it would look the next Christmas. Lights in topiary were part of the Christmas decor I wanted to introduce. So when the previous topiary was damaged by the weather I wasn’t happy. When it was damaged again…..I saw it as an opportunity!
To be honest I’d always wanted the twirling ones, but they’re expense had put me off. I’d decided to throw caution to the wind and hope that they would fare better. We’re through another winter and so far they’re doing well.
At the moment the topiary are pared with these standard bushes and roses. My plan is to have some seasonal pots that I change in keeping with the year.
I’ve also been working on the planting outside of the house too, with more or less success. It’s amazing what a difference this makes. Whereas before it was very plain, with just a few hydrangea at the end of the house this is what it looks like now…
Not everything I saw in bloom yet, so you don’t get the full effect, but you can get the idea.
The hydrangea really grows well when it’s in flowering and has an ever increasing patch of daffodils surrounding it in the early spring – unfortunately I didn’t take a photo this year, but I’ll be sure to take a photo of the hydra again when it’s in bloom.
Under the dining room window I’ve planted this Camilia which has a pink flower. This year I hope to prune it so it fills out as it’s a little tall and spindly so far.
Next to them is, I think, a marguerite daisy which is on the verge of coming into it’s own. I chopped a lot back a few days ago and it’s looking a little sad still.
The other thing that I’ve planted were two Virginia Creepers, either side of the house. They’d just started to climb the walls last year, as you can see from the image above). However the second one has been cut off in its prime!
The village is very clean and the gardens well maintained and a few weeks back I noticed that early spring had brought weeds as well as daffodils. I’d deweeded my boxes, but not the edges of the step area or pavement and intended to come back and do them too. However they’d been removed, evidently by our villages groundspeople, and I was delighted. However when I spotted the lopped off Virginia Creeper I realised that that must have been culled too!
The creeper is what determined how I’d paint the marquise. As it will go from green to red I was wary of a colour clash and too much of a colour blend. I’m hoping the lavender will tone in nicely.
I intend to let the creeper grow to the bottom of the first floor or top windows to keep it in order and wait with anticipation when it’s in its glory. I love Autumn and it will be a wonderful sight!
As you can see I’ve mainly planted in grey pots, to give uniformity. The large, rectangular ones were my way of avoiding digging out paving slabs to create beds. In the centre is a rectangular box with a white blooming flower and a heather like flower….
I’m really not a gardner and can’t tell you what the name of the white one is, but it’s doing well. The heather flower is doing ok, but I’m aware that at some stage I may have to move it elsewhere as the white expands and takes up a lot of room.
These heather flowers are really popularity in France and people plant them in solid masses in banks. I love lavender (you could probably guess that from my interior colour schemes) and it was my attempt at recreating that look in a shadowy area. Alas for me they didn’t take well, so I’ve moved them out the back. Here’s what’s taking there place….
Just a long shot of my wisteria peeping through – it’s been there since we moved in, but I love it!
I’ve got more to do at the front, so when the marquise is painted and the flowers are in bloom I’ll post again.
You may remember how I shared pictures of our hallway this time last year. The orange brown carpet covering the walls were…..well see for yourself…..
Well, I’ve been planning our Easter decorations for this year (see here, here and here for last year’s Easter wreaths, for an Easter garland and this year’s coasters) and wanted to do a group of stair garlands. These turning stairs wind up two more floors and are really pretty so they’re crying our for some statement decor.
But that carpet! anything I did would be set against that 😩. So on Monday when the kids went back to school I’d had enough and, on just the bottom level, the carpet came off.
My husband thought I was crazy at first as I’d been in the middle of ironing and I’m still doing the kitchen. So to start something new was a bit….unnecessary to say the least. But I just started when I was boiling the kettle for tea, then each time I went for a cup I did a little more stripping it off.
As it went my husband’s mood lifted – the hall was so much lighter. He definitely came round to my way of thinking. I left the lining on the walls and, as my local discount store Action does some very inexpensive chalk paint, I used some cans of that to start painting where I’d taken the carpet off. It’s giving it a nice linen type feel because of the texture of the paper underneath.
Here it is with the lining and painted (the paint I sent still wet in the second pick, hence the differences in colour)….
It’s not a long term solution, I haven’t even tried to smooth over the lines where the paper meets, nevertheless I’ve started to think about what I’ll be doing in the hallway in the (probably distant) future.
Mouldings or Stencils
When I first started thinking about how I’d decorate my hallway I looked to Lincrusta. Anyone who follows my Pinterest account will know that I have a whole board dedicated to this form of decorating. However it’s very expensive (£200+ a roll) and challenging to put up. So no on both counts.
I’m also a big fan of wainscotting, so had considered this too. Following my application of mouldings to the kitchen island though I started to think about just applying mouldings beneath a dado rail; much easier to do than wainscotting as you don’t have to mitre anything, super simple going upstairs and I can also achieve a look of pared down Lincrusta.
You can buy mouldings relatively cheaply, ranging from 1 – 20€ depending on what you chose. However you obviously need several for each section you make, but ultimately it shouldn’t be more expensive than wallpapering.
Added to that if you wish to use mouldings above the dado rail you can consider making moulds yourself from an original in plaster. I wouldn’t suggest using these below the dado rail as it’s more likely to receive blows from everyday life so it needs to be tougher; a bit like Lincrusta.
The other good thing about doing it this way is that it can be added in layers; mouldings can be bought and applied for below the dado rail, then perhaps to cupboard doors, then walls etc. Not only can this make a huge project more accessible, it means the cost can be spread out over the year and, as there is a danger that it could all get a bit overblown, you have time to reflect at each stage to make sure you get the balance right.
I’ve been on Pinterest to start planning and here are the different ways these can be used.
Gold and Highlighted Mouldings
A more simple look, mouldings can be painted a simple gold like this where the gold compliments the duck egg blue beautifully. Notice how the walls are kept white beneath it, so the over all impression isn’t too gaudy.
Here is a similar style but used on walls.
The wall panelling is beautiful, but I personally think this level of guilded intricacy is best suited for a grand space, for a grander house. Although our French home isn’t modest by my standards (my first home was a tiny, Victorian terrace after all) it isn’t a grand chateau either.
If you look at these next images of the blue and gold the simpler use of mouldings keep the beauty of the colour paring, and the wow factor without entering the realms of Liberace. The final image is very sedate in comparison.
Complimentary Tone Mouldings
I could forgo the gold completely of course, here are images of contrasting and same tone mouldings.
The last one is beautiful, but I can’t help feeling that’s home with a lot of servants and no children! I have similar colouring to the first one in my dining room, so I’m thinking of adding that there. However as this will eventually be our ‘guest’ entrance, I want a more relaxed family entrance into the kitchen, I like the idea of a subtle gold to add something of a wow factor; particularly at the times of the major feasts, Christmas and Easter.
Various Tones Painted Mouldings
There is also the possibility of painting the details of the mouldings in different colours and having alternative, complimentary shades. Here are the some examples….
They’re subtle and I like that. Here are the mouldings painted, which can be done in neutral, subdued or more vibrant tones…
I really like the second image, but the third seems to go with the ceiling medallion I’ve already painted which you can see again here…
Mouldings and Stencils
A less expensive combination is mouldings and stencilling, so you have the effect of the former with, depending on how you do it, the reduced cost of the latter. Obviously I’m thinking of making my own stencils, which can be very expensive. Nevertheless a prepared stencil is still significantly cheaper than rolls of wallpaper and repeated uses of mouldings depending on the area that needs to be decorated.
These ones below are using the subtle blue pallet; I especially like the tall slim panels which I can see either side of the front door. The mouldings themsełves are basic, it’s the stencil that adds the intricate detail.
These have more intricate mouldings, painted using a variety of colours…
The following is one that doesn’t use a stencil, but is a handpainted rose. Those of you who’ve seen my secrétaire desk know how I enjoy hand painting my furniture, so this could be used in conjunction with the image below which has detail below the dado rail…
The reason why I like the panel below the dado rail in the one above is that it looks just as effective below and it could be something that I use to counteract my following point.
Space For Pictures
Where we used to live in England I had a gallery of family pictures going up the wall of the stairway and, as you can see in the images above, here I have some old engraving prints of the local sights in local Normandy. I want to continue using what I have as well as adding my family photos. The difficulty with stencils and mouldings above the dado rail is that it could be hard to find an appropriate space to hang them.
An alternative is wallpaper in the mouldings, or a stencil made to look like wallpaper…
Or still using the more intricate stencils, but as a for me of frame like these…
In fact to me, if you compare these last images with those first few of the blue and gold, they seem to strike the best note of French Provincial – pretty, with period charm – to grandiose.
I have a lot of soft furnishings to complete in the sitting room, and I keep getting interrupted by my husband or the little ones, so it’s something I’m going to return to when he goes away again on business. The last touch for the dining room is similar -I want to stencil the ceiling, but I need a bit of time and space to do it. As the kiddos are at school most of the day I’d planned on doing it when my darling man was out of the way too. That and, to be honest, I’ve kind of run out of steam for that room. I’ll get to it, just not yet.
So, I’ve started on the kitchen.
We have a small working kitchen at present, but in the other side of the house is the old doctor’s surgery which is a very large room -and we plan to have a kitchen in it.
When we moved in I’d thought I’d make a kitchen diner in the centre of the house and have a formal sitting dining room one end and an informal sitting room the other, This would have taken a lot of work, walls knocked down etc. This is an ancient house. Pre 1850s, though we don’t know the exact date as records weren’t kept prior to then. As a result the stone walls are super thick and therefor a huge, (HUGE!) task.
Gradually over time my plans have changed and changed again until we’ve got to the point were we’re just keeping everything pretty much the way it is and getting it to work. Happy about that.
Today I’m on the couch, sprained ankle, and I thought I’d share with you my plans.
The kitchen had a suspended ceiling – an ugly, functional, polystyrene thing – which had large, square electric lights. perfect for a doctors surgery, terrible for a cosy and stylish home. So I’ve managed to get the tiles down and I’m working on the light fittings, but I need the help of my pops who’s unavailable at the moment; as a result my attention has turned to what I can do next.
I’ll just outline the make up of the room at the moment. There are some built in bookcases that aren’t too shabby….
a doorway with two doors attached (I presume for privacy reasons due to the surgery), a large stone fireplace….
and a window and door onto the garden…
with a sink in the corner.
I’ve checked under the laminate flooring and there isn’t a glorious tiled floor, or some other such wonderful find, just concrete. Pah!
My initial thought was to buy kitchen cupboards second hand and then paint them. But this HUGE piece of furniture was sat in the room and we couldn’t move it to another one. Gradually an idea started to emerge of a room with some free standing furniture and then maybe cupboards too, which developed into keeping the bookcases as open shelving with some free standing vintage pieces.
One of my favourite pins to do with kitchens have been to do with yellow kitchens….
I love the yellow with the dark wood and a oak floor. I also like the black range rather than the cream one so I’m thinking of getting one like this….
It may well be the smaller one as we already have a bread oven and woodburner and we’re thinking of building it in next to the range (you can see the bread oven in the picture of the chimney breast). Originally I wondered if this would look lopsided, but if you take a look at this picture here of a range next to another oven I think it’s could work.
I don’t think I’ll keep the exposed stone work as I plan on putting two light fixtures on the chimney breast and would really like sconces and a shelf too, like the images above.
Here in France they often sell an iron backplate for fireplaces. I’d previously thought of using one with tiles and then I saw an image on Pinterest with one already done.
There’s is a window by the stairs and like the idea of a window seat, along with a relaxed blind and maybe something café like curtains below.
I’ve already measured the space and I think our old, marble topped wash stand will fit underneath with the picture you can see at the bottom of the staircase.
Underneath I plan on keeping veg in a large wicker basket, as well as a bowl to hold onions and garlic in. I already keep my spice bottles in a salvaged, wooden draw which can sit on the shelf in the washstand.
We just bought this central island dresser from the local Brocante. I’ll probably change the curtains and the colour and stain the top dark brown. I may add some mouldings too, as it’s a little plain. That or I might add some detail with paint.
I’ve started painting the dresser and a dresser top with glass doors that I had previously to moving to France. I also already have a wooden dish rack which I plan on painting and staining the top in a dark brown. We’ll lower the dresser by reducing the legs and cutting a hole in the top of one of the cupboards to hold a porcelain sink unit with a drainer like this….
In fact I have a wooden dresser back and I’m thinking of using as a splack back like this….
I’ve also found some lovely vintage plates that I want to put above the sink in this kind of style…
I’vw a cupboard that I’ve previously painted white but I’ll now paint yellow to be a larder.
With the bookshelves I’m going to paint them completely yellow, but as you can see there backs have this ugly wallpaper. I’m thinking of replacing this with this paintable wallpaper with an embossed finish, which is excellent for old, uneven walls….
This is especially good in this kitchen as the walls have been lined with thin polystyrene sheets for insulation, so I’d prefer not to remove all the paper and put this on over the top.
So in the end I’ll have open shelves displays like these…
These are my plans that I’m gradually working on. I can see this taking anywhere between six months and a year (😐). I can’t wait until that first morning coffee at that island looking through our kitchen door window. Bliss!