No words, just scroll and be inspired….Enjoy!
No words, just scroll and be inspired….Enjoy!
I’ve recently been covering an armchair for our living room. It’s one we’ve had for about 18 years (yikes), but it’s well made and if the cat hadn’t scratched it all up I probably wouldn’t be changing the covers either.
I’ve already covered one of the couches in our sitting room, and I want to do a post later on my tips and tricks to get the material cheap and make covers that last. However, as ever, I often get inspired to do a job by trawling Pinterest and there are lovely examples of upholstery details there – which have come in handy for inspiration for problem solving with style when I’ve needed it. I thought I’d share ten of my favourite examples here.
1. Buttons down the back to close and decorate
I love this, it’s so stylish and for a minimal amount of effort. Neither of these have button holes on them even, just loops, so it’s a lot less tricky. The one on the right I love especially because it reminds me of a wedding dress with the fabric’s pattern. So beautiful – this will always be my favourite detail.
2. Small pleats on the base
Coupled with the pleats on the arm’s curve this is such an elegant touch to a slip cover. Again a simple process with lots of style.
3. Pleats with coordinating trim and buttons
There are a lot of different design details here, but due to the monochrome pattern it actually manages to avoid being overdone. I think that’s one of the general take aways from this – you can include several elements, but make sure that they all blend together rather than standing out.
4. Coordinating coloured trim
What’s especially great about the one on the left is that if you’d bought a regular, inexpensive sofa and had wanted to add your own twist to it you could easily do this yourself.
5. Ties at the back
I’m someone who’s managed to avoid my button hole function on the sewing machine. Recently I’ve developed confidence in my sewing skills and I’ve been thinking more and more about giving it a go. After all there’s always some lovely person on Pinterest or YouTube who’s made a ‘how to’ to help you along – it’s how I mastered zips as I’ve taught myself everything I know about sewing so far.
As a result I often look for solutions that don’t use buttons as I’ve found they add detail, but without the fuss.
The other good thing about this example is that this style of closing mean that slip covers are easier to put on as there’s more room in them (that does mean more material too though).
6. Buttons to shape and decorate
Again these buttons have visual interest, but what interested me about the one top, left is that they’re also used to form a shape for the sofa underneath. Most sofas aren’t straight up and down and have some curve, so this is a way to ensure they don’t look too baggy and undone.
7. Complimentary fabrics
Sometimes you find a piece of fabric that’s beautiful, but way too expensive for your pocket. Or on other occasions you love it, but imagining it on the chair causes you too think it would be too much, particularly if it depicts a scene of nature – how do you make it work with the furniture itself?
This is a solution to all those problems. By using the expensive fabric in conjunction with a complimentary fabric you can reduce the cost, and allow the stronger piece to stand out.
8. Chinese knot fasteners
The fastener with the complimentary trim gives subtle detail to what would be a non-descript ottoman. Perfect.
9. Valances that make a statement or compliment the fabric
The valance on the left perfectly echoes the simple lines and curves of the sofa. It’s a little trickier than a regular pleated frill, I think you would need a pattern to replicate it. However it would be worth it.
The one on the right is far fuller, flowing and captures the romantic material of the chairs fabric.
10. Pleated corners
I talked about the pleated corners on the sofa above, but obviously they were only a few pleats. These ones though are superb. I love them!
Which ones are your favourite?
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.
…after showing the first one that went up it was inevitable I’d want to share these handles with their fingerplates. When I finally finish the curtains in the dining room I’ll share with you the complete room and you’ll see just how perfectly this handle goes with the it….
In the hallway I’ve fitted this handle…..
and the fingerplates goes superbly with these, which were necessary as the handle themselves are set away from the main panel….
They’re all eBay finds, so a lot less expensive than new and obviously being vintage they also save on landfill. Obviously I need to paint the doors, but what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m hoping I haven’t gone into full Liberace territory with this, so any feedback is welcome. Our hallway when we arrived was lovely and spacious, but I of course I was itching to decorate. With the most minimal means possible. As this post showed I’d removed the existing radiator shelf and had salvaged the buffet top to add a little period style, and some art nouveau style prints complimented these.
Then for Christmas my hubby’s aunt and uncle gave us a welcome gift of an Amazon voucher. He didn’t get a look in. If you remember he’d gone away to America for six months and having found beautiful ceiling medallions on Pinterest (you can follow me at the top of the page) I’d ordered one and had it sent to us.
By that time I hadn’t put up any light fittings by myself, something which I’m becoming more accustomed to, and so I’d put it aside waiting for someone to help me. In the meantime I’d concentrated on adding details to the dining room and utility, as well as putting up the odd picture here and there.
I’d managed to fix some polystyrene coving in the dining room (I’d chosen this in the end over pricier options because of, you know, price – and ease of putting it up). I’ll go into this in detail later, but I really learnt a lot from the experience.
One thing I did take away from it was painting the surface before hand. When it just comes to applying the coving and painting it white if there is a contrasting wall colour then it’s probably best to not do so, or at least be prepared to touch up areas afterwards. However when I tried to paint the ceiling medallion it was really difficult in situ, so I’d decided to paint the other one before hand this time. This is the Orac medallion before hand…
these are the steps I took to paint it…..
and this is the finished medallion.
I was eager whilst I was doing this to put it up straight away. However now I have a dilemma; if I do so before painting I’m bound to get some on the medallion and need to touch it up. However, if I paint first experience has taught me that the thick white glue I’ll use will go on the painted surface, so I’ll still have to touch up this, which will mean the possibility of touching up the medallion. Mmmm.
Let’s face it……only one of these options has me putting up the medallion straight away so all things being equal…..
Just a quick post today – things are still feeling beyond me with the hubby away. So I decided to cheer myself up with some diy (😜). I thought I’d share some of the little touches with you.
The first one is the door. I love fingerplates and intricate handles and although I love these brass door handles, I knew I wanted to add something more. So I’ve been hunting out some vintage, french fingerplates on eBay. In the UK these would have been super expensive, but decorating in period style isn’t as popular in France it seems, and these were a good price.
This is the first one I’ve done, and I’ll show you the other side in a few days as it’s a little more in depth. So this is what it looked like (it’s another door as I forgot to take a photo before hand)….
and this is it now….
I love it!
Then the light under the stairs was broken (I tried to take the bulb out and it had rotted inside). So I used it as an opportunity to see if I could change it. It was a bit scary as I haven’t worked with electrics before, but despite blowing a fuse I managed it. This is the before…
and this is after….
I love the Victorian feel (but not the brown carpeted walls).
I’m trying to finish our dining room coving that I recently put up, but I want to share with you an Easter garland I did just before the holiday tomorrow. I’ll include a how to so come back and check it out.
When we rented an old farmhouse in France we found that many of the lights just had wires and a bulb attached. The house owner wasn’t a cheapskate – it’s normal here. Sometimes the bulbs go too! Whenever I remember this I’m struck by the generosity of the people who we bought from as they left not just light shades, but curtains and others things too.
As a result, and because we had planned to stay there a long time originally, I bought many light fixings. One of them was an empire chandelier. It looked a little bedraggled in the shop, but having taken it a part and cleaned it up I think it looks fine now.
You may notice too the ceiling rose which I’ve painted along with the ceiling. It was quite tricky being that it was in situ, and as a result I didn’t take any photos to show you how I got the slight, white edging on the leaves. I’m going to do another soon for the hallway and as it’s in a box at the moment I’ll do a step by step then.
This is a look before…
and after the ceiling rose has been painted….
You can see the cornice and dado rail that I’ve been putting up too, but I’ll tell you about that soon. Sorry about the quality of the photos, the room is a little dark as it’s north facing and a grey day here. If I can I’ll upload better photos later.