If you follow my social media platforms, you know that I have spent this past month in Paris.
In fact, I am writing this article from my apartment in Saint Germain Des Pres. My time here was meant to relax, rejuvenate, and inspire. I have succeeded!
Inside I.M. Pei's pyramid at the Lovre in Paris.
Paris is a city of contrasts. The past collides with modern times everywhere you look. For example, take the glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre, designed by I.M. Pei. Love it or hate it, it is a testament to the absolute relationship between the past and the present for The City of Lights.
It got me thinking about how the “French Lifestyle” influences me, my work, and shapes my sense of style and taste professionally and personally.
Color in a Provence Villa.
Here are some elements of French Style I include in my everyday life:
• Fresh flowers. Cut or potted they adorn every home of style in France and The States. A simple bouquet from your local market can change your day and transform your home.
• Color. I cannot stress this one enough. Color is the easiest way to express who you are at home and how you feel outside. Brighten up your life with color today!
• Scarves. All year long, for men and women both. They are the quintessential element of easy French style. Linens and cottons in summer, cashmeres and wools for winter.
• Chocolate. My favorite indulgence and one that without, my life would just not be as luxurious. You can buy chocolate on any street corner and almost any store in France. As with anything, quality matters, choose the best.
Gold-leafed eclairs in Paris.
While strolling the streets of Paris the other day sourcing antiques and art for clients, I found myself indulging my love of anything gold-leafed. From furniture to china to…eclairs, yes, even the local patisserie treats in France are decorated with eatable gold!
Gold leaf is one of those details that can be classic or modern at the same time. “All that glitters may not be gold,” but metallic shine is a decorative element that has never failed to excite the eye for centuries.
Mixing modern and antique in a Paris apartment.
• Metallic finish is a way to make even the simplest items exciting. You can achieve the look at home on your own!
• Spray paint a simple vase or container in metallic gold or silver to make it POP! Fill it with anything you love or just let it stand on its own to make a glamorous statement.
• Use gold leaf paint to coat the inside of a solid color bowl of any size for any tabletop. Try gold inside a white, black or green container. Gold is a neutral that enhances any color!
I love to spray branches from the yard in gold or silver and add them to floral arrangements, orchids or empty vases. And they enhance all holiday arrangements as well with a touch of glitter on top of the metallic.
Mixing old and new is not a new design trend and not exclusive to the French. What is “Tres Francais” is mixing the two flawlessly and with great style. As I often say, living well is more than how many designer outfits you have in the closet. Living well does take some thought and effort.
With time it becomes second nature to make choices that enhance our daily lives. The French seem to know this and I try to emulate and share the ideal with my clients. It is not a question of traditional or modern, it is a choice to live your best life!
Dann Foley, Allied ASID, has been a Palm Springs interior designer for more than 20 years. Dann has been featured on NBC's American Dream Builders. His monthly column will focus on trends, what's hot, and design specific to the desert lifestyle. Visit www.danninc.com for more information.
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