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Although each space I design diverges down a path reflective of each unique owner’s personal collections, my finishing touches distinquish my client’s designs from all others. I think this is what sets French Country Pine & Design apart from the big box kitchen stores.  We are a custom design boutique.  We might begin  with the design foundations of studs, plumbing, sink and stove but we also complete the sweep of the storyline with all the subtle essences suggestive of your own history.dsc06828

Whether you are drawn to a fresh, white contemporary look or the warm playful palettes of a treasured oil painting, our northern climate begs for the fleecy finishes that beckon us to stove and table, thereby wrapping us in a charitable invitation join in.

Design / Build/ Turnkey Finish
Kitchen   Baths   Laundry Rooms   Libraries

 

april

 

For those of you that are lucky enough to call Wisconsin home sweet home, it seems we have been blessed with an early spring this year and this has many of us craving all things summer.  One of my favorite clients who’s English library you may have seen on the website last year  now seeks a peaceful sunroom extension off of the open kitchen.  The room is already filled with light from the oversized floor to ceiling windows and overlooks a serene backdrop of fresh green from spring to late fall.

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The glory of having a sunroom with windows like this is that it allows the view to become the art and therefore requires very little by way  of interior drama.  I have started with my favorite wool crewel tone on tone on the upper cushions of the settee to bring elegance to the room. A  a cream and navy stripe for both the piping and backsides introduces our blue again from the kitchen and offers such a crisp look. And finally, the softest taupe velvet on all of the seat bottoms beckons bare legs curled up with a summer novel at the ready.

Don’t  think you have to use a wild combination of color to bring some visual enthusiasm to a room. Sometimes a blend of textures and pattern is enough… especially if the view is what you want to emphasize. 

p.s. I will send you all an eblast of the finished room. Did you sign up yet?

 


early may

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In my last blog, I teased you with the textiles of this sunroom.  Here is another peek as we move a step closer towards it’s completion.  We are awaiting the arrival of the milkweed sisal carpet and my iron worker is busy welding the custom sofa table and side table that will hold new pieces of carrara marble to blend in with the old.

 

This is such a lovely example of two things:  patience and the pairing of new and old.  I suppose both are interlinked on many levels.  I have never believed good design truly can be bought in a day.  You can buy a look, certainly but depth demands time and patience.  The balanced evolution of a room must be pondered and discovered. The perfect side table may not be a mouse click away but require a physical search.  In this case, after an extensive search for antique marble topped garden tables that only produced overpriced and wrongly sized options, we chose to have them made for a fraction of the cost.  While we gave up the history of the pieces, we made up for it in savings and exact measurements and, of course, we employed a delightful local craftsman who put his own talented energy into our pieces.  It was a win, win.

 

In regard to pairing the new with the old, you cannot go wrong with that thinking -- ever.  Each brings to the other a different strength. What captivates me the most, especially in this project, is the whispered memoir of the Normandy armoire and the side tables.  These cherished pieces are survivors which now grace us with an example of stateliness.  They encourage us to cherish ourselves and our living as we grow old with both poise and distinction.

 

Patience – Unhurried Intentions – Pieces with a presence

 

 

 

 

 

 

june2012

bathroomIf you are planning a small bathroom which lacks natural light, embrace the masculine and employ dark, rich tones rather than try and fool the eye with all white on white. The truth is, you can’t fool the eye. Small is small and dark is dark but neither has to be a negative. Small can feel sheltered and dark can feel tranquil and quiet. Sounds like a great place for a long, hot bubble bath after a long work day.

In this bathroom, I created an arched niche under the stairs and wrapped an undermount tubsink in marble tiles. The tiles were less expensive than a solid stone top and side. Gold grass wallpaper was hung and reflects what little light is available and plays off the camel tones with the drapery, artwork and accessories. The gold branch sconce lights were used throughout the home for continuity and add an organic element to the room.

Seeing as I was limited in space for the sink (a pedestal would have been the usual choice but I don’t think along those lines), I scoured every antique shop I knew from here to Chicago and discovered an antique marble top with the most beautiful scalloped edging that just needed a good cleaning. I also procured a large Italian gold leaf wall sconce which serves as the base of the sink (once we drilled holes in it and found a way to mount it securely), a gold leaf mirror altered to accommodate the wall faucet and an old gold sink bowl. Certainly not your Home Depot bathroom.  

This one is pure French Country – Kirsten style.

 

july2012

 

While I would say that I personally do not have a favorite color, I  recognize that I am drawn to using my own interpretation of French Blue Gray as a starting base for numerous projects.  I find it to be a soothing neutral that is both aqueous and celestial. Something in the element of this color brings me to the inner essence of stillness as if floating. It acts as a balm to counter the erratic sounds and movements within the day. bird

Blue comes from the Old French “Bhle” which actually means light colored. I find this amusing seeing as all the French reproduction pieces from the furniture industry are white washed. The name “French Blue” first came into use in 1802 and actually refers to a deep azure color associated in the heraldry of French kings.

hardwareI prefer a gray interpretation of French Blue and find that Farrow and Ball of England has mastered the color with a splendid sweep of gray to blue to soft green. Try their Mizzle, French Gray, Blue Gray and Pigeon. Benjamin Moore offers White Whisp, Gray Lake and Gray Cashmere. Remember, if you love the color but it feels too dark, ask your local paint supply store such as Steinkellners on North Ave to mix it ¾ or ½ strength for you. Play with a few shades on the wall and live with them from full sun to full shade and see how they affect your mood.

 Where you put this quiet color is a personal preference. I have been using it everywhere but walls including doors and built-ins and loving the look as it plays off of an antique burlwood, pecan orwicker 19th century pine.  I am currently using it on our newest kitchen display in the shop paired with a gold wash, a touch of umber and a brown bee wax finish. Remember to sign up for eblasts and I will send you a picture of the finished display – or stop in to visit on a Friday or Saturday. I am sporadically in the shop Tuesday through Thursday now that we have started the Brookfield remodel job which includes kitchen, bathroom, library, living room, mudroom, garden room, game room and den. The design will be a white on white palette but I can already tell you that all of the interior doors will be FRENCH BLUE and our artwork in shades of azure.

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