early may



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









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.


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?



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


Staircases need never be boring. We are installing custom iron railings in this interior using antique game table legs as the posts which we set into custom bases. I saw these table legs at an auction down south and bought them on the spot not even knowing the application yet. Even thedsc065151 patina on these are spectacular next to the antique English pine collection in the home.

The iron work is lighter in feel than wood and allows a feel of expanded space in a smaller area. Once the rest of the pieces are welded into place, we will pick a finish. In this case, either black or midnight blue will do two things. First, it will seal the metal so it doesn’t rust at the welded sites. Secondly, the dark finish will be striking against the cream of the tumbled marble walls, even picking up on the dark colors of the oil paintings. 

There are so many collars, balusters, brackets and handrail details to choose from. All you need is a plan, the supplier, your stair codes and a good metal worker – or French Country Pine & Design!


january 2012

As this yearly cycle comes to an end and another begins, many of us will take the time to reflect on our habits, health and happiness;  perhaps scrawling off a list of resolutions to improve upon. May I suggest one? Learn to relish time in your own home. It’s that simple. Most of us spend a great deal of time and money honing its luring qualities but few of us really revel in it afterwards. Our rooms and our things only take on meaning and history through our LIVING indsc058461 and among them.

As an example, I recently read an article in the Milwaukee Journal about the emergence of tea rooms in our area and I admit that I felt equally excited and disheartened. My sorrow comes from the nudge that we must once again leave home, drive somewhere and stand in line in order to savor something  that could have become part of a revered ritual in our own homes. Haven’t we already seen this with our coffee houses? Have we lost the art of elegant social gatherings for coffee, tea and conversation? Have we relinquished the ritual of high tea and coffee klatches to historical BBC television programs? Why wouldn’t we have a pot of tea warming over a candle every night just for ourselves? Are we to become consumers of everything on the run and served in a disposable cup?

My spirits were lifted when I was staging a client’s home for Christmas and she offered me a drink. I asked for water and was delighted when she handed me my water in a Waterford  black cut crystal tumbler and then shared the merry history of it’s procurement.  This is the spirit! Get out the tea service you have tucked away in the butler’s pantry, pull out the collection of tea cups from your grandmother, use the wedding flutes that you haven’t seen in 30 years and heat up the finest pot of green sencha tea within the walls of your most sacred of places - home.

Let  this be the year that we learn to create and find repose in the place called home. It is only in this living that our house becomes a true home . And whether you share it with laughter or savor the tranquility alone, it can only add to your health and happiness in this new year.


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