The French Connection

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Maybe you noticed we are featuring guest bloggers here at our blog for Mignonne Décor. We are introducing a weekly series, "The French Connection", focused on all things Français ... design trends, scouting finds from the french countryside, brocante and vide-grenier hunting (that's second-hand shop and flea markets in French); color, fashion and cultural influences, you name it. If it is French and fabulous, we will be sharing it!

On the agenda for future articles:

  • On-the-ground reporting from Maison et Objet, THE european décor conference where designers from all over the world converge to present the colors, shapes, textures and textiles for the coming season ... which hot trends and sophisticated classics will be seen in design magazines, shops and eventually - your home. This is the logo for the January show! more to come on that but you can see off the top how fashion and beauty influences design and décor at this event ... they are integral to each other and the result is amazing!
  • How to plan your own treasure hunt on a trip to France...sources for cool markets, shops and venues for unique treasures. Or if a trip to France is off the list this year, come along with us as we scout and share cool ideas and finds.
  • Meet local artists and artisans to learn more about their works and inspiration. We will feature artists and artisans featured in our sister store as well as stylemakers from all over France.
  • Armchair travelling to inspiring cities, museums, historical places of interest that inspire us and potentially you ... whether it is a baroque cathedral, country chic café, or french new wave 60s modern Belmondo styled bar in the middle of nowhere (yes, we do stumble across those)! we'll be bringing you quirky, one-of-a-kind locales to get those creative juices flowing.
  • and many other surprises along the way!

So sit back, grab a café and enjoy the ride! and believe it when I say you never know what to expect on a French adventure. One thing is for sure, you have to just relax and roll with it!

Take my last foraging trip for example. There I was on my way to pick up some recycled windows for a design project and I got caught up in a real traffic jam. French countryside traffic jam, that is! Who let the sheep out?

Our guest correspondent for The French Connection is Kimberlee Mancha, mother of Johnelle and co-founder of Mignonne Décor. Now living in France, Kimberlee started our sister shop "The Bohemians" in 2009. She will be providing live updates for all you Francophiles and lovers of beautiful European inspirations.

maison et objet image courtesy of Maison et Objet

Salvaged Chic Of The Week: "Midnight Rain"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome to our latest installation of Salvaged Chic Of The Week! We're so excited to introduce you to this gorgeous piece, I almost feel like just writing filler to draw out the's a good one! Okay, I'll make you suffer no longer, meet "Midnight Rain."
Isn't she a beaut? While we don't like to toot our own horns too much, this piece is just a stunner.

Johnelle Mancha designed this gorgeous down stuffed chair to be the perfect balance between comfort and style. While this particular piece is sold, it's an amazing piece for inspiration to create your own design or to have Johnelle create another one of a kind piece for you! This chair shows that you can actually have a chair that you can slump down in with your morning coffee one day and then present it as a conversation piece the next.

The inspiration for this piece came from our love of vibrant colors and eclectic designs.

The details of this piece are one of its greatest features. "Midnight Rain" is, of course, a vintage chair and we love its stylish curves and plush stuffing. The vibrant blue and yellow fabric is a fountain pattern (think more modern and stylish brocade) in royal velvet. The subtle checked back and band fabric is a raw silk, which is incredibly luxurious, but less fragile than a typical silk.

You know how people say, "You can't help who you fall in love with?" That's how I feel about the unique pieces that Johnelle creates. To me, one of the best parts about Mignonne is that you can create anything you want. You have your own personal designer (Johnelle) who can either assist with a design that you've been thinking up, or she can design a unique piece like "Midnight Rain" for you with her stash of vintage fabrics and her keen eye for incorporating new ones. For any pieces you're looking to have redone you can either bring in your own, or choose from one of our "yet to be designed" pieces. For more information email us at:

All "Midnight Rain" photos taken by Johnelle Mancha. Other images, Image One:; Image Two:; Image Three: poppy

Rebekah is a member of the Mignonne family and former Mignonne assistant. She now freelances and owns the company A & B Creative, read her blog.

Salvaged Chic Of The Week: "Kensington"

Hello Mignonettes! (I know that's technically a sauce or a genus of the herb family, but can that also be your new nicknames? I'll let you decide.) Welcome to our new weekly column: "Salvaged Chic Of The Week" where we showcase a new piece we've designed and tell you a little bit about its journey, influences and why we are in love!

"Salvaged Chic Of The Week" will highlight either a custom furniture redesign, or an upholstery project we've recently reinvented. Here you'll be able to learn about what makes a particular piece so special! We'll tell you a bit about their roots and how they've been reincarnated into modern conversation pieces. Through introducing you to these creations, you get to see how these salvaged pieces have gone from forgotten throw-aways, to chic works of art!

First up is "Kensington"

"Kensington" was a fusion design by Brian Hill and Johnelle Mancha. Brian created the top of this gorgeous table from rich, honey colored, hundred-year-old Doug Fir.

Being influenced by a love for parquet (see examples of some of our favorite antique parquet floors below), Brian reclaimed the Doug Fir from the floors of a home that was being demolished in Kensington. From it was born the design, and its name.

If you aren't aware, parquet flooring is one of the oldest styles of wood flooring. It was introduced to replace the marble flooring in Versailles that would constantly have to be cleaned. It was widely popular for centuries and virtually the only style before the 19th century, when the steel nail was invented and tongue & groove flooring was introduced.

If you don't happen to blessed with gorgeous hundred (or centuries) old parquet floors like these, "Kensington" can be the perfect way to bring the classic design into your home.

Because of the time and difficulty it took to lay parquet flooring, it was only seen in the most affluent homes. Thankfully Mignonne prides itself in offering budget-savvy pieces (like "Kensington") that are available in a wide range of price points!

You can see the same hard work and handmade brilliance that parquet floors have in this table that Brian and Johnelle created. Having a table like "Kensington" is a modern way to reference a style that is so rich with history. It's also a great way to highlight existing wood floors that you have. Married to a rustic curved metal base, "Kensington" fuses the masculinity of the patterned wood to the femininity of the vintage curved metal.

Please feel free to stop into the shop and see "Kensington" in all her beauty. If you love the look of this table but are needing a different size or have another project dreamed up, remember that we do offer the option of custom building a piece, with your specifications, for you. Email us for more information at:

See you next week with our latest Salvaged Chic Of The Week!

All "Kensington" photos taken by Johnelle Mancha. Parquet Floors Image One:; Parquet Floors Image Two:

Rebekah is a member of the Mignonne family and former Mignonne assistant. She now freelances and owns the company A & B Creative, read her blog.

Telling A Story With Furniture...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One of the biggest forms of flattery is gaining the trust of a client, to the point that they hand me over a piece of furniture, and say "Do what you want, I trust you, I want to be surprised!". In this case the trust was gained from a lovely client, who is now a repeat. After coming into the shop and seeing a previous couch we had done and sold, she got to re thinking her own pieces, and how we could transform them! She dug into her own collection and pulled together textiles that had meaning to her in many ways...batiks from her travels to Africa while working as a nurse for HIV treatment. I don't take this task lightly, and quite honestly feel both a huge rush of excitement to have the freedom to play with colors, but also feel loads of lovely responsibility to execute to the fullest.

We started with a wingback chair she found on craigslist:

What can I say? Yes, hideous...but great bones to be transformed, and what more is that this is a way to keep the overall cost down in customizing a piece with us at Mignonne, don't invest too much on the piece to begin with! I was able to take this chair to a new level of pop! We pulled out a lovely rich blue batik, and honestly I had to know more about these textiles after seeing my clients collection. African Batiks are so earthy and beautiful in my opinion, and after reading a bit more about them I learned that the colors are made from a paste that is most often made from cassava (a root plant) flour, rice, alum or copper sulphate that is then boiled together to make a smooth thick paste. The paste is applied in two different ways. A lot of these batiks are made by using freehand drawing of traditional designs using a feather, thin stick, piece of fine bone or a metal or wooden comb-like tool, done by women which is then forced through a thin metal stencil with a flexible metal or wooden tool, enabling accurate repeat patterns...this is done by men.

And below is the transformation...

Next on our agenda was our clients couch, this piece was an absolute treasure to work on, and it was here that I was given more freedom to shine! Having completed her wingback, I was able to feel assured that my client truly wanted me to deliver a one of a kind piece. Check out the before shot of her couch...

Totally drab, and on it's last limbs, this piece was screaming for a makeover. We opted to change the design of the back cushions...yes, this is something we can easily do! Now the couch would have a more polished, and crisp feel.

I pulled complimentary earthy marigolds, soft black brown fabrics mixing petite corduroys, velvets, and the lovely pop orange piping.

The back of the couch, and pillow bands are patched together with batik, and all together this piece is truly something. It tells a story like no other for this client. Forget keeping her keepsake fabrics in a drawer...she now can enjoy them every day!

Email us at to talk about revamping a piece of your own! xoox

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