The French Connection - Septiéme (7th) Note ... oo la la Maison et Objét, where to begin?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rebonjour à tous! I am very sorry to be tardy with this week's edition but have been suffering from amazing décor overload as well as struggling to get photos downloaded and thoughts organized.

The salon seemed even more enormous than usual, and I was a little overwhelmed even before entering ... these huge signs greeted us with loud bursts of color!

Well, first off, first impressions ... the theme as I would describe it is 2012 Get Happy! (emphasized with this year's Pantone color of the year TANGERINE tango!) now I know Maison et Objet has its own theme, logo, etc. but in general everyone seemed to be trying their hardest to inject some fun and whimsy into their offerings.

I saw lots of bright, juicy colors. Punchy primary colors are in in in...!

Whimsy! Lots of quirky little accessories to brighten up a space affordably. Humorous touches. Upbeat vendors.

Another trend was, of course, the ever expanding green market. upcycled, recycled, reimagined, transformed materials.

Artisanal everywhere. Locally-made in big demand and emphasized greatly. If something wasn't hand made, it was still created to look like it was.

Lighting ... seems like there was alot more lighting on display! trying lift our spirits, maybe?

A whole building devoted to Ethnic Chic with lots of interesting ideas and presentations ...

An inspiring expo of the Ateliers d'Art of France with young designers strutting their stuff...

Really, the whole show was phenomenal and, because it is a truly international affair, I can definitely say the whole world is feeling a bit in need of a mood change... and designers everywhere are doing their best to encourage, inspire and uplift starting with our home environments!

I am going to share photos for the next few columns so you can see more about these themes I've mentioned.

Since Johnelle and I adore color so much, maybe I will start there!

here is a raspberry hot flash, very nice to punch up your boudoir!

colorful lamps in fun shapes too!

colorful in lace, too!


LOTS of color for the table top, too!

and who doesn't love some color drenched chairs? not us at Mignonne or The Bohemians!

loved this olivey, chartreusy green chair!

more of my favorite green on a stripy indoor outdoor ensemble ... much brighter in person!

Next week I will share ideas imbued with whimsy and playfullness ... and more COLOR! Really, much of the show had a no camera policy so my pics are meant to whet your inspiration appetites and some were even on the sly so .... no promises that I will be landing any photo shoots soon, but you will get a taste for sure.

*all images courtesy of Kimberlee Mancha

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.

Salvaged Chic Of The Week: Stronghold

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome to this week's Salvaged Chic Of The Week! We have a stunning antique revamped chest with original mirror: Stronghold. As the name would suggest, this is a hearty piece made of quality materials that continue to last a lifetime. This chest came in with a drab and somewhat damaged finish screaming to be loved. Inspired by the stormy days here in the bay recently, the shades of silvers, grays, and charcoal leaked out in it's inspiration and new finish.

Stronghold is a favorite of mine, I love the blends of the colors, and how from a distant they can read as a solid, but up close breathe many hues with so much depth! The shape, typical of the early 1900's has such a in the curved mirror, but also feels so grounded and strong.
The detailing of the turned legs again, are ever so subtle but nonetheless gorgeous and striking! I love that the original pulls are in tact too, because sometimes...knowing that this piece is older than many of our grandmother's (ha!), has been passed down through many hands. Often times things like the pulls go missing here and there, and it's a great to see no one got it in there head that the hardware should be changed..

Because of Stronghold's neutral/cool gray tones, it could easily blend in homes on very different ends of the design spectrum. One example I could see, is below in this sparse & modern space with clean lines. Stronghold could be nestled in the mix, giving that antique flair to the more loft vibe.

I could also see Stronghold in a more rustic space, where its cool wintery color would play off of the warmth of natural wood colors.

For someone wanting to balance out a more busy and eclectic space like the ones below, Stronghold would add a calm to such a space, that could easily become chaotic with another bright furniture choice. Being in its neutral/cool tones would allow more colorful pieces to be displayed on top of Stronghold. Think bold vases vignetted, with your favorite flowers, or vintage mix match frames with your favorite photos. The choice is yours, but the piece stands true and strong with new stories and memories continuing to be made...if only the piece could talk I would love to know it's story!

Come into the shop today and fall in love with this perfect piece...and as always if you're inspired by Stronghold and she's been nabbed before you can get in remember that we do custom projects! Are you ready to turn a blah piece into a statement piece? Email us at for more information.

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.

The French Connection ... Sixième Note- à la brocante

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brocantes are many things. part antique store, part thrift shop, part junk and salvage. Always a little part heavenly! for me, they are made all the more interesting because it is all old FRENCH stuff and somehow all the more intriguing. Sometimes that may be because a lot of what you find will be naturally older ... because folks have been around a lot longer in these parts so even their old crap is more interesting ... ha!

While I have been up here in northern France, between Soissons and Reims ... I haven't spent too much time yet sniffing out the good spots.

However I have regularly passed a pair of shops and been curious, so today I dashed by one and have some photos to share with you, my fellow armchair "chineurs" (loosely translated, to chiner or shee-nay, you are scouting or thrifting or antique hunting or somesuch, in a brocante or at a vide-grenier / flea market).

So this one is not very creatively named Antiquités et Brocante du Laonnais. The owner lives there, his house is attached to a big garage/warehouse for his store and it is located on a very organized, neat as a pin property.

Here are some highlights ...

Before we head inside, here were a few treasures arranged in the courtyard ... next to functional items like cords and cords of firewood !

This is a really lovely gate in good condition for its age ... likely 20s or 30s ... not too much rust and the lock functioned too.

Leaning against it was ....

This gorgeous window (well, mostly frame now)

There were four to six of these out and about, in varying degrees of decay. I have fun just imagining the chateau or manor that these graced in their better years.

These are amazing architectural pieces, salvage to be sure, but I could go crazy picturing the various design possibilities even one of these could afford.

approaching the entrance, it was great to see some humor and attention had been used in the displays ...

Hey look, he loves chairs too! and I got a few inspirations for The Bohemians as well ...

this also made me think that if you have a single chair that you adore ... not too heavy, maybe even kind of fragile ... why not think about putting it up as wall art?

I might try that, so there!

Heading inside, I soon discovered it was a little more antiques than thrift, with lots of huge old wooden furniture items like ancient armoires, bureaus, kitchen cabinets of old ... many beautiful big things and a lesser selection of 'smalls' ...

but these were some wonderful candelabra and the clock wasn't so bad either!

This armoire was ENORMOUS and I loved the women's faces carved on each door ... do you?

A beautiful sideboard, the wood and carved details were a beautiful honey brown ...and of course there were SOME goodies throughout , but not as 'sanford and son' as some of the shops you find:

these little gals caught my eye ... especially the one in the green dress ...

a serene art deco plaster sculpture ...

chairs more chairs, and a collection of old cast iron irons ....

heading back outside a few things I missed on the way in ... a cool old buffet with a birdy theme, and a collection of old pitchers ... some in zinc, some enamel.

and this group of funky old wood or coal stoves, how did I miss those on the way in??

Finally though, one of my most favorite discoveries and one I will probably be going back to bargain for were these ..

a ginormous pile of old floor tiles ... and there was another one, smaller, but all from one cool old floor ... I dream of putting a whole floor of these in, possible a bath or sunroom ... I actually think it would be even more fun to have a whole room floor with mismatched but unique tiles ... that requires a chunk of time for sorting and reflecting, which I didn't have today.

Well, that concludes my small tour ... thanks for coming along with me, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Looking forward to next week's update, because it will be after the Maison et Objet conference in Paris and I hope to have loads of décor madness to share! à bientôt!

*all images courtesy of Kimberlee Mancha

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.

Salvaged Chic Of The Week: Chocolat

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This week's Salvaged Chic Of The Week is such a sweet piece; it's nutty brown color and feminine shape make it perfect for a multitude of spaces.

I love the curves of "Chocolat" and its warm hue, which makes it the perfect neutral piece with personality!

French Chic ... it would look gorgeous among other similarly styled silhouettes , or as that unexpected pop in a modern setting.

Can't you imagine 'Chocolat' it nestled among these spaces?

I could also see her being perfect in a bathroom as well... not taking up too much room, but to still offer a good amount of storage.

Come see this sweet side table for yourself in the shop. As always, remember if you've got a piece like this at home Johnelle could always revamp it to have a similar look, or any other one you've got in mind! Email us at for more information.

Images of Chocolat were taken by Johnelle Mancha, other images: Image One:Photography by Magnus Anesund; Image Two:; Image Three:; Image Four:; Image Five:; Image Six:;

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.

The French Connection - Cinquième (Fifth) Note: Trendy furniture à la française!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Okay when I saw the name of this design group, I couldn't stop thinking of the reprise from one of my other trendy french favorites ... singer Inna Modja and her popular song "French Cancan" ♫ Coco Choco Chanel Coco, Coco Choco Chanel and Chocolat ...♫ but anyway I digress ... from this music to another music to my ears ...

Cocotte Metal, Immobilier Chick and Smart is a design group with a very cool concept! Their trendy site presents all sorts of flashy and flirty metal furniture pieces in all shapes, sizes and colors ... designed by You (the consumer).

After visiting and checking out all sorts of inspiring examples ... you can select the elements you would like (for example table base and top in a variety of shapes and sizes) mix and match (or not) as you can dream it up ... pick your colors ... and your piece will be put together to your specifications and delivered to you. There are tables, shelving units and consoles to choose from.

Ever inspired by the energy and creativity of my daughter and the young women designers of the bay area that I have met through her ... imagine how fun it was to learn that the designers of these fun pieces and concept are two young European WOMEN, Anna from Barcelona and Clémence from Paris. They met in design school (
l'ESAG Penninghen, School of interior design and architecture) . After five years in school together, they decided to partner and launched their studio "Twin Truc".

Their first project
was with a metalworking company, they were able to participate in making their first prototypes. This experience was where they knew they wanted to continue to create furniture in parallel with craftsmen.

In September 2010, they connected with fabricators Marie and Arnaud of
les ateliers de DVAI, in order to create a range of objects. Together, they visited the workshop to see firsthand their manufacturing techniques: laser cutting, bending, rolling, bending, machining and welding of sheet steel. They were immediately drawn to the same vision: pre-cut pieces of furniture in a flat aluminum sheet, like a sewing pattern. These pieces were destined to be "folded" into forms that fit together like a puzzle....

The concept was born: a range of furniture that comes flat, using self-assembly without nails or screws, for a simple system of fold and nesting.

Voila!! hip, flashy and functional ... designed in France, made in France, et malheuresement (and sadly), you have to live in France to have them, at least for now.

But take a gander and be inspired to support a local young artisan in your neck of the woods. These gals have created a small enterprise that employs 20 folks with pride!!

Small businesses need and deserve our support and encouragement so visit one near you today! Mignonne Décor for example ... !!

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.

Salvaged Chic Of The Week: Witney Hudson Bay Camp Couch

Friday, January 6, 2012

I want this piece desperately, luckily for you I can't snag this week's amazing Salvaged Chic Of The Week because I live in a shoebox (you know, not literally) with walls that threaten to burst with many a Mignonne treasure!
This week's piece is this gorgeous reupholstered vintage couch, "Witney", revamped with an amazing vintage, Hudson Bay Blanket circa 1940's, with a plush down stuffed center cushion.

I love this piece so much, and as an admitted obsessor of details it's little things like Witney's herringbone band, petite corduroy piping, grey denim and original patches from the red blanket that's the focal point of this piece.

Johnelle made sure both of the original patches from the blanket (which were packed with character) were sewn onto the couch as a great way to see the life this piece has had before.

Did I mention these AMAZING pillows are included with this piece?! I love that they're on point with a trend right now, but they're also classic vintage navajo/kilim textiles & pillows are the perfect part of a couch to display something more current because you can change them seasonally, bring them to another room, and bring them back again whenever you please! The back of the couch even has a hand sewn patch of the kilim worked into the mix.

This piece is inspired by the original Witney Point blanket and Johnelle's designs were born from that central piece, and the rest followed. As we've said before, fashion and design are intertwined and you can see how this look is shining now in fashion as well.

Just like fashion, Witney would look great as the pop piece in your home nestled next to a newer couch (you could even use Whitney's pillows on your other couch to tie the both together, or have Johnelle make you another set!) or as a stand alone piece. Because of the brilliant way Johnelle designed the fabric pieces for Witney, this couch is a piece that can be pulled away from a wall (if you choose) because it's gorgeous and detail packed from every angle!
Come into the shop to gape at this gorgeous piece in person, you know you want to snuggle up against that soft blanket backing!

Images of Witney taken by Johnelle Mancha. Non Whitney: Image One: September's issue of Elle Magazine, Image Two: InStyle Magazine, Image Three: October's issue of Lou Lou Magazine via The Portland Collection's Fan Page
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.

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