The French Connection - Onzième (11th) Note: Let the Sun Shine In!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

*image courtesy of etsy seller metroline6

Salut! Il fait beau, trés trés beau!!!

There's nothing like a little French sunshine to lighten your spirits and bring hopeful thoughts of summer your way. Springtime in France brings to mind long lazy lunches in the garden, flinging open shutters and windows to let in the soft warm air and be serenaded by the birds in the trees.
As the air warms, the sun paints trees and plants in warm shades of color ... and fades stone walls and painted shutters into their very own custom colors.

When it comes to design, this time of year I am inspired by all things Provençal ... that unique blend of soft and rough ... beautiful timeworn linens in patterns that include olives and lavender ... the mix of handmade rustic furniture in wood and iron and colorfully painted sideboards, chairs and tiles... everything flaunting its patina of graceful aging.

*images courtesy of

For your Provence inspiration, use a warm pastel palette with splashes of intense hues. Walls can be in softer shades of green, terra cotta, warm beiges with yellow undertones...unless it is your bedroom where you will find brighter colors like turquoise or pinks.

Fabrics will blend timeless neutral linens with bold stripes or patterns that emulate the outdoors and will include bees, olives, lavender plants or other southern French classics.

*image courtesy of

Furniture is minimal but functional and generally relects the local artisanal craftsmanship ... rustic woods, hand-forged irons, lots of tile.

Doors and arches will show off hand-painted designs of flowers and ornate swirls. *image courtesy of

It isn't unusual to find outdoor furniture inside or vice-versa, reflecting the versatility of the climate.

All in all, Provençal design is relaxed, comfortable, inviting ... all that is missing to complete the look is your chilled glass of rosé and some soft guitar music strumming in the background. Voila!

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: Revamped Mod Couch

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This week's Salvaged Chic of the Week is a revamped mod couch! We recently reupholstered this classic mid-century piece keeping in mind the integrity of this original design while modernizing it in the reupholstery process. Here she is before:
When designers say that the success of shows like Mad Men inspired them to create pieces that bridge the style and sophistication of the sixties with the sleek designs and pops of color of modern times, you imagine a piece like this. Here she is all dressed up after:
This was another couch that had great bones but needed to be brought back to its former glory to be fully appreciated and functional in today's time. Johnelle and our client chose a simple gray linen for the overall fabric which compliments the original design of the couch while still making it feel modern. It is always a good route to try to utilize fabrics that might have been original contenders to a piece if you are wanting to keep a similar vibe. To give the couch more dimension and to pump a little fun into it, we added pops of color in the piping. The texture of the piping matches the main fabric as they are both linens, but the teal helps to break apart the long length of this couch and its sleek shape, and also enhances the amazing tufted detailing.
The quality of our reupholstery doesn't just end with what you see. We added all new cushioning and re-lined the underside of the couch. You can see before how the bottom had become tattered and unkempt.
Now this mod couch would be at home in a stylish mid-century inspired space.
This couch is a great core piece that would beautifully anchor a living room and make all of your martini-swishing guests flock to sit on it!
If you have a couch, or other project, you'd like to see reupholstered please email us at!
All Revamped Mod Couch photos by Johnelle Mancha. Other photos One:, Two:, Three:, Four:

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 ... Dixième (10th) Note ... It's A Sign!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

a fading sign from times gone by, I would love to restore this beautiful old building ... and keep the signs! (épicerie = grocery shop)

Bonjour à tous! I thought it would be fun to share some snapshots of signs from Laon, a city near where I have been this winter.

Driving around most parts of France, you can find signs from so many periods ... and their accompanying styles and fonts. So often, I find myself wishing I had my camera to grab ... I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from all sorts of things, not just looking at other furniture but nature, cars, rooftops ... and yes, signs. They can put you in a mood, send you to review another era, display colors gone by and generally just get you thinking in another way about something you see every day.

Here, most signs are 'eries ... as in Boulangerie (bakery), Poissonerie (fish shop), Boucherie (butcher) etc. Signs are more often focused on the activity vs the name of the shop ... well at least it is the activity that is emphasized.

Neat as a pin Boulangerie (bakery).

Above, the emblems regarding the bread and flour.

Cordonnerie (shoe repair).

Close-up ... It reads "teinturerie blancherie"

the little painting gives it away ... it is a Laundry shop, 'teinturerie is dyeing and blancherie is bleaching' ... they also iron clothes and launder by the kilo!

LOVE Love love that green ...

easier to guess this one ... but here he uses his name 'Nourry' on his butcher shop. He specializes in pork and sausages, could you tell!!

love the shades of grey and aging on that metal pig.

speaking of metal, I adore the sleek, industrial look of this sign, very modern!

Horloger (Watches) and Bijoutier (jeweller)

not a big fan of their clothing, but their sign is terrific ...

love that Déco font.

another butcher!

(we were making the rounds on Sunday which is why the shops are all closed!)

Bar à Manger (rough translation "eat at the bar!") ... this has that early 70s feel, kind of ugly cute! digging that 70s orange too!

Another painted on stone, La Crèperie is a sign of good things to come!

kind of crappy picture, but you get the drift ... it is american (like) stuff! how about them stars on the As? lol

my post would not be complete without the Texas News ... made us smile because there is the good old flag of ... wait, what? Britain!? ha ha

this is actually a beautiful, older but not SO old shop with a very mod sign and cool black tile. wish that car wasn't there!

another beautiful example of a flashy tiled storefront in black ... this one is a print shop (imprimerie) with a déco flair!

finally, one of my faves. now I can tell myself (get thee to a rhumerie ...hee hee ... and do it! slurp!) Music AND rum, how could you go wrong?

See you next time!

*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.


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