Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IR: When your furniture purchases can pay off over a lifetime or more, it's the ultimate. Such is the case with our Kroehler chairs. Their streamlined, modern frames make them versatile, and able to coordinate within a variety of looks. Brand recognition and integrity make certain they appreciate with time. Investing in furniture like this means you can have your piece longer than the life of the upholstery, when you finally do tire it out you'll have quality bones worth the cost of revitalization. Although purchases of this nature can come with a higher price tag than an ikea dining set (though not necessarily), they pay for themselves in longevity and integrity.

The Kroehler dining chairs we have in the shop have been expertly upholstered by us, in a demure black canvas to highlight the festive, teal Bolivian textile on the chair backs. We find it essential to not simply mimic a style, like the ever popular, mid-century modern, but to put a re-envision on it, with the Mignonne touch.

The Kroehler name...
Kroehler is an American furniture company that's still in business today, and in it's heyday was one of the larger producers of modern furniture stateside. The company had a big part in branding the sleek modern look of the mid century eras, a look that has vastly outlasted its time in popularity and relevance.

Mix it up...
Incorporating vintage furniture, from extreme kitsch to timeless classic, is a big part of a achieving a contemporary look. We enjoy giving furniture a new life, and thinking outside of the box, while not simply mimicking the decor of the past. Unconventional upholstery can tell a story, in a functional medium. A piece can be more than its associations.

For inquiries about our Kroehler chairs, other desirables in the shop, or any of our many services from upholstery to full scale interior design, just shoot us an email at


Sunday, December 7, 2014

IR: Are you like us, slightly obsessed with Pinterest, and very obsessed with gorgeous interiors? Thought so. Well, isn't it time to do something about that virtual pin-board you've been building? We use our Pinterest page in our work all the time, whether it's browsing and daydreaming for inspiration, or compiling ideas for a current project, or to post our own finished products. It's no shame, Pinterest was made as a virtual inspiration board, so lets get to work on making your dreams come true!

Quite often in the beginning stages of a project, we have clients send us ideas they've compiled from the internet, visual examples that help us better understand what it is that thrills you in a design, and what we can do to make that happen.

Our sincere hope is that you don't get lost in the internet. Lets get our hands dirty and make some magic happen. Let's transform your home into something that others are pinning about!

Don't forget to check out our Pinterest, here, where designer Johnelle posts inspiration for specific projects, our own work, and anything that that strikes our fascination!

Would you like us to help you with a design based off of your Pinterest board? Get the ball rolling on your interior design project big or small? We're always happy to hear from you, whether it's about furniture restoration, upholstery, or customizations of all kinds. Even if you're not at that point quite yet, and just need some information on what you need to get started on a project with us! We love to make your dreams happen. Just shoot us an email at 

xoxo mignonne


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

IR: Our recent post about the naming process got me on a long trail of thought. How things can often remind one of anything from a movie, to a memory and so forth. It's worth exploring concept of evocation in a broader sense than naming alone, it occurred to me. Making connections can be a great jumping-off point for a brainstorm on design projects small to large, not to mention a big help when styling, after you bring home that statement piece you've been coveting! 

To evoke is to call on, may it elicit a reminiscence, or create memory anew. These occurrences are what create soul in an object or a piece, and often, what makes us fall in love with furniture.

A recollection of a past era, a nod to a place one's traveled (or dreamed of traveling), or a design that pleases the senses, these are some evocations that can all help us make valuable choices when coordinating.

Though perception may differ from one person to another, the power of evocation is nonetheless undeniable, and we think, that this is when personal style becomes truly alive. 

One of designer Johnelle Mancha's newest creations is her lovely kilim ottomans in small and large (available on our website), evoking in many, images of a bohemian atmosphere, with influences of eastern art and tapestries draped on the wall. The inspiration photos below can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here!

Something clever about an evoked emotion, memory or idea is that it can be physical, or emotional, may it be in a piece found, custom designed, or a combination thereof. The connections we make could be personal or general, shared with like minds or held by us alone, but whatever they are, they are a large part of what we see when looking at a design. At Mignonne, we cherish pieces and the feelings they evoke in us, believing when you're open to the idea, it can lead to further inspiration. 

Don't hesitate to shoot us an email with any questions. We offer design services large to small, in addition to finished furniture, and decor items! We're reachable at

xoxo mignonne 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

IR: We're always proud of our budget projects, for a number of reasons. Being able to do a lot with less is an accomplishment on its own, but being able to all sorts of help people love their homes without hurting their pocketbooks is retribution of the best kind. For the Wells interior design project, Johnelle used her design expertise in revamping this living room, and the best part is, the clients had a big hand in making it happen. Upon Johnelle's advice, they took it upon themselves to do painting, installations, and buying, while Mignonne handled the design vision, including some of the expert tasks we do best, like scouting, furniture revamping, and staging. By working with the client along the way, they were able to do a DIY home makeover, with a professional lead.

With designer Johnelle Mancha's advice and expertise, the clients were able to do a lot of the work on their interior themselves. The Wells' had a color consult with Johnelle, for paint work they were able to execute, as well as direction in window treatments, and styling accents, which they were able to purchase and install. While they were putting in the time at home, the shop was busy revamping clients own coffee table, scouting for hard to find decor features, like the stunning kilim rug. With direction and assistance by Mignonne, the clients were able to accomplish a professional level finished product, with more self satisfaction, not to mention a lesser budget.

If you're interested in our help getting the ball rolling on your next interior project including our services from custom upholstery to large scale installations and nearly everything in between, shoot us an email! 

xoxo mignonne


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

IR: Mixing and matching dinnerware; so it may not be the freshest of trends, you may not even see it as a trend at all, rather a necessity. But here me out. Just take a look at a predominant styling choice of some of our favorite new restaurants. Designers are going cheap and recycling both, by mismatching glassware, dishes, silverware and the lot.

In Johnelle's travels, something she can never resist picking up is dishes and other kitchenware that strike her fancy. We do our own mixing and matching, when styling the shop and doing interior design projects, but don't let us do all the fun parts for you. Come down to the shop to get started on your own curation yourself.

When thoughtfully cultivated, a mismatched collection can uplift your kitchen and place settings. Read on for a few of our favorite benefits of collecting for a mismatched array of dinnerware.

Don't cry over spilt milk, or the shattered glass, either. You needn't fret when you break a piece, it won't ruin your set.

Its all in the numbers. You may find incomplete sets at far reduced prices, combine them! Whether you choose to keep within a theme or go all over the map with style, you no longer have to worry about numbers of plates or numbers on price tags.

Tell your story. We just love a thought out scheme of pieces, eclectically regaling different tales. A homey and nostalgic dinnerware and glassware collection invites you into a contemporary setting, making modern, intimate and cozy. Glassware for instance can enhance your drinking experience, but that doesn't have to mean you must use the predisposed vessels, give classic a twist. In photos two and three, stolen from their Instagram pages, you can see the glassware at Rockridge's Ramen Shop and Grand Avenue's Penrose, both restaurants' decor, exquisitely embodys the intentionally eclectic style we enjoy so much. Go grab a bite and a drink, and you'll get free order of inspiration on the side!

Think outside of the box. Often, we like sets or individual pieces that may not perfectly match our preexisting dinnerware, this doesn't have to mean you they're off the table, pun intended. With an overall mismatched look, the aesthetic may grow and change organically, while you develop that sought after, down-home aesthetic.

As always, please don't hesitate to email us with any inquiries, may it be about dish-ware, upholstery, interior design or whatnot, we love to hear from our customers! 

xoxo mignonne


Sunday, October 26, 2014

IR: Green, the color of freshness, of nubile elegance, free of gender, and synonymous with nature. Adding a little green is never a bad decision, whether it's in a room with few colors or many, the color adds an organic shine. As a hue, we never tire of green, from lime, to kelly, to forest, and so it's always a pleasure rolling out a green piece (pun most certainly intended)! The natural hue brings life into a room that no other colors can rival.

Art Deco desk 'SAFARI' (available here) has both class and wit in an emerald green a flapper gal would envy. There's a plethora of inspiration for the use of green furniture, and don't even get me started on the infinite styling options. I could drone on and on about how you can pair green with black and white, natural wood, a rainbow of colors, metallics or leathers... but rather than that, we thought we'd just getting the ball rolling with some inspiration! Photos sourced from The Kept Life, attic., Plateful of Love, and Plascon Trends.

At Mignonne love to hear from our friends and customers! If you have any questions about any of our projects or services, or would like to get a conversation started on a custom piece of your own, just shoot us an email at

xoxo mignonne


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

IR: We love statement pieces. In fact, we love them so much we spend our days designing, building them, styling them, and putting them to market. And here's why: though design isn't always synonymous with art, we see the art in every piece we put our hearts into.

Owner and designer, Johnelle, personally has a major role in every design, artistically leading all projects undertaken here, and started her business designing and restoring furniture for the love of it, in addition to, of course, her uncommon knack, a talent and eye for it. Her artistic aesthetic is where the Mignonne brand came from, and with a background in fine arts, she creates pieces with acute attention to detail, as well as designing broad and cohesive interiors.

Our dazzling 'LA PAZ' chair, upholstered in hand-picked, one-of-a-kind textiles, like the Bolivian aguayo cloth and the well worn leather of a vintage jacket, is a stand alone piece, and a shinning example of furniture as art. Or is it art as furniture?

The upholstery, a collage in a color palette of Kahlo-esque vibrancy. The pink, effervescent, double-welt piping draws the eye around the hand-carved, art nouveau wood frame with stark contrast, while the smooth and daring ebony leather simultaneously compliments it.

'LA PAZ's charisma lies not just in the bright colors that she dons, but in the combination of class and spice. She's outstanding, maybe even a bit shocking, but never is she offensive. Evoking emotion with soft and hard sides, this chair is a piece that can converse with all the ages. And I don't just mean by the appeal to the nubile, and those who've seen a few more seasons alike. In a classic room or a modern one, she's one chica who knows just what to do. All together empathetic and inspirational, and we just can't get over her and her show-stealing charm.

'LA PAZ' is available now in our West Berkeley storefront!

Along with shop pieces, we relish our collaborations with customers. Designing something that can bring you joy is why we do what we do! We even offer a free one-hour design meeting for clients upholstering with us. To schedule a consultation in upholstery, revamping or for help with any of your miscellaneous interior design needs, shoot us an email at:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

You may or may not know of our sister shop in Brantôme, France. Regardless, you're about to learn more! 

Kim Mancha (seen in the bottom right photo, standing to the left of Johnelle) owner and proprietor of The Bohemians. She has been living and working in Brantôme since 2007 when she upheaved her life, leaving behind hometown and a career, but not her two darling pups. 

She's been inspired by french culture all her life, and beginning with her school days, dreamed of, as one could say, a bohemian life in France. After years of dreaming, sending her children (Mignonne owner and lead designer, Johnelle Mancha and her brother) to Berkeley's French American school, Ecole Bilengue, and eventually making numerous trips (only after both her children had a chance to go, she adds) she began searching for a vacation property. With the help of Johnelle, Kim found what would turn out to be her year-round home, in no less than her favorite area.

Her shop there specializes in all things beautiful, from home decor to hand-made clothing lines. She sponsors young artists and craftspeople locally and internationally, and takes pleasure in fostering creativity in all people, hosting monthly workshops in furniture restoration and design guidance. Kim especially loves supporting female owned and operated companies, and carries a clothing line as well as a artisan paint line owned and run by inspiring and talented women; La Fiancee Du Mekong of France, and Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan out of England.

Unfortunately, so far, I only make it to the South of France every 15 or so years, and won't be due again, by that logic, for a long while. So, although it would have been [much] better to chat in person, alas, I was left only to communicate with my interviewee over long distance. Nevertheless... I had the opportunity to correspond with Kim, and had such a fun time listening to her take on life, art, culture and business, in the South of France. 

IR: So Kim, as an American transplant living in the town of Brantôme, France, can you tell me where that is, and a little about that area?

KM: Brantôme is in the Dordogne, which is a department (kind of like county) in the Southwest of France.  France is kind of funny in that an area can have more than one name/ designation... so while it is in the Dordogne, it is also in the Aquitaine Region and also part of the Perigord (divided into four parts... confused yet?! I still am). The area is dripping in history; the Dorgone and Aquitaine has been fought over between France and england for centuries. It is an area with rich agricultural activities and known for all of its many delicacies such as truffles, cepes (mushrooms), nuts, wine, duck and everything associated. The cuisine is rustic and delicious. Normally, we have four distinct seasons, which I really like and is very different from the California Bay Area where I was born. 

IR: How often do get to explore the area with daughter, and owner of Mignonne, Johnelle?

KM: Johnelle has come every year since I moved here and usually manages to stay 3-4 weeks. We always find time for a new adventure when she is here. 

IR: When packing for a traipse throughout Southern France, what items would you say, are essential to your quest?

KM: Mostly just an empty suitcase, to bring back all of my treasures acquired on the road, and a camera to capture and share it all. And the odd little black dress never hurts for those spontaneous special soirees.

IR: Are there any do-not-miss sights that compel you during your periods of traveling and antiquing? 

KM: France is chock full of amazing markets, both food and antiques/vintage treasures. I especially love the old covered markets, which are not only beautiful (usually with lots of light and glass), but remain the same from years gone by, with specialists in meats, cheeses, fish, bread, fresh vegetables, spices, pastries, on and on! And they are always beautifully presented.

IR: When scouting, often there are special indicators of value or unique attributes in a piece that make it compelling, what kinds of qualities details do you, Kim, and Johnelle keep an eye out for when looking for décor items?

KM: I watch for intentional details that make an item stand apart, whether that's unique embellishments on a piece of furniture, some extra details, or special touches on a clothing item. What is the back story or inspiration to a handmade piece of art? 

I am big on color, so when looking at a furniture piece: does it offer enough interesting form or detail that I can highlight with color? Paint is transformational, but I still need the bones to make it happen!

Lastly, durability and functionality. Here in my little corner of France, I have to keep a sharp eye on pricing, because pockets aren't that deep, everything I sell must offer quality and usability as well as beauty. My customers have high expectations when they shop with their limited disposable income. 

IR: Do you have a favorite story from your and Johnelle's travels in the country you now call home?

KM: Oh gosh, I am sure I have forgotten more than I remember. I could share more than a few related to getting stuck somewhere because I forgot that on this certain day or time, the store or bank or gas station was closed. Adjusting to a more balanced style of life where everything isn't open 24/7 just in case you might want to buy a donut at 3 am. One time, I had tickets for a Sunday concert and all the gas stations that accepted cash were closed and my American card didn't work in the machines. So there I was out in the middle of the French Countryside, driving on fumes because I decided to risk it, when putt putt putt... and then nothing. Luckily it was summer so sleeping in my car, until it could be sorted the next day, was an option. 

Needless to say, I got better at planning and anticipating, and realizing that life would go on if I couldn't shop for whatever silly thing it was at 10:30 pm.  

Folks here work to live, not live to work. Family, friends and quality of life vs. things, are their essentials. They work to have enough, and enjoy sharing the richness of their life with others. 

IR: And to finish off: When someone you know is visiting France, what is it you believe they absolutely must enjoy before they leave?

KM: Stop by and see me for the list! Slow paced hunting for whatever your 'treasure' might be, good food, good wine, good music, history buffs, flea market finds... more than happy to help you do it. 

If you have any questions about Mignonne's services, including but not limited to upholstery, restoration, and interior design, please feel free to email us at

xoxo mignonne


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