Make every meal special; make every room special


This setting will make the most casual meal special.

When it comes to style, the French really do get it right. They know that no one has a single way of dressing or decorating. Our homes are as complex as we are.

Perhaps that’s why we love French Country so much. It isn’t a single style; it encompasses many styles — rustic, refined; casual, elegant — and it incorporates those styles seamlessly in a single room.

It’s almost magic. For sure, the result is a magical room.

We Americans have a lot in common with the French. For one thing, we all like to eat — and we like to eat in a nice setting. We put this vignette together to give you some ideas on how to dine casually in style. For example, this antique French farm table is perfect for a not-so-formal meal. We have mixed textures and styles of glass and dinner ware: Formal and informal crystal mimics the colors …in the Majolica salad plates that top embossed stoneware. A swath of burlap adds a rustic touch. But we don’t stop there: An antique needlepoint bench and a contemporary armless settee co-mingle comfortably.

Like the French, Americans also enjoy using furniture pieces in unexpected ways. We’ve given you one example here with the seating. But think about how the table can be used in other parts of your home: As a foyer table, perhaps, topped with our French Anduze planter seen in the photo and a pair of lamps; as a game table in a den; or as a library table, perfect for studying or reading. The antique needlepoint bench would be lovely situated at the foot of a guest bed or lining a hallway, while the contemporary settee could offer extra seating on movie night, or again, nestled at the foot of a queen or king bed.

Whether you live in a rambling house in the country or a condo in a highrise, you can take a lesson from the French: Mix what you love with what you need, then add a healthy portion of family heirlooms. Don’t worry about whether everything “matches”; that’s boring. And the French are anything but boring.

Let your rooms evolve as if the final result took years. That’s exactly what the French would do.

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