Home Help: 17 August
Hugh St Clair shows you how to achieve the classic, relaxed French look we all love
Louis XV-style chairs with upholstered seats and backs have been in production for over 250 years. They can fetch upwards of £1,000 if painted in their original gilt, but mid 20thcentury examples in need of restoration can be bought for a few hundred pounds.
To save scouring the shops, and the time and expense involved in fixing up old chairs, look at Kate Forman's website. She sells beautifullymade and painted French furniture based on 18th-century originals, with matching fabrics and wallpapers in soft pinkand- grey stripes checks, roses and Toile de Jouy.
French rural furniture designers often used pear and cherry wood, particularly when making armoires and long tables – perfect for today's informal dining. The French House in Fulham London and York – www.thefrenchhouse.co.uk – has sought out beautiful old long tables in these woods, as well as antique French armchairs, mirrors and what they call brocante finds, which include tailors' dummies, metal plant stands, old suitcases and French railway lamps.
Toile de Jouy and ticking fabrics always look beautiful and come in many different design schemes. The best toile in the traditional red, black and blue can be found at Titley and Marr – www.titleyandmarr.co.uk – while versions in hot pinks and oranges are available from Manuel Canovas at Colefax and Fowler.
As for ticking, if you live in London, Ian Mankin produces beautiful inexpensive stripes, as does Swaffer Fabrics with their Café Collection – www.swaffer.co.uk – and many upholsterers have their pattern books for you to browse.
From left to right:
- Curtains, Solange Framboise. Chair and tablecloth, Edouard Rose Indien. Tablecloth, Octave Rose Indien; all Manuel Canovas: 020-7318 6000, www.manuelcanovas.com
- Wall hanging, Manuel Canovas: as before
- Fabrics, Ian Mankin: 020-7722 0997, www.ianmankin.co.uk
- Kate Forman Collection 01962-732244, www.kateforman.co.uk (main picture)
Email your design enquiries to Hugh St Clair at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily tip from the lady archive
“PEOPLE cannot help being influenced by their surroundings and their environment; therefore how all important it is that both of these should be healthy and cheery, for health and happiness both go hand-in-hand.”The Lady. The Blessing of Old Health, 18th November 1920