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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Garden Shed Elements

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What makes a garden shed a 
French style 
garden shed? 
Especially since it is not in France? 

French design elements... 
How do you achieve them? 

Step back, look at the overall design. 

The hip roofline is the strongest French design element. 

The pitch and symmetry of the roof 
are classical elements in a French roof. 

Another strong element that creates a French look 
is the symmetry in the building, not just the roof. 
The building is a square. 
The doors are centered. 
The deck step is centered. 

French doors are the next strongest 
French design in the garden shed. 

While the roof, doors, and overall shape 
establish the French design, 
create even more French flair.

Levered door handles, 
instead of round doorknobs 
so usual in American buildings, 
add an authentic French touch. 

The deck step is eyebrow shaped, not a half-round, 
which adds to the French look. 
Eyebrow shaped windows are used much 
more often than half-round windows in 
vintage buildings in France. 

Variegated blue roof shingles, the pale blue walls, and 
the French bleu door on the deck 
are classical French colors. 
French bleu... well known as a color... 
is closer to red than to green on the color wheel. 

French gardens are much more structured and symmetrical than English gardens.  

The large pot with a French scroll design 
contains a dwarf yaupon being trained into a 
ball shape. 

Two triple-ball topiaries in matching clay pots 
standing on either side of the French doors  
are strong French garden design elements, 
both in shape and symmetrical position.  

For a look at more French-inspired topiaries,
see French Country Style Deck.

In the garden is an old wooden and scrolled-iron park bench, 
truly reminiscent of Parisian parks. 

Another matching Vintage Park Bench sits in
the shade of a pear tree in the back yard.

One more look at the French garden shed 
seen in the background of 
an "obedient plant" 
growing in a pot on the house deck. 

See Botanic Bleu Beginnings to read about 
how the French garden shed began. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...



Lavender Infused Master Bath Layout

Saturday, April 26, 2014

soothes and calms so well 
herbologists often recommend 
a sprig underneath your pillow for 
a restful night. 

Enjoy a tour of a lavender infused master bath's

When the house was first built,
the bathroom was a basic bath with no extras.
Over the years, we added all the beadboard,
did all the painting, added the whirlpool tub,
and upgraded the sinks and shower
by doing most of the work ourselves.
Through it all, we incorporated
ideas to use materials and designs
for energy efficiency.

Periwinkle blue walls in the master bath 
include painted beadboard walls surrounding a 
Koehler whirlpool tub that also soothes and calms 
tired, aching muscles after a day of working in the garden.   

Sprigs of dried lavender are framed 
in a 3-D picture frame above the tub. 

More lavender, a fresh living plant, 
sits on the large vanity opposite the tub. 

The mirror above the large vanity  
reflects the white northern pine beams in the ceiling 
of the post and beam house. 
The mirror also reflects the windowed-wall 
at the other end of the room. 

Along the left wall are a large walk-in closet and a linen closet 
that are separated by a full-length mirror. 
The door at the end of the wall is the entrance 
door to the bathroom from the master bedroom. 

All of the solid six-panel pine doors are 
white-washed using an oil-based interior paint. 

Just to the left of the linen closet is an open door 
with just a peek into the shower-toilet room. 

The full-length wall mirror reflects light from 
the large window between the tub and vanity 
in addition to providing a quick look to see 
if your slip is showing. 

Outside the shower-toilet room is a second 
small vanity just visible to the left of the door above. 

Several energy conscious features were included 
in this area of the bathroom. 

The northern facing window is small to help conserve energy. 
The beadboard wall below the window also 
adds a layer of insulation to the northern wall. 
The shower is directly behind the vanity wall. 
Both the sink and shower water pipes are located 
inside the interior walls which helps prevent 
pipes from freezing. 

More beadboard white-washed pine lines the walls 
inside the shower-toilet room. 

When we added the beadboard, we added storage by 
installing small wall cabinets above the toilet. 
The wooden shelf with towel bar was built 
long enough for several towels. 

Structural posts and beams were often left natural, 
 instead of being white-washed, to match the ceiling beams. 

A half-wall at the end of the tub allows the 
large window to provide light throughout the room. 

Natural wood tends to make rooms dark. 
As much as I would love to have 
French-designed trumeau mirrors over the vanities, 
I have left the builder-grade large sheet mirrors 
and overhead cam lights to add as much light as possible. 

The mirrors reflect the natural light coming in the windows 
as well as the light from the overhead cam lights. 

Wooden shutters help control 
the amount of heat from light entering the room.
In the mornings, top shutters are opened, 
but after lunch the shutters are closed 
since the window is west facing. 

The room is 14' long by 16' wide. 
There are two walk-in closets, a large linen closet, 
two vanities, one double wall cabinet, 
a jetted deep bathtub, separate shower, 
two windows, and three large mirrors. 

More changes and updates are planned 
for the future, but for now I am focusing only 
on decor changes.

To see details of the room's lavender accents, 
see the upcoming post titled 
Lavender Infused Master Bath Decor. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...



Spirea Garden Party ~ French Style

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

is an old fashioned plant 
that reminds me of
Victorian houses 
garden parties. 

Welcome to

The Scoop On ... 
Spring Tablescapes 

Enjoy the Spirea Garden Party,
à la French style,
en plein air.

I am excited to be part of

Top This Top That 
Setting for Four 
Botanic Bleu 
Hymns and Verses 
Unexpected Elegance

 for the first day of the 3-day tour.

What better way to spend a warm Spring day 
than having a glass of fresh mint tea 
with a walnut and apple garden salad 
next to the spirea plant in full bloom? 

Folding wooden chairs with worn blue paint 
are perfect for outdoor dining. 
Gracie is hanging out under the table 
hoping for a little treat. 

After the long harsh winter, the spirea bush 
is filled with the most blooms ever on long 
graceful fronds that sway in the wind. 

Pots of ivy and lobelia on the table add 
to the garden party.  

Tall clay pots without the usual wide rim at the top 
are popping up in garden centers and stores.  

Made in Italy in unfired red clay... 
A little Navy #4 Valspar sample paint quickly 
transformed the little pot into a blue one. 

Stainless flatware with a fleur de lis design adds a French touch. 

Standing in a small blue flower pot, the flatware is easy to reach. 

Fresh iced mint tea quickly forms 
condensation on the blue fleur de lis glass. 
A warm 86° tied the high temperature for the date. 

These warm days with fresh green grass, leafy trees, and flowers 
are among the best weather days during the year. 

A strong breeze keeps the weather pleasant, 
but means that some weights are needed 
to keep the linens from blowing away and 
small things from blowing over.  

A vintage brass watering ring anchors the silverware-laden blue pot. 
 A brass sprinkler head in the shape of a watering can  
is hefty enough to hold linens in place. 

Blue and white garden dishes with a new toile design are 
extra special with their contrasting borders 
and extra design details. 
Each piece has fluted edges.

Square (really eight-sided) dinner plates, 
salad plates, and bread plates 
with a floral pattern accented by 
a bird with outstretched wings 
are reminiscent of antique French designs. 
Only we know that these did not come from a 
French flea market. 
HomeGoods is our little secret. 

Round soup/cereal bowls have a surprise in the bottom... 
the little bird ready for flight! 

Bleu et blanc vaisselle... 
A passion all my life... 
To find unusual shapes, 
with so many details, 
and in so many pieces, 
is a thrill!
The  small square condiment bowls 
  are one of those unusual pieces 
that make a pattern extra special. 

Walnut and apple garden salad is my favorite salad 
anytime of the year and especially for a garden party.  

Feta cheese and raspberry walnut vinaigrette 
add just the right zing! 

Walnut and Apple Garden Salad Recipe
Spring Mix packaged greens 
Apple slices
English walnuts
Feta cheese
Raspberry walnut vinaigrette
(Paul Newman's is my favorite.) 

Iced mint tea pairs perfectly with the garden salad. 
An overturned flower pot keeps the tea in easy reach. 

French linen kitchen towels serve as table runners 
for the final touch of France in the 
Spirea Garden Party. 

Come back anytime to sit for awhile 
in a blue wooden chair 
and to drink a glass of iced mint tea. 
Porcelain ~ Adelaide Blue & White @ HomeGoods

All information is supplied as a courtesy for my readers 
with no compensation from any source. 
If you can spend hours reading 
magazines, catalogs, and design books,  
then you are in for a treat.

Ten bloggers are joining the five hostess bloggers 
for a tour of Spring Tablescapes. 
15 blogs over 3 days

Look at the hostesses! 
Everyone of them has 
style with pizzazz! 

I am so excited that 
Botanic Bleu 
is included.
After partying with me, 
hop, hop, hop on over 
to the other four Spring Tablescapes today. 

Come back on April 23-24 for 
TEN more inspiring Spring tables 
in The Scoop On...Spring Tablescapes.

Tuesday, April 22 Wednesday, April 23 Thursday, April 24

Please join me at these inspiring sites...



On the Road to Hico Antique Show 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Good friends who 
guarantee laughter invited a group 
 to go on a small road trip. 

Bluebonnets, antiques, and pie 
are all on the schedule. 

The hostess who invited us to her house 
for the weekend in the Texas countryside 
posted this photo of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes 
on her FB page. 
 It was taken near the entrance to her driveway. 

Hico Antique Show 2014 
here we come! 

April 25-26, 2014 ~ 10:00 am-5:30pm ~ Hico, TX
Entrance Fee Benefits Volunteer Fire Department 
What's on my wish list this year? 
White stoneware 
Old garden tools 
Vintage 1940s cotton tablecloths 

P I E 
at the Koffee Kup Cafe in Hico. 

Wild foxgloves 
Peach-colored Indian paintbrushes 
Pink scallop-edged cake plate 
My homemade muffins made 
a great impromptu photo shoot. 
Anyone else planning to be in Hico on 
Saturday, April 26, 2014? 
Always love to meet fellow bloggers. 
Send me an email message if you would like to meet. 
I can always eat another piece of pie with friends. 

Here we are, Hico Hotties, with some of our purchases in 2013. 
A fun-loving local saw us on the bench and laughingly asked, 
"Y'all the Hico Hotties?" 

Please join me at these inspiring sites...