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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Can't Go to France? Bring a Little France to You

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Can't go to France,
but the longing for France dances in your mind daily? 

When you have friends going, hearing all their plans, 
but you can't go due to work, or family illnesses, or not in the budget.  

What to do when you can't go to France? 

bring a little France to you. 

Here are suggestions for ways to 
bring a little France into a favorite spot in your house. 
Bring France to a place that you see every day, 
in full view from the kitchen and living room. 

Start with a French blue flower pot and add an old world live foxglove, 
one that takes center stage to add a touch of  
French country gardens and Parisian flower markets. 

Design tip:  Notice the multiple uses of blue... 
flower pot, large floral framed print on the stone wall, 
small picture on the chest, blue in the books, paperweight... 
The color bleu helps unify the grouping. 

Add another touch of greenery with preserved boxwood 
tucked into an empty glass candle holder 
that has golden scenes from Paris. 
The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Conciergerie... 
Scenes that bring Paris to you... 

Display books about France. 
The Heart of FRANCE and 

Just seeing the books brings to mind France's beauty. 
Having them in sight invites you to browse 
through them to take a 30-minute tour while having coffee. 
You may not be there in person, 
but your mind and spirit can be there as you daydream 
looking through photos and reading about French scenery. 

Place the boxwood at the base of a small lamp atop the stack of books. 

Design tip: Once again color has been repeated. This time, gold. 
Gold spine of the top book, gold design on the glass candle jar, 
and gold picture frame in the background. 

Sometimes good things come from accidents. 
Or perhaps, realizing not all is lost when accidents happen. 

The small lamp once had a cherry wood base 
with a blue and white teacup filled with artificial pastel flowers. 
The lamp was knocked onto the floor shattering the saucer 
and breaking the handle of the teacup. 
Miraculously, the teacup was still intact. 

So many memories of good times traveling to Salado 
with a dear friend, now deceased, are tied to the little lamp. 
Both my friend and I bought this same lamp on one of those trips. 

In the French spirit of treasuring the imperfect as well as the perfect, 
the handle was glued together, but the teacup was not glued back to the lamp base.  
Painting the lamp base white gave it new life and an update. 
Had the lamp not been broken, it would have been unlikely 
that it would have been painted, and for certain, it would always 
have retained the blue and white teacup. 

Now the lamp can hold any number of small things on its base. 
At Christmas time there was a small white vase with the word Noel. 
The accident paved the way for changing the lamp's look 
with each new grouping on the chest of drawers. 

Bring a little more France to you... 

Add a small picture of French lavender like this one 
purchased in France while touring lavender fields in Provence. 

Souvenirs from previous trips to France 
bring vivid memories filled with details of authentic French life. 
When you cannot create a new travel experience, 
relive a favorite memory of a previous trip. 
Postcards make excellent small photos to frame, 
and the photos often are from a viewpoint not available to travelers. 

Design tips: The small picture's frame echoes the gold of the larger print's frame. 
The beading and corner accents in the wooden frame reflect French design. 

With flowers, French scenes, books about France, 
and a souvenir picture you can 

Bring a Little France to You

What is your favorite way to bring a little France 
(or insert country of choice) to yourself? 

Food comes to mind, but it is hard to incorporate 
into an arrangement on a chest... 

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makes it easy to find for re-reading in the future. 



  1. Good morning, Judith. Love your ideas today! I've been tucking little French touches in here and there in our cottage. Baskets and vintage finds along with lavender are my favorites.
    Hope you have a lovely one. We are getting more snow!

  2. Tres charmant as always- what a lovely vignette- love that classic french blue color and the little details- I also love incorporating lovely french themed books in my decor.

  3. I love all of your pops of blue! SO pretty!

  4. Morning Judith,
    I enjoyed all your tips and pretty photos. I also enjoyed the lamp and teacup story. Precious memory of a friend, thank you for sharing. I too tuck French items and meanings throughout our home.

  5. That's a beautiful spot accented by your signature color. :)

  6. You had me at the blue French pot.

    I have The Heart of France on display in our guest room right now - great minds think alike!

  7. Judith, how beautiful! I love the touches all through your house!! I'm hoping to start transitioning to a French country style before too long! Have a wonderful day! Hugs!

  8. Reminds me of the scene in Its A Wonderful Life where she hangs up posters over the windows and decorates the inside Hawaiian to replace the experience of not going on their travel honeymoon. Wonderful spirit!
    I found a travel sized Paris you might be interested in, I just made one for my brother, but can't take credit for the fun idea:

  9. Hi Judith, thank you for a presious post, and all its Frenchness with a perfect French accent.
    Well you know I tuch more then a little French here and there in my home.... I try to surround myself with enough of it one way or another.

    Your chest is divine as is the stone wall, all your vignettes of tucked pieces add all the rightness to your beautiful cottage.

    See you soon my dear.


  10. Ah, a subject very close to my heart, since my surroundings are very important to me and my mood!

    OK, the way I bring France into my home is with choice vintage pieces. I change out those pieces according to the season. Natural elements such as aged wood, stone, fresh flowers and white dinnerware on the aged pine table really add a desirable effect to the décor. In the winter, I've used shed, bleached deer antlers and of course now for spring, it's fresh flowers.

    The French countryside mood to me simply involves natural elements and I like an open space with a combination of elegant elements (some crystal chandeliers!) living with more humble pieces such as a worn table with bleached sea shells...OH THE LIST GOES ON!

    Lovely blue Judith! That is my color for accents against my white and gray! Have a fabulous Friday, Anita

  11. Love, love, love this chest and vignette. Beautiful. Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me.

  12. Hi Judith, I love how you mixed the bue and gold! I have been adding French accents to my home for little while and your post has inspired me to do more! Thank you for sharing with us and have a wonderful day:)

  13. I love all your little touches of France in your home. Thank you for the four and tips!

  14. It's all lovely Judith!! Thank you for the vacation in a post :^)
    Your lamp story makes me smile....once upon a time, my Dad had a square chunk of thick wood lying in his shop. I prevailed upon him :^) to make me a lamp base with little feet, then I added the crooked brass wire carrier and the lampshade. Later, I found a wardian case that just fits the wooden base. I change out the décor to suit the season...or a whim....and think special thoughts about my Dad!!! Now I will think of you as well :^)

  15. Very lovely tips for bring France into our homes! Love the bleu and the botanical print. The story of the lamp is priceless. Sometimes accidents do help us create something new from the broken pieces! Have a wonderful, creative day!


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