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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Design on Friday 2

Friday, January 20, 2017

F R E N C H   D E S I G N 
on Friday 

~  Textiles  ~


T O I L E 

Is there any doubt toile is one of the quintessential fabrics that defines French style? 

These bolts of toile were found in Marche Saint Pierre last fall while visiting Paris. 

Toile (twäl) began in Ireland, and after becoming popular in France in the late 18th century, was produced in Jouy-en-Josas, a small town on the outskirts of Paris. Toile de Jouy means cloth from Jouy-en-Josas. 

To be considered toile, a fabric's pattern is usually a two-toned complex pastoral scene. Scenes of farm life, picnics, flowers, animals, or people in pastoral settings are distinctive toile patterns. One color with tonal variations often has a white or ivory background like the red, green, and blue fabrics shown. 

However, other color combinations have become popular in home decorating. Examples are the beige and brown fabric at the bottom of the photo and the red with vibrant yellow background fabric barely visible at the top of the photo. 


Doesn't this toile pattern just make you happy and make you want to dance? Even the dog is joining in the Maypole festivities. This Pierre Deux Delice de Quatre Saisons pattern is one of my favorite toiles. Another scene in this pattern shows a winter sleigh pulled by one horse. 

Every Christmas, I regret not buying some of the Pierre Deux Delice de Quatre Saisons toile. The sleigh scene would make beautiful holiday placemats. Since Pierre Deux went out of business a few years ago, the only places to find this fabric are through eBay, Etsy, or antique stores. 


If you like French Country decor and want to add the look to your home, use toile fabric pillows for a quick infusion of French Country.

The lamps in my master bedroom are traditional style brass, but when combined with the blue and white toile pillows and the blue and white impressionist print, the lamps also look French country with their curved edge backplates.


Toile coordinates beautifully with solid colors like white, with scalloped embroidered edges, with small checks, with buffalo checks, with stripes, and with small print florals. Add a toile to any of these others and the decorating style becomes French Country.

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F R E N C H   D E S I G N 
on Friday 

Come back each Friday for another post in a design series that shows 1] a photo taken in France that illustrates French design and 2] how that design translates into our homes. 

How do we know what IS French design? When selecting furnishings, lighting, and accessories, how do we decide what to use? Botanic Bleu will be providing examples straight from France through photos taken by me. Together we will study the photos. 

For those wishing to have an authentic touch of French style, visit Botanic Bleu to go to the source through snapshots of French architecture, houses, textiles, metal work, food, woodwork, landscapes... and discover inspiration for creating 

a French-inspired garden and home. 

* * * * * 
For French Country Design from others, see Botanic Bleu's Pinterest board, French Country Design, and a group Pinterest board to which Botanic Bleu contributes, French Country Decor Ideas

For more French style straight from the source, click on the French Inspiration links in the sidebar to read sites devoted to French joie de vivre

* * * * *
Did you get any ideas to make your home's style  
French Country? 


  1. Beautiful, Judith! I've always loved toile. The way you've incorporated it into your home is just lovely. Looking forward to this series. :)

  2. Honestly, I've never been a big fan of toile, but I like how you paired the toile pillows with the solid color ones. Very attractive!

    The more I think about it, I believe I've always been turned off by how "busy" the toile patterns are. But when paired with solids, the toile seems to calm down (if that makes any sense). :-)

    Thank you for the history of toile and for opening my eyes to different ways of using toile!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  3. I've always loved toile and use it in my guest bedroom. Thanks for teaching us about French Country Design.
    I'm looking forward to more in the series.

  4. I had no idea that toile began in Ireland. Maybe that's why I love it so much! This is a great series, Judith.

  5. Beautiful photos of toile! It was a sad day when Pierre Deaux closed. You're bed is the very essence of beautiful French style. Looking forward to more!

  6. Hello Judith, they are absolutely gorgeous! I have always loved Toile ever since I can remember. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

  7. Very very pretty, loving your French style. Have a great weekend.

  8. Judith, I'm so happy you are doing this series. Your take on French design for our own homes is realistic and beautiful. I'm a fan of toile and recently added an Alpine toile pillow sham from Pottery Barn. At Christmas, a friend found teddy bears made of a darling toile. They were at the grocery store and very inexpensive. She sent me three, one in red/white, black/white, and green/white. I was going to give them as gifts, but as yet haven't decided which color to keep for myself. Decisions!!!!

  9. That Pierre dues toile is one of my favorites... I want to make curtains for my master bedroom in it but unfortunately I cannot find enough in the color way I want. I keep looking, but le sigh, I am going to have to choose another toile, *sob*. Any ideas?

  10. Loving the toile, it always brings up such a warm feeling of a beautiful day in the french countryside.

  11. Hello Judith,
    I just found out recently that toile began in Ireland ~ who would have thought?! I'm excited to read your Friday Design on Friday posts! I'll have to read back through your posts to read them all. Visiting France is on my bucket list of places to visit someday.

    When I was 19 and an exchange student to Germany, my exchange partner's sister and friends were going over to Paris for the weekend and asked if I wanted to go... I stayed with my partner because I thought it was the right thing to do. Missed my chance to go, so... I'm still hoping to get there!

    I love that you are sharing photos you took there.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Barb :)


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