Magazine Monday: Frenchies, French Style, and a Revelation

So, I worked out early at the gym today. So early that there was only one other woman there and the rest were guys doing their pre-work workout. The television was set to the sports channel. Ugh. Nothing but people going on about some guy with an angry face being fired. And the constant stream of ticker tape stats across the bottom of the screen. I did not figure out right away that they run the stats for three sports at a time – in this case, NASCAR, PGA and curling scores – so I spend a good 2-3 seconds to clarify that Arnold Palmer was not, in fact, competing against Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a bonspiel. How can people watch that all day? I had to go home and put on my strawberry heels for a while simply to rebalance my estrogen levels.

We had a very low key weekend. Serena, my assistant, had some surgery on Friday. Not only did I pay her medical expenses and drive her to and from the hospital, but I hung out with her on the sofa for most of the weekend so she would not break a stitch. Normally, she spends a good portion of her day sleeping. If I ever had to write her an honest reference letter for a future employer, I’d have to go with something along the lines of “Consider yourself lucky to get Serena to work for you.” But because she was told not to be active, suddenly she’s standing at the door all the time wanting to go for a walk. Sometimes I’m not sure why I employ her.

Anyhow, I managed to keep her calm by watching PVRed episodes of Will and Grace reruns. I’m convinced that Serena is Karen Walker, minus the drinking problem.

We also had some visitors in and we held court like a couple of ailing duchesses.

I spent some quality time with my magazines. How Pretty is April’s Romantic Homes?

Jacqueline deMontraval, you hit this one out of the park! It’s filled with french style. More and more this is becoming my favourite aesthetic, especially for bedrooms and baths. I bought a trumeau mirror for my bedroom that makes me very very happy. Perhaps this is the style I should employ for my little garden house rather than Chinoiserie / Palm Beach Chic. Decisions, decisions…

If I have to source some french goodness, I’ll be sure to turn to the lovely Lidy at French Garden House. These chairs are sold but, wow, are they ever pretty.

The other awesome read was March’s House & Garden.

There was a great article on one of my favourite topics: downsizing with style. In this case, a newly-empty-nested family with lots of pretty things (we’re talking Kees Van Dongen paintings, French bergères, Chippendale mirrors, an Elizabeth Beaton still life, and a Christian Liaigre bench. Sigh.) moved from a large family house in Chelsea Square to a flat in Knightsbridge (as one does…) I love it when small is beautiful.

The other article I loved was the one giving us a peek into Andrew Soloman’s gorgeous Notting Hill house (designed by pal, Robert Couturier – now why can’t we all have pals like that?) I love seeing where writers live and, as I’d read Soloman’s The Noonday Demon years ago, I was thrilled to find this article. Soloman’s place is amazing:

Better than the photos, though, is the article itself, which Soloman penned. You see, I’ve been wrestling a little with the content of this blog. On the one hand, I want to write about the beauty in the world – hence the title, Dwell on This Things – but I’ve always seen blogging as a platform for good. It’s a way to help make this world a little less lonely and for others to say, hey, I’m going through that too. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to ministry. But can you have a design blog that talks about domestic abuse or feeling broken at times or one’s faith struggles? Does talking about heavy stuff one minute and throw pillows the next work? It works for me, of course, but writing in a public forum must take others into consideration, no?

Soloman helped me answer that question with his words.
I tend to write about difficult topics in my books, and I used to think that I had to reconcile two diverse impulses: to chronicle life’s challenges and to collect objects and houses that I found beautiful. Over time, I’ve come to think that one can look squarely at struggle and yet find joy in splendour.
Amen to that.

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