The understated elegance of French country decor appeals to Southwest homeowners — like Scottsdale resident and interior designer Lou Corey — who were simply overwhelmed by the heaviness of Tuscan design.
“There’s a more romantic feel to this,” says Corey, waving an arm across her French-inspired dining room. Striped walls in shades of butterscotch are offset by a dramatic black painted ceiling and veiled chandelier. Tapestries accent the walls, and luxurious soft golden window coverings hang to the floor.
“I had Tuscan up until about a year ago,” says Corey, owner of Luxury Concepts by Design. But when she moved into her new home with her two teenage children, it was France, not Tuscany, that inspired her.
“I really like that it’s a little softer, but still with bold colors,” she says.
French provincial or French country style is characterized by a rustic, Old World look. Often implementing wood pieces with clean, straight lines, rusted metals and roughly painted plaster walls, the color palette for French country runs the gamut. Burnt oranges and reds combine with bright greens and soft ocean blues and are often punctuated — as Corey did in her dining room ceiling — with a dramatic use of black and gray.
“Black and white is big in French country,” says Corey, “along with regal patterns like houndstooth, and mixing a tapestry fabric with animal prints. My dining room is a little dramatic for most people.”
She says clients ask for a toned-down version, choosing to do just one wall of their home in stripes, for instance.
Stone is another hallmark of French country decor, found most often in fireplaces and floors. Corey didn’t replace her adobe hearth with stone; instead she faux painted a stone mural over the top, creatively (and affordably) replicating the look. On her two-floor-high living room walls, she used murals to create the illusion of small village windows. Real window boxes were attached underneath and filled with silk plants, giving the room the feeling of an elegant old chateau.
Luxury Concepts by Design
Lou Corey, owner, Scottsdale, (480) 767-1853
15770 N. Greenway-Hayden Loop, Suite No. 103 Scottsdale (480) 991-2646
4225 E. Camelback Road Phoenix (602) 778-9781