French Country is Out?

by Liz Dowling

I went to a great presentation last month by Michael Boodro, the Editor-in-Chief of ELLE DECOR magazine.  He presented 25 years of interior design from the pages of Elle Decor, discussed design trends and his new book The Height of Style.  He focused on why some interiors are able to hold their appeal and others….Basically, what is in and what is OUT!

Michael Boodro

Michael Boodro

The presentation was held at the beautiful David Sutherland showroom at the D&D in New York.  Michael was a fabulous speaker and started the presentation with design styles that are out.

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I was ready!  Pen and paper poised… 1) Bare, stark walls.  2) Shabby Chic, wrinkly slipcovers.  3) Ashtrays.  4) Tall, towering plants.  5) Mission furniture was out, but is coming back.  6) French Country/Pierre Deux.  Wait, WHAT?  French Country is out?

Pierre Deux Wallpaper

Pierre Deux Wallpaper

I went full French County in my dining room 10 years ago!  I found a Pierre Deux wallpaper in 1998 that I fell in love with and carried a tiny scrap of it around in my wallet until I could finally use it.

When we moved, I took full advantage and decorated my dining room in French County with a vengeance.  I found French County chairs at a consignment store (5 of one style and 5 of another),  cleaned and reupholstered them.

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I used three fabrics: two Pierre Deux florals, one in blue and one in white, and a blue Pierre Frey for seat cushions.

Pierre Deux fabric

Pierre Deux

Pierre Frey fabric

Pierre Frey

Front and back of chairs

Front and back of chairs

I found old candle wall sconces and had them wired for lights.

Quirky porthole prints from 1826 are on one wall and an eagle from my grandmother is on the other.

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My chandelier is an old French fixture that I found at Metrolina Flea Market in Charlotte.  I had it repaired and rewired.  I painted the ceiling Benjamin Moore Almond Bisque to match the flowers in the wallpaper.

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Even though we don’t use the dining room enough, when the table is set and the candles are lit, I love it.

Painting in the dining room

A painting in the dining room

Michael ended the presentation by telling us about the biggest changes in interior design: kitchen’s and bathrooms taking over the house.  He showed us some amazing slides of kitchens and bathrooms 25 years ago and today.  Some of the new bathrooms are bigger than my little French Country dining room!

French poster in my dining room

French poster in my dining room

The Height of Style is a gorgeous book with photos of over 220 rooms by top decorators.  I am keeping my French Country dining room for now, and maybe if I hang onto it long enough, it will come back in!

the wry home

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Jean McCormick November 6, 2014 - 9:25 am

I love your French Country dining room. And I love french country.

Elizabeth Dowling November 6, 2014 - 12:20 pm

Me too! It is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It is coming back JM, I can just feel it

Melinda Sweet November 6, 2014 - 2:29 pm

Well, if it’s out, I’m out. My entire house is yellow and blue French fabrics and toile!

Elizabeth Dowling November 6, 2014 - 5:11 pm

Well, I happen to love your house. Cheerful and cozy. I think we can start a movement and bring French Country BACK!

Victoria Storke November 11, 2014 - 8:35 am

Liz – I believe that many “ins and outs” are aimed at those who don’t have a clue as to what they like or not, as well as being a ploy to “get rid of the old” with the purpose of “financing” a new decorator! I love French country as well as many other styles. Stick with what you like is my motto. Your taste is impeccable. And I love your blog! xx

Elizabeth Dowling November 11, 2014 - 9:10 am

Thank you so much! Such lovely comments. xx

Seth Bershadsky November 11, 2014 - 12:06 pm

Liz, it looks stunning. I’ve always loved Pierre Deux fabrics and the overall feel of that clean, sophisticated look will stand the test of time.

Elizabeth Dowling November 11, 2014 - 4:57 pm

Come on over for a dinner in my dining room then!!!

Anonymous October 20, 2019 - 5:09 pm

French country is a classic look. Classic never goes out of style! All this new look out there is “fad”. All neutral and bare, is not welcoming and warm. Using classic colors and patterns is much more inviting!

Becca February 25, 2020 - 9:42 am

Do you still have your french country things? I still love it and bought all I could while Pierre Deux was open. Wish there was some place similar now, if there is I have not found it!

Elizabeth Dowling February 27, 2020 - 9:29 am

No, I sold all of it in my most recent move…. 🙁
I love Pierre Deux still and now wish I had kept it!

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