Tag Archives: design

Creativity at Chateau Dumas

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry,

and see a fine picture every day of his life,

in order that worldly cares may not obliterate

the sense of the beautiful

which God has implanted in the human soul.
                                                             ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas. Allow enough time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the third in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along with me?)

looking upward

Discovering  Chateau Dumas in the tiny village of Auty, France is a study in creativity, beauty and inspiration. My travels to Chateau awakens my slumbering senses with panoramic views of the French countryside and villages. The colors, fragrances and rustic beauty of this Mediterarean region are mesmorizing. It is hard to take it all in.

chateau northeast side fav

Arrival at the 18th-century chateau feels as if I am tranformed into a French Impressionistic painting. My spirit is renewed with the expansive vistas, tranquil gardens and the country elegance of Chateau Dumas. How I wish I could linger long into the night in the gardens.

Everywhere there is a vignette, art or indoor and outdoor beauty that makes me pause and catch my breath. This journey to Chateau Dumas is what is needed for reflection and the rediscovery of creativity that has grown fallow.

Even the 300-year-old marble stairs to the second floor are amazing. I leave my sandals off at the bottom of the stairs and feel the cool, time-worn marble underneath my feet as I climb to the second floor. I wonder if horses raced up the stairs during the upheaval of the French Revolution or the Napoleonic Wars.

main with shoes3FAV

main with shoes fav

The elegant second floor hallway is stunning and is accentuated with several examples of neo-classical trompe l’oeil–a style of painting that gives an illusion of reality. I look several times above the doorway as the corbels appear nearly realistic and three-dimensional. Wait. Do the doors appear as if they are paneled? It is amazing how the contrasts of light and dark create an illusion of something that is not.

Contrasts in shape and texture abound on the second floor. The gorgeous striped French linen ticking frames the double French doors at one end of the hall and  luxurious, elegant red silk drapes the paned windows on the east side. Subtle nuances of pattern continuance mingle throughout the hall–the highly polished antique terra cotta floor tile laid on the diagonal, the illusionary diamond-shaped panel inserts on the doors and the antique flax linen heart with red embroidery set on a diagonally-placed terra cotta marble plant stand. Brilliant. The hall so creatively reflects balance and order that it feels quite tranquil.

second floor hallway FAV

tile floor second floor FAV

hallwayfav2

above door second floorFAV

linen heart on marble table FAV

There are four guest rooms on this section of the second floor–each unique and beautifully appointed. My breath is taken away by the beauty of these rooms. The guest room that I have is superb with a dramatic black chandelier, black marble fireplace, cameo-inspired border, gorgeous khaki green silk drapery–like a fine lady’s ball gown–that  frames the extravagant views of the French countryside in the valley below. A lovely antique French chair in the corner is tailored with finely-crafted handspun flax linen. There is a tasteful white French writing desk in the other corner. I think I shall become a permanent guest in this room–at least for the remainder of the summer…then into fall…or perhaps, until Christmas. Dream.

handle and key2

 bedroom view FAV

writing desk bedroom 1

writing desk bedroom 2

Bedroom Window FAV

bedroom window and view fav

An ensuite bath is the perfect ending to the day with the deep-soaking claw foot tub set on a golden marble floor. Windows to the east let in the early morning sun, and the customized chandelier designed to look like rain drops provides subtle lighting in the evening. What more could a woman want?

Bathtub FAV

Bathroom chandelier FAV

curtain finial FAV

Bathroom window FAV

Additional guest rooms are to the north on the second floor, too. The circular stairs to the third floor leading to more individually appointed guest rooms is exquisite. The wood banister amazing. I wonder what kind of wood was used on the banister.

Third floor stairs FAV

third floor stairs close FAV

millinery atelier

Across the manicured gardens is the Chateau’s expansive coach house–the second floor of the west wing is the dedicated millinery studio. The north lower level of the carriage house features a lovely little Chateau shop filled with vintage French linens, white-on-white embroidered sheets, pieces of machine and handmade lace, antique fine cotton night dresses/slips and rustic linen shirts, aged-silver and many other vintage French items. Local artisans’ jewelry, lavender sachets made with vintage ticking and linen, and fine French bath products are beautifully displayed throughout.

Carriage House FAV

carriage house climbing roses

carriage house shop FAV

Exterior wall hugging stairs provides one entrance to the millinery atelier. Under the portico is another example of neo-classical trompe l’oeil opposite the teak garden bench. Clever.

carriage house north wing FAV

carriage house window FAV

west entry to carriage house

carriage house through portico to east carriages FAV

portico with teak bench FAV

portico trompe l'oleil

potico trompe l'oleil FAV 2

southeast carriage house stairs FAV

I sneak a peak at the upstairs studio to catch a glimpse of what is to come in days ahead as we learn under the expert tutoring of Dillon Wallwork–a Royal Milliner– in a millinery masterclass (hatmaking). My anticipation for the masterclass grows–there are inspiring sample hats on display on four to five foot high antique carved wood hat stands, black and white striped hat boxes for our creations, sewing machines old and new, wood hat molds for crowns and brims and hatmaking supplies.

green hat

straw hat

studio hats

 cupboard with hat box FAV

Frister Sewing Machine FAV

Fister Sewing Machine Close FAV

Singer Treadle FAV

Hat molds FAV

Hat brims FAV

Hat molds and feathers FAV

straw hats materials FAV

Off to the right on a display table is a brochure about the International summer straw hat festival held in nearby Septfonds–Estivales du Chapeau. Tomorrow. Septfonds is the heart of French straw hat making.

Hat Festival Ad FAV

More about the millinery masterclass, one of the world’s great Estivales du Chapeau, a visit to a 1824 French hat factory and other sights of  a dream trip to France in the days ahead as they unfold.

à bientôt mes amis!

Read more at French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

Today I am hooked on everything French. Find out what other people are hooked on.

Visit The Inspired Room for others’ inspirations about creating a beautiful life.

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Filed under France, Gardening, Sewing, Travel, Vintage

Inspired by Red

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies.
~Christopher Marlowe

it only takes a spark

I wake up on a Saturday morning thinking, “red might be a fantastic color for the bedroom!” I quickly quench the idea for a simple reason…I don’t like the color red! The thought persists, and I keep dreaming about red!

Dreaming about Red Inspirations

Dreaming about Red Inspirations

Surprisingly, I hear my own voice asking, “why not? The splash of red might be just the spark needed to renew our spirits!” I am becoming convinced that red accents along with soft yellow walls will give the room a warm, French-inspired feeling. Maybe, it is just what we need! The notion gradually grows and takes hold: “I MUST have red accents in this room!”

What color must you simply have in your home?

A few days later, I spot a fantastic buffalo checked silk taffeta in raspberry red–perfect for the window treatment! The taffeta curtain is layered over a creamy lace curtain, and sweeps across the large window with a black velvet tieback made with vintage millinery posies. Oh, it is so romantic! Read more about romantic millinery magic! But that’s not all…

 Romantic Millinery Tieback

say it in red

Next, a little red is needed to set off the cream bed linens. Victorian layover pillow shams, made using a single color in an outline stitch on cotton called redwork, will fit the 125 year-old Rose Cottage. Even though simplistic, the stitching on a crisp soft-white cotton using red embroidery floss can capture the center stage of the room. The “Good Morning” and “Good Night” shams are added to the pillow collection on the antique brass bed.

Victorian Layover Shams in Redwork

seeing a bit more red

Having a penchant for antique and vintage textiles, I search through the linens stashed carefully away in a dresser. I find some lovely woven damask linens, Italian redwork, a penny redwork square of a single rose, and a treasured woven red shaw/throw from an Italian adventure over a year ago. My favorites are the antique French red bird toile–I just can’t get enough of it! There is a fabulous Tuesday Toile party going on at Pretty Organized–don’t miss out if you are smitten with toile!

While there are variations in the reds, it all works and the reds play very nicely together.

Redwork Damask with Monogram P and 6 Inch French Lace

French Linen with Monogram D

 

 inspirations from red

 1. Red is one of those colors that a little goes a long way. Just enough red adds energy, inspiration and warmth to a room, too much red…well…it is just too much.

2. Surprise yourself — do something unexpected to create joy in your home and for those you love!

3. Be open to new ideas and inspirations from unexpected things or places.

4. Simple changes helps see everyday things with new eyes.

5. Using slight variations of a color or a theme can add more interest.

What are your inspirations or insights when you step out of your “decorating comfort zone” and try something new?

The French-inspired look is dreamy and amazingly romantic. Though fabulous for cold winter months, the bedroom will need to to feel lighter with softer colors and fabrics for the warm summer months that are just around the corner.

red-bed-and-settee1

This gives me another idea as a creative frugalist: two season decorating–switching up the colors and textiles so rooms have a new look based on the season. Now, it is time to start planning the warm weather look! The perfect place to start is a luxurious antique silk and damask bolster pillow from Rose Mille to create a summer “bed of roses!” 

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Finding Everyday Beauty

beauty essentials

Let’s face it–some mornings it is important to feel pampered! One way to feel pampered is by creating beauty–even in small, ordinary ways.

Finding Beauty in the Early Morning Sun

Finding Beauty in the Early Morning Sun

I notice that by creating a small place of beauty at Rose Cottage helps me to feel a bit pampered. Creating small places of beauty puts a hectic day on “pause” — even if it is just for a minute!

This morning, I take a moment or two to look at something beautiful–a rose in a treasured crystal vase, a precious photo in a vintage frame, a piece of exquisite French lace–my perspectives and feelings about the day change. Do you notice that even your breathing changes when you look at something beautiful?

Reflecting on Beauty at Rose Cottage

Reflecting on Beauty at Rose Cottage

capturing beauty in the ordinary

There is one room at Rose Cottage that creates a feeling of being pampered–the powder room. It is truly a “ladies room!” Guests at Rose Cottage sometimes ask if they could eat their dinner in that room! The Victorian dressing table with a white carrara marble top is the perfect tableau for creating little vignettes…beckoning a moment of reflection in sometimes over-scheduled lives. The dressing table has a “still life” that includes a lovely soft peach feather millinery from Rose Mille. (More about Mi’s feather millinery from Got Magic?…Believe…Bloom! post.)

Soap, Silver and a Feather Millinery Puff

Soap, Silver and a Feather Millinery Puff

The bright morning sunshine and brillant blue sky is nature’s inspiration this morning! I am freshing up Rose Cottage and creating a few places of beauty out of ordinary objects. It is a good day for pampering, and feeling inspired!

How do your surround yourself with beauty?
Welcome friends from The Inspired Room! How do you surround yourself with beauty?

 

 

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Got Magic?…Believe…Bloom!

everyday magic!

Do you dream big dreams? Do you seek to create “magic” in the world around you? Do you make magic in the everyday things in your home, with your family or in other aspects of your life?

I am inspired to create magic when I see the possibilities of re-thinking “raw’ materials. Suzzanne’s 100 yards of rainbow ribbons (seam binding) in her studio are magical, and provides the opportunity to look at the everyday with a new perspective. Stop by and take a look at Suzzane’s creativity!

Now, look around you–what can you do with something stashed away in that box in your cupboard? How can you use something you already have in a new and fresh way?

rm_magic_0209How do you create magic with ordinary things?

do you believe?

What? You say you can’t create magic in your life and home? The first place to start creating magic and making the ordinary extraordinary–whatever that ordinary is–begins by believing it is possible!

Easier said than done! We all doubt our own ability to create some magic sometimes. Yes, it is true! One of my favorite Christmas movies is Miracle on 34th Street. You know the story line–everything changes by the end of the movie. Why? Because of belief in the improbable!

rm_believe_0209

 Do you believe you can create magic in your life and home?

get inspired

 

Rose Mille is one of my favorite “magic stores” to feel inspired and energized. There are so many beautiful, extra-ordinary materials to help create magic! Mi’s several boxes of vintage hand-dyed osterich millinery are so amazing-the texture, color and the movement of the feathers! The feather millinery is captivating! Box full of Magic

I leave with a very soft, luxurious peach feather. It looks just like a hollywood diva’s powder puff! It will be perfect on the dressing table for a little touch of magical glam each morning!

rm_bloom_02091

bloom…create magic and magical moments in the everyday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Will you leave a line about how you are creating magic in your life?

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romantic millinery magic

a still life with a bouquet of flowers

The skies are gray at Rose Cottage, and winter’s uninvited chill is lingering a bit too long. Snow is once again in the forecast. I am longing for warm sunshine again! Are you feeling this way, too? Wouldn’t you love to walk out to the garden and bring in a huge bouquet of freshly-picked flowers…spicy sweet pink roses, armloads of fragrant peonies and stately blue bird delphinium…into your home?

Maybe, a bouquet that is somewhat reminiscent of famous sumptuous Dutch oil paintings from the 17th century, such as Jan van Huysum’s Still Life with a Bouquet of Roses and Other Flowers? I can almost smell the old rose fragrance of the bourbon roses in that painting!

a reinvented 3-D still life

There aren’t any van Huysum’s and, in the middle of below freezing temps, the gardens are not in bloom at Rose Cottage! (Sigh!) So I envision my own version of a still life using a bouquet of millinery roses and other flowers. My still life will be a curtain tieback on the bedroom raspberry red buffalo check silk curtain. But, I will need to gather a lot of flowers–it needs to have the feel of a van Huysum!

Some of the bouquet’s elements are carefully wrapped in tissue and tucked away in a vintage hatbox. Other elements are currently in service in another small arrangement; time to “re-purpose” that one.

Lovely Vintage Millinery

Lovely Vintage Millinery

Realizing there aren’t quite enough millinery for the voluptuous bouquet of my dreams, I am off to Rose Mille–just up the river, to pick more flowers for the still life. Mi has fabulous millinery to add to the bouquet!

The white silk rose from Dulken and Derrick gathered at Rose Mille is spectacular with the gently rolled petals!

Vintage Millinery Trio

Vintage Millinery Trio

 

 

 

Mi has a gorgeous small vintage piece of  “drapey” black velvet–perfect for the base of the bouquet!

 

 

For a bit of the unexpected, I decide to use a few pieces of vintage spun cotton fruit gently sprinkled with fairy dust–glass glitter.

Some Gathered Millinery and Spun Cotton Fruit

 

 

 

 

Some Gathered Millinery and Spun Cotton Fruit

creating millinery magic

Now, it is time to create some millinery magic! Some of the little beauties need a gentle freshening. Mi glady shares a tip with me: simply hold the flower over a steaming tea kettle, and the petals will unfurl right before your eyes! It takes only a few minutes to liven up more than 50 pieces of millinery.

The black velvet is cut the length and width of the tieback needed for the curtain. I decide to use some pellon as a stabilizer between the front and back of the black velvet. Two six inch pieces of black silk cording are cut to serve as the hooks, and each are looped at each end of the tie back. The black velvet is stitched with the fronts facing, leaving a small opening. The velvet is turned right-side out through the small opening. The tieback is gently steamed, and the opening is whip-stitched closed. Now it is time for more fun!

Romantic Millinery and Great-Grandmother Myrtle's Needlecase

Shades of White: Romantic Millinery and Great-Grandmother Myrtle's Needlecase

The millinery is laid out in a design that balances size, color and texture. The first step is to create a base with the vintage black and green velvet leaves. The leaves are carefully handstitched to the velvet.

Starting at the inside end (opposite of where the tieback hooks to the wall), the roses, apple blossums, flower buds and spun cotton are carefully stitched to the tieback.

After careful stitching, the romantic millinery magic is done! Time to see the results on the raspberry silk curtain.

Romantic Millinery Tieback (2)

 

 

 

 

Romantic Millinery Tieback (2)

 

What do you think about this still life of romatic roses and other flowers?

Can you leave me a comment below about how you have created millinery magic? Or just let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by for a chat!

 

Woman Making Millinery Magic (c.1893)

Woman Making Millinery Magic (c.1910)

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