If I may suggest – enlarge each photo by double clicking for the best experience.


Well, here it is. A huge post for a huge room. Grab your Bordeaux or a piping hot cup of French Pressed coffee – both of which in my “fragile” condition I am coveting and enjoy the ramblings and photos of and about… Ma Chambre.
In the spirit of the Parisienne Farmgirl room design motto (Design on a Centime) I wanted to follow up with my claim that the furniture in my room was less than $300 total. I suppose when you add the accessories highlighted here it is a bit more but the point is you do not have to have thousands to give something a French, Parisienne Chic look – just a little patience, a color scheme and a willing husband. Thankfully my babes’ attitude is, “How in the heck would I decorate it? As if I could do better so do what you want.” I mean come on, if my style was more Shabby Chic with cabbage roses and pink everywhere I suppose I could understand if he objected…maybe.
I know a masquline environment is important to alot of men but tell you what – that’s why God made barns, garages, basement weight rooms and Ok, I’ll even give you the office! Considering my strong personality his willingness works out wonderfully. My home is like my wardrobe – a way of expressing myself (and both are serisously lacking in many ways 🙂 but I would be miserable if I could not decorate the way I wanted to.
First let’s start with the good old “before” photographs and memories of the 240 hours that Hubby spent in turning our bedroom and my old dressing room into one grand appartement. I was very pregnant with Amélie and bunking down in the guest bedroom, the hallway looking like that scene from E.T. with all the plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling so that Aidan and I would not inhale any lead dust as he sanded windows that looked like they were barn windows they were so chipped, tore down a wall, pulled off paneling and stripped the 1930’s wallpaper off underneath, added lightsockets and of course patched and painted…the list goes on. The wall was not a supporting wall but when he smashed it down the ceiling sagged and he went scurrying up to the attic with his drill…et voila. Disaster avoided. The floor still is not finished and you can see the indentation where the wall was under the rug in some photos but the rest of the chaos was DONE two weeks before she was born. My hero.
And now for the inspiration…
My Mom gave me Claudia Strassers book, “The Paris Apartment” for my 23rd birthday just when I was really getting into trying to develop a style for myself. I knew I wanted something that learned towards a French Style, I knew I loved old things but being so young and newly married with very little funds well, there was a lot going on in my head that was not being expressed in my home. When I opened her book I almost cried, I was thinking, this is it! I was like someone had crawled in my head and sorted out for me what I had wanted to articulate. Clearly the architecture in the room here is much more interesting than that of my in-town farmhouse but that is OK since my style over the years has morphed into what I call, and this is a big shocker – “Parisienne Farmhouse”
Claudia’s taste is amazing and I practically memorized that book and set out to collect whatever I could to take my bedroom in the direction of these two inspirational photographs from the book – I even had the sheepskin rug and dress form (not shown) in my room at one time though since I have removed them. (Ironically since receiving that book my brother met and stayed at Claudia’s place in New York and when he found out Mom and I were fans he gave us her email – I guess her and Mom have a little email friendship thing going these days – how fun is THAT?)

Two repro pink Louis XVI chairs – I found these at a Junk/Antique sale at a local park. $20 a piece plus the cost of renting a steam cleaning machine for they were soiled with cat goo – yuck. And I repainted them a sort of metallic gold and white wash.
The nightstand in the middle of them is one of two that I paid way to much for but, I bought them from Mom and she had paid too much for them considering the condition they were in. I sanded the snot out of them, wallpapered the inside of the drawers and then crackled them, gilded them…you name it. Sadly our closets are the original closets from the previous two rooms and though I changed the doors to french doors there was no way we were going to move the frames even though we knew our new king size bed and nightstands would not fit between them. The turquoise dresser in the background was found in my Gramma’s small farm town at an auction for $35. It was a mess so I sanded it down to the nub and took a Tiffany box to the paint store to match the color. I call it my Tiffany dresser.

Fit for a queen indeed. The cornice above the bed was a Shipshewana (Indiana Amish Auction) find that I bought from Mom, (She had TWO and failed to tell me before the first one sold…WHAT???) But it was only $20, the drapes are Scalamandré and my Joel brought them home from a job that he was doing at a swanky golf course clubhouse years ago. They were going to throw them away. They are fully lined, fringed and HUGE. He brought me six panels total and a pile of patching curtain tie back tassels. I can not imagine what some designer paid for these back when! Scalamandré!!!! FREE SCALAMANDRÉ!!!!
The lovely sconce was part of my last big score over a year ago (when you are as frugal as I am your “finds” are few and far between) and it was part of the pile I selected in exchange for painting/faux finishing my girlfriends kitchen cabinets.
My beautiful coverlet was found at Kohls on clearance for $20, it has Fleur de Lis stitched into it. I do find that bedding that suits my eye is my biggest, biggest design challenge and I must be patient. It is very difficult to find bedding that matches what is going on in my imagination.
The repro Louis XVI bench was found at a local resale shop, complete with the 70’s speckled wood. The silk is torn, thus the doily but I repainted it and it looks like nothing I have ever seen. It was $85.
The pier mirror in the corner was a hand me down from family friends as I was growing up. I have had it since I was about 10.

The corner cab was here when we moved in 6.5 years ago. It was white and plain. I am still not 100% pleased with how I painted it but it will do.

Another view – my lovely “desk” (Read card table) covered with a sheer that I made for our old bedroom. It will have to do til I find the perfect one.

This deco-ish vanity is, I know, not very Marie Antoinette but it was given to me by my Gram when I was 14 and is very sentimental to me. I can’t even bring myself to paint it. I L-O-V-E the design in the mirror highlighted in another photograph down further.

I do love my collection of “Gigi’s” as I call them. You know, that famous turn of the century Parisienne that you can find and every 3rd garage sale or antique store. I love the movie Gigi and I smile every time I look at this collection. They were gifts or found for a pittance at “every 3rd garage sale or antique store.”
The huge print in the middle was another find that made my day a few years back. Originally price $250 I found it facing backwards on the floor behind a cabinet at a local junk store. I either paid $90 or $65, I can’t recall. That’s alot for me but again my purchases are so few and far between and I knew I was not just going to stumble on another like this for a long time.

I love that funky little brown pillow. $5 local junk shop. Amélie in the foreground…priceless.

This coffee table was the third piece of furniture we ever bought. I found it at a Pink Elephant resale shop for $50. The legs have great detail – too bad I forgot to photograph them. The retro chair I found at a local antique store for $25. It is a monster but I got it in and out of the car and up the stairs by myself. It adds another 1940’s “glamourpuss” element to the room that is really highlighted when I put up my silver tinsel tree next to it at Christmas time. Yes, we put a Christmas tree in our bedroom. It is so romantic.
The coffee table is hosting one of my favorite, though small collections of white statuary. I love statuary that is a reproduction of ancient works of art and Venus de Milo is my favorite. I vowed the next time I go to Paris I will have enough money saved to by an alabaster, miniature version of “This Kiss” at the Rodin Museum. A mere 650 Euro.
The French Provincial dresser was $30 at a local junk shop and covered in smoke goo. I washed it off and stained it. I have yet to change that horrible hardware but it is great storage. My little hat box collection and family photos now have a home.

Though it’s not her – I do call this one Marie. ($65) Nipple-n-all. You can find these at some furniture stores but they are the P.C. version and quite frankly – I like the boob. The Paris prints to the right were in a gift basked from Mom one birthday. On my first trip (2000) I made it a point to find the streets portrayed in the prints.

A close up of the pillow pile. Again, I am so picky, this little collection here has taken 10 years. But the entire pile did not cost more than $50. The one in the foreground is from France but I bought it here. The sconce is part of the cabinet barter and the shades are from a dirty, nasty little market that I found in Paris one afternoon. I found 5 of them and a Bible in French. I was thrilled. They were 6 Euro.

Can you stand it? These curtain tie backs are SO lovely to me. I bought 5 years ago and the Vanves flea market in Paris from that one lady with all the fabulous fabrics. Come on, you know the one. They were 65 Euro and worth every centime. They are HUGE and the drapes they must have held back must have been incredible.
The rattan headboard was found in the garbage a mile from my house last year. AHHHHH!!!!

I bought this bolster from the same lady at Vanves two years before the tie backs. 60 Euro. I have it stuffed with whatever I could find. I have never made a proper pillow for it. Shame on me.

These lamps were my first garage sale find after getting married. I will never forget going garage saleing with Joel that first time. They were $12 for the pair and 14 years ago that was alot. I have them covered with “A” hankies that have showed up in birthday baskets from Mom over the years.

A prized possession. A gift to me as a little girl from my Great Aunt Eliza. My entire childhood mom kept it on HER dresser for safe keeping and it drove me crazy…then finally it found it’s way to mine. It’s “Occupied Japan” – can you blame her for guarding it for me? Though it was torture – merci Maman!
There is that mirror detail too.

My dresser top contents have changed very little over the years and are more sentimental than practical. Though I wear No. 5 just about every day the little Venizia reminds me of my early days, dancing and falling in love with Joel. The Geurlain meteorties are from a family trip to Water Tower when I was 17. We had just moved to Illinois and I was miserable with hatred towards my dad for moving me from the only life I had every known in Michigan. We went downtown at Christmas time to try to have fun as a family but all I remember is misery. He bought me those multi-colored makeup balls. He probably doesn’t even remember. But I do.

In high school I loved mythology. I found it so romantic and the most romantic story of all was Pygmallion. So much so that as a sneaky 9th grader I tore the story out of my English book. I still have it. I of course screamed when I found this beveled glass print of “Pgmallion” at a local antique market. It was $85 but simply had to be mine.
The gray velvet jewelry box is from 1939 and has an inscription on the bottom. It was a Christmas gift of pearls so many years ago.

A close up of one of the nightstands and my bridesmaids bouquet of lavender from my Brother and SIL wedding last year. I love my closet but figured I was bordering on the ridiculous with this post anyways so I decided against showing you the inside but they are painted the same color as the bedroom ceiling and mine has a to-die-for little chandelier hanging in it along with a collection of vintage hats and a great old Marilyn Monroe “How to Marry a Millionaire” poster. That is a white can-can over the window too.

This is another jewelry box with a Marie Antoinette type photo oh it. Oh, how I wish I had more jewelry boxes, I love them. It was $2 at a local flea market. The beaded vintage gloves I bought years ago for $6 at the Vintage Clothing Show.

Joel brought me this little chandelier home from a job site. Free…mais bien sur. And the shades are from Paris. I bought them from a friend. Though you can’t tell due to the settings I had on my camera they are the funkiest shade of coral/orange which I love cause they only match about two things in the room.

This chandelier is out of my brother in laws basement. Half of the shades are from Paris that I bought from the same friends (Hi Kerry!) and the other half I had. The fixture was free, all I had to do was have it rewired which is never cheap. But hey, the light itself would have been $600 in a Chicago antique store and more at a boutique so $100 to rewire is not that bad.
Whew. That is enough already! If I don’t upload another photo for a week that will be OK with me.
So there you have it. You can see between still feeling kind of sick, summer plans, my garden and the size of this post why I have not been around so much lately. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have not had a chance check out the other Design on a Centime posts.
Parisienne Farmhouse.
“Pied-a-terre to Maison des Pierres Chic”