Style: Perfect Imperfections (with photo updates)

Jan 11, 2011 | Parisienne Farmhouse Design, Parisienne Farmhouse Design (TM) | 23 comments

(I forgot a couple of photos and just added them Wednesday morning!)

I don’t prefer perfection.

In human beauty, in nature and mostly in interior design.  
I think perfection is over-rated.
I am talking about going beyond the oh-so-trendy chippy white paint.
I’m talking about crumbling walls, furniture with ratty edges, plaster cracks and sooted provençal fireplaces.
I know it’s not for everyone – it wouldn’t be fun if it was!

I have a long love of the second hand, the previously used, the antique and if I EVER built a new home it would be made with rough skimmed plaster, rock walls, vintage terra cotta roof tiles and wood plank floors – not tongue and groove… just wood planks, side by side, with inconvienient spaces where crumbs could and and will fall.
One of the reasons I am so attracted to true French style (if you EVER really want to hear me rant, ask me what I think true French style is not :)… One of the reasons I am so attracted to true French style is that it’s full of imperfections — that are perfect.

Beauty is in the eye of the cracked-plaster-ceiling-owner-beholder.
Say that five times fast.

This year I will be trying to “add” more imperfections to our home– as many imperfections to our Parisienne Farmhouse as I can.  Even with a 150 year old house in can be difficult mostly because you are dealing with need for functionality, especially when considering a family.

We can’t all live toute seule in an abandoned chateau.
Corridor with vaults

Main stairway

         Cette année I hope to…
 -take out my ugly, semi-shiny floor tile in my kitchen and replace them with salvaged wood planks – half painted and half sanded á la Anthrolpologie

I know it can’t be this chippy but something along the lines of these two photos I found searching painted plank floors…

-save the money required to put up a faux rock wall in my dining room

-get rid of the VERY LAST of the ceiling fans

-learn to get that cruddy, white washed look on my walls so they don’t look so perfect  (see walls on inspirational photos below)

-start to weed out all my outdated, gold, merchandise mart looking frames and find a creative way to display family photos

-replace my ugly little bathroom sinks with interesting pieces of furniture that I will find and paint and old bowls that I will drill and drain into as use as the sinks

This is NOT my house but I want to do something like this only I need to find lovely little pieces as our bathrooms are very small.  I was thinking like a old, French sheet music cabinet or something!  And gorgeous transferware bowls for the sinks… L-O-V-E faucets that come from the wall — hubby said he was down with that!

-find another antique baby crib to use outside with my garden furniture (we already have an antique crib for our children)

High Hopes I know and lot’s of projects but in this modern world it takes a lot of styling to create Perfect Imperfections…

Here are a handful of photos that inspire me…
There are so many more but alas, I made chili on this wintery day and the kitchen needs to be tidy…

Photo sources:
One of the BEST French decor mags:  Compagne Décoration
Book:  Provençal Escapes by Caroline Clifton -Mogg
Google Images


  1. Alice

    I’m truly inspired. Hubby would never go for something like this.

  2. Priscilla

    You are SUCH a romantic!
    I lived in a 500 year old house. I loved every second of it. There were plenty of drawbacks, but the beauty and the novelty of it far outweighed any inconveniences.
    Never give up your dreams.

  3. Blondie's Journal

    I can identify with you. Where once my furniture became torn and frayed or worn, I would get new pieces. Now I think it adds character. And that’s what I strive for.

    Are you enjoying the snow?!


  4. Deb

    oh! The window, the window, the window…round with a star in stained glass…just the very, very best!

  5. Kalee

    I would love to get you on a rant about what French style is not! I think it’d be interesting.

    While I tend to lean less country/worn, more glitz, I love these images.

  6. Sarah at myyellowhouse

    This all sounds like a “perfect” dream….please get started on this project right away! I love this idea and would love to add some perfect imperfection to my home…can’t wait to see what you do first. 🙂

  7. Donna

    Carry on with your “high aspirations”, it is what keeps us inspired and moving forward! I have to say that your blog has been one of my favs for a while but this post “bumped” you up to “the fav”!! I love the photos you posted at the end for inspiration. You are a farmgirl after my own heart! Perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be.

  8. Tamra

    Oh how I wish we lived closer, those chippy, crusty plaster walls is what I do!! And I would so help you out. A quickie version is to trowel on some paint with some thickener then glaze. Quick and pretty.

    Oh and check out Lumber Liquidators for the floors. I bought the 7 inch unfinished pine planks for a buck thirteen a foot. Cheap. Then I flipped them upside down to get rid of that horrible V groove. Then I laid them without much thought other than to make sure some of the gorgeous knots were front and center. Otherwise, the gaps and grooves (or should I say “crumb catchers”) are in plain sight. Everyone who has seen our home for the first time has asked if the floors were origional to the barn. Now that’s what I’m talkin about!

  9. pamq

    I think I could like this……

  10. Pam

    I love stone walls, plank floors, wooden beams and imperfections! I think perfection is too stressful. I’m always concerned about scratches and dents. But, when it’s already imperfect I see beauty and imagine it’s history. I like your French sheet music dresser idea. I actually wall papered the top walls of my dinky bathroom with an old hymnal that I tore apart. It’s probably my favorite thing in our house.

    The only problem I have is meeting my hubby half-way design wise. Where I would LOVE to have wood plank floors – he doesn’t want wood. He says they scratch too easy! Funny huh? Anyway, looking forward to make-overs.

  11. A Cottage Muse

    Love all this wonderful inspiration you are sharing…especially the flooring! I would love to have something like that in my home!

  12. Linda in AZ *

    * Just “found” you thru your Mom’s blog, & am SO DELIGHTED to be here n’ read what you had to say, let alone fall in love w/ so many of the pics you shared!!!

    Like many, if I DIDN’T have my darlin’ husband to consider, I would do/LIVE all this in a heartbeat (but of course, I’d RATHER have HIM, thank you very much!)… One LUCKY THING tho, is he DOES like SOME of it (SHOCK!)…

    We had stone walls (real, of course!) hand-trimmed to fit and hand-laid on several walls/places throughout our desert home, which has alot of glass & stone, & with our desert/sunset views of the desert n’ city lights sparkling below are breathtaking etc… We BOTH at night, we just LOVE IT, love it, love it, as do all our friends…

    I am SOOOO grateful he DOES like this look (have been “working hard” on him over the years, for SURE! Grins!)… interestingly enough, he has always “accused” me of being a perfectionist, & is known for often saying “PERFECTION IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD ENOUGH”… HOWEVER, for me that’s just for “certain things”…

    By the time/IF I’m ever able to “get it right”, I’ll probably be too old to enjoy it, I fear!

    Oh well, guess that’s what keeps me hoppin’ n’ shoppin’!

    GR888888 blog~~~ “I VILLLL BE BACCCK!”…

    Many thanks,
    Linda in AZ *

  13. Genuine Lustre

    Thrilled to find someone who enjoys French Chic AND has conservative rants. Rock on, Farmgirl!!

  14. Mrs. B.

    Lovely inspirations pics.
    I just got my Jesus Storybook Bible from Amazon today. Thanks for the recommendation. It is adorable!

  15. Sherri

    What great photos! Thanks for sharing with us!

  16. Julie

    Wow! I would love that turquoise print sofa in the 1st photo.

    And what a surprise to see a picture of something I own. I have that same dresser that is in the photo of the bathroom sink set in the old dresser (painted a taupe/greyish color). I even have the same hardware on mine. It was my grandmother’s, part of a bedroom set bought in 1948. Mine still has its original light cherry finish, but it has its share of nicks and dings, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I enjoy reading about your projects. It inspires me to undertake more of my own.

  17. Beth - In My World...

    Merci – J’adore! I love these photos…and you made me very happy as my 85+ year old home is imperfectly perfect! It has so much character – rounded doorways and arches, uneven plaster wall…definitely not a cookie-cutter McMansion as can be found all over the States. Merci for making me and it feel special!

  18. Molly @ Star Cottage

    Wonderful inspiration choices 😉 I especially love the one with the lady in the hat 😉 And your Idea for rough wood plank floors 😉 Gorgeous!

  19. Theanne...

    delightful…the kitchen with the pots pans utensils on wall bars is quiet intriguing…you and your Mom are amazing!

  20. Sue Giannotta

    I had lost track of you so went to your Mom’s place to find you and am so glad I came by. Your Christmas card with your family is adorable. Every year I try to get one of ours but something goes wrong…usually in a big way.
    Anyway, good to talk again and I’m happy to be back to blogging.

  21. Stephanie

    I completely agree. These photos are great. I have one of the books and look at it all the time for inspiration. Those staircases are so gorgeous!

  22. Fifi Flowers

    Love the French architecture… Très FABuLOUS!!!!

  23. J.Lee Cox

    Thank you for this wonderful post! We just purchased a 1925 corner penthouse condo in downtown Denver. It has 8 beautiful ceiling high large windows and lots of spots of chipped, cracking and chunked-off plaster revealing brick work below. At first I wanted to hire a contractor to fix every inch. But after seeing your post, I am changing my mind and would like to highlight the “imperfections” not fix them. If you like I will submit pics in a few months to show you how it all turns out.


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