Chazin Interiors elevates homes from ordinaire to magnifique.
When developing a home’s décor sensibilities, one often searches for that bit of je ne sais quoi—that undefined quality that makes its own statement. Is it earned by well-placed artwork? Does it come by way of expertly-culled furnishings? Absolutely. We also believe the décor spirit of a home can be inspired through the essence of a country and even its cultural epicenter—Think: Paris, with all its romantic notions and joie de vivre.
Let’s embrace some Franco-inspired living right here at home. For inspiration, we turned to Grace Ward, visual manager with Wayzata’s Chazin Interiors, which even employs the fleur-de-lis in its logo. Ward has been with Chazin for a total of more than 10 years. (She had a two-year sojourn to Georgia’s Sea Island.) Her experience includes a four-year apprenticeship with a local importer of fine French and English furniture and “a lifetime admiration of things French,” she says.
How does one define French-inspired décor? Ward explains it as “thoughtful details gathered together in a rather relaxed fashion.” She articulates it as an approach and attitude, “… that perfect combination of plain and fancy and perfectly imperfect … [It’s] part architecture then layers of furnishings, lighting, fabric, flowers, music—a celebration of everything beautiful and lovely.”
Develop the Feeling
“It is definitely creating a mix not a match,” Ward says. “Also, do not forget, art deco and French midcentury modern pieces are terrific combined with vintage and antique [elements]. It creates an interesting dialogue in the room. The French are so very well known for their chic fashion combinations, and that translates to interiors as well. Think of that great Chanel tweed jacket worn with ripped jeans and ballet flats,” and translate that into home design.
“Layering is where the story is told,” Ward says. She suggests vintage rugs underfoot (the more faded and threadbare the better); inviting seating, perhaps canapés (not hors d’oeuvres, rather elegant couches); pillows and cushions, spilling off the sofas and chairs “in fabrics to die for—delicious textures”; and small tables ready for a drink or bite and all-white florals. Embrace that connection to fashion and, “all things that speak to you,” she says.
Tell a Color Story
While subtle neutrals with accents of color are popular, Ward reminds the use of French blues, grays and greens.
Add Furniture and Décor
Ward recommends an oversized or ornately-carved mirror, a mixed or matched set of Louis XVI oval-backed dining seats, a Bergère chair or a carved armoire. Think all types: new, vintage and antique; elaborate and plain; and bleached, distressed, natural and painted wood.
Include Must Haves
“A great focal piece is a wonderful stepping off point,” Ward says, suggesting fireplace surrounds, elaborately-carved framed mirrors, art or a fabulous chandelier to set the stage.
Capture Architectural Interest
“[This] can be as involved as the addition of trim molding detail at the crown, picture or [wall] panel; ornate fireplace surrounds; elaborately-framed art or mirrors; and other furnishings,” Ward says. “Or, simply, [add] a great black and white photo, featuring those very elements of architecture in French buildings, monuments and homes.”
She also notes that wallpaper illustrating architectural elements is also popular and effective.
Ward describes the ambiance as decidedly feminine with curves and surprises; little luxuries and delights; lighting of all types and levels; scents (flowers, candles and diffusers); comfort accents by way of pillows and throws; old books and treasured mementos; and music to orchestrate the sensory crescendo. And—it goes without saying—don’t forget the Champagne.