C'est vendredi 
today's fun find

"Japanese artist Nendo has designed a new chair made of waste paper from the pleated fabric industry. The paper is wrapped into a cylinder and cut vertically halfway so you can peel it one layer at a time." -funforever

et voila!

images via funforever.net

alors, amusant?
au revoir.



Fornasetti: ses miroirs

Most of us are familiar with the work of Piero Fornasetti. 

We have seen these plates EVERYWHERE.

and this pattern

and maybe even this piece

What I have not noticed as often are his mirrors

 playful and ornate

The very simple round convex ones below are my favorites. They are designed as an over sized pocket watch albeit a very minimal one. They are made to be hung from a very plain undecorated flat "nail". 
I was asked by my dear friend Nori in Montreal to "bounce off" some ideas with her for a client who owns fantastic modern pieces and wanted to redesign her vast apartment and reorganize her collection. One of the treasures she bought a few years back is the Fornasetti mirror below. We decided that the best place for it was at the top of the stairs leading up to the apartment on very simple black and white Fornasetti-esque wall paper (I say "esque" because it is a very simplified version of a Fornasetti pattern as a "real" one would be too overpowering for the space) I can't wait to see how this fabulous project comes out.
images brillantehomedecor, brooklyn museum, artnet.com, el-mundo.net, lavienerose.com, the-artist.org, curiositel

au revoir.




The American owner of Antiques Resource, the enormously successful antique furniture and accessories sourcing and buying service in London for the past 17 years, is a weekly contributor to my blog; she has the most exquisite taste, she knows the London market thoroughly and will certainly dazzle us with her choices and reports from one of the most lively, most trendy cities in Europe.

Finding the right mirror

"Finding the right mirror to go above a client's fireplace can be a real challenge and getting the correct proportions and type to suit the client's taste takes patience and time. Antique dealers are usually not thrilled to lend a mirror to "try out" for fear that guilding will be damaged or worse, the glass broken. I usually ask clients to cut a newspaper template and stick it on the wall to check the size before trying it. Over the years I have discovered that the size that works well is the width of the interior "firebox" and height that leaves some breathing space at the top."

 Before: client will eventually find some interesting art so wanted to keep the mirror simple.
 Now: Mid-19th century ebonised carved English mirror.

Before: Ceiling height in this 1910 Chelsea house is low so looked for something to give height.
Now: The curves and simplicity of this 50's French mirror we found go nicely with the coffee table and circles in the carpet.

 Before: reproduction classic limestone fireplace--anything goes!
Now: Chose an 18th century Venetian mirrored frame with replaced 19th century beveled glass.

 Before: 18th century French limestone fireplace in a small foyer. 
 Now: Found this gilt wrought iron round mirror attributed to Jean Royere, 1937 in Paris and the dealer was happy for it to go to London "sale or return"  Happily it looked wonderful in the room!

images antiques resource

  merci beaucoup, Nan.

au revoir.


Ox-eye windows


Oeil-de-boeuf, also œil de bœuf, (French, "bull's eye") is a term applied to a relatively small oval window, typically for an upper storey, and sometimes set on a roof slope as a dormer, or above a door to give light. Windows of this type are commonly found in the grand architecture of Baroque France. The term is also so often applied to similar round windows that this must be considered part of the usage. It is sometimes anglicized as an "ox-eye window". The term initially applied to horizontal oval windows, but is also used for vertical ones.-wikepedia-
I love those pretty round or oval windows called Oeil de boeuf that you find on Paris roofs and most everywhere in France on old houses. They come with all kinds of decorative details carved in stone or cast in zinc or copper. Some are as simple as just a hole cut into a stone wall, some are extremely ornate complete with curlicues, garlands and flower motifs, always very elegant like a very decorated dot on an "I". Antique metal ones, especially zinc oeils de boeuf  have come up in antique stores or brocantes- flea markets- everywhere in France; Some stores have made antique and reproductions into very spectacular mirrors which really "make a room". 

Authentic Oeils de boeuf decorate roofs and walls of many old houses in France

reproductions give great style to a room.

and fabulous looking wood ones from the Restoration hardware catalogue
images restoration hardware, mise en demeure, google images

au revoir.



tu et toi, fundraising and flirting
with Letitia Jett

It's time for the game that Letitia Jett,  A Femme d'un Certain Age, and I play each week on our blogs. We compare our views on our adopted countries, France for Letitia and The States for me.
There are some things we really love, others not so much. Good or bad, fun or unpleasant, whatever our point of view, we bring it to you.

Tu et toi and you
I have lived in the United States long enough to be somewhat "Americanisée". By that I mean there are aspects of American life that I have adopted almost without knowing it. And consequently, I have "lost" the French equivalent , in a way. And one of these details I have subconsciously made part of my way of life is saying you. YOU? you ask. Yes, you. So simple; in English,  one says you to everyone and anyone, whether a child, an elderly statesman or the plumber.
In France there is tu and vous. Going from the formal vous to the informal tu is a ritual that is usually dictated by the sex and age and "station" of an individual. In business vous is mostly used with the possible exception of colleagues on the same level in the hierarchy. 
Surprisingly some  children still say vous to their parents and some couples to each other; But this happens in very rare instances in VERY classic families. 
Figuring out when to change from vous to tu is often tricky and one needs to ask whether it's allright to do so; the older or more senior person in a hierarchy chooses when to do so.

My ex mother-in-law addressed me as vous her whole life and her other daughter-in-law as tu and we both said vous to her of course; neither of us ever figured out why she made the distinction. 
And just the other day I had lunch in NYC with a French friend and a business relation of hers I see a few times a year, every year at the same times; he works with her a lot, but she still says vous to him. (by the way is is not an older gentleman one might not even consider addressing as tu, he is a youngish hip business man); addressing him I said tu in an élan of careless familiarity that felt appropriate since I now know him well enough and we always kiss each other's cheeks when we part; although neither seemed to have noticed or been surprised, I suddenly realised I should perhaps have said vous as she does. 
So, you see what I mean? sometimes very confusing...even for me, French,  born and bred. 


There is a lot of fundraising going on in the US. Schools, universities, charities all work very hard to raise money to fund programs they want to include in their organisations and there is hardly a week when we don't receive some sort of request for a donation or an invitation to a fundraising event. And mostly the fundraisers succeed beautifully.
A few years ago I volunteered to call a number of parents whose children went to the French school as mine did, and my list included a few American families and a lot of French parents and a number of other nationalities. My job was very easy when I talked to American families; they always graciously pledged to give money; no hesitation; no arguments. 
When it came to French families, I had to be EXTREMELY patient, convincing and thick skinned...I know contributions of this sort are tax deductible in the US which is not the case in France but I also think the big difference is a cultural one. Education is very inexpensive in public schools and universities in France and one is not asked to contribute any additional sums. Never. Another reason for the lack of generous enthusiasm was that a lot of the French children's tuitions at the school were paid by the companies where their parents were employed and surprisingly, to me in any case, they did not feel compelled to disburse any of their own money. 
Big difference; as I said, big cultural difference.

le flirt

There is a big difference for me between flirting in the US and France. Men in France ALWAYS flirt. They compliment you, they look you in the eye, they make sure you know they exist by showing you they know you exist.
Casual flirting is considered as something quite harmless, that should be taken in fun. In America, flirting is not part of the day to day interactions between men and women. While it can't be said that Americans never flirt with married men or women, it's certainly not looked on in general as acceptable. In France, flirting and flattery is commonplace and is often done without the sexual undertones that you might find in the United States. Simply garnering the attention or flattery of a man doesn't necessarily mean that he wants to go home with you. It's simply a way of treating and viewing women. Everyone does it; the French are always trying to seduce everyone — in the flirting sense of the word — and this can mean that men and women often flirt in a casual, good-natured way without a sexual proposition necessarily behind it.
Of course, the tricky part is learning to decipher the unspoken rules; I like the good old French approach; more and more so as the years go by...

Alors, what do you think? Agree, disagree? et toi,Letitia? Please leave a petit commentaire below or vite, go see a Femme d'un Certain Age 's take all of this and let us know; on which ever side of the ocean you care to leave your comment.
merci, Letitia, 
à lundi

au revoir.