<![CDATA[Blog]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/ Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:00:50 +0000 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Astrid’s Seven Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sugar-Spice-and-Everything-Nice-Astrids-Seven-Favorite-Christmas-Cookie-Recipes/ Christmas is now mere days away and if you’re like me you’re freaking out a little because you haven’t baked enough Christmas cookies yet!  Or you might be freaking out because there’s still that office or friend holiday party this weekend and you don’t know what to bring.  Let’s all take a couple of deep breaths and regroup.  There’s still time to bake cookies, which will solve both the lack of cookie problem, and answer the question of what to bring to a party.  Here are some of my favorite cookie recipes that I’ll be making to serve as some inspiration.  


Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Photo Credit: The Slow Roasted Italian


Sugar cookies are a staple holiday cookie and these ones just scream holiday festivity with their red and white striped pattern and Christmas colored sprinkles.  Best of all this recipe doesn’t judge if you’re using homemade or store bought sugar cookie dough, meaning these can be easily made in a pinch.  If you are making your own dough and want to mix things up a bit, consider adding a touch of peppermint extract to half of the dough to get a candy cane flavor to match the look.  


Chewy Triple Ginger Cookies

Photo Credit: Feasting at Home


This next batch of cookies take traditional gingersnap to the extreme.  Loaded with ginger-y goodness these cookies have ginger in three different forms - fresh grated ginger, ground ginger, and candied ginger.  The candied ginger is what ensures their chewy texture.  They’re basically the grown-up version of the gingersnaps of your youth.  And considering that ginger can help treat nausea and indigestion, you may want to keep some on hand for the morning after the big holiday party.  


Heart Cookies

Photo Credit: Poor Couple’s Food Guide


Show your host how much you appreciate them by bringing these tasty heart-shaped cookies.  Different from your general sugar cookies, these have a fluffy, almost cake-like texture that perfectly pairs with the jelly center.  You can use whatever flavor jelly is your favorite, but one with a more red color will look the most appropriate for the heart shape.  Delicate yet delicious, these cookies are sure to be a hit.  


Mint Kiss Meringue Cookies

Photo Credit: Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt


Looking like adorable little snow covered Christmas trees these light and airy cookies are hiding a surprise inside.  A chocolate kiss in the center helps give these cookies their shape, and creates the classic mint/chocolate flavor combination.  Easy to make and impressive to look at are always sought after qualities in a dessert that’s meant to serve a lot of people.  


Gingerbread Men

Photo Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction


Gingerbread people are an icon of the holiday season, so everyone will be delighted to see them.  I’m not going to lie though, they are a bit time consuming, so if you want to make them you can’t wait until the last minute.  Between chilling the dough to make it easier to work with and then decorating every cookie individually it can take up a big chunk of your day.  But it’s worth it in the end to see their charming faces smiling up at you.  


Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

Photo Credit: Foodie Crush


While these cookies are delicious year-round, their red and white color palette makes them especially appropriate at Christmas.  The perfect bite of red velvet and cream cheese frosting these cookies are easy to make and lovely to look at.  To add to the Christmas colors you can sprinkle some green sugar or sprinkles on top of the cream cheese after they’ve cooled.  


Milk and Cookie Shots

Photo Credit: Inspired by Charm


Not your traditional Christmas cookie these milk and cookie shots will be a hit with friends, family and even Santa himself.  They may require a bit of special equipment, but since you’ll likely be asked to make them again it’s worth the investment.  Standard chocolate chip cookie dough is molded into shot glass shape and lined with chocolate to keep the milk from soaking in.  If you want to kick things up a bit you could easily substitute eggnog for the milk.


Hopefully I’ve given you some inspiration for what kind of cookies to make this year.  I know I’m ready for some dessert.  Time to get baking!

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Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:06:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Fit For A Queen: How to Get Victorian Modern Style]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Fit-For-A-Queen-How-to-Get-Victorian-Modern-Style/ Minimalism as both a philosophy and interior design trend is still going strong, but there is a growing number of people who are tired of seeing sparsely decorated spaces.  One way people are pushing back against minimalism is by turning to Victorian style.  Named for the architecture and design that emerged during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901), Victorian style has a few key aspects.  Heavy yet vivid colors, velvety textures, and intricate details are all hallmarks of Victorian decor.  Furniture from that time often includes tufted pieces with button backs, deeply-set or low to the ground seating options, and curved legs with detailed design work.  Victorian style is definitely in tune with the growing maximalism trend, but may seem a bit stuffy for the modern lifestyle.  Here are some ways to embrace Victorian style without feeling like you live in a museum display.



Mix Victorian with Modern

The cornerstone of Victorian Modern style is the careful combining of decadent Victorian design and sleek modern design.  A bold floral wallpaper can set the Victorian mood while sleek modern furniture keeps the space from feeling weighed down.  You can reupholster a piece of Victorian furniture in a more modern textile and keep the intricate wood details while still maintaining a modern touch.  Alternately, you can reupholster a modern sofa in a Victorian style fabric for a different effect.  Another frequent combination is an antique table paired with modern chairs.  Velvet was incredibly popular in Victorian times, so any velvet you can incorporate into the decor will bring with it a Victorian vibe.  There are a lot of ways to bring Victorian and modern style together, just be sure to do it thoughtfully so your space doesn’t end up looking haphazard and messy.



Don’t Shy Away from Color

Victorians loved color.  It was rare to find white walls during this time of opulence, so an easy way to introduce Victorian Modern style into your space is through color.  During that time rich hues of green, gold-brown, red, and blue were all popular, and color was everywhere.  While each room was filled with dramatic color, the boldest colors were often used to denote the rooms of highest importance.  While you don’t have to stick to the same color palette as the Victorians, you can still embrace their color sensibilities.  If you live in a place where you can’t paint the walls, you can still inject color in other ways.  Removable wallpaper, furniture upholstery, rugs, drapery, and other accessories are all great opportunities to fill your space with color and pattern.  And when paired with plain white walls you’ll still get the balance of modern design.



Embrace Ornament

The Victorian period is known for its decadence, opulence, and just well, being a bit over the top.  If you’re going for a modern take on Victorian style you don’t need to go all out, but you should still embrace ornament in some form.  If your space has interesting architectural features, base the room design around those to highlight them rather than hide them.  Look for patterns that complement the space - either the florals popular in Victorian times or more modern geometric designs.  Pay attention to small details like cabinetry hardware and doorknobs - both are opportunities to add small touches of ornate flair.  Victorian Modern is also a great style for collectors to adopt since it welcomes displays of your favorite objects.



Get Creative with Layering

Part of Victorian style, and maximalism in general, is to layer your decor.  To keep things from becoming too oppressive you should still practice some restraint.  You want the space to look cozy, not suffocating.  Textiles like draperies, rugs, and pillows are ideal for creating a layered look.  An antique sofa with intricate carving can be layered with throw pillows in a modern pattern.  A modern chair can be placed on top of an antique style rug and with a damask or floral pillow.  Both of these options layer the two styles to bring you the best of both worlds.



Choose Bold Lighting

Both Victorian and modern style embrace bold lighting though the designs themselves are different. This means that a large chandelier is practically a requirement.  Whichever the predominant theme of the space is (more Victorian or more modern) go with the opposite for the lighting.  This will help the fixture contrast to its surroundings and make a real statement.  Anything bold and confident will look more at home than a single pendant hanging down from the ceiling.  



Victorian Modern is a bit of an eccentric style, so remember to have fun with it!  If you temper the ornate Victorian style with sleek modern designs you’ll end up with a space that’s the perfect balance of both, and not butter upon bacon (that’s Victorian slang for too much extravagance).  As with other transitional styles Victorian Modern has a timeless quality to it that will outlast other trends, while the maximalist aspect of it leaves plenty of room to embrace trends as they come and go.

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Tue, 19 Dec 2017 21:39:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Haul Out the Holly: Five Tips for Festive Small Space Christmas Decor]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Haul-Out-the-Holly-Five-Tips-for-Festive-Small-Space-Christmas-Decor/ Decorating for holidays can be a bit of a challenge when you live in a smaller space.  There are so many decoration options to bring the festive spirit but so little space to put them.  Tiny home and apartment dwellers alike have to get creative to make the most of the space they have to not come across as a grinch.  Here are some tips for getting your home into the holiday spirit, no matter how small.



Downsize the Tree

While the classic 7 foot tree full of lights and decorations is what many people have in mind when they think of Christmas trees, if you live in a small space, the fact is you’re probably going to have to downsize your tree.  If there’s a spare corner you can look for an artificial tree designed to fit in corners, or just a narrow, less full tree.  You could also opt for a more compact tabletop tree.  You’ll still get the look of a classic tree, just shrunk down to fit on a table.  You can then proceed to decorate as usual.



Move the Tree to the Wall

If you still can’t find the space for a tree, you can always put it on the wall.  A flat tree may not have as much room under it for presents, but can still be a place to gather Christmas morning.  One option is to find a fir tree tapestry to hang on the wall.  Since it’s made of fabric you can still hang some decorations from it using tree hooks or pins.  You can also create the outline of a tree with any number of different materials from Christmas lights to real evergreen branches.  Decorating a flat tree has its challenges, but fans of Christmas decor always find a way to make it work.



Don’t Forget About Windows

If you live in a colder climate, you’re likely not going to be opening up your windows much this time of year, so don’t be afraid to dress them up with decorations.  Lights in the window are always a nice touch, but you could also place wreaths in the windows, or hang other ornaments in the windows using suction cups.  Candles (real or LED) in the window are also a classic Christmas decoration.  Just be careful since a real candle and wreath combination could become a fire hazard.



Take Advantage of the Ceiling

The ceiling doesn’t have to be just for hanging mistletoe.  Strings of lights hung from the ceiling will fill your space with Christmas cheer.  You can also hang garland, strings of beads, or lightweight ornaments from the ceiling.  This will bring the festive spirit to your home without taking up any floor space at all.  Just make sure anything you hang from your ceiling still leaves enough clearance for people to walk through without hitting their heads or worrying about knocking down your decorations.



Find Multi-use Decorations

One of the unseen (to guests anyway) battles of holiday decor in a small space is finding a place to store everything once the holiday is over.  To help with this, try to make the base of your holiday decorations things that can still be used or left up after Christmas.  Plaid tablecloths, table runners, pillows, and throws can stay out all winter and still look appropriate.  Snow or snowman themed decorations can also stay out through the winter months and not just December.  Strings of white lights can be used year-round to bring some whimsical illumination to a space.



Sometimes you have to get a little creative when decorating a small space for the holidays.  But luckily the holiday season has a lot of room for creativity and handcrafted solutions.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with your decorations to figure out what works best with your space.  It may not look like the holiday decor you grew up with, but you might stumble upon a look you like even better.

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Mon, 18 Dec 2017 21:41:23 +0000
<![CDATA[The Future is Bright: A 2018 Color of the Year Roundup]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/The-Future-is-Bright-A-2018-Color-of-the-Year-Roundup/ 2017 is quickly coming to a close, and many are looking ahead to what 2018 will bring.  There’s lots of trend predicting going on, but today we’re going to focus on the colors that have been chosen to be Color of the Year for 2018.  We’ve already learned about how to add color to your space, so let’s see what the color experts have to say.  


Pantone - Pantone 18-3838, Ultra Violet



The announcement everyone was waiting for - Pantone’s Color of the Year - finally came last week, and it left some people a bit baffled and disappointed. Their choice of Ultra Violet was definitely unexpected.  The color has been described as, “a complex, celestial shade of purple, veering toward the cooler end of the color spectrum” and it brings to mind the galaxy, the power of spirituality, and creative expression in all its forms.  Since purple is made up of both warm and cool hues it’s more versatile than you would first think.  Still, many people just aren’t feeling Pantone’s decision this year, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.



Sherwin Williams - SW 6496, Oceanside



Described as a "fusion of rich blue with jewel-toned green" that "evokes optimism" and "offers a sense of the familiar with a hint of the unknown, bridging between old and new, light and dark," Sherwin Williams pick for color of the year, Oceanside, is a rich teal that many are ready to embrace.  A color that works with almost any design style - from mid-century modern to contemporary - Oceanside is bold without being too overwhelming.  It’s not a neutral, but put it on your walls and all of your furniture is sure to pop.




Benjamin Moore - AF-290, Caliente



In contrast to Sherwin Williams’ cool blue, Benjamin Moore has a hotter take on 2018.  Described as "strong, radiant and full of energy,” Benjamin Moore Director of Strategic Design Intelligence Ellen O'Neill says that Caliente is, “total confidence. It is pleasing, passionate and makes people feel special, like 'red carpet treatment.'"  An ideal accent color, Caliente will add a wonderful warmth to whatever space it’s applied to.  When used with a complementary color palette this bold red can be just as versatile as more neutral hues.




Behr - T18-15, In the Moment



Opting for a less bold Color of the Year, Behr has chosen In the Moment for 2018.  A cool, tranquil, spruce blue the color is inspired by nature and has a soothing, restorative quality thanks to the combination of blue, gray and green.  Evoking relaxation In the Moment is a great choice bedrooms, living rooms, or even bathrooms - any space where you go to take a breather and shed the stress of the day.  This color will likely be a hit with fans of Scandinavian design since it’s somewhat similar to the sage greens popular in that style right now.



France & Son - Yellow



We’re throwing our hats into the ring for Color of the Year too, and our pick is yellow.  “Gen Z Yellow” is already poised to take over Millennial Pink as a new generation comes into its own.  But trendiness aside, yellow is a good choice because it will add some bright, sunny, cheerfulness to your space during a time that a lot of people are feeling the need for a bit of a respite from the world.  The color also makes a great accent to some of the other colors of the year.  Pair a bright yellow with Ultra Violet or Oceanside and you’ve got a bold and sophisticated color palette going.  As for what shade of yellow, we recommend hues similar to Behr’s Unmellow Yellow and Buzz-In.




So which Color of the Year is your favorite?  Which is your least favorite?  Do you think you’ll actually incorporate any into your interiors?  Were you ahead of the curve and already have one of these colors in your space?  Let us know!  We’d love to hear (or see)!

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Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:03:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid - Help! I’m Stuck in a Thermostat Battle]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-Help-Im-Stuck-in-a-Thermostat-Battle/ Dear Astrid,

I live with a roommate, and overall we get along great, but a big issue has come up.  We’ve divided up the utilities between us and she covers the heating costs for the apartment.  The problem is that to keep the cost of the bill down she keeps the heat down really low.  I don’t like freezing in my own home!  I always have to wear at least a sweater around the apartment in the winter - sometimes even a scarf and gloves!  I have to keep two blankets and a comforter on my bed for the really cold nights.  If I try to turn the heat up at all she gets mad about it.  I know that she’s cold too, but she seems to handle it better than I do.  How do I convince her to turn up the heat sometimes?  

Signed,

Freezing

Dear Freezing,

While there’s nothing I love better than snuggling up under a warm blanket in the winter, you shouldn’t have to be under multiple blankets just to be a comfortable temperature!  Unfortunately, if your roommate is the one spending the money on it, she gets the control.  You could try asking her if she wants to swap a utility with you so you can take over the heat payments.  If she doesn’t want to do that (or if you don’t want to either), you could also try to strike a compromise.  Ask her at the beginning of one month to turn the heat up a degree or two so when the next bill comes you both will have a tangible idea of exactly how much those extra degrees cost.  It might not cost as much extra as she fears and she might be willing to keep the thermostat at that temperature.  If it’s still more than she wants to pay, you could offer to cover the difference between what the bill is and what it normally is at the temperature she keeps it.  You could also back away from the thermostat entirely, and just get a small space heater for your room so you have at least one place of refuge from the cold.  This only works if she doesn’t also pay the electric bill though.  

Hope one of these solutions works out.  Stay warm!

Xoxo,

Astrid

Need some outside advice?  Send any questions you have to astrid@franceandson.com and you might see it answered here!

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Fri, 08 Dec 2017 20:08:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Be Our Guest: Seven Tips for Creating A Welcoming Guest Room]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Be-Our-Guest-Seven-Tips-for-Creating-A-Welcoming-Guest-Room/ It’s the holiday season and lots of people are traveling to spend time with their loved ones.  That means there’s also a lot of people hosting their loved ones in their homes.  Hosting guests can be a lot of work, but spending time with happy guests is worth the effort.  If you don’t have a dedicated guest space, or if you haven’t touched the guest room since last year, it might be time to consider giving the guest space a bit of a refresh.  Here are some tips for making your guest room as welcoming as possible.



Provide a Comfortable Bed

Some people may have trouble sleeping in a bed that’s not their own no matter what, but you don’t want an old, uncomfortable bed to be why your guests aren’t getting a good night’s sleep.  If the mattress in your guest room is your old mattress you didn’t want anymore, it might be time to upgrade the guest bed.  Even a high quality air mattress is more comfortable than a broken down, lumpy regular mattress.  If the guest room ordinarily doubles as another type of room, like an office, you may consider having a sleeper sofa instead of a regular bed or air mattress.  Once you have the right foundation of a good mattress, it’s time to focus on the bedding.  Everyone has different sleeping temperature preferences, so supply a sheet, light blanket, and comforter so people can sleep as covered or uncovered as they like.  Also, don’t skimp on pillows!  Even if your guests only need a couple of pillows for sleeping on, they may want extra pillows to prop themselves up in bed to read or watch television.


Supply Adequate Storage

If your guests are only staying a night or two they probably won’t mind living out of their suitcase, but for any extended period of time they’ll want to unpack.  If there’s closet space make sure there’s enough hangers inside for guests to hang up their clothing.  If there’s no, or only a small amount of closet space, provide a dresser or chest of drawers for clothing storage.  Also make sure there’s a spot for guests to store their suitcase so they’re not tripping over it or having to move it on and off the bed.  A nightstand next to the bed is always a welcome addition as a space to keep an alarm clock, glass of water, or reading material.



Provide Privacy

No one wants to feel uncomfortable when their getting changed.  To ensure your guests’ privacy make sure that any windows in the room have curtains and/or blinds that can be easily closed.  The right window coverings will also give your guests better light control.  Blackout curtains will keep any prying eyes from seeing in, and keep morning light out should anyone want to sleep in.  



Have Good Lighting

Since you don’t know everything your guests are going to want to do in the space, it’s best to provide layers of lighting.  Overhead lighting or a floor lamp are a good base for ambient light.  A table lamp or wall sconce next to the bed will give guests task lighting to read by but also a light source within reach should they have to move around during the night.  No one wants to stumble to the bathroom in total darkness.  If there’s a mirror or vanity in the room you may also want to make sure there’s good lighting there for guests who want to put on their makeup or do any other personal grooming.



Meet Any Electronics Needs

Your guests are likely going to have at least one, if not multiple, devices that will need to be charged.  Set up a charging station on a table or desk so guests don’t have to go searching or reaching in tight spaces for a free outlet.  It’s also nice to provide the WiFi password (if one is required) somewhere in the room.  If there’s a television in the room, provide any pertinent information needed for guests to smoothly find their favorite show (which remote does what, any required login info, etc.).  



Supply Snacks

It can be really awkward for a guest when they get hungry but no one’s around in the kitchen.  Unless it’s someone who visits frequently and you’ve already given open cabinet privileges to, your guest likely won’t just help themselves.  A bowl of fruit, some cookies, or some other light snacks in the room will be a very welcome addition.  You may also want to include some bottles of water, or some glasses so they can help themselves to water from the kitchen.  If they do have open access to food and beverages, leave a note in the room telling them so.  



Have a Tray

Placing the towels, linens, and anything else you’re leaving in the room for your guests on a tray will help signal to them that these are for their use.  When staying in someone else’s home, sometimes it can be tricky to tell what’s for you and what just happens to be in the room, so making it clear will help relieve any anxiety guests may have about using the wrong thing.  You may also want to put out a small tray for guests to keep their jewelry, pocket change, or anything else small, together in one place.



When putting together a guest room, think of what you like to have provided to you when you’re a guest.  If you make the experience one that you would enjoy, your guests are likely to enjoy it as well.  Giving your guests the comfort of home will help them feel at ease and able to delight in the holiday season.

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Tue, 05 Dec 2017 19:57:16 +0000
<![CDATA[Pin-spiration: Astrid’s Ten Favorite Holiday Pins]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Pin-spiration-Astrids-Ten-Favorite-Holiday-Pins/ It’s now December, which means a lot of people are getting ready for the big winter holidays.  There’s always some over-achievers out there who have already finished their decorating and shopping, but the rest of us are still looking for some inspiration.  Here are Astrid’s favorite pins from our Holiday Dreaming board to get the holiday vibes flowing.



Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest for all the latest inspiration!

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Mon, 04 Dec 2017 21:28:53 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid: Do I Have to Make Food for a Potluck?]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-Do-I-Have-to-Make-Food-for-a-Potluck/ Dear Astrid,

Some of my friends are having a potluck holiday party in a couple of weeks and everyone is supposed to bring a dish.  The problem is that I’m a terrible cook!  Since I don’t want to subject my friends to awful food, is it okay to just bring drinks?  I don’t want there to not be enough for everyone to eat because I didn’t bring food.

Signed,

Can’t Cook


Photo Credit: Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Dear Can’t Cook,

Not to be too blunt, but you’re asking the wrong person this question!  To make things easier on yourself, simply explain what you did to me to the host of the potluck.  They can give you an idea of what people are already planning on bringing and what’s still needed.  If for whatever reason you can’t ask, I would say bring drinks if that’s your thing, but try to bring a food item of some sort.  A beautiful dessert from your favorite bakery will be just as welcome as something homemade (possibly even more welcome if you’re as bad of a cook as you say!).  Remember that this is a party to celebrate the holidays, so try not to stress out about this too much.  Whatever you decide to bring will be appreciated and will contribute to a fun night with friends!


Xoxo,

Astrid

Need some outside advice?  Send any questions you have to astrid@franceandson.com and you might see it answered here!

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Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:42:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Frandsen Lighting]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Frandsen-Lighting/ Lighting is such an important aspect of interior design.  It needs to be able to do its job illuminating your space, but you also want it to look good while doing so.  Fortunately there are a lot of lighting options available these days, so whether you like traditional style or contemporary it’s pretty easy to find something to suit your taste.  Today we’re taking a look at one of our brands that specializes in modern lighting - Frandsen.  



Though sleek, stylish, and sophisticated today, Frandsen has humble beginnings.  The company was started in the basement of Benny Frandsen’s private home in 1968.  With only two local boys as staff Benny began by designing square lamps as well as the future iconic Ball lamp series.  The original Ball lamp was a wall piece, but pendant, table and standard lamps were soon also launched.  Frandsen’s lamps have been winning awards at design shows and exhibitions since 1987 for their innovation and style.  Today the company designs lamps in beautiful materials, to ensure that their products signal quality and taste.




Putting together form and function in just the right way Frandsen has created lighting that is both timeless and contemporary.  Sleek and stylish, a Frandsen lamp will help set the tone of a space while providing illumination to show off the room to its best.  With pieces suitable for residential and commercial use, it’s hard to imagine a space that can’t be improved by the addition of a Frandsen lamp.




Shop Frandsen Lighting


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Fri, 01 Dec 2017 18:29:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Game On! Five Tips for An Awesome Game Room]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Game-On-Five-Tips-for-An-Awesome-Game-Room/

Whether a family game night, games with friends, or just playing video games or working on a jigsaw puzzle solo, everyone enjoys playing games.  And if you’re the go-to host for game nights you probably feel the need for a space dedicated to games.  If you’re lucky you have a room in your house that can be turned over to just such activities.  Putting together a spot for games is fairly easy, but setting up a game room has more concerns to take in consideration.  Here are some tips for putting together a game room that’s fun, functional, and stylish.



Make Sure You Have Enough Space

It’s easy to see if a table will fit into a space; it can be harder to visualize the people interacting with the table fitting into the space.  But this is a very important aspect of a game room.  If you’re including agaming table like for billiards, Foosball, or table tennis there needs to be plenty of room for people to move around the table.  Even just a regular table for board games or puzzles needs to have the space people take up taken into consideration.  There has to be room for chairs and for people to sit down and get up from the chairs.  Therefore the first step in setting up your game room is making sure that there’s enough space for sufficient, uninhibited movement.



Plan for A Variety of Games

If a game room only has one game, it’s not living up to its full potential.  Prioritize the games/activities you enjoy most and make sure there’s room for them, but also try to include space for others as well.  If you’re putting in a pool table, consider adding a smaller table off to the side so those not playing can still play cards or a board game.  If there’s room for a television you can create a board game area and a video game area.  It’s always nice to have alternatives available for anyone not interested in participating in the current game being played.  



Have Ample Seating

Even if most of the games in your game room require you to stand while playing, game rooms are about relaxation, so make sure there’s enough seating for everyone.  Some cozy lounge chairs or even asectional sofa will give guests a place to rest in between turns.  Ottomans are a great addition to game rooms because they can be used as extra seating, an extra tabletop, or just for putting feet up and relaxing.  If the game room is going to be mostly for board games consider getting stackable seating that can be easily stored away when not in use but brought out for big game nights so everyone feels included.



Provide Enough Light

For game rooms set up mainly for video games lighting isn’t as much of a priority since the screens provide illumination (and some people even prefer playing in the dark), but for all other game rooms people need to see what they’re doing.  Game rooms really benefit from layering light.  Overhead lighting can provide ambient light no matter what’s going on while table lampsfloor lamps, and wall sconces can add the task lighting needed for specific activities.



Consider Soundproofing

Game nights can get rowdy when the competition heats up, so if you’re in an apartment building with neighbors sharing a wall or the game room ends up being by a bedroom you might want to consider soundproofing the space.  Carpeting and thick curtains will help cut down on the amount of sound escaping, but if that’s not your style there’s still other options.  Channel tufted wall panels will absorb sound, and even just some great tapestries will help.  If you’re constructing the room from scratch you can build the soundproofing into the walls.



Decor for game rooms wasn’t mentioned in this post because really you can decorate it however you like.  If you want a game room that reflects your hobbies - go for it.  If you want a more sleek, minimalist game space, that’s great too.  Once you have your game room set up all that’s left is to have some people over and play games!  If you’ve set up the room right it’ll quickly become everyone’s favorite spot to get together and spend time relaxing.




Shop Game Tables


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Thu, 30 Nov 2017 19:43:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With...Tatiana Wojtan]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Tatiana-Wojtan/ Some people are practically born knowing they want to be an interior designer.  For others it takes some life experience before they realize that interior design is their passion.  For Tatiana Wojtan of Tatiana Wojtan Studio it was the process of decorating her own home that brought about her career in design.  Striving to create rooms that have a unique and timeless appeal, she mixes modern elements with vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces and supplements it all with a punch of color.  Paying close attention to details she won’t stop looking until the perfect fabric for that vintage chair or little knick-knack to finish off a vignette has been found.  Captivated by Tatiana’s bright and colorful spaces we reached out to get some further insight into her process and thoughts on design.  



Were you always interested in design and creative endeavors?

As far back as I can remember, I have always been creative and artistic. It wasn’t, however, until my husband and I built our first house that I could employ these skills in a practical way. It also made me realize how much I loved it all. By the time we built our second house, interior design became my passion, and the house was turned into a lab to test my decorating ideas.


What was it like building and designing your home from scratch?

I loved it. It was truly exhilarating watching the idea being transformed into reality. It was like solving a puzzle, especially at the design stage, when as a family we needed to understand how we wanted to live and then came up with a solution in the form of a concrete floor plan and finishes that were both practical and elegant. And if you asked me if I’d do it again, I would tell you “In a heartbeat!” My Pinterest board and my head are already full of ideas for our next home.


What’s your approach to interior design?

While I like modern trends, I often find the spaces they inspire to be unnecessarily monochromatic. My goal is therefore to incorporate colour - it gives the space its unique personality and provides the homeowners with a much needed escape from the long, and often grey, Ottawa winters. I think most people actually like to surround themselves with colour, but they choose neutrals as a safer option. I feel my role is to help them overcome their reservations and propose a colour scheme that they would love. I also make sure to include interesting textures and patterns, as well as a mix of new and vintage pieces. At the end, it is the combination and interplay of all these elements and layers that makes the space.



What are your favorite type of DIY projects?

I love making throw pillows. I have a large pile of fabrics stacked in my closet just waiting to be turned into some pillow covers.


What’s your favorite textile to work with?

I would have to say velvet. It is so rich and luxurious. I use it a lot in upholstery and pillows. And it works in any style!  I don’t think I have ever seen a piece upholstered in velvet that didn’t look great!


How big of an impact has Instagram had on your business?

It was big. Initially I used my Instagram account as my creative outlet, posting photos of my own home and my DIY projects. And at some point my aesthetics started to draw attention of decorators, designers, bloggers, and magazine editors, and helped me land my first clients. My absolute top-of-the-world moment came when Sarah Richardson, whom I have admired for nearly 15 years, reposted one of my photos.



How important are color and texture to a room?

I think they are absolutely key – not only do they define the space in the aesthetic sense, but they create a mood, which allows people to actually experience their surroundings.


What is your favorite color palette?

My colour palette changes all the time. Today my favourite colour is blue; a few months ago it was lavender, and earlier, chartreuse. In general, I am drawn to soft, pastels colours as they make any space look fresh and airy.


What do you think are the best sources for artwork?

I rely almost exclusively on online purchases for my art. I shop a lot on eBay, Etsy, and Instagram. However, my go-to place is Chairish. It is a wonderful place to shop for vintage artwork and to discover new talents!


Photo Credit: Miv Photography


What are your favorite sources for vintage pieces?

Again, I would have to say online sources. Although I frequently visit local flea markets, the Internet offers so many more possibilities. Not only can you shop from the comfort of your own home, but if you are looking for something special or specific you will eventually find it online. It is a wonderful feeling to find that unique, vintage piece, especially if it is in mint condition, although I really don’t mind items that show some wear or are in need of some TLC.


What advantage do you think vintage pieces have over new ones?

In the era of disposable and mass-produced goods, the advantage of vintage pieces is undoubtedly quality and uniqueness. If a piece of furniture from the 1950s or 1960s made it to today, it speaks a lot about its craftsmanship. Also, vintage pieces offer this collected look that new pieces can’t create. Since I always strive for my spaces to look unique, I’d rather have a piece that is one of a kind than one of a million. I take pride in owning vintage furnishings or accessories – it always makes me wonder who owned it before me, how they used it, how they styled it, etc.


What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?

My very first project I did for the client who found me on Instagram. It was a match made in heaven! Aesthetic-wise we were on the same page and the client trusted me with my decorating choices, which resulted in some very coherent and coordinated spaces. And I’m happy to say we have just started working on a new project!



What’s your favorite room to decorate?

Living rooms are by far my favorite rooms to decorate. They are typically the most visible rooms in the house and, as such, can serve as the jumping off point for decorating the entire house. Plus, I get to use a lot of fabrics, pieces of artwork and accessories. These elements are easy to be moved around or changed for seasons.


What influences you the most?

Magazines, Pinterest and Instagram score high on my list of influences. But inspiration really comes to me in all shapes and sizes. I am often inspired by store windows or even pieces of clothing in some interesting colours and patterns.  


What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your work?

The best compliment was to hear that my work is “sophisticated and fresh at the same time”. It’s important to me that my spaces don’t look too serious, that they have this element of unexpected, be it an interesting colour palette or a quirky accessory.


Photo Credit: Miv Photography


Thanks again Tatiana, for taking the time to chat with us!  To see more of Tatiana’s work check out her website and follow her on Instagram for more inspiration.  We can’t wait to see what you do next!

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Tue, 28 Nov 2017 22:01:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Astrid’s Picks: Seven Yummy Recipes Made with Thanksgiving Leftovers]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Astrids-Picks-Seven-Yummy-Recipes-Made-with-Thanksgiving-Leftovers/ The big Thanksgiving meal has come and gone but there’s probably still a lot of food left!  If you don’t want to eat repeat Thanksgiving dinner every night of the week you have to get a little creative to use up all those leftovers.  Here are seven recipes whose ingredients include Thanksgiving dinner staples to inspire you.


Sweet Potato Pancakes


Photo Credit: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt


Sweet potato casserole is a perennial favorite on many Thanksgiving tables.  This recipe turns a beloved side dish into a beloved breakfast in no time.  Maple syrup will go well with the sweet potato flavor, but if you want to put a breakfast spin on sweet potato casserole consider serving with a dollop of marshmallow fluff on top (or for those with less of a sweet tooth just whipped cream.  You’ll still get a vanilla flavor without all the sugar).


Turkey Stock

Photo Credit: Lauren Volo

Even after all the meat from your turkey is gone, you can still use the leftover carcass to make stock.  Once you have stock the opportunities are endless.  There are so many different types of soups and stews you can make if you have a supply of stock at your disposal.  Any recipe that calls for chicken stock or broth you can use turkey stock in.  If you don’t think you’ll use it fast enough you can even freeze it for use months later.  


Thanksgiving Burrito

Photo Credit: Poor Couple’s Food Guide


While traditional burritos have rice as their main filling, this Thanksgiving take uses leftover stuffing.  The great thing about burritos is that you can toss pretty much whatever you want in them, as long as you can still roll it up for closing.  This burrito lets you get the whole flavor of Thanksgiving dinner in each bite.  


Pulled Turkey with Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Photo Credit: Pink Parsley


If you’re getting tired of standard turkey sandwiches, consider shredding what meat you have left to make pulled turkey.  Cranberry sauce BBQ sauce keeps the Thanksgiving vibes going while making it different enough that you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing over and over again.  


Thanksgiving Leftovers Egg Rolls


Photo Credit: Cake-n-Knife


Similar to the burrito, but on a smaller scale, these egg rolls wrap your Thanksgiving favorites into one bite.  Since they’re smaller in size these are a great option when you’re getting down to the end of your leftovers since they don’t use as much of the ingredients.


Pumpkin and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Photo Credit: Everyday Food


It’s hard to believe that some people actually end up with leftover dessert, but if you find yourself with just too much pumpkin pie left, these fun little ice cream sandwiches are a yummy way to remix a classic Thanksgiving dessert.  While we haven’t tested it you could likely substitute other pie fillings for the pumpkin as well.


Cranberry Sauce Cheesecake Brownies

Photo Credit: Damn Delicious


Unless everyone in your family really loves cranberry sauce, you probably have a fair amount of cranberry sauce leftover.  This recipe uses the tartness of cranberries to counter the richness of cheesecake and brownies to create a delectable dessert.


With recipes for every meal of the day you’ll be sure to finish up those leftovers in no time.  Happy eating!

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Mon, 27 Nov 2017 18:54:14 +0000
<![CDATA[Small Space Hacks: Five Decorating Ideas To Live Smartly In A Studio Apartment (Guest Post)]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Small-Space-Hacks-Five-Decorating-Ideas-To-Live-Smartly-In-A-Studio-Apartment/ Stylish is not precisely the first word that may enter into your mind when you think about studio apartments. Whether you are just setting out in your first place or moving to a large city, living in a studio apartment can introduce some challenges. First and foremost, studio apartments usually have insufficient storage capacity and living in a place where your bedroom and living room becomes one can be troublesome. And it can be upsetting if you don’t know what to do about it. Organizing your furniture is difficult when all of it is in one room. Still, here you are, in your studio apartment and all the things have to go someplace. For a little help, listed below are five decorating ideas you can use for your studio apartment.

Divide and Overcome

A wall does not automatically have to be constructed in to serve as a visual partition between various functional spaces.  The walls can be as simple as a ceiling-mounted curtain or a fixed piece of furniture.  Additionally, a smart glass wall is also an excellent alternative for a regular wall. It separates your bedroom space from other functional spaces in your studio apartment but still grants natural light to spread throughout the room. Although you want to build spaces and have intimate moments in your bedroom, be sure you do not obstruct your source of light. Utilize wall partitions or dividers to avoid making your apartment cramped and dark.

Minimal Furniture

It may sound rude, particularly if you really adore furniture, but one of the excellent ways to spruce up your studio apartment is to have minimalist pieces of furniture. Opt for pieces that can offer multiple functions to save money and yes, space. In a small space like a studio apartment, multifunctional furniture is your lifesaver. Studios can be as livable as any home. However, the key to having a comfortable home is the right furniture.

Place Artwork On The Wall

Adding wall art in your studio can do some extraordinary things in your studio apartment. It can provide texture and color, hide any imperfections on the walls, divert your guest’s attention from any unappealing elements, and incorporate your style and personality for everyone to see. Attaching wall hanging pieces will let you jazz up your studio apartment without damaging the drywall. If you are unable to have large and framed prints, then try creating a wall full of your pictures, wall sculptures, and other type of structural elements.

A Splash Of Bold Colors

Do not be afraid to create an inspiring and happy space for your studio apartment. As a matter of fact, small-scale spaces can leverage the form through a splash of bright colors. Selecting the right color will be the best decision you can make for your home. You might believe that small rooms restrict your design ideas, but design is all about building an optical illusion. It’s also about how to make small spaces feel bigger, lighter, and more splendid than they really are. You can use a single color in your space to make it feel bigger. It is an elegant and seamless way of making your studio apartment feel larger. By skillfully selecting a color, you can make your room feel and look roomy and comfortable.

Go Upright



Considering that the floor space is definite, utilize the walls to flaunt your various collectibles and art objects through floating shelves. These are excellent for switching displays, and you can constantly change the look of your space depending on the season and your mood. Be creative when it comes to finding additional storage in your studio. There will always be high areas in your place that you can take advantage of. You can use easy-to-install wall hooks or you can do it yourself.

Takeaway

When you only have limited space in your home, every design selection counts. With a strategic plan and excellent decorations, you can instantly expand your studio apartment and create the home that you truly deserve. To magically transform your studio apartment, you can utilize some dividers, own minimal furniture, add some wall art, go with bold colors, and go vertical.

Author Bio

Leslie Wyman is a brilliant interior designer and a blogger. She mainly writes about home improvement, furniture trends, and decorating tips, and shares it to various distinguished sites like Focus on Furniture. On her free time, Leslie reads and study about these topics to gain more knowledge to deliver a great article for the readers.


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Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:35:14 +0000
<![CDATA[Channel Surfing: Embracing the Channel Tufting Trend]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Channel-Surfing-Embracing-the-Channel-Tufting-Trend/ Channel tufting has never really gone away - you can find it being used in restaurants and hotels around the world at pretty much any given time.  But it’s now enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the domestic setting as well.  Its last big moment was in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but it also has associations with Art Deco and old Hollywood glamour.  So what exactly is channel tufting?  Tufting in general is a way of anchoring filling and padding materials by stitching through all the layers from top to bottom and pulling the heavy thread tight.  Other familiar forms of tufting include biscuit tufting and diamond tufting.  In the case of channel tufting, equally spaced vertical or horizontal channels are created and then filled with their own piece of foam or stuffing, creating a wonderfully plush effect with a sophisticated aesthetic.  Here are some ways to add channel tufting to your space.

On the Walls

If you really want to embrace the channel tufting trend, you can create a tufted accent wall.  It will instantly add a plush, cozy feel to the room that’d be hard to get another way.  The channels can be used to highlight the size of the room - if horizontal channels are used the room will appear wider, if vertical is used it’ll draw the eye up.  From a practical standpoint it’s also a great way to insulate a wall for heat and sound.  With both practical and aesthetic applications, if channel tufting on the walls is something you’re into, we say go for it!

At the Head of the Bed

If there’s one place you can’t get enough coziness, it’s the bed.  A channel tufted headboard will add dimension to the room and complement any glam furnishings while also providing headboard padding comfortable enough for cuddling up while reading in bed.  No worries of accidentally hitting your head on the wall or a hard wood headboard.  When choosing a color, keep in mind that lighter shades will showcase the texture of the tufts while bolder hues help the tufted piece pop against neutral backdrops.

Sofas and Chairs

The most traditional way to incorporate channel tufting into you home is through the upholstery of sofas and chairs.  Channel tufting has a simplicity to it that creates a comfortable place to sit down and relax, all while keeping the piece looking clean and sophisticated.  Channel tufting adds linear dimension to the room which will lead the eye vertically or horizontally through the space.  The technique can be done with any material, from plush velvet to luxe leather.  Channel tufting rendered in velvet is full of glamorous old Hollywood style, while leather channel tufting has a bit more of a rustic vintage vibe.  Whatever your style you’ll likely be able to find a channel tufted chair or sofa that will look great in your space.


If this post has inspired you to bring some channel tufting into your life, make sure to check out our channel tufted collection.  Channel tufting can be a lot of look, but in a good way!  It makes a statement, adds great texture, and instantly adds a touch of both coziness and glamour to a space.  It can be styled to look more classic vintage or of the moment.  And it’s a trend that you can create yourself if you have sewing or upholstery skills.

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Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:13:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid: Can I Have A Thanksgiving Dinner Without Turkey?]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-Can-I-Have-A-Thanksgiving-Dinner-Without-Turkey/ Dear Astrid,

I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time at my house this year.  I’m really excited about it, but I’m also nervous.  The main thing stressing me out is that I’m vegetarian and I plan on serving a vegetarian dinner.  I realize a lot of people will be looking forward to a big turkey on the table but I just can’t bring myself to prepare something I’m against eating.  How do I keep my guests from being disappointed about the lack of a Thanksgiving turkey?

Signed,

Tofu, Not Turkey


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


Dear Tofu, Not Turkey,

The holiday season can be a tricky time of year for people with any sort of restrictive diet, whether hosting or just being a guest!  There’s so many traditional holiday foods that can be problematic for people for a variety of reasons.  It’s true that you will probably encounter some people that are disappointed without a turkey.  If you think there’s anyone that might put up too much of a stink about it, consider contacting them beforehand to let them know.  This gives them a chance to make other plans if it’s really that big of a deal to them, or come up with alternative food options.  If you’re not opposed to others eating meat in your presence, you could also have a meat-eating friend or relative prepare and bring the turkey to your dinner.  It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to go with that option though.  

My main advice would just be to cook a lot of really yummy, hearty food that won’t have them missing the turkey!  Turkey is just one aspect of the Thanksgiving dinner that people enjoy - if you still have other staples like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie a lot of people probably won’t feel like they’re missing out.  Look for other vegetarian versions of comfort foods to add to your menu to help people forget about the bird.  Also remember, when hosting a big party it’s nearly impossible to keep everyone happy.  There’ll almost always be at least one nitpicky person who finds something to complain about.  Do your best to keep your guests happy and well fed, but don’t feel like you failed if you hear any small mumblings.  If you cook the meal with love your guests will notice and love it too.  Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Need some outside advice?  Send any questions you have to astrid@franceandson.com and you might see it answered here! 

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Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:53:26 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Kelly Hoppen]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Kelly-Hoppen/ When you work in the interior design industry you come to learn what most people want and like in their homes.  With so much time spent envisioning interiors it’s not surprising that eventually many interior designers also begin envisioning their own furniture and home good designs.  Some just commission custom pieces for their clients, but others want to share their designs with a larger audience, and create their own furniture collection.  Today we’ll look at one such line put together by a well known interior designer - Kelly Hoppen.



Perhaps better well known in the UK than the US, Kelly Hoppen has been in the interior design business since she was sixteen years old.  Since then she’s designed homes, yachts, and jets for private clients, as well as commercial projects in several countries, including hotels, restaurants, offices, and aircraft.  She’s also written eight design books.  In 2014 she launched her first self-designed interior accessories line.  To celebrate her forty years in the industry she launched this collaborative collection that draws inspiration from her life, travels, antiques and own home.  Reflecting her belief that texture has the power to add depth and sensuality to a room she elegantly played with materials to create designs that are characteristic and reflective of her sophisticated East meets West design philosophy.



If you’re looking to fill your space with clean, sophisticated designs, definitely check out the Kelly Hoppen line.  The collection manages to perfectly balance warm charm and sumptuous opulence.  Full of wonderful neutral tones these pieces will look great with almost any color palette you have in your space.  And with offerings in lighting, seating, bedding and art there’s something for every room of the house.

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Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:31:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With...Alice Cheng from SHIALICE Spatial Design]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Alice-Cheng-from-SHIALICE-Design/ Not everyone gets their start working on multi-million dollar projects for a respected Hollywood designer, but Alice Cheng did.  This experience inspired her to found her own interior design business in Los Angeles,SHIALICE Spatial Design.  Bringing thoughtfulness to every project, Alice creates combinations of shape, color, and materiality that complement each given space while making sure to respect the architectural elements already in place. Though she has a great affinity towards antique and vintage objects, she also seeks out new pieces from burgeoning craftsmen around the world whenever possible, even requesting custom work to cater to the unique loves of her clients. We recently reached out to Alice to get her take on interior design.



Have you always been interested in architecture and interior design?

Actually, yes—art was my first love and for as long as I can remember, I was drawing rooms and houses if I wasn’t building them with blocks. After I got a computer in grade school, I started using this super basic “Paint” software that came free with Windows (I’m dating myself) to draw repeating patterns for wallpaper and lay out how I’d hang art. In school and after school my extracurriculars were always having to do with creating environments (e.g., set design, wedding styling). I got distracted for a few years, though, and played it safe in marketing before I finally quit and pursued my passion for design full time.


What’s your approach to interior design?

I love clean lines and a curated environment, but in terms of overall philosophies, I’ve always loved this William Morris quote: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”It’s unlike me to push colors, styles, or items simply because they’re a current trend unless they really align with the form and function of the space. The goal is to surround yourself with items that you really love that works for you.


What inspires you the most?

Nature and food. The former is hard to beat as a source of inspiration for color, texture, and form that is so organic and, well, perfected.  And food: chefs are artists in their own right. I’m a horrible cook so I always feel a sense of awe when presented with a beautifully crafted and architected dish—it’s not the same inspiration designers find from seeing cool ideas in their own field. It’s more of an amazement and wonder you feel at your core that energizes you to want to create something too. And some of the crazy stuff they do with food these days is a great reminder to think out of the box—it inspires me to think more creatively.


Photo Credit: Tessa Neustadt

What’s your favorite project that you’ve completed so far?

What a fun question! My projects are my babies and it’s hard to choose. There are special pieces and moments in each project that I think of fondly: specially commissioned art pieces, custom tile work, a sweet corner I styled with a client’s favorite books from childhood.  

For the sake of answering the question, one recent project was for a repeat client for whom we sourced some wonderful vintage modernist pieces like an Arne Jacobson egg chair and a beautiful Greta Grossman bench (they’re such classic, clean-lined pieces—really gorgeous). He also recently got into collecting street and pop art and it was a lot of fun framing and hanging his Murakami and some other fun pieces (just photographed this and hope to share pictures soon).


What do you think is the most versatile color palette?

I tend to be drawn to thinking about a strong texture and materials palette early on and so my colors will often reference these naturally occurring tones of wood, or stone, or raw wool or raw metal. Those colors tend towards neutrals so you see a lot of soothing palettes in my projects that we can keep neutral or build on top of with stronger, more saturated colors.


How much does living in Los Angeles impact your designs?

Tons! I love the energy that runs through this city. The creative industries here nurture a sensibility that values the unique and the diverse and that appreciates a bit of quirk. There’s an appreciation for the story behind a bit of wear and patina on a vintage piece.    



How would you define the LA aesthetic?

Easy, comfortable, lived in and with hints of cool places beyond that big Pacific ocean we have over here.


What’s your favorite source for antique and vintage items?

Oh man, so many places. In LA, I love Amsterdam Modern and almost always find something from there for my projects (just happens to work that way). Lawson Fenning always has an awesome selection of well refurbished vintage pieces. I scour 1stdibs for more unique or exclusive finds and, honestly, I love looking at overseas Etsy sellers for objects unique to their history and region. And lastly, I try to pick up interesting things from my travels and offer them to my clients through a client-only shop. My current favorite is a woven wool domed lamp shade from Prague.


What kind of qualities do you look for in vintage pieces?

In short: condition and value.

I’ve been buying vintage since I got my first paycheck out of college and at first I just bought what was fun and different, but I learned the hard way to think about the condition of the piece for its intended use. If I see a cool looking chair for a client, it’d better also be comfortable by the client’s standards and in good enough condition to use without it falling apart. I personally have a high tolerance for patina and wear, but when shopping for clients I draw the line at pieces with anything broken or missing beyond character wear that we can’t easily fix without breaking the bank. The exception is if it’s a rare or valuable piece that is worth the investment.  If it’s a piece from a known maker, I always do some comparison shopping to see if the asking price is comparable with the market.



What’s more fun - designing custom furnishings, or designing interiors?

Gah. Tie.


Do you want to one day create your own line of home goods, or do you just enjoy getting custom pieces for your clients?

I would love to do that! I sometimes commission my own sofas and seating for clients from scratch when we need a very specific dimension or look, but it’s different when you want to create your own line. It’s just a matter of finding the right craftsmen to partner with. I don’t want to sell anything poorly made.


What’s your favorite room to design for?

They can be pretty involved, but I really love kitchens. I do all my cabinetry custom so it’s pretty much a free for all as to what’s possible. Plus, because the design has to follow functional needs, I find that clients are more game to try new things in this space if they know it’s with the intention of maximizing utility and optimizing storage—who would ever object to that? And, I love tile. LOVE tile. :)



Who’s your dream client?

A professor of history renovating a historic home. Is that too specific? I love clients who appreciate history behind the objects they collect and I love the craftsmanship you see in older houses.


How have interior design apps impacted your business?

I don’t really know. It hasn’t been a notable issue. I’m certain some of my clients use or have used them, but there’s nothing like having a designer at your side explaining the nitty gritty of making that cool image on your iPad come to life.  


What do you think the future of interior design looks like?

I’m hoping that with the maker culture running so strong that we’re headed back towards desiring quality in materials and craftsmanship as opposed to buying disposable trends that will last you a couple of years max. I really hope more and more people start collecting furniture and art to keep.



Thanks again Alice, for taking the time to answer our questions!  Make sure to follow SHIALICE on Instagram and Facebook for some great behind the scenes pics and design inspiration.

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Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:16:02 +0000
<![CDATA[Eat, Drink, and Give Thanks: Thanksgiving Table Inspiration]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Eat-Drink-and-Give-Thanks-Thanksgiving-Table-Inspiration/ Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away!  If you’re like us, it’s kind of sneaking up on you this year.  Which means you probably don’t have everything ready to go yet.  Hopefully the menu is at least planned, but do you know what the table is going to look like yet?  Place settings can really help set the scene, and also easily tell people where they’re sitting for dinner.  Even if you want to keep things simple, you can still spice things up with a dramatic focal point.  A table doesn't have to be over the top to be beautiful and inviting.


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The best starting point for planning your Thanksgiving table is to choose a color scheme.  Traditional fall and Thanksgiving colors are usually rich and warm reds, oranges, golds, and browns - the colors you see most outside during autumn.  More pastel Thanksgiving color palettes have become popular in recent years though, with creamy whites, sage greens, and rose golds creating a more modern look.  Incorporate elements of nature for easy, elegant embellishments; they also help show your thankfulness for nature and the world around you.  Don't be afraid to mix textures and patterns when setting your Thanksgiving table as well.  Thanksgiving is a bit of a rustic holiday, so feel free to break out the burlap and wood to create lovely contrasts with the sleek smoothness of your dishes.  


Enough words, here are some pretty pictures to inspire you.


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It can be a lot of fun planning a Thanksgiving tablescape and choosing just the right tabletop accessories.  Hopefully this post gave you some ideas for your own table.  Just remember to leave room for the food!

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Tue, 14 Nov 2017 18:45:25 +0000
<![CDATA[Setting the Stage: The Benefits of Staging Your Home for Sale]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Setting-the-Stage-The-Benefits-of-Staging-Your-Home-for-Sale/ A lot of our posts are about how to make your home reflect your personal style, taste, and lifestyle.  But what happens when it’s time to sell your home and move on to a new space?  With so many people looking at your home, not everyone is going to love your style the same way you do.  When it comes to selling your home you need your space to strike the perfect balance between blank state and homey.  That’s where home staging comes into play.  Home staging can become kind of pricey, which leads many people to go without.  But it also can really pay off in the end.  If you’re on the fence about staging your home, here are some benefits to help you make your decision.


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Staging Helps Your Home Stand Out

Many home buyers start their searches online, which means the first impression they get of your home is the posted pictures of it.  They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but in this case a picture can be worth thousands of dollars, if it entices people to come tour your home and put in an offer.  If people don’t like what they see online, there’s a good chance they’ll pass on seeing it in person.  If there’s more than one home for sale in your neighborhood staging can also help your home stand out from your neighbors’.  This can be especially important if your home is older and going up against new construction.


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Staging Maximizes the Space

Professional stagers know how to get the most out of every room.  If your home is on the smaller side, staging can help potential buyers see the openness of your home instead of focusing on the small square footage.  Staging can give every room a clear purpose, taking the guesswork out of things for buyers.  A good stager will be able to walk through your home and create a flow that is beneficial to most potential home buyers.  When buyers can see how the space is used, they’re less likely to get hung up on a strange layout or a small floor plan, which increases their chances of buying.


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Staging Can Lead to Higher Offers

The goal of staging your home is to get people interested in it, and if multiple people are interested a bidding war can begin.  If a buyer falls in love with your home they’ll likely be more willing to offer over asking price to make sure they get it.  There are some statistics to back up this idea - according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging, 29% of sellers’ agents reported an increase of one to five percent in dollar value; 21% reported an increase of 8 to 10 percent, and 5% reported an increase of 11 to 15 percent.  The correlation between staging and final selling price isn’t entirely clear, but staged homes do create more buyer interest, which is more likely to result in higher offers than little interest is.


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Staging Helps Homes Sell Faster

While there’s some debate on whether or not staging actually ensures higher offers, numerous studies have shown that staging does sell homes faster.  And the faster your home sells the sooner you get your money and the less money you’re spending on mortgage and/or utilities payments for the home.  One study found that homes staged prior to listing sold 79% faster than those staged sometime after being listed.  A well staged home allows buyers to better visualize themselves in the space, and also makes them more likely to overlook small issues because they’re already picturing themselves living there.


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Staging has become such an important part of home selling that many real estate brokers are now including staging in their services.  Whether they do the staging themselves or hire outside stagers, when you decide to put your home on the market, look for a broker that also provides staging so you don’t have to worry about it yourself.  Stagers can use the furniture already there, or may rent furniture to help pad out the space, or furnish the space entirely if it’s a home that’s already been moved out of.  Living in a staged home can be a tad inconvenient, and it can be tough emotionally to see the space you love transformed into something else, but remember that it’s being done to help you move to a new space that you’ll grow to love just as much.

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Mon, 13 Nov 2017 18:50:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid: I Need Cleaning Advice]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-I-Need-Cleaning-Advice/ Dear Astrid,

I recently purchased two Catherine three-drawer side tables for my home and I love them!  But I want to make sure they stay clean.  What’s the best way to keep them shiny and sparkly?

Signed,

Curious Cleaner

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Dear Curious,

Great question!  Nothing’s worse than ruining a piece of furniture you love by cleaning it the wrong way.  But you definitely want to make sure it doesn’t get dirty.  

Mirrored furniture can be tricky to keep clean because it can show dirt and smudges almost immediately.  Since even the slightest layer of dust can dull the shine of a mirrored surface, regularly dust the side tables with a soft microfiber cloth to prevent dust build-up.  If you start getting too many smudges, or anything that needs something more than just a cloth, use a non-solvent based glass cleaner and gently wipe with a microfiber cloth.  Avoid spraying the cleaner directly onto the mirrored surface and instead spray it on the cloth and then wipe.  A white vinegar and water solution is a great way to maintain that perfect shine and remove any residual streaks and smears.  Most important to remember is to never use a general purpose cleaning spray since it can dull the reflection of the mirror.  Make sure you use something that is specifically suited to mirror and glass alike.



Need some outside advice?  Send any questions you have to astrid@franceandson.com and you might see it answered here!

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Fri, 10 Nov 2017 21:14:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With…Elena Romero-Gómez of Full Loft]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Elena-Romero-Gomez-of-Full-Loft/ Everyone loves their pets, and wants them to feel like part of the family.  As mentioned in our pet-friendly decor post, an easy way to do this is to find modern pet accessories that match the style of your home.  Your pet is happy that they have their own space, and you’re happy because it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.  As brands are realizing that people want stylish pet options, more are offering them.  One company specializing in stylish pet furniture is Full Loft.  We reached out to founder Elena Romero to find out more about this growing industry and how she got her start in it.  


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Were you always interested in design?

Yes, it comes from my family. My father was a very passionate architect, always thinking of irreverent and functional design, he inspired me to innovate and give my personal touch to each project.


Have you always had pets?

Yes, at home and in my family we have always lived with pets. I have instilled love and respect for all the animals.


Are you a dog or a cat person?

I have no preferences, I am passionate about all animal life.


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What inspired you to design pet furniture instead of people furniture?

After work in several residential projects that included expensive furniture and finishes for families with pets, and seeing that always the pet area is a bed (generally with bone-stamping) totally dissonant with the design, I realized the need to create a line with a multi-functional design that could cover several needs at the same time - most of the designs are pet houses and ancillary tables, with a slot to place the tablets or smartphones (Tunnel Home, Nest Home, Cube Home). This was the way I have found to integrate the spaces without sacrificing style and design.


Do you think the market for stylish pet furniture is growing?

Undoubtedly, recently a very famous Low Cost brand has bet on this market, although we have been one of the pioneers in this product, the development of new lines/brands suggests to us that the sector and its necessity continue to increase. We are currently the only brand that offers high quality furniture and custom design according to the tastes and needs of our customers.


How do you think the relationship between people and their pets has changed over time?

It has changed incredibly.  Most of the change comes from people being tired of the dehumanizing effect of technology.  New lifestyles have also prompted this change in pet/human relationships.  The truth is it has promoted numerous studies such as:

University of Pennsylvania, USA: a Springer Spaniel and a Labrador Retriever that are being successfully trained to detect cancer in people.

University of Goldmsiths in London: found that dogs are able to identify the pain or sadness of their masters.

Sagamihara Azabu University (Japan): When a dog and his master look into each others' eyes, both enjoy an oxytocin discharge that reinforces the bond between them. - Science Magazine.

And so innumerable close connections between people and their pets. These connections have improved our quality of life and, in my opinion, it makes us more human.


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What are your biggest design influences?

Unquestionably the Modern Movement / (Bauhaus School): Functionality and aesthetics.

Multi-disciplinary teachers:

·       Frank Lloyd Wright

·       Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (Le Corbusier)

·       Oscar Niemeyer

·       Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (Bauhaus)

·       Alvar Aalto

·       Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – less is more


What’s your approach to design?

Certainly first of all the functionality and then the aesthetics conditioned to the first, there I find magic, which inspires the purchase of a piece, its shape, although in fact it was designed from its function. The use of noble materials and the integration of these in any environment.


Which is your favorite piece that you’ve designed so far?

Actually each one has a very different story and inspiration, which makes each one have its place within me.


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Has social media like Instagram had much of an impact on your business?  People love seeing pictures of animals.

Yes, Instagram has played a very important role in promoting the brand. We have been called from Japan, Australia and even from the Nordic countries thanks to this social network. It is true that accounts with pets are very popular although we focus it from the point of view of design, decoration and a style of our own, is what makes us different .


Do the dogs in the pictures belong to employees or are they models?                                                    

Hahahahah it’s a funny question. They are all dogs of friends or new friends.  Let me explain: very happy dogs of employees who spend their days working in pet friendly offices and dogs that we have found playing with their owners in parks and they love the idea their dog become model by a day for Full Loft®.  The idea is to see that Full Loft® designs for the common dog, not necessarily of breed and that the designs are thought for all.


Most of the homes are for smaller dogs, do you think you’ll branch out to include larger models for big dogs?

Yes, Full Loft has a line in Contract: We custom design for Hotels and Restaurants, Pet Friendly shopping centers and large areas in general, we adapt to the style, materials and size you need.

We have also designed some larger and customized sizes for private customers who have requested us through our website.


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In your opinion, is a home complete without a pet?

I think the choice of having or not having a pet is very personal and carries a lot of responsibility that should not be taken lightly and that determines the need and ability to have it or not. But once you have lived with a pet once and you have fulfilled the responsibility of well being is this, you will undoubtedly always feel incomplete if you do not have one.


Do you have any plans to design people furniture to match the pet furniture?

As I mentioned in a previous question, almost all of our designs are multi-functional, being multipurpose for both people and their pets. They are auxiliary tables with a slot that serves to hold tablets / smartphones and furniture for pets.  The idea is the integration to the daily furniture and of unique design without sacrificing originality and style.


Do you have any new designs in the works?

Always!  We are always on the hunt for new challenges, supply space and design needs. Also with the development of models to Contract new designs are constantly being created.

We plan to increase the catalog of the models in series to about 20 designs for this new year 2018 and to change them to offer new models constantly.  We are also developing a lifestyle partner called Pet Friendly Movement® that is geared to the daily lives of people who share a pet friendly life, we will soon reveal the details.


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Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Elena!  We can’t wait to see what designs you come up with next, and to see the dogs modeling them!  To keep up with the latest on Full Loft (and see lots of cute animals!) be sure to follow them on Instagram.

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Fri, 10 Nov 2017 20:30:53 +0000
<![CDATA[Guest Post: The Pros and Cons of the Double Envelope House]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Guest-Post-The-Pros-and-Cons-of-the-Double-Envelope-House/ If you’re a homeowner who’s interested in reducing energy costs, the double envelope house is a model you should consider. This house is a type of passive solar house that uses a solarium to collect solar energy. The house has two sets of walls, hence the double envelope in its name, that allow warm air to circulate around the living quarters. Of course, when you’re considering any type of home, there are pros and cons to consider. To figure out if the double envelope house is right for you, here are some of the most important pros and cons to consider.


Photo Source: Wiki Commons

Pros: Reduces Energy Costs

By far, the biggest advantage of the double envelope house is the money saved on energy costs. The greenhouse that’s incorporated into the south side of the house paired with sub-floor cooling tubes create a convective loop that keeps the living quarters at a comfortable temperature. The envelope design of the house acts as a collection and storage space that stores energy collected during the sunny periods of a winter day.


In the summer, this cycle is reversed when the windows at the upper part of the house are opened. Hot air is forced to evacuate, keeping the living quarters cool. The envelope house is about 80% energy-efficient in both summer and winter, which can drastically cut energy costs.


Pros: Doesn’t Require Maintenance

Non-solar heating options include forced air and hot water systems. In a hot water system, small pipes filled with hot water to baseboard convectors, creating a convective loop. In a forced air system, a duct system transports heated and cooled air to different areas of the house. In both of these type of systems, there are parts that can fail or require periodic maintenance. For homeowners, those extra costs can add up, and an out-of-order system can leave you stranded in the cold.


Even if you opt for an active solar heating system, it requires a system of pumps, pipes, and collectors. Just like non-solar heating options, these parts can require repair or replacement. With a double envelope house, you don’t have to worry about maintenance since the system is built into the house’s design.


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Pros: More Aesthetically Pleasing Than Active Systems

If you want to use solar energy to help heat and cool your house, you can choose between a passive system like the double envelope house or an active system. No matter what type of active system you choose, you’ll likely need to install a collector (or several) in order to harness solar energy. A collector is usually costly and likely does not suit the design aesthetic of your home as they are large, noticeable structures. The double envelope system allows for more variance in design without the added bulk of solar collectors.


Cons: Stores Heat for Less Time

The passive solar system of the double envelope house can’t store heat as long as an active system. The double envelope house can store energy for about 72 hours, so extended periods without adequate sun exposure could be problematic. Active solar energy systems can store energy for longer periods of time with features like battery banks or grid-inter-tie.


Since traditional methods of heating or cooling your home don’t rely on the sun for energy, these methods of regulating your home’s temperature are more reliable in places where sunlight may be scarce.


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Cons: Not Suited for All Climates

The double envelope house isn’t ideal for all climates, especially extreme ones. In a hotter climate, the design would likely need extra attention in order to remain adequately cool. Such provisions might include window shades, a roof overhang, or additional vents to help expel hot air.


If you live in a polar climate, the double envelope house unfortunately isn’t for you. The passive heating system just isn’t quite enough to properly heat living quarters in consistently cold temperatures.


Cons: Temperatures May Be Inconsistent

Due to the nature of the double envelop design, hot and cool are are constantly circulating around the house. This means that there can be variation in temperature from area to area. If you’re someone who wants to be able to maintain complete, consistent control over the temperature of the house, a double envelope design may not be for you.


For homeowners looking for a low-maintenance solar energy option, the double envelope house has some very significant positive aspects. An 80% energy self-sufficiency rate can go a long way towards reducing the costs of maintaining a home. As long as you don’t live in a particularly extreme environment, a double envelope house is an option worth exploring.


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Author Bio:

Tony Fallaver is a freelance writer and marketing consultant for general contractors and construction companies like Joel & Co. Construction.

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Thu, 09 Nov 2017 16:48:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Let the Light Shine: Seven Ways to Increase the Natural Lighting in Your Space]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Let-the-Light-Shine-Seven-Ways-to-Increase-the-Natural-Lighting-in-Your-Space/ The days are getting shorter as winter approaches, making us want to enjoy the daylight we do have as much as possible.  Those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder have a really tough time during winter, but even those who don’t often lament the early sunsets.  Nothing brightens up a space quite like natural lighting, and especially this time of year, you’ll want to maximize the amount of light you’re getting as much as possible.  Here are some ways to get the most out of the natural light in a space.


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Windows

One of the most obvious ways to get more natural light in a space is to add more windows, or make the windows you have larger.  But even if you can’t alter the amount or size of windows you can still work with the windows you do have.  The most important, and easy, thing to do is make sure your windows are clean.  The dirtier the window, the less light can make it through.  Give your windows a thorough cleaning at least once a year, cleaning more often as necessary.  You can also check to make sure your windows aren’t being blocked by trees or shrubs outside.  If light can’t reach the window because a tree is in the way you’re not making the most of that window.  Try to keep all nearby landscaping elements below window level for optimum light.


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Window Treatments

Once you have your windows set, be mindful of the types of window treatments you use.  If you’re really in need of natural light you can consider not using any window treatments at all.  But many people like the privacy that curtains and blinds offer at night.  For curtains look for lightweight or sheer curtains made of cotton or linen in light, bright colors.  These will allow sunlight to filter in even when closed.  If opting for shades or blinds, look for ones that provide the most control of lighting and don’t block the light even when opened.  Vertical and Venetian blinds will always block at least some of the light, and Roman shades can also present this issue.


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Skylights or Sun Tubes

If you’re able to do some construction, skylights are a great option for maximizing the amount of natural light a space gets.  If you like the idea of skylights but don’t want something so large you can also look into sun tubes/tunnels.  They look like recessed lighting fixtures, but are actually sunlight being reflected down into your house from outside.  Both options will add natural light to your space from above, combining with windows to fill the room with daylight.


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Glass Doors

Replacing a solid front door with one that has glass panes in it is a simple switch that will allow more natural light to enter your home.  Sliding glass doors for backyard or balcony entrances also increase the amount of light coming in.  Glass doors aren’t just for indoor/outdoor thresholds though.  Any solid door can be replaced by a glass door to allow more light to flow inside.  If you’re worried about privacy you can use frosted glass which will obscure what’s behind it, but still allow light to pass through.


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Use Mirrors

The strategic placement of mirrors is one of the easiest ways to get more natural light in a room.  Mirrors placed across from or adjacent to natural light sources will bounce the light around the room, making it sunnier and brighter.  Try to have at least one mirror in any room that you feel needs more natural light.  A properly placed mirror can instantly double the amount of natural light in a space.


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Check Furniture Placement

Be conscious of where your furniture is placed in relation to your sources of natural light.  Try not to place large, dense pieces of furniture right in front of windows since they’ll block some of the incoming light.  Move furniture at least a few feet away from any windows or glass doors so you can let the light shine in freely.  


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Opt for Shiny and Transparent  

Anything that helps reflect the light or lets the light pass through will maximize the natural lighting a room gets.  Transparent furniture will provide seating or surface area without blocking the light from windows and doors.  Pieces with mirrored finishes will act as extra mirrors and bounce light around the room.  Glossier or satin finish paint on the walls and ceiling will also help reflect natural light.  In kitchens and bathroom, glass, glossy ceramic, and metallic back-splashes are an easy and stylish way to reflect light back into the room.


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You’ll pretty much always need more light sources than just the sun.  But considering that sunlight is free, and can add warmth, it just makes sense to use it to illuminate your space as much as possible.  Hopefully this post has helped you find at least a couple of solutions for getting more natural light into your home as you can.  

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Tue, 07 Nov 2017 21:08:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Pin-spiration: Astrid’s Favorite Dining Pins]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Pin-spiration-Astrids-Favorite-Dining-Pins/ It’s the first day back to work after Daylight Savings Time ended, and it’s gray and rainy here in New York.  Needless to say, it’s not the most motivating day.  I think everyone needs some pretty pictures to look at to perk us up.  Since Thanksgiving is coming I picked my favorite pins from our Dining board on Pinterest.  Enjoy!


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Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest for all the latest inspiration!

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Mon, 06 Nov 2017 21:03:47 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid: My Friend Asked to Stay with Me - How Do I Tell Her No?]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-My-Friend-Asked-to-Stay-with-Me-How-Do-I-Tell-Her-No/ Dear Astrid,

My friend from high school is going to be in town for Thanksgiving with her new boyfriend.  Ordinarily she’d stay with her parents, but because of their traditional values they won’t let her and her boyfriend sleep in the same bedroom, so she wants to stay elsewhere this year.  She asked if they could crash at my place for the four-day weekend, but I don’t really want them to.  It’s not a moral issue like with her parents, but more of a space thing.  I don’t have a spare bedroom so they’d be staying out in the living room and I’m worried I’ll end up feeling like I have to stay in my bedroom the whole time.  If it was just for a night I wouldn’t mind, but a long weekend feels like too much to me.  How do I let them down gently and not put a rift in our friendship?

Signed,

Not Running A Hotel

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Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Dear Not Running A Hotel,

Sometimes (most times), honesty is the best policy.  A short and simple, “Unfortunately I can’t help you guys out this time,” should be sufficient to getting out of having house guests and maintaining the friendship.  I think most people who ask to stay with friends are at least a little prepared for the answer to be no, so I don’t think she’ll be as devastated as you fear.  Asking a person who doesn’t have a spare bedroom to house two extra people for four days is a lot.  Especially over a holiday weekend where you probably have your own stuff going on to deal with.  It’s totally understandable to not want the added stress of having house guests you didn’t invite during a holiday.  If you feel the need to add an explanation, or if she asks why, just explain that you feel the space isn’t big enough.  If you want to go the extra mile you could research hotels or Airbnbs available in the area to offer as alternatives.  You might want to plan a night to meet up while she’s around to enforce the idea that it really is an issue of space and not that you’re mad at her or don’t like her anymore or anything.  Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with their friends when they’re home?  

Need some outside advice?  Send any questions you have to astrid@franceandson.com and you might see it answered here!

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Fri, 03 Nov 2017 18:16:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Artography Limited]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Artography-Limited/ Every room could use at least one piece of art in it.  We’ve gone over how to pick the best art for a space before, but you still have to go find the art.  There is a ton of great artwork out in the world, so it can be hard to narrow down the choices.  For fans of photography, today we’re going to look at a company that provides high quality framed photographs - Artography Limited.


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Artography Limited features exclusively licensed iconic images that date from the 1940’s to today.  The company has collections from artists like Barry Kramer, Frank Worth, and Dan Springer.  Popular subjects they cover include the Rat Pat, Marilyn Monroe, and more contemporary celebrities like Daniel Craig and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  Fans of 1950s celebrity culture will especially enjoy Barry Kramer’s pieces, since they perfectly capture Hollywood life at that time.  His close relationships with celebrities and musicians allowed him access to venues and events others could only dream of.  


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Each image has an embossed Certificate of Authenticity, authorized by the artist or estate, with the subject and artist’s background and shot location.  The company employs only experienced print craftsmen to reproduce the images from the original negatives on high quality fine art paper.  So next time you’re looking for some art with history to hang on your walls, check out what Artography Limited has to offer.





Shop Artography


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Fri, 03 Nov 2017 18:11:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Gather ‘Round: How to Create An Inviting Dining Room]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Gather-Round-How-to-Create-An-Inviting-Dining-Room/ Halloween is sadly over, but that just means it’s time to start preparing for the next major holiday (in the United States anyway) - Thanksgiving.  If you’re going to a friend or family member’s home for Thanksgiving you’re probably not that stressed out about it.  But if you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your place, you may be starting to worry about having enough space for everyone.  Whether you already have an established dining room that just needs some sprucing up, or are putting together a dining room for the first time, we’re here to help.  Here’s how to get an inviting dining room any time of year.  


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Work with the Size of the Space

Just because you can fit a big table into the dining room, that doesn’t mean it will look good or function well.  On the flip side, a large room with a small table floating around in it will look cold and uninviting.  Before buying any furniture for your dining room, always measure the room, remembering to leave enough space around your furniture to move through easily.  This may mean making compromises to your original vision, but it will be worth it in the end to have a truly stylish and useful room.  An extendable table is a good choice if you normally have a smaller amount of people using it but will occasionally need more tabletop space for holidays or other gatherings.  Another space saving compromise is to use dining chairs that don’t have arms, since it will give guests a little more space between each other.  Depending on the style of the space you could even substitute benches for chairs.  


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Pick the Right Shape

Related to the size of the space, you also need to pick the best shape for the space and your needs.  Rectangular and elongated oval tables work well in larger rooms and narrow spaces, allowing you to seat the most people and still keep them close enough together to have conversations.  Square and round tables are best suited for small spaces or open concepts.  These shapes are often found in more casual dining spaces since they seat less people but promote easy conversation.  If you have a large space a square table should really be avoided, since in order to accommodate a lot of seats, those across from each other will be too far apart to try to talk.  Rectangular is the most popular and traditional dining table choice, but oval can be ideal if you frequently have to squeeze in a last minute guest.


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Select Good Materials

Is the dining room going to be used every day, or is it more of a special occasion space?  How often it’s going to see use can make a big impact on the materials you use in the room.  If the dining table is going to be used every day, wood is likely your best option.  A wood table will add warmth and comfort while not showing regular wear or fingerprints easily.  If the table is only going to be used for occasional gatherings you can opt for a table that’s a bit more high maintenance, like glass or marble.  Tables aren’t the only aspect of the dining room this advice applies to however.  If you’re placing a rug in the dining room the material selection for that is important as well.  A high traffic dining room should have a rug made out of durable and easy to clean fibers such as cotton or synthetic.  Dining rooms that see less use can have slightly more delicate rugs.  But remember that it is a dining room, and there is always the chance of a food or beverage spill.  


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Have Proper Lighting

People can’t enjoy their dinner and conversation if they can’t see what they’re eating or who they’re talking to so proper lighting in the dining room is very important.  You spent all that time preparing the food, make sure people can see it!  Consider getting lighting that can be dimmed so you can adjust the amount of light with the occasion.  Chandeliers are the traditional choice for dining room lighting, and with lots of modern styles are still a good option.  If chandeliers just aren’t your thing though, a pendant or a couple of pendant lights over the dining room table works just as well.  The general rule of thumb when hanging lighting over the table is there should be at least 34" inches of clearance space between the fixture and the table.  You don’t want people bumping their heads when they get up or while sitting down.  If your dining room is in a large space you may want to layer the lighting a bit by also including wall sconces or a floor lamp.  For more information on choosing proper lighting, check out our lighting guide post.


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Don’t Forget to Accessorize

It’s hard for a space to feel welcoming without at least some accessories.  Already touched upon, rugs are a traditional addition to the dining room.  When choosing a rug, make sure that the chairs will either be fully on the rug, or not on the rug at all.  Guests don’t want to feel lopsided while sitting down to dinner because the back legs of the chair are off of the rug.  If you have the space, a sideboard or credenza is a great addition to the dining room since it adds storage and surface area, leaving more of the tabletop free for food and place settings.  A bar cart can also be a fun dining room accessory, especially if you throw a lot of dinner parties.  Plants are a nice addition to any room, dining room included, whether in the form of potted plants or fresh cut flowers in a vase.


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Now you have the basics for putting together a dining room people will love to spend time in.  while it may seem stressful, especially with the holiday season upon us, it can be fun setting up your dining room and creating a space that reflects your style and welcomes in others.  And once your dining room is squared away, you can focus on the real main attraction - the food!

Shop dining:


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Thu, 02 Nov 2017 17:36:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Guest Post: Key Ways to Turn Your Garage into A Brand New Spare Bedroom]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Guest-Post-Key-Ways-to-Turn-Your-Garage-into-A-Brand-New-Spare-Bedroom/ You only have one spare bedroom in your home, but, so far, guests were satisfied with the accommodation you gave them. They were able to sleep well and bathe comfortably in the room. Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to add another spare bedroom because you’ll know who might visit you in the coming months.You’ve thought about a lot of options, and one of these is to convert your garage into a brand new spare bedroom. It’s a lot cheaper compared to constructing another room in the house. You’ve seen a lot of people do this and you’re thinking of taking the risk. You’re no longer using the garage so why not, right?



You probably don’t know where and how to start so here are a few points which can help you in the process:

•    Plan ahead: Before you devote yourself to looking for inspiration or themes on how your spare bedroom will look, have a concrete plan for the renovation. You should plan on how much you’re willing to spend, and to which extent you’re ready to change your old garage. You can also ask for professional help on this one. You can tell them all of your plans since they can give you advice on whether this is feasible or not. It’s your garage (no one would stop you if you want to paint all the walls in a bold pink or polka dots) and you have all the liberty to decide on things, but you don’t want to devote all of your savings to this project.

•    Comply with permits: Some states are strict when it comes to home construction. Even with just a little home improvement project, paperwork is a requirement. So, before you call your best contractor, ask if you should secure any necessary permits first. It’s important to comply accordingly with whatever is required before you start any project. You don’t want to start a project and then have it paused just because you didn’t comply the necessary documents in the first place. This is a waste of time, effort and moneyand no one wants that.



•    Make sure it’s damp-proof: If your garage is waterproof, you can skip this one but if it's not, make sure you have the professional work this out for you. It’s tempting to do it on your own, but the hazards are too high. The interiors of a garage are far different than a bedroom, so insulation on the walls is also a necessity. Look for contractors who can do both jobs for you. Look for possible discounts or packages which will suit your budget. You want this new bedroom to be as comfortable and as functional as possible. We’ll never know, this room may even turn out to be one of your favorites.

•    Look at your plumbing and wiring: When this was still used as a garage, you were only using one light bulb to keep the area lit, but now that it’s going to be used a spare bedroom, nope, a single light bulb is not enough. There will be a lot of plumbing and wiring jobs needed in the room so you might want to contact your local plumber and electrician immediately. Once they visit you, have them look at your bedroom design. Inquire if the plumbing and wiring can work well with the design. If not, ask for their suggestions on the options you may have. Open your mind to the possibility of your design being tweaked, just to ensure that the plumbing and wiring works are not compromised.

•    Change your flooring:  Your garage probably has cement or brick floors to withstand any car types and possible oil leaks. But since this space will soon be home to some of your friends, change the flooring. Your car and your friends will have different definitions of comfort so carefully look into the latter’s preference. If this will be solely for guests, put yourself in their shoes and think how they feel with a particular type of flooring. If possible, you can copy the flooring of the house’s interior to create a consistent look, but you can also opt for more loud and edgy designs.


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•    Start decorating and designing: This is the best part in any home renovation projects. Having an idea of how your spare bedroom will look is a great start to know which pieces to purchase or add in the room. There are also a lot of DIY projects available online which you can use herestorage, decoration and even lighting ideas (you’re welcome for the tip).

•    Natural Light: When you think of a bedroom a window and a door is a must.  And since most garages don’t have these, have the professionals install some in your new spare bedroom. You want your guests to bask in the natural light during sunrise while guaranteeing enough ventilation for them. There are a lot of window and door frames on the market today, so pick out the ones that best suit your theme. No one will ever know that this chic bedroom was a garage before!


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Wrapping up

Converting your garage into a new spare bedroom is a tedious and exciting undertaking all at the same time. You might even have a few bumps along the way, but once you see the outcome of your renovation, you’ll surely know that every stress was worth it. You’ll be amazed by the transformation behind the garage door and your guests will be raving about this room, for sure!

Want to see your post here?  E-mail meghan@franceandson.com to discuss guest posting opportunities.  We always enjoy hearing new perspectives and sharing them with our readers. 

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George Anderson 

George is a specialist when it comes to garage doors. Working in the industry for over 20+ years he takes pride on helping his clients fulfill their needs when it comes to garage construction. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his family.

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Tue, 31 Oct 2017 14:57:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Dress to Impress: Five Last Minute Halloween Costumes]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Dress-to-Impress-Five-Last-Minute-Halloween-Costumes/ You probably already have your Halloween costume picked out - you might have even worn it this past weekend to a party.  But maybe you wore your costume and something happened to it, or maybe you got invited to a last minute party.  Or maybe you’re just a procrastinator (no shame!).  I’m sure there are still some of you out there scrambling to come up with what to wear for Halloween.  For those of you who still need a costume for Tuesday, for whatever reason, we’re here to help!  Here are five easy last minute costumes.


Scarecrow

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Photo Credit: Marie McGrath

Scarecrow is a great quick Halloween costume because you probably already have everything on hand.  All you need is a plaid shirt, jeans, boots, and a floppy hat.  It’s also a good option because you could go cute or creepy with it.


Ice Cream Sundae

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Photo Credit: Clara MacLellan


For this costume you’ll likely only have to pick up a few small things to complete it.  A red balloon as a cherry, coffee filters as whipped cream, and sparkly cardstock or felt come together to create this tasty costume.  For more detailed directions click here.


Waldo from Where’s Waldo?

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Photo Credit: thehouseofcornwall.blogspot.com


It’s hard to go wrong with a Waldo (or Wenda, or Woof!) costume.  All you need is a red and white striped shirt, beanie, and some black rimmed glasses and you’re set.  Depending on how much time you have to prepare you can get some extra accessories like a walking stick, binoculars, camera, and travel bag.  


Ventriloquist Dummy

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Photo Credit: Slashed Beauty

If you don’t want to spend money on clothes for a costume you may never wear again, this costume is all about the makeup.  Toeing the line between creepy and cute it’s an ideal last minute costume idea.  Once the makeup is done all you have to do is toss on your most doll-like clothes.


Google Maps

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Photo Credit: narkeeso/Reddit

This costume can work as a couple’s costume or solo.  Just plot out your favorite neighborhood on your shirt with yellow duct tape and create the classic red pin with cardboard.


Hopefully we’ve given you some ideas and inspiration if you still need a costume idea.  If you already have this year’s costume, then maybe you’ll get an idea for next year.  It’s never too early to plan Halloween costumes!  

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Mon, 30 Oct 2017 17:25:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid: I Need Advice About Moving in with My Boyfriend]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-I-Need-Advice-About-Moving-in-with-My-Boyfriend/

Dear Astrid,

My boyfriend and I are moving into an apartment together for the first time next month.  We’re super excited, but also nervous about bringing two homes’ worth of belongings into one space.  How do we pare down our stuff and how do we make the space reflect both of our styles?  

Signed,

Happy but Stressed


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Dear Happy but Stressed,

Congrats on the big move!  Combining lives can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be stressful.  First, you both need to go through your own belongings to decide what’s making the move and what’s not.  One of the most important things to keep in mind when moving is, “will there be a place for this in my new home?”  There will always be some things you’re hanging onto just for sentimental reasons, and if you know you want to display it and that you have a spot for it, it can come.  If it’s going to end up shoved away and never seen or enjoyed, you’re better off leaving it behind.  Anything broken should be tossed.  You don’t want to fill your shiny new space with broken objects.

The best way to have the space reflect both you is to plan it out together.  If you both put work into planning the space, it will reflect both of you.  You will have to make some compromises though.  You might want to think in advance what design elements you really want to fight for and what you’re okay not having.  Unless it’s something you really love, it’s probably not worth fighting over.   

In terms of furniture, if you have the means to start from scratch you can buy all new furniture that you both agree will look good in the space.  If you’re working with pieces you already own, try to use pieces from both of you.  If all you do is move your entire bedroom suite into the new bedroom the space may feel like home to you still, but might not feel as welcoming to him.

Also remember that the space will change with time.  As you live there things may get moved around, and new stuff that you’ve bought together will enter the space.  If something’s not working don’t be afraid to change it.

It really is an exciting time, so have fun and enjoy setting up your new space!

Xoxo,

Astrid


Need some outside advice?  Send any questions you have to astrid@franceandson.com and you might see it answered here! 
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Fri, 27 Oct 2017 20:29:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Currey & Company]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Currey-and-Company/ Sometimes a company starts out knowing exactly what they want to sell and they stick with it, but more often companies evolve with time.  One such company that made a change is Currey & Company.  Beginning life as Garden Source Furnishings, the company soon realized that the lighting category was its most important, and expanded to reflect this.  Today chandeliers and wall sconces make up a significant part of the company’s business.  Since they’re this week’s spotlight, let’s give Currey & Company a closer look.


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Founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1988, Currey & Company started out as a purveyor of historic garden furnishings.  The main focus of the company was the creation and marketing of classic garden furniture from the Winterthur Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, interspersed with a collection of garden whimsies, birdhouses and rustic twig furniture.  By the 1990s the company expanded to include a large selection of lighting for which they’re now best known.  While hand forged iron products has been a specialty of the company, their range includes a variety of materials such as hand-carved wood, porcelain and brass.  They have also started an international branch of the company that’s run out of the Philippines.  Currey International focuses on handmade products with seashells and other natural materials featuring prominently.


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Since their company has its origins in garden decor, Currey & Company lighting has an organic, natural appeal.  Since it’s made by hand their products have a sense of rustic durability.  With lighting that ranges the style gamut, Currey & Company features both classic chandeliers made of hand-forged iron as well as elegant porcelain table lamps, all embodying a sense of warmth and charm.  Their pieces also have an air of the imperfect, reflecting their unique origins.

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Fri, 27 Oct 2017 18:07:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Astrid’s Picks: Seven Pumpkin Recipes for National Pumpkin Day]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Astrids-Picks-Seven-Pumpkin-Recipes-for-National-Pumpkin-Day/ pexels-photo-265315.jpeg


It’s National Pumpkin Day everyone!  Even though I’ve been enjoying all things pumpkin since the first cool breeze of fall hit, today seemed like the perfect day to share some pumpkin recipes that I think look amazing.  It’s usually associated with pies and dessert, but pumpkin is actually surprisingly versatile, and works just as well in savory dishes.  Warning - the following pictures and recipes may induce drooling or grumbling stomachs.


Pumpkin Waffles

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Photo Credit: number-2-pencil.com


For an all day pumpkin-fest you can start off your day with some yummy pumpkin waffles.  Waffles are always a treat, so adding pumpkin just makes them an extra autumn-y treat.  Pumpkin pairs perfectly with maple, so this whole breakfast is really a no-brainer.


Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

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Photo Credit: damndelicious.net


The first entry in the savory pumpkin category are these pumpkin stuffed shells.  While everyone’s probably familiar with the classic ricotta stuffed shells in tomato sauce, really shells can be stuffed with anything you’d like.  The highlight of this dish is the garlic Parmesan cream sauce, which you’re going to want to start putting on all of your pasta.


Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

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Photo Credit: Poor Couple’s Food Guide


A fall favorite, you can’t let the month of October pass you by without making some pumpkin bread.  If you want your pumpkin bread more on the go this recipe is big enough to make a couple of small loaves as well as a dozen muffins.  Freeze what you’re not going to eat within a week and you’ll have pumpkin bread to last you through Thanksgiving.  


Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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Photo Credit: The Chunky Chef


Who can eat a Whoopie Pie without it bringing a smile to their face?  The cookies themselves have a wonderful spiced pumpkin flavor that’s strong but not overwhelming.  But the browned butter maple cinnamon frosting is where it’s really at.  It pairs perfectly with the cookies, but is so good you’re going to want to just eat it on its own.  


Pumpkin Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

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Photo Credit: cookingandbeer.com


These biscuits toe the line between savory and sweet.  They’ll go great with any hearty fall dinner but can also be topped with butter and cinnamon sugar for a sweeter snack.  Whether as a side or just a snack you’ll be wanting to make these biscuits all autumn long.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkins

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Photo Credit: Creme de la Crumb


These little stuffed pumpkins are perfect for serving at parties.  Delicious and impressive looking they’re sure to be a hit.  All you have to do is scoop out the pumpkins like you would for a jack-o-lantern, and then fill them with the rich cheesecake filling.  Top with graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream, and you’re ready to go. 


Pumpkin Fritters with Rosemary and Cheese

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Photo Credit: Second Breakfast


Finishing up the list is a tasty little pumpkin snack.  The sweetness of pumpkin is tempered by the Parmesan cheese and rosemary for a delicious sweet/savory bite.  If you’re hesitant about deep fried foods you could also form the dough into flatter pancakes to pan fry.  


There are so many yummy pumpkin recipes out there, I had a hard time narrowing my selection down to just seven.  But I think these represent well the range of applications pumpkin is capable of.  So pick your favorite and enjoy some pumpkin today!  

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Thu, 26 Oct 2017 17:45:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Creepy Cocktails: Ten Drinks to Keep Your Halloween Party Going]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Creepy-Cocktails-Ten-Drinks-to-Keep-Your-Halloween-Party-Going/ Halloween is now just a week away!  That means there’s probably going to be a ton of Halloween parties this weekend.  Hopefully you have your costume squared away already, giving you time to focus on what to serve to guests.  While you don’t need alcohol to have a good time, thematically appropriate drinks are always a nice touch!  We’ve rounded up ten drink recipes we think will help set the scene for your Halloween party.

Jack-O-Lantern Cocktail

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Photo Credit: S&C Design Studios


What’s more Halloween than pumpkins?  These lovely orange cocktails look like pumpkins once garnished, though they don’t actually have any pumpkin in them.  Featuring orange juice and Cognac the cocktail gets its pumpkin appearance from an orange wheel with a lime twist poked through.


Black Magic Margaritas

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Photo Credit: Alexa Payesko


Food coloring gives your favorite tequila cocktail a spooky hue that’ll rival any witch’s brew.  The recipe uses black sanding sugar for the rim, but if you’re a traditionalist black sea salt will give the same black rim but with the salty flavor you’re looking for.


Swamp Water Surprise

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Photo Credit: Shannon Graham


Expecting some bog monsters to crash your party?  This murky cocktail will help them feel right at home.  Pulpy orange juice gives this drink its swampy appearance, while the surprise comes in the form of spiked Jello that’s been whisked into a plasma-like substance.  You can use any color or flavor of Jello that you think will give the best swampy look.


Glowing Jello Shots

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Photo Credit: Ethan Calabrese


Fun fact: tonic water will glow under ultraviolet light.  So if you plan on having a blacklight at your party, this is the drink to serve.  Using tonic water to make the Jello will give these shots a wonderfully eerie glow any ghost will appreciate.


The Witch’s Heart

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Photo Credit: The Flavor Bender


This stunning cocktail is sure to impress every guest.  The drink gets its sparkle from shimmery liqueur with optional dry ice bringing a smoky effect.  The key is to make sure the dry ice is completely crushed so that it will melt away before anyone tries to take a drink.  If you’re nervous about working with dry ice feel free to skip it - the shimmering drink will still be mesmerizing.


Dark and Stormy Death Punch

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Photo Credit: Food & Wine


A unique take on the classic rum drink the Dark and Stormy, this punch gets its spook factor from the round ice cubes with an uncanny resemblance to eyeballs.  The eyeballs are actually lychees stuffed with brandied cherries.  Refreshing and creepy - the perfect Halloween party combination!  


The Wolf Bite

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Photo Credit: Shannon Graham


This colorful drink is sure to make a splash at any Halloween party.  A drizzle of grenadine slowly sinks to the bottom of the glass and creates a blood red cloud that stands out from the rest of the bright green beverage.  The color isn’t the only surprise this drink has to offer however - a splash of absinthe packs a punch of anise flavor at the end.  


Bloody Black Currant Punch

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Photo Credit: www.delish.com


Looking for a drink that will match your black and orange color scheme?  Look no further.  This punch uses black currant nectar to get its nearly black hue.  Best of all for the busy party host, the punch can be made up to three days in advance.  Just add the seltzer right before serving.


Purple People Eater

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Photo Credit: homemadehooplah.com


This cocktail gets its chilling purple color from a combination of cran-grape juice, grenadine, and blue curacao.  The amounts can be adjusted to get the exact shade of purple you desire.  Purple sugar around the rim is the perfect finishing touch.


Spiced Pumpkin Lassi

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Photo Credit: Food & Wine


To reward the designated drivers at your party or just to start winding the event down, make this creamy, pumpkiny treat.  Made using sugar pumpkin and yogurt this beverage will make you feel like you’re drinking pumpkin pie.  


Hopefully these drinks have helped to get you in the Halloween spirit!  As fun as they look, remember they are still alcoholic, so consume your witch’s brew responsibly.  Catch a ride home on someone else’s broomstick if necessary.  We don’t want a night of fun Halloween mischief to end sadly.

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Tue, 24 Oct 2017 17:22:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Ask Astrid - An Introduction]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Ask-Astrid-An-Introduction/
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Hey everyone, it’s me, Astrid!  You probably recognize me from the lower right corner of the screen.  You’ve probably assumed I’m just customer service, but really I have so much more to offer.  That’s why they’ve decided to give me my own advice column!  While my area of expertise is furniture and design, I want you to feel free to ask me anything.  I don’t want to just be a design advisor, I want to be like your best friend, willing to lay it down and tell it like it is for any problem you’re facing. 


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You’re probably wondering, “Who is this girl, and why should I ask her for advice?”  So I’ll give you a little bit of background.  In my mid-twenties, I may not have the most life experience behind me, but I think the knowledge I’ve gained so far (and continue to acquire!) has provided me with perspectives that can help others.  Based in New York, I love being surrounded by the latest trends and designs.  Just walking down the street can be an inspiring experience.  After studying design in college I like to combine what I know of design history with the amazing style I’m surrounded by every day to try to figure out what the next hot trend will be.  


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When I’m not helping customers I enjoy finding the best new coffee shops and restaurants with my friends.  When I’m home at my apartment I spend time with my cat, tending to my houseplants, and binging Netflix.  I like trying new hobbies, though none have stuck as my main go-to yet.  I love to travel, and can’t wait to take my next big trip.  Mostly I just really enjoy surrounding myself with beautiful things, and being able to help others create spaces they love too.


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So that’s a bit about me.  I can’t wait for the questions to start coming in and to help you, our readers, get all the answers you need. Email me at Astrid@franceandson.com for the chance to see your questions answered here.  Keep an eye out for the first real Ask Astrid column - it’s coming soon!

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Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:06:42 +0000
<![CDATA[The Art of the Imperfect: Understanding Wabi-Sabi]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/The-Art-of-the-Imperfect-Understanding-Wabi-Sabi/ Some people are saying wabi-sabi is the new hygge, or that it’s going to be the big trend of 2018.  But what is wabi-sabi?  Emerging from traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a perspective centered on the acceptance of imperfection and transience.  Aesthetically it is somewhat related to minimalism, since it values simplicity, uncluttered, underplayed, and modest surroundings, yet there’s more to it than that.  Let’s dig a little deeper to really get a feel for what may be the next big thing in interior design.


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Wabi-sabi has its origins in the 15th century, and began as a reaction to the lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials that made up the prevailing aesthetic at the time.  Wabi-sabi is difficult to translate, but has been defined as, "the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West,” by Leonard Koren, who wrote one of the first books really introducing wabi-sabi to the West.  The term is a combining of the words “wabi” and “sabi” which both have their own difficult to translate meanings.  Wabi refers to simplicity, humility, and living in tune with nature.  It can be used to describe someone who is content with little and makes the most of whatever they have.  Sabi refers to what happens with the passage of time.  It’s about transience and the beauty and authenticity of age.  To practice sabi is to learn to accept the natural cycle of growth, death, and the imperfections that accompany that progression.  Together the two terms create a feeling that finds harmony and serenity in the uncomplicated, unassuming, mysterious, and fleeting.


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Wabi-sabi isn’t sleek and mass-produced.  It’s about finding the beauty in the imperfect and promoting the asymmetry of nature and perishable natural materials.  As such, characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, and modesty.  The example often given of the embodiment of wabi-sabi is Hagi ware - the Japanese pottery used in many tea ceremonies.  The pieces are often rustic and simple-looking with shapes that are not quite symmetrical, and colors or textures that appear to emphasize an unrefined or simple style.  History is a big part of wabi-sabi, so buying new products that have been distressed by hand doesn’t fit the bill.  The wear needs to come with actual age and the influence of time.  The presence of cracks and scratches in things are considered to be symbolic of the passing of time, weather, and loving use and are to be embraced.


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While wabi-sabi is really more of an aesthetic philosophy than interior design style, there are some ways to incorporate wabi-sabi into your home and life.  The first is to embrace natural, humble materials.  Wabi-sabi favors having fewer but longer-lasting and higher-quality possessions - having items that get better with age and can be repaired.  Start looking for pieces made of wood, wool, clay, rough paper, bamboo, flax or linen, leather, stone, woven grass, and iron.  All of these materials are subject to wear, nicks, tears, cracks, and rust.  Handcrafted pieces are an ideal way to bring wabi-sabi into the home since they’re usually made from natural materials with small imperfections that add to their charm.  Also look for objects that are both beautiful and useful.  If the things you use are also beautiful, you won’t have to fill your space with objects that have no function other than to be attractive.  If you’re trying to decide on a color palette, wabi-sabi tends to manifest in heavier shades, like the dark grays, blues, greens, and rusts found in the sea and in trees like olive and sequoia.  Lighter shades are often muted pastels like those found in deserts and at beaches.


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While wabi-sabi itself is perhaps too ingrained of a cultural philosophy to be considered a trend, we can certainly see the aesthetics of wabi-sabi growing in popularity.  From the outside it looks like the clean, uncluttered spaces of minimalism but with a bit more of a welcoming personality.  The key to true wabi-sabi is authenticity.  You must actually embrace the rough edges and imperfections that time leaves on your objects if you want your home to embody the wabi-sabi style.  So if you have an appreciation of transience and vintage objects that actually show their age, or just want to be more in harmony with nature give wabi-sabi a try.

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Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:48:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Hall Monitor: Five Ways to Get Standout Hallways]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Hall-Monitor-Five-Ways-to-Get-Standout-Hallways/ We walk through hallways every day, yet somehow they’re often forgotten about when decorating.  Just because you don’t necessarily spend time lingering in the hallway, doesn’t mean the space should be boring and bland.  Hallways are a great way to keep the flow of your style continuing through the home and tying everything together.  Since they’re typically a smaller space they also provide an ideal opportunity to experiment with bolder designs you may be hesitant to try in larger areas.  Whether trying something new or going with the current flow  here are some ways to make your hallways stand out.


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Go Bold with Paint or Wallpaper

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to update a space.  A new bold color or inspired color combinations can instantly upgrade this frequently featureless area.  If you want to introduce some pattern as well as color, wallpaper is another simple way to enhance your hallway.  Temporary wallpapers have made it easier than ever to add color and pattern to your walls.  While size doesn’t necessarily limit what colors or patterns can be used, you should keep the size of the hallway in mind when making your choices.  With large hallways you can go as bold as you want, but smaller spaces should keep an eye on scale so they don’t become overwhelmed with pattern.  If you want your hallway to appear larger than it actually is, opt for a lighter color.


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Create an Art Gallery

Hallways are pretty much all wall space, and what wall is complete without some art?  You can take inspiration from galleries and museums and line the hallway with your favorite pieces of art and personal photos, or you can create clusters of artwork in various spots down the hall.  Whichever your approach, the addition of artwork to the hallway will add personality to the space that it was likely previously lacking.  Art is also a good way to add color to the hall if you’re hesitant to add bright color and pattern directly to the wall itself.


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Make It Functional

Hallways are always at least somewhat functional, since they lead you between rooms, but planned correctly they can be even more functional.  Halls by entryways can be turned into landing zones for coats, shoes, bags, and keys with the strategic placement of hooks and bins.  Hallways that are wide enough can be used to add storage to your space by placing baskets under console tables or even just adding a small dresser.  The surface area of the tabletop provides the perfect spot to add plants or your favorite display objects out of the hustle and bustle of the main living areas.  Benches with interior storage are also an ideal functional addition to hallways that have the space for them.


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Add A Mirror

Hallways often don’t get a ton of natural light, so adding carefully placed mirrors can help increase the amount of light in the space and make it feel brighter.  The reflections will also help the space feel bigger, which is a plus for narrow hallways.  If the hall is by an entryway a mirror is useful for any last minute appearance checks before heading out the door.  


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Don’t Forget the Floor and Ceiling

Most of these tips have focused on adding interest to the walls, but don’t forget about the floor and ceiling!  A floor runner will add pattern and texture to the space while leading the eye down the hall to your destination as well as emphasize the length of the hallway.  As already mentioned, many hallways don’t get a lot of natural light, so you’ll need some other source of illumination.  A row of sleek pendants or a bold statement chandelier are both good options for lighting the space and drawing the eye upwards.


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Walking from room to room you spend more time in hallways than you probably realize. Once you make some changes and bring your design style into the hall you’ll realize how much of a wasted opportunity it had been.  Get bold, get personal, and get a fabulous hallway people can’t help but notice when walking through it.

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Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:06:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Enter if You Dare: Ten Haunted Houses to Visit This Halloween Season]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Enter-if-You-Dare-Ten-Haunted-Houses-to-Visit-This-Halloween-Season/ It’s the time of year when spooky attractions are popping up all over the country.  Not everyone is a fan of haunted houses, but those that are know that some haunted houses are better than others and that a great haunted house is hard to beat.  You might already have a favorite haunted house that you go to every year, but it’s always fun to try something new as well.  We wanted to see what’s out there this year to scare our pants off, and we were not disappointed with the options!  Here are some haunted houses around the country we think are worth checking out.  


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Dark Woods - Natchitoches, LA


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Running Fridays and Saturdays September 22nd through October 28th, and then open on Halloween, this year’s offerings at Dark Woods includes a refurbished version of their original outdoor haunt featuring a longer trail and Hollywood- style special effects.  They also have Dark Carnival in 3D, Louisiana's only ChromaDepth blacklight attraction and a theatrical blacklight thriller.  


Nashville Nightmare - Nashville, TN


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Running weekends and other select dates September 15th through November 11th, Nashville Nightmare is now in its seventh year of bringing terror to guests.  On numerous “best of” haunted house lists, Nashville Nightmare is offering four different attractions this year: Industrial Undead, Phantoms, Reformatory, and Fairy Tale Hell.


The Shallow Grave - Winter Haven, FL



Running weekends and select nights September 29th through November 4th The Shallow Grave has two large haunted houses spanning nearly 13,000 square feet.  Returning from last year is Pavor Nocturnus which is a twisted spin on some phobias, and a ride into the deepest darkest parts of the subconscious but with new characters, scares, and themes.  New for 2017 is Betrayal where you have to navigate your way through hordes of the undead on the rundown property of Thaddeus Van Buren as you find yourself in the middle of an uprising.


Pennhurst Asylum - Spring City, PA


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Running weekends and select nights September 22nd through November 4th Pennhurst Asylum is located at a real former state hospital dating back to the early 1900s.  Featuring four haunted attractions throughout the campus the combination of historical artifacts and special effects is sure to get your heart racing.


Ghost Ship Harbor - Quincy, MA


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Running weekends and select nights September 29th through Halloween, Ghost Ship Harbor is an immersive haunted attraction that started last year.  The attractions take place on the deck of a 718 foot battleship, the USS Salem that’s docked in Quincy, MA.  The four attractions cover everything from phobias to the paranormal some there’s something that’s sure to spook everyone.  


The Dent Schoolhouse - Cincinnati, OH


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Running weekends and select dates September 15th through November 5th the Dent Schoolhouse has been dubbed Cincinnati’s scariest haunted house.  Taking place in a school built in 1894, they offer lights out events, lights on events, and ghost tours so everyone has a chance to enjoy it.  Purchase a “touch pass” if you don’t mind the monsters physically interacting with you for added frights.  


Indy Scream Park - Anderson, IN



Running October 15th through November 4th, Indy Scream Park offers six different attractions, two of them new for 2017.  Zombieland: Unchained and Pandemic: Mutation are both interactive attractions where guests can choose to watch the action or interact with the creatures within.  Those who opt for a truly interactive experience may be grabbed, held back, sent into hidden rooms, removed from their group or even forced to remain. 


Terror Behind the Walls - Philadelphia, PA


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Running weekends and select dates September 22nd through November 11th, Terror Behind the Walls is celebrating 25 years of horror.  The attraction takes over the Eastern State Penitentiary, a real prison that was used from 1829 until 1971, during the Halloween season.  Six events take place in different areas of the prison, and considering the building has been featured on ghost hunting shows, you may encounter some unplanned scares as well.


Hangman’s House of Horrors - Forth Worth, TX


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Running weekends and select dates September 22nd through November 4th, Hangman’s House of Horrors is the largest charity benefiting haunted house in the world.  The theme of the house changes every year, with this year’s theme being Texas Legends.  The haunted tour includes three separate attractions: the classic Hangman’s House of Horrors, No Place Like Home 3D and Zombie Outbreak!


Netherworld Haunted House - Norcross, GA


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Running September 22nd through November 5th, Netherworld Haunted House is created by film and television professionals which has made it notable for its custom movie quality special effects, amazing actors, unique themes, and extremely detailed sets.  The final season in its Norcross location, this year’s attractions include Mr. Grendel’s Fun House of Horror, Primal Scream.  For those interested in year-round horror, Netherworld now also has Escape Netherworld, an escape room based on the Halloween attraction.  


Even if you’re not a fan of being scared, if you enjoy art and design you can at least appreciate the work and artistry that go into setting up these elaborate events.  And if you do enjoy being scared, then you’re going to have a great time!  So take a break from your own house design and go visit some haunted houses.

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Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:57:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: m.a.d. Furniture Designs]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-m-a-d-Furniture-Designs/ Not all people who live in big cities have the same interior design preferences.  But I think it’s safe to say that when you think of urban apartments a certain sleek, contemporary style does come to mind.  One company that wants to help the modern city dweller furnish their space is m.a.d. Furniture Designs.  Take a look at their pieces and you can see how easily they fit into that city aesthetic.  Let’s learn a little bit more about the company.


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In 2010 founders Mark Daniel, Matt Cole, and Dan Given had over a decade’s worth of experience designing, making and managing other people's furniture and decided to start their own company to indulge their quest to design and develop useful, affordable and desirable furniture for the modern urban dweller.  To achieve this they put together a team of international product designers based around the world.  They also created the 'm.a.d. lab'™ product development and testing facility as well as their own production assembly plant.  The result is fresh, innovative, and contemporary furniture that meets their own high standards.  Shipping to clients around the world it’s clear their designs have a global appeal.   


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Whether looking for furniture for your home or a public space m.a.d.’s furniture is a great option.  With clean modern lines and contemporary sensibilities their pieces will work in a variety of settings.  With their ability to offer custom designs you’ll be able to find or create exactly what you’re looking for.

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Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:34:13 +0000
<![CDATA[Design Destinations: North Carolina]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Design-Destinations-North-Carolina/ The fall High Point Market starts this Saturday, the 14th, which means we’re on our way to North Carolina!  The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, where retail home furnishings buyers, interior designers, architects, and others in the home furnishings industry can be found.  Since the market brings more than 75,000 people to High Point every six months we decided to take a look at some other art and design focused attractions people can visit while in North Carolina.


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The Biltmore Estate

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Constructed for George Vanderbilt, grandson of famed industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Biltmore House is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau that took six years and a community of craftsmen to complete.  The home contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.  For fans of historic homes this is a must see.  Through self-guided tours you can really get a feel for what late-19th century luxury was like.  The estate also contains gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted that can be explored.  There are over two miles of paths through the gardens!


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Asheville Urban Trail

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Often called a museum without walls, the Asheville Urban Trail was started by a group of citizens who wanted to help revitalize downtown.  The trail consists of 30 stations of bronze sculptures around downtown.  The trail is divided into five distinct eras, each of which has a symbol.  The symbols are carved into pink granite blocks placed in the sidewalk along the way for you to follow.  Each station has a plaque illuminating some of the interesting history of the downtown's development and the various notable people who once lived there.  The 1.7 mile walk takes about two hours to complete.  


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Lexington Glassworks

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Fans of glass and behind the scenes peeks at how crafts are done should make a stop at Lexington Glassworks.  Located in the heart of downtown Asheville you can easily make a day of walking the Asheville Urban Trail and then stopping in here.  The company invites visitors to view the glassblowing process from start to finish in the hopes of growing an appreciation for the relationship between the artists making the glass and the pieces on display in the gallery.  While this is a common practice amongst artists and craftspeople, Lexington Glassworks is unique because they also keep a small selection of Asheville craft beers on top for guests to enjoy while watching the glassblowing process.


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North Carolina Museum of Art

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With two buildings, an amphitheater, and a large art-filled park the North Carolina Museum of Art is a must visit for art enthusiasts.  Their permanent collection includes European painting from the Renaissance to the 19th century, Egyptian funerary art, sculpture and vase painting from ancient Greece and Rome, American art of the 18th through 20th centuries, and international contemporary art as well as African, ancient American, and Oceanic art, and Jewish ceremonial objects.  The 164-acre Museum Park contains more than a dozen monumental works of art.  With daily tours and numerous events every month there’s plenty to enjoy and get out of a visit to this museum.


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Where to Stay


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There are a ton of great places to stay while you’re in North Carolina, but if you’re going for the sake of art and design, we have two recommendations.  Housed in a revitalized former bank, 21c Museum Hotel has an onsite museum dedicated to 21st-century art with rotating exhibits and site-specific works.  The galleries are open every day and have rotating exhibitions.  For lovers of mid-century modern style you’ll want to book a room at The Durham.  Also a former bank, The Durham has colorful mid-century modern interiors and a rooftop lounge.


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And obviously if you’re a fan of furniture and interior design you should make sure to visit High Point.  Even when the Market isn’t going on, there’s a plethora of furniture showrooms you can visit year round to see the latest and best of what’s going on in the world of home furnishings.

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Thu, 12 Oct 2017 18:34:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Trick-or-Treat: Spooktacular Vintage Halloween Decorations]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Trick-or-Treat-Spooktacular-Vintage-Halloween-Decorations/ We may have gotten all our Halloween decorations up by October 2nd, but Halloween is still three weeks away, which means there’s plenty of time to get your home in the holiday spirit.  While there are certainly impressive current day Halloween decorations, there’s a certain charm to vintage decorations that just can’t be beat, so we looked into the history of Halloween decorations a bit.  Prior to the 1930s, Halloween was primarily a holiday celebrated by adults.  Because of this older decorations tend to be more scary and unsettling, since it was meant to catch your eye at a party and spook you.  Once trick-or-treating was introduced in the mid-1930s Halloween gradually became geared more towards children, and the decorations became a bit more friendly and cutesy.  By the 1950s Halloween had completed its transformation into a children’s holiday.  In 1958, Mamie Eisenhower decorated the White House for Halloween for the first time, giving the national seal of approval to Halloween decorations.  One company that became closely associated with Halloween decorations is the Beistle Company.  If an image of a vintage Halloween decoration comes into your mind, it’s likely a Beistle.  


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Here are some of our favorite vintage Halloween decorations we found across the internet.


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Original vintage Halloween decorations can be rather pricey to buy yourself, but if you want that vintage look Beistle has started selling some of their originals as modern reproductions as an affordable alternative.  Thrift shops and garage sales are also a great resource for vintage decorations.

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Tue, 10 Oct 2017 18:02:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Bathe in the Light: A Guide for the Best Bathroom Lighting]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Bathe-in-the-Light-A-Guide-for-the-Best-Bathroom-Lighting/

We touched on bathrooms in our Lighting Guide a few months ago, but decided they deserve their own post.  A lot of beauty and health routines take place in the bathroom so proper lighting is vital.  Bathrooms are usually on the smaller side, so it’s easy to just stick a light in there and call it a day.  But in reality you should think of the lighting for your bathroom as a series of layers, supplying ample illumination for all bathroom tasks.  The best lighting is natural daylight, but not every bathroom can have windows to supply light, and even those that do still have nighttime to contend with.  Let’s take a look at the types of lighting to take into consideration when planning your bathroom.


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Ambient Light

Ambient light is the illumination that fills the room.  This is the lighting that serves as a substitute for natural light when it’s not available.  It’s usually supplied by a centrally located ceiling lamp.  Typically it’s flush mount, but a well placed pendant or chandelier can help take a bathroom to the next level.  You could also use recessed lighting for general illumination.  If your bathroom has windows that provide adequate illumination during the day you may not need as much ambient lighting, but it will still come in handy at night or on cloudy days.


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Task Lighting

Task lighting is important in the bathroom because it’s the lighting that will help you put on your makeup, shave, floss, and anything else you do in the mirror.  Resist the urge to put one light above the mirror!  This will cast shadows over your face and make daily grooming routines more difficult.  The best approach to task lighting in the bathroom is to flank the mirror with vertical fixtures or sconces.  If you can’t or don’t want to mount the lighting to the wall you can hang two pendant lights on either side of the mirror as well to cast even light across the face.  Try to keep lighting symmetrical though, or you’ll end up with shadows on one side.  

If you have a large bathroom you may also require task lighting for the shower.  In this case overhead lighting is perfectly sufficient.  Recessed lighting with a glass lens is ideal since it will protect the bulb from moisture without yellowing.


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Bulb Types and Wattage

Choosing a fixture is only half the battle when it comes to lighting.  No one likes being plunged into darkness in the middle of their bathroom routine, so for longevity alone LEDs are one of the best choices.  Standard incandescent bulbs and CFLs are also suitable for use in the bathroom.  Whichever type of bulb you choose you need to pay attention to the wattage (or wattage equivalent) and color of the bulb.  For the ambient lighting you’ll have to figure out the size of the space to decide how much wattage is required.  For task lighting in full bathrooms look for fixtures that can provide 75 - 100 watts’ worth of illumination.  For smaller powder rooms 45 watts is usually sufficient task lighting.  Color is also important, especially for those who will be putting on makeup in the bathroom, since it can affect how colors will appear.  Look for bulbs with a Color Rendering Index of 90 or above and color temperature of 2700K to 3000K.  For more information about watts, lumens, and Kelvins check out our Lighting FAQ post.


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Dimmers

The bathroom is many people’s first stop in the morning, and also an occasional middle of the night destination, so you may want to consider connecting your bathroom lighting to dimmer switches.  This way you can still have some light without hurting your half-awake eyes (or waking up too much if it’s night).  Dimmers are also a good option if you enjoy taking relaxing baths, since it can help set the mood of the room and make it feel more spa-like.  


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As with all things electricity, safety is an important concern when choosing lighting for a bathroom.  Water and electricity are not friends, so consult an electrician before installing new lighting.  A few last considerations - since it is a humid environment, try to avoid fixtures with fabric shades since they can can musty and mildewy.  Also, brushed chrome, nickel, and stainless finishes tend to do better in bathrooms than cast bronze and brass which are more delicate and prone to corrosion.  Now that you’re armed with some more information, go pick out some new lights!  

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Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:29:41 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With...Darryl Sharpton and Jessica Ross of Edloe Finch]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Darryl-Sharpton-and-Jessica-Ross-of-Edloe-Finch/ From furniture sales, to football, and back to furniture - it’s a story not many people have, but it’s how one of our newest brands, Edloe Finch, got its start.  Darryl Sharpton started selling sofas in college to earn some extra money, but it soon became a passion.  After retiring from five seasons playing for the NFL he knew he had to return to furniture.  His wife Jessica encouraged this dream and the two soon teamed up to found Edloe Finch.  With their combined histories working in furniture sales and home construction the two bring a unique dynamic to the furniture industry.  Focusing on providing furniture designed with style, quality and functionality as the top priorities the pair is off to a great start.  We reached out to Darryl and Jessica to learn some more about their story and they were kind enough to share with us.


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What about selling sofas stoked your passion for furniture?

Darryl: I originally started selling sofas as an entrepreneurial experiment:  I turned my college apartment into a showroom and posted my sofas on local online marketplaces. To my surprise, the demand was very high. I soon realized the obvious, a sofa is the cornerstone of any dwelling - it’s truly a necessity. From that point on, I became obsessed and I immersed myself into the intricacies of home furnishings and how they fit into our lifestyles.


How smooth was the transition between playing for the NFL and starting a furniture company?

Darryl: It was a big transition in many ways! Pivoting from smashing into humans with reckless abandon to carefully selecting the perfect velvet material for a new sofa design couldn’t be more different. Also, transitioning from a very steady and rewarding pay check to working around the clock for free was different as well! In other ways, the transition was smooth because this is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Even while playing, I was always talking about and planning my future furniture business.   


What at High Point Market made you decide to move forward with a new career in furniture?

Darryl: After my football career ended, I knew I wanted to reenter the furniture world. I wasn’t exactly sure how, but Jessica pushed me to go to High Point Market. High Point really was a game changer.  It opened my eyes and I saw first hand how large the industry was and the kind of competition I’d be up against. It set the foundation for how I wanted to create my business and how I could add value to the market.


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Did designing homes give you insight into what kind of furniture people are looking for?

Jessica: Building custom homes gave me a great appreciation for keeping designs simple to ensure the look remains classically beautiful for years to come. I believe keeping things simple but adding a little fun twist (like a pop in color) will make your home functional and chic! Like our Emerson Velvet Sofa, we kept the classic Chesterfield sofa look, but dressed it up with a fun velvet green fabric to add some funkiness. We love to keep things funky!


What style of furniture do you personally prefer?

Jessica: For years my true love was traditional French country (and I still love it!) but I’ve branched out and fallen hard for mid-mod styles. I love the curves and fun angles - they’re so beautiful and the looks are so classic that I could never get tired of looking at them.

Darryl: I absolutely love the mid-century modern design aesthetic. Clean simple lines and tapered legs.

How do you decide what pieces to carry?

Jessica: We try not to stick to one style in particular. I think that’s what makes Edloe Finch a unique brand. We only carry things we would love to have in our own home, which means mixing some French country and mid-century modern favorites and sprinkling in some glam chic pieces. We also have two little children, so we keep the functionality factor as a high priority. If we wouldn’t want it in our home, then why would we want to put it in yours??


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What’s your favorite current interior design trend?

Jessica: I’m absolutely loving channel tufting!! We debuted it with our Laurel Velvet Sofa, which has been one of our best selling products this year. I love how it can transform a whole space and make any home instantly look high fashion (but also comfy!).


What’s your favorite piece of furniture?

Darryl: My favorite piece is our Maddox coffee set.


What do you think is the most underrated piece of furniture?

Darryl: The most underrated piece (& arguably my favorite) is the Boxwood dining chairs. I love the countered spindle back and its petite frame.

Jessica: If I were to pick one piece that is undeniably more stunning in person, it would be our Maxwell Dining Tables. They’re not only beautiful, but they’re well made and heavy!


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How did you come up with the name of your company?

Jessica: “Edloe” is the name of the street where our kids go to preschool and have swimming lessons. And “Finch”…long story short, a Finch bird is very versatile and is the only bird that can live in any climate of the world. Corny as it sounds, we felt like our furniture is versatile enough to fit perfectly in anyone’s home.  


Is it tough balancing running a business and having a family?

Jessica: It truly takes a village. We are lucky enough to have family support so we can pursue our passion. We’ve learned the hard way (it only took once!) that photo shoots and toddlers don’t mix well!


Do you hope your children grow up to be interested in design?

Darryl: I do! I often daydream about my 2-year-old daughter one day criticizing me about how I’m old fashioned and I should just let her handle the designs. I hope that we can share this business and passion with our children. That would be a dream come true.


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What era do you think had (or has) the best furniture design?

Darryl: I’d certainly say the 50’s & 60’s.

Any advice for others interested in entering the furniture business?  

Darryl: Stay lean. Stay exponential. Follow your passion!


What do you hope your business is like in 5 years?

DarrylIn 5 years I hope our business and our collection has expanded beyond North America and we are able to sell Edloe Finch all over the world.


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Thanks again Darryl and Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions!  It’s always so inspiring to hear stories about people following their passions, even if they have to go through other jobs first.  We look forward to watching your company grow and can’t wait to see what you have to offer next!




Shop Edloe Finch:


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Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:49:18 +0000
<![CDATA[A Farewell to Fixer Upper: Our Seven Favorite Takeaways from the Beloved HGTV Show]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/A-Farewell-to-Fixer-Upper-Our-Seven-Favorite-Takeaways-from-the-Beloved-HGTV-Show/ It was announced last month that the fifth season of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper will be its last.  And you could hear hearts breaking across the country.  Over the past four years fans have come to love stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, and the glimpse into their life and design process the show gave.  Each episode started with the pair showing one couple three potential homes for sale in central Texas, each of which requiring a varying amount of repair or renovation. Once the couple chooses their home, Joanna designs it while Chip is the lead contractor.  Through the course of the 61 episodes of the show we’ve learned a lot about design and renovation, so to celebrate the show before its final season airs, we’ve decided to look back at some of our favorite takeaways.  


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Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

If you’re looking for a house to renovate, you can’t let its current state turn you off too much.  Obviously be wary of major structural issues, but if it’s just dirty, drab carpeting and peeling wallpaper making you question a home’s suitability, don’t let that sway you from giving it a chance.  Try to imagine what the space will look like with new flooring and fresh coats of paint.  Or even with an entirely new layout if you really want to go all in.  As long as the foundation is solid, if you have the budget, anything is possible.


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Mistakes Happen

You’re going to run into a lot of frustration when renovating a home.  Some days it might feel like nothing's going right.  So it’s good to remember that mistakes happen, even to the pros.  Joanna once spent over half of their budget on paint, just to discover the color didn’t look anything like she was expecting.  And Chip once knocked down the wrong wall!  And while it may have caused some stress at the time it’s things they can look back at and laugh about now.


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Don’t Be Afraid to Combine Styles

Renovating a house to live in (not just to flip) is all about making it really your own.  So don’t be afraid to mix styles.  If some styles have to blend to tell your story there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  The Gaines’s somewhat signature style itself is a hybrid of farmhouse and industrial that’s helped lead to the popularity of modern farmhouse.


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Use the Unexpected

If you’re spending a lot of money updating a house, sometimes you need to get creative when it comes to the small details.  That’s where using things in unexpected ways comes in.  Joanna is always upcycling and using unique things for storage like shipping pallets for wine racks, soda crates for pillows, and vintage trolleys for plant display.  You don’t need to limit this creativity to storage options though!  Always be on the lookout for everyday things that can be used in new ways.


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Encase Beams in Natural Wood

Joanna regularly enhances joists with the addition of natural wood casing because it’s a fabulous way to get a rustic but polished look.  If you don’t have any exposed beams to do this with you can use the same technique on mantles, pillars, and pergolas for instant rustic charm.  Highlighting architectural features like this will add character and charm to any room of the home.


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Create A Focal Point

Every room should have a focal point and Joanna has a knack for creating great ones.  While some of her choices may be a bit bold for your personal tastes, you can turn anything into the focal point of a room.  Graphic wallpaper, backsplashes, built-in shelving around a fireplace, or statement lighting can all easily become the focal point of a space.


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Shiplap is Everything

No list involving Chip and Joanna would be complete without the inclusion of shiplap.  If the Gaineses have taught us anything it’s that shiplap can work anywhere.  From staircases to classrooms there’s no place that can’t be spruced up by a bit of shiplap.  While shiplap was already commonly used as exterior siding for residences, barns, sheds, and outbuildings, the Fixer Upper duo lead to the skyrocketing popularity of shiplap being used in interiors as well.


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The show will be missed once it’s gone, but fans can still have some Chip and Joanna in their lives by following all their various other projects and collaborations.  If nothing else you can have a bit of Joanna’s style in your home by getting one of her rugs, pillows, or throws.

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Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:54:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Come to the Dark Side: Five Ways to Decorate With Black]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Come-to-the-Dark-Side-Five-Ways-to-Decorate-With-Black/ Move over millennial pink!  A recent survey by paint giant Sherwin-Williams found that 41% of millennials chose black as their favorite color.  But actually it’s not even necessarily a generational thing - the survey found that overall blue and black were the favorite color choices for all ages.  While black can sometimes seem a bit funereal and depressing, when done right it can also be sophisticated, dramatic, and even a little sexy.  Black can help unite otherwise visually different elements and help other colors pop even more.  You may be a bit nervous about committing to such a dark color, but fear not!  Here are some easy ways to work black into your decor.  


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As An Accent Wall

Painting an entire room black may seem a bit overwhelming, and is definitely a big commitment.  Instead you can use it to create a stunning accent wall.  Though you probably think of white as being the go-to for gallery style art displays, black can actually be a great way to highlight your favorite works of art and family photos, as it allows any colors or white borders to really stand out.  It will also quickly draw guests eyes to the wall itself.  If the wall has an architectural feature you want to highlight black can do that too.  


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With White and Pops of Color

Black and white is a classic color scheme that’s easy to embrace and that will lend your space a timeless quality.  Consider the size and amount of lighting in the room when determining whether to make black or white the predominant color.  Once you have the black and white ratio settled you can accessories with accent colors to really make the whole space pop and bring a more modern feel to a classic color palette.


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To Delineate and Highlight

Adding black in key places around the home can help highlight and delineate certain areas.  If the main color of your walls is white or another light neutral painting the trims of the room can give it a more anchored look.  Black trim can give rooms a sleeker look and help make them appear larger.  Black interior doors are also a unique way to highlight the threshold of a room.  For open floorplan spaces a thoughtful use of black can help mark out the boundaries of specific areas.


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With Accessories

As with almost any color or trend you’re considering bringing into your space, the easiest way to do so is through accessories.  Since they’re easy to swap out there’s less commitment anxiety.  Black accessories throughout a room can really help ground the space and tie things together.  You can go big and have a black sofa and/or lounge chair, or smaller with black lighting fixtures or accessories like pillows and throws.  Touches of black throughout the space will help create a unified look.


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On the Floor

If you’re worried a black room will be too intimidating, consider using black on the floor.  It’s been proven that the darkest color in the room being at your feet and the lightest overhead makes people feel more comfortable and relaxed.  Concrete or hardwood floors painted black will create a minimal but welcoming aesthetic.  Tile is another easy way to add black to the floor or a room, especially since you can then also play with pattern and additional colors.  If you don’t want to permanently change your floor you can also always toss a few black rugs around the space.  


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One of the best things about the color black is its versatility.  It can be used in any room in any style.  It can be be masculine, feminine, serious, fun, severe, or romantic depending on how you use it.  The options for how to use black are almost limitless.  You can think of black in interior design as you would black in fashion - it’s a great foundation that needs some accessories to really make it pop.  It’s also similar to fashion in that it helps make things and spaces seem slimmer and less bulky.  A bit of black is practically a cure-all for any uninspired space.  


Okay, I found way too many awesome interiors that used black, so here are some more to inspire you:

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Tue, 03 Oct 2017 17:21:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Monday Inspiration: Astrid’s 10 Favorite Pinterest Picks]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Monday-Inspiration-Astrids-10-Favorite-Pinterest-Picks/ No one wants to do too much reading on a Monday.  It’s the first day back to work after the weekend and you’re chugging coffee just to function.  So instead of bogging you down with more words we decided to let pictures do the talking.  We put together ten of Astrid’s favorite pins from the Astrid’s Picks Pinterest board for you to enjoy and hopefully get some inspiration from.  


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Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest for all the latest inspiration!

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Mon, 02 Oct 2017 17:52:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Introducing Miniforms: The Cool Kid of Italian Design]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Introducing-Miniforms-The-Cool-Kid-of-Italian-Design/ Thought we were done professing our love for Italian furniture brands?  Well we still have one more to go!  With clean modern lines and gorgeous imagery (you’re probably going to want to follow them onInstagramMiniforms captures the essence of Italian cool.  Bold, yet with a sense of timelessness their pieces will up the chic factor of any space.  With a slew of talented, award-winning designers working with them we don’t see their output of stylish, innovative furniture stopping any time soon.


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Perhaps one of Miniforms most innovative pieces is the Caruso Stereo Cabinet.  Designed by Paolo Cappello it takes a mid-century modern style cabinet and melds it with a gramophone horn to create something totally new.  The horn has been sized for optimal audio quality and plays music from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.  The cabinet even has its own app to optimize your enjoyment of the music and the furniture itself.


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We’re so excited to be carrying the Caruso Stereo Cabinet.  Incredibly cool, innovative, and stylish this piece truly wows us.  We only have a limited number in stock in our warehouse to ship to you quickly, but we can order any of their fun color combos for you, if you’re willing to wait a little longer.

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Fri, 29 Sep 2017 15:54:08 +0000
<![CDATA[“Less Is A Bore”: Welcoming the Maximalism Trend]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Less-Is-A-Bore-Welcoming-the-Maximalism-Trend/ Have the neutral, nearly empty spaces of minimalism been slowly driving you crazy?  Do you have a lot of stuff and like having a lot of stuff?  Then good news!  Maximalism is here and it’s growing in popularity.  Designers have begun embracing luxurious materials and textures to create visually compelling interiors.  Even furniture designers are exploring bolder silhouettes and adding more details in their work.  The driving force behind the maximalism trend is people’s desire to infuse their space with more personality and self expression.  If you’re ready to get a little more adventurous in your decorating, here are some ways to embrace the maximalism trend.  


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Add Vibrant Colors

If you love bold colors a maximalist interior is the perfect space to flaunt that.  If you enjoy coordinating colors you can add lots of different colors to really take things a step further.  If you don’t trust your eye for choosing colors that go together, pick your favorite color (or the one that works best in the space) and fill the room with different shades of the same hue.  This allows you to easily layer colors without being overwhelmed by them.  


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Consider Sculptural Lighting

If you’re already being adventurous in your decorating, consider adding some sculptural lighting to the space.  The unique materials and design techniques of sculptural lighting lend themselves well to the maximalist style.  You could go bold and choose one oversized pendant or chandelier to be the focal point, or pick some interesting table or floor lamps to use throughout.  Let the creativity of your style be echoed by the creativity behind the sculptural lighting designs.  


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Layer Styles

If you love perfectly coordinated rooms, maximalism isn’t for you.  While the space should still appear curated, and not just cluttered, maximalist interiors are all about layering.  The more layers the better!  Colors, patterns, textures, new, and vintage can all be layered to create an engaging and complex personality for the room.


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Add Art

Something you’ll probably notice in a lot of maximalist interiors is the use of art.  Gallery walls of art are a great way to express your style, personality, and taste.  Whether you create the art yourself, support local artists, scour thrift stores or just find pieces you love online, art will help you get the most out of your walls.


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Embrace Pattern

Wallpaper, textiles, and tiles can all help take your maximalism to well, the max.  Pillowsthrows, and rugs are all ideal opportunities to add pattern and texture to the room.  Tapestries and other woven wall-hangings are another way to splash the walls with pattern and texture if wallpaper feels like too big of a commitment.  To keep the space from becoming too visually cluttered try to keep patterns in similar color stories or along a similar theme.


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Display Collections

If you’re already a collector, maximalism is the perfect style to display your collections.  If you’re not a collector - now is the time to start!  Maximalism is all about displaying the things that make you happy.  Unless you’re already an established collector it won’t be easy to get this look overnight, but over time you can curate pieces you pick up from around the world (or even just local thrift shops and garage sales).  Many fans of vintage embrace the maximalist philosophy because it allows them to display their nostalgic finds.


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With all trends the pendulum swings in both directions.  Minimalism has been popular for a long time now, so it makes sense that now people are turning the other direction and embracing a “more is more” philosophy.  Pulling from Bohemian, Victorian, and Art Deco styles of decor, even within maximalism there are a lot of different style options you can choose from that best express your aesthetic.  Maximalism is all about personal expression, so do what feels right to you.  There are no real rules for maximalism other than making sure it doesn’t cross the line into cluttered and messy.  So go have fun filling your space with your favorite things.

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Thu, 28 Sep 2017 18:21:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Guest Post: Hardwood Flooring Options]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Guest-Post-Hardwood-Flooring-Options/ Floors Are an Important Part of a Building’s Ambience 

When you are designing a new home or business, you might not think that the flooring is important, but it is one of the most essential parts of the building. A building’s floors are used on a daily basis, and when the materials are in poor condition, it is impossible to walk into a room. In addition, you will want to have attractive floors that will last a lifetime. Most property owners want to have traditional hardwood floors that are available in a variety of styles and colors. Some of the most popular hardwood flooring materials will include:

• Oak
• Maple
• Walnut
• Cherry
• Mahogany 


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You Can Find a Variety of Hardwood Tiles and Planks At Flooring Stores

Flooring manufacturers produce different sizes of planks or tiles so that you can create a particular ambience in a room. The natural color of each type of hardwood can vary, but you can also paint or stain the material. In some cases, property owners want to use a combination of hardwoods to create a decorative effect. 


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There are Different Styles of Hardwood Flooring Materials 

While shopping for hardwood flooring, you can see the different styles of cuts, including:

• Rift
• Quarter
• Flat 

It is possible to buy engineered wood flooring that has two or more varieties of hardwood. With this type of flooring, the most expensive hardwood is placed on top to cover a less expensive variety of wood. The types of engineered hardwood floors include:

• Laminates
• Acrylic-impregnated 
• Veneer


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Choosing Between Pre-finished or Unfinished Hardwood Products

You can find unfinished or pre-finished hardwood products at flooring stores. If you want a fast installation, then pre-finished hardwood is an excellent option because the technicians can lay the planks or tiles quickly and leave the building. Alternatively, unfinished hardwood is installed in one process, but the technicians must return to sand, stain or paint the materials.


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Types of Hardwood Installation Systems 

Here are the different types of installation systems for hardwood floors:

• Floating – doesn’t require adhesives because the planks interlock
• Gluing method – the hardwood is glued to the concrete underneath
• Connection – planks attach on all sides to each other
• Click – planks are tapped into place easily 
• Tongue and groove - the planks fit together with locking mechanisms 


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Hardwood Materials Require Proper Installation 

To ensure that the hardwood materials fit correctly and look beautiful, the technicians must measure a room carefully. You won’t want floor tiles or planks that are widely spaced because household dust will collect in the grooves between the material and the heels of your shoes may catch in the cracks. At the same time, if the hardwood materials are installed too closely, then you will hear creaking and popping noises while walking on the floors. 

 

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How To Protect the Hardwood Floors In a Building 

Protecting a room’s hardwood flooring will make it more durable and can prevent damage from moisture or dirt. There are several ways to protect hardwood, including:

• Polyurethane 
• Natural oils
• Wax
• Varnishes
• Lacquers
• Shellacs 


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Learn How To Care For a Building’s Hardwood Floors To Protect The Materials 

After installing a hardwood floor, it is vital to care for it properly by preventing scratches or discolorations. You can avoid having scratches on the hardwood tiles and planks by using plastic or metal leg protectors on heavy furniture such as couches or dining room tables. If you have family pets, then keep the animals’ toenails trimmed to prevent scratches on a home’s hardwood floors. It is also imperative to protect high traffic areas of your home with carpet runners or rugs. Use as little moisture as possible while mopping a hardwood floor to avoid damaging the materials, and don’t use hard-bristled brooms or heavy-duty vacuum cleaners.


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Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.

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Tue, 26 Sep 2017 15:22:16 +0000
<![CDATA[Pumpkin Patch Chic: Five Tips For Awesome Autumn Decor]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Pumpkin-Patch-Chic-Five-Tips-For-Awesome-Autumn-Decor/ If you’re reading this in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s officially Fall!  (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere you may want to check out some of our more Spring related posts instead).  With the arrival of autumn comes changing leaves and eating/drinking everything pumpkin spice.  It’s also a prime time to change up your decor for the new season.  Whether you like to go all out with your fall decorations or prefer to keep things a bit more minimalist, here are some ideas on how to get Instagram-worthy autumn decor.


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Define A Color Palette

A good starting place for pretty much any decorating project, define your fall color palette before you begin stocking up on decorations.  While reds, yellows, and oranges are the traditional colors associated with fall, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to only those.  Whites, golds, and more muted shades of green can all still create a welcoming fall display.  If you want a less traditional fall color palette but can’t think of giving up having pumpkins, don’t fret!  Pumpkins come in a variety of colors, including white.  Or you can always use spray paint or chalk paint to get the colors you desire.  


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Go Natural

When it comes to fall you’re already surrounded by a bunch of free decorations out in nature.  Unless you grow your own you’ll still have to pay for pumpkins, but acorns, pinecones, and leaves can all be found right outside for the taking.  Slender branches with colorful leaves can be used on mantles or in vases.  Acorns can be preserved to use year after year and can be painted in various colors.  Corn husks and ornamental corn are also great natural decorations.  Of course the champion of autumnal decorations are pumpkins and gourds.  Available in so many sizes, shapes, and colors the options are endless for how to work them into your decor, inside and out.  


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Embrace Rustic Vibes

If you’re using pieces from nature they’re already distressed and rustic looking, so consider continuing the theme throughout the space.  Autumn is all about harvests and nature so a little rustic-farm feel is entirely appropriate.  Burlap is an ideal fabric for fall decorations since it’s inexpensive, easy to work with, and has a texture that’s perfect for rustic settings.


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Get Cozy

The weather starts getting chillier in the fall, so it’s time to up the cozy factor of your space.  Switch out pillows for ones that match your fall color palette, and put out some thicker, warmer throw blankets.  Work some velvet into the decor to add softness and warmth.  You may also want to add some additional lighting either through candles or strings of lights to add a warm glow to your space as the days get shorter.  


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Add Some Rich Colors

Even if white is a main part of your color palette, consider adding in some rich colors as accents.  Rich, dark colors will absorb light and make a space feel warmer and cozier.  Fortunately many of the colors associated with fall are already warm and rich.  Reds and oranges will definitely add a sense of warmth to your decor, but other jewel tones are appropriate as well.  Just make sure to not go too overboard, or the room may end up too dark and visually weighed down.


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Hopefully these tips have inspired you to start planning your own autumn decor.  When searching for fall decorations, look for pieces you can reuse from year to year and that have a timeless quality to them.  You don’t want to have to start from scratch every autumn because trends have changed.  To close, here are some more pictures of gorgeous fall decors we just had to include.


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Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:35:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Sunpan]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Sunpan/

If you’re a fan of transitional style, it may seem difficult sometimes to find the right balance between modern and traditional in your space.  Luckily there are furniture brands who want to help you out and focus on transitional style.  Putting their own spin on the transitional motto of “a new take on an old classic” you may still have to check out multiple companies before you find the right one for you.  Today to help narrow down your search we’ll take a look at one of our newer brands, Sunpan.


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Based in Toronto, Canada, Sunpan is a fast-growing global furniture company.  Specializing in the design and manufacturing of transitional and contemporary furniture they offer a wide variety of products to help meet your needs.  They strive to offer a diverse selection of high-end looks at affordable prices and do so by using various mixed materials to create pieces of the highest quality for a reasonable price.  The company works with renowned international designers to create thoughtfully designed and crafted products in modern and transitional styles across hard goods, dining, upholstery and art.


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Besides being dedicated to creating unique and versatile lines of products, Sunpan is also committed to giving back.  The brand supports Habitat for Humanity through furniture donations.  For over six years the company has donated two full truck loads of furniture each year.  They also work with Daily Bread Food Bank as a yearly sponsor for the past twelve years.  Each month they provide an entire day’s worth of food for 166 families.  So if you buy Sunpan furniture not only are you getting stylish pieces for your home but you’re helping improve others’ lives as well.


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If you’re on the hunt for contemporary or transitional furniture give Sunpan a look.  With something for every room of the home you’re sure to find pieces just right for your space.  Whether in need of furniture for contract or residential settings Sunpan is here to help.



Shop Sunpan:


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Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:42:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Welcome to the Jungalow: Four Essentials for Dreamy Modern Bohemian Style]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Welcome-to-the-Jungalow-Four-Essentials-for-Dreamy-Modern-Bohemian-Style/ You may have heard the term “Jungalow” being thrown around, and you’ve almost certainly seen Jungalow style making the rounds on Instagram and Pinterest.  But what is it?  Jungalow is the name that designer Justina Blakeney coined to describe her home and also named her design studio and blog.  The term is a portmanteau word of jungle and bungalow and it describes a space that’s cozy and homey like a bungalow but also wild like the jungle.  It combines the sleek lines of modern design with handmade object and lots of plants.  Today we’re going to look at the must-haves if you want to recreate this modern bohemian style yourself.  


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Color

This bohemian style is not for the timid or unadventurous.  If you want to emulate Justina’s style you have to be willing to embrace color.  Jungalow style has an abundance of color, in bright, saturated hues.  Combine colors to create joyful and vibrant palettes.


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Patterns

Jungalow style also doesn’t shy away from pattern.  More-is-more when it comes to the bohemian attitude, so don’t be afraid to mix patterns and get a pattern-on-pattern look.  Bold tropical prints and Aztec inspired motifs are all common choices.  Most of the patterns are going to enter your space in the form of textiles, which is appropriate since textiles are a big part of boho style as well.  Whether layered on the floors, furniture, or hung from the wall textiles are the perfect way to introduce more pattern.  


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Global Accents

A key aspect of bohemian style is that it reflects a global, well-traveled aesthetic.  If you have a lot of beloved souvenirs this style is ideal for displaying them.  Don’t hesitate to mix old and new items from all around the world.  If you don’t get to travel as much as you’d like you can still find handmade goods from craftspeople around the globe online.


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Plants

Plants are definitely a must if you want to put the “jungle” in Jungalow.  Lush greenery will fill your rooms with life.  Plants are the perfect solution for what to do with awkward, unused corners and can help solve a bevy of design problems.  If you need some help deciding what plants are best for your space, check out our houseplant guide here.


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Whether you want to go full-on Jungalow or take a slightly less intense approach, modern bohemian is a great way to express your personal style.  It can be easy to go overboard though, so when planning a space decide if you want to have more things in that room, or more pattern, as too much of both can become too busy and overwhelming.  But overall bohemian style is about expressing yourself, so remember to have fun and fill your spaces with joy. 

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Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:06:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Finding Furniture in Fashion: 2017 New York Fashion Week Edition]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Finding-Furniture-in-Fashion-2017-New-York-Fashion-Week-Edition/ Fashion Week in New York wrapped up September 14th which means it’s time for another edition of Finding Furniture in Fashion!  Though held in September, since fashion shows are a season ahead it was Spring 2018 collections walking down the runway.  Let’s take a look at some of the fabulous pieces we spotted that reminded of us pieces found on our site.  


Carolina Herrera:

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Coach 1941:

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Marchesa:

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Marc Jacobs:

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Michael Kors:

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Oscar de la Renta:

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(Previous editions of Finding Furniture in Fashion can be found here and here).

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Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:34:14 +0000
<![CDATA[It’s National Cheeseburger Day! 10 Cheeseburger Recipes Worth Celebrating]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Its-NationalsCheeseburger-Day-10-Cheeseburger-Recipes-Worth-Celebrating/ It seems like almost every day is some sort of national food day.  And to be honest, we’re fine with that!  Who doesn’t love an excuse to enjoy their favorite food?  Well today happens to be National Cheeseburger Day, and since we’re also in the last days of summer before the autumnal equinox, it seems especially appropriate to celebrate this cookout classic.  Warning - this post will make you hungry, and possibly drool.  


The Best Cheeseburger Ever

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Photo Credit: Honestandtasty.com

How could we not start off the list with apparently the best cheeseburger ever?  Featuring oozing cheese, diced onions, and sliced pickles this burger is a classic that you can’t help but enjoy.  


Cheesy Philly Cheesesteak Gourmet Burger

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Photo Credit: theslowroasteditalian.com

Two icons of American cuisine combine in this cheesy pepper and onion topped burger.  The smoked Provolone cheese sauce is what takes this burger to another level, and best of all it works great on fries if you have any extra.  


Smoked Gouda Burger with Horseradish Butter

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Photo Credit: Alison Miksch

If you liked the sound of smoked cheese in the previous entry but want something a little more classic burger, try this burger that’s topped with smoked gouda and arugula.  Horseradish butter on the toasted buns adds a great subtle kick.  


Italian Meatball Burgers

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Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Craving Italian food but still want to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day?  No problem!  Try this saucy spin on the cheeseburger to get the best of both worlds.  


Cheddar BLT Burger with Tarragon Russian Dressing

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Photo Credit: Quentin Bacon

The simple pleasure of a BLT is only improved by the addition of a juicy, delicious burger.  This version gets even more of an upgrade with tarragon Russian dressing.


Chipotle Turkey Burgers with Southwestern Slaw

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Photo Credit: lemonsandanchovies.com

Looking for a cheeseburger with a bit of a kick?  Look no further.  This turkey burger has the smoky heat of chipotle balanced with the creaminess of a southwestern inspired slaw.  


50/50 Burger

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Photo Credit: spoonforkbacon.com

If you consider yourself a bacon connoisseur you may want to give this burger a try.  The burger is flavored by the bacon that’s mixed into the burger, giving you the opportunity to experiment with different flavored bacon for different burger results.  


Mini Garlic Cheeseburgers

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Photo Credit: thedomesticdiva.org

If sliders are more your style give these mini cheeseburgers a try.  Dinner rolls are brushed with garlic butter to take on the savory quality of garlic knots without the hassle of baking from scratch.  


Nacho Burgers

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Photo Credit: sunnysideupsd.com

Never feel like you have to decide between a burger or nachos again.  This recipe easily combines the two to meet all of your cravings in one food.  Don’t forget the corn chips for that wonderful crunch that contrasts perfectly with the melty cheese sauce.  


Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burger

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Savory, sweet, spicy, tangy - the last burger on our list has it all.  It may not be what you traditionally think of as a cheeseburger since goat cheese doesn’t melt like other cheeses.  But this is a great end of summer burger when peaches are at their peak ripeness and flavor.  You could also substitute peach chutney if desired.    


Our stomachs are now loudly growling, and we have the feeling yours are too!  So swing by the store on your way home and make one of these delicious burgers for dinner.  It’s a holiday after all, and you deserve it.  

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Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:17:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Introducing Midj: Why You’ll Want to Bring This Italian Brand Home]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Introducing-Midj-Why-Youll-Want-to-Bring-This-Italian-Brand-Home/ We’re still crushing on Italian furniture at the moment, so it seems like the perfect time to introduce our newest brand that we’ll be carrying - Midj.  For thirty years Midj has been creating chic, high quality furniture.  Their comfortable and beautiful products feature stylish proportions and colors that lend a timeless quality to the designs.  Here are some more reasons we think you’ll love Midj.


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The Italian Know-How

For Midj Italy isn’t just their place of production, it implies a way of thinking and living that they’ve embraced.  The company has been designing and innovating furniture since 1987 and strives to create the perfect collaboration between handcraft modelling, technology, and creativity.  Italy has a long history of quality furniture design, and this heritage has been embraced by Midj, providing them with the know-how skills to really set them apart.


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Comfort and Quality

Midj knows that furniture is made to be used, so they design furniture for people who want to live and build real spaces.  Not only that, they want to fill those spaces with brightness and joy.  Their designs have soft, flowing lines, rounded corners and soft furnishing to help create moments of comfort and happiness.  The company always searches for versatility and aims to create pieces that meet the needs of both private and public spaces.  Each of Midj’s collections is shaped with brand new materials and colours - always tested to ensure the best quality and comfort.


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We’re so impressed with Midj’s furniture that we decided to stock some of their products in our warehouse, to be able to get it to you even quicker than other sellers.  Custom options are available as well, if you have your heart set on a different color or piece not found on our site.  To celebrate the launch of Midj products on our site we’re having a sale this weekend!  Now through Monday, September 18th use the code “grazi” at checkout for 30% off Midj furniture.




Shop Midj


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Fri, 15 Sep 2017 19:09:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Look Up!: Embracing the Decorated Ceilings Trend]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Look-Up-Embracing-the-Decorated-Ceilings-Trend/ Ceiling frescoes were a popular art form in earlier times, like the Renaissance (the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel being perhaps one of the most famous to come to mind), but somewhere along the line decorated ceilings fell out of favor.  Plain white became the standard, and when texture tried to be included to add visual interest, it manifested in the form of popcorn ceilings, which to this day still haunt people.  It’s understandable why many don’t give much thought to the appearance of the ceiling - how often do you really look up at it?  But neglecting it entirely is missing out on a great design opportunity, considering that it’s essentially a fifth wall.  Luckily decorated ceilings are beginning to come back into fashion, so we’re going to highlight some ways to embrace this growing trend.  


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Painted Ceilings

The easiest way to decorate your ceiling is through painting it.  Choose an accent color that will be picked up in other accessories throughout the room to help tie the ceiling to the rest of the decor.  If you’re worried about a non-white ceiling making the room too dark, consider using a high-gloss or lacquered finish.  This will help reflect light and keep the room bright.  If you’re feeling more adventurous you could paint a pattern on the ceiling.  A great way to create a subtle pattern is by using the same color but with different sheen finishes.


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Wallpapered Ceilings

If you want pattern or texture on your ceiling wallpaper is a good way to go.  With a wide variety of temporary wallpapers now available it’s easy to quickly add or remove wallpaper from the ceiling.  The options are practically limitless with what kind of pattern you can have - subtle geometrics, bold florals, and anything in between.  Using a seagrass wallpaper is an unexpected way to add texture to a room.  


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Wood Slat Ceilings

This one will take a little more work, but the results are worth it if you want a really unique ceiling.  Larger, wider planks will create a more rustic, farmhouse vibe, while skinnier planks will lend the space a more modern aesthetic.  You can leave the wood its natural color, stain it darker, or paint it an accent color.  If you opt to paint it you won’t get the same warmth of natural wood tones, but you will still be able to enjoy the texture and pattern the planks add to the ceiling.


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Gold or Silver Leaf Ceilings

If glam is more your style you can go all out and add gold or silver leaf to your ceiling.  The metallic sheen will reflect light and can help make a room feel brighter as well as sophisticated.  If you opt for gold it will add a warmer glow to your space, while silver will keep things on the cooler side.  If you don’t want to cover the entire ceiling in gold or silver leaf you can still use it to highlight and accent a painted pattern or design.  


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Besides just the aesthetics of it, there are other benefits to decorating your ceiling.  If you have high ceilings, painting them a dark color, or using a wallpaper with a darker main color can help trick the eye into thinking the ceilings are lower, and making the room feel a bit more cozy.  If your ceilings are low the reverse works as well - a lighter ceiling can help it seem higher than it actually is.  Perhaps best of all is that they add real personality and a feeling of customization to your home.  We hope next time you’re redecorating that you won’t forget the ceiling!

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Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:18:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Take A Seat: Five of the Coolest Lounge Chairs Around]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Take-A-Seat-Five-of-the-Coolest-Lounge-Chairs-Around/ You sit down on them every day, but how often do you really stop to look at chairs?  If you’re like us you look at them a lot, because you appreciate great furniture design.  But we’re willing to bet a lot of people don’t really notice.  But you should take notice, because once you do, you’ll realize that there’s a lot of really cool chairs out there!  That’s why today we’re going to take a look at some of the coolest lounge chairs we’ve seen.


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Eames Lounge Chair

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Originally designed in the 1950s by Charles and Ray Eames this chair almost immediately became an icon of American design.  The chair was born from their investigations into molding plywood and their desire to improve upon the lounge chair, a fixture in many American living rooms.  Inspired by English club chairs Charles said that he wanted to create a modern version of that chair that had, “...the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman's mitt.”  Often referred to as the most comfortable chair ever made it’s still a favorite for mid-century modern enthusiasts.


Ball Chair

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Originally designed in 1963 by Finnish furniture designer Eero Aarnio this chair is famous for its unconventional shape.  A classic of industrial design the Ball Chair has been featured in numerous movies and television shows.  It is at once incredibly ‘60s in its style, but also futuristic due to its pod-like shape.  Aarnio design the chair for his own home after realizing they had no proper big chair.  The original had a red telephone on the inside, but some current versions include music integration instead.


LC4 Chaise Longue

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Originally designed in 1928 by the trio of Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret this chair is perhaps one of the most iconic Bauhaus designs.  Following the idea that form and function should serve relaxation, the three created the chair which was later dubbed “the relaxing machine.”  Appearing to float above its supports the design of the chair mirrors the curves of the body so that a nearly infinite amount of seating positions are possible, and all of them comfortable.  The LC4 is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NY.  


Rietveld Red and Blue Chair

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Originally designed in 1917 by Gerrit Rietveld this chair was one of the first explorations by the De Stijl art movement in three dimensions.  The visual composition has been simplified to the vertical and horizontal, with only black, white, and primary colors being used. As such, the areas of color appear to float, giving the piece an almost transparent structure.  The original model was made from unstained beech wood, and was not painted until 1920 when architect and fellow member of the De Stijl art movement Bart van der Leck suggested that bright colors be added.  Surprisingly comfortable, the seat has been angled to provide the most comfort possible.


Egg Chair

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Originally designed in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen this chair has become an icon of Danish mid-century furniture.  Created for the busy lobby of the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen this sculpted chair anticipates the curves of the human body.  Sticking to the edict of form follows function, Jacobsen embraced new materials that allowed him to shape fluid curves and single-piece molded shells.  The chair is set on a rotating base which allows the sitter to swivel between conversations or more privacy.  Similar to the Ball Chair, the Egg Chair is very much a piece that looks of its time but also futuristic.   

This is just a sampling of some of the cool chair designs available out there.  As technology continues to evolve I’m sure we’ll continue to see more and more unique and innovative furniture designs hit the market.  Any chairs you think we should have included in the list?  Let us know and we’ll consider them for a sequel to this post.

Shop Lounge Chairs:


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Tue, 12 Sep 2017 19:35:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Get Rid of the Loo Blues: Five Ways to Add Storage to Your Bathroom]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Get-Rid-of-the-Loo-Blues-Five-Ways-to-Add-Storage-to-Your-Bathroom/ No matter the size of the bathroom, most people feel like they don’t have enough storage in theirs.  With so many things that need to be kept in the bathroom it can be tricky to find enough places to keep them all.  Fortunately there are some easy ways to sneak some extra storage into your bathroom.  Today we’re going to look at some tips that can work for even the smallest of bathrooms.


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Use All of the Baskets

I may be biased because I love baskets in general, but baskets are one of the best ways to add extra storage to your bathroom.  They can be used to keep toiletries and towels close at hand or they can be used to keep things in closets and cabinets more organized.  Baskets can be stacked to add storage without taking up too much floor space.  They can even be hung from the wall and not take up any floor space at all.  With such a wide array of basket sizes and shapes available it should be easy to find ones that will work in your space for your storage needs.  


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Try A Storage Ladder

If you need some extra places to hang things, but can’t drill into the walls either because you rent or because of the layout of the plumbing, consider adding a storage ladder.  Just lean it up against the wall and you’re good to go!  You can get one with just rungs if you only plan on hanging things, or one with shelves if you want to keep more than just towels close by.  They even make some that go over toilets so you don’t waste any floor space underneath the ladder.  


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Floating Shelves

If you can anchor things to your walls, floating shelves are a great way to use the vertical space in your bathroom for storage.  One good place to put a shelf is between the sink and mirror.  This is especially useful if you have a pedestal sink since it gives you a place to keep soap, a glass, and your toothbrush.  If you have a medicine cabinet just be careful of the placement of the shelf, since you don’t want items on the shelf getting in the way of opening the cabinet.  A shelf above the door is a good spot for things you don’t need to access regularly but still want to keep in the room.  You could also do a floating shelf around the entire room, which would provide plenty of storage and display space.


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Don’t Forget the Back of the Door

You open and close the door multiple times a day, but you don’t usually think of using it for storage.  A coat rack on the back of the door makes an ideal place to hang towels, robes, or other clothes.  There are also other over-the-door organizers available to help you store and organize an array of toiletries and other bathroom necessities.


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Look For Hidden Storage Opportunities

It may seem like you have nowhere to put stuff, but look closer and you’ll find there are a bunch of hidden storage opportunities.  Mirrored medicine cabinets may seem like a bit of a bathroom cliche, but they’re very useful.  You need a mirror in the bathroom, and you need storage, so it only makes sense to combine the two.  And luckily there are a lot of different shapes and styles available so you should be able to find one that works well in your space.  Similar to the back of the door, you can use the inside of vanity cabinet doors to increase your storage space.  You can hang things like hairdryers, or attach spice racks as a way to keep bottles neat and organized.  If you have a pedestal sink you can stack some storage containers underneath and hide them away with a skirt sink, to reduce the appearance of clutter.


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It can be easy to get frustrated when you feel like you don’t have enough space for all of your stuff.  But if you take a step back you’ll find there are plenty of storage opportunities throughout your bathroom.  Hopefully this post has given you some ideas on how to make your space better work for you.




Shop Storage


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Mon, 11 Sep 2017 19:37:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Domitalia]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Domitalia/ Italy is known for a lot of things - food, fashion, history, and also furniture.  Italian furniture has class and sophistication that’s been popular since the early 1900s.  Italian furniture designers have been on the cutting edge of modern furniture design movements with Italian interior design reaching the pinnacle of stylishness in the 1960s and 1970s, but continuing to create inspiring pieces into the current day.  To celebrate Italian design we’re going to spotlight some of the Italian brands we carry.  Today we’ll take a look at Domitalia.


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Specializing in chairs, tables and furniture accessories for domestic and contract use, Domitalia stands out for its innovation and flexibility.  For over 25 years the brand has been creating modern and contemporary furniture that’s made in Italy.  The Domitalia aesthetic is dominated by clean yet pleasingly sensual forms made out of fluid molded plastics, large expanses of glass and sculptural bent and carved wood.  Best of all their furniture not only looks great, but it’s also comfortable.  


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Each season Domitalia’s collections offer new pieces that reflect their philosophy of comfort living that has always made the company stand out.  Ingrained in their model of Italian design is combining original forms with innovative materials and manufacturing techniques.  Not only dedicated to good design, the company is also environmentally conscious.  Thanks to their eco-compatible production cycles Domitalia has been ISO 14001 certified since 2009.  


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If you’re looking for some stylish, Italian tables and chairs, Domitalia has you covered.  Perfect for modern and contemporary inspired spaces there’s something to suit almost any decor.



Shop Domitalia:


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Fri, 08 Sep 2017 20:12:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Growing Green: A Guide for Adding Houseplants to Your Space]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Growing-Green-A-Guide-for-Adding-Houseplants-to-Your-Space/ Houseplants have been a popular addition to interiors since the 19th century and it’s easy to see why they’ve remained a steady fixture in the home since.  Plants help purify the air in a room by increasing oxygen levels and removing toxins.  They liven up a space with color and texture as well as literally adding life to the room.  Plants also just make people happy.  Indoor plants can provide a calmer environment and in general contribute to your overall well being.  If you weren’t born with a green thumb you may be a bit intimidated about bringing a houseplant into your home, but fortunately there are plenty of plants out there that are forgiving if they don’t receive constant attention.  It can also be tricky to determine which plants are best for your space.  So we put together this guide for adding plants to your home to help make it a bit easier.  


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How to Choose the Right Plants for Your Space

Before you can buy any plants, you need to determine where you’ll be putting them and what that environment has to offer.  Amount of light is probably the most important factor in choosing a plant.  While there’s a plant for pretty much any lighting situation, if you get the wrong plant for the amount of light it will be getting, you’ll soon be having to buy a new plant.  If you want to be really precise in figuring out the amount of light a space will be getting you can purchase a light meter to measure each location.  If you don’t want to purchase a special piece of equipment there are other, free ways to figure it out as well.  A general rule of thumb however is that south facing windows will get bright light, east and west facing windows will get medium light, and north facing windows will get low light.  Once you know what type of light that location will have, and for how many hours a day, you can look into the types of plants available for that lighting.  When you go to the store or nursery to buy plants they should have little tags on them with information about the plant including how much light it needs.


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Some Plants for Different Light Levels

Low Light - you may feel a bit restricted if you have low light, but rest assured that there are still some plants that thrive in low light situations.  ZZ Plants, Philodendrons, Pothos, and Sansevierias are some common low light plants.  Many ferns are also able to handle low light well.


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Medium Light - your options open up a bit more if you have medium light.  Many popular plants do well in medium light, including Begonias, Elephant Ears, Christmas Cactuses, and Ivies.


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Bright Light - you may think that all plants will enjoy bright light, but some may actually begin to burn if exposed to light that’s too intense.  There are still many plants that do require bright light though.  The currently popular succulents and cacti prefer lots of natural lighting.  Trees like fiddle leaf figs also need bright light.

 

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Ways to Add Plants into Your Space

Placing a plant on a windowsill or plant stand by the window are some of the easiest ways to add the plant to your room, but there are some more creative ways as well.  Hanging plants is a great way to include them in your decor if you’re short on floor or surface area.  Tall plants are a good solution for unused corners and can help jazz up blank wall space.  If you’ve purchased ivy or other vining plant you can set up a trellis to create either a room divider or a piece of wall art that’s always growing and changing.  Houseplants also look nice on bookshelves as part of a vignette.  While the plants themselves are going to improve the decor, remember that the pot is another opportunity to add color, texture, and general visual interest to a room.  If repotting your plant feels a bit out of your league to start, you can also place the pot it comes in in a decorative basket.  You will likely eventually have to repot your plant as it grows though to avoid it becoming root-bound.


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Caring for Your Plants

Now that you have your plant and have it in it’s spot, don’t forget about it!  You still have to care for your plant.  The information that comes with it should indicate how often it may need watering and when to fertilize.  If your plant begins leaning towards the light, rotate it so it remains straight.  If your plant starts to gather dust just wipe down its leaves with a damp cloth.  


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Hopefully this post has inspired you to go buy some plants!  Plants not only help a space look nice but they improve your quality of life.  And all they ask for in return is a little water and light. 





Shop this style:


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Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:46:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Guest Post: 5 Home Remodeling Ideas Worth Considering]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Guest-Post-5-Home-Remodeling-Ideas-Worth-Considering/ If you're thinking of remodeling your home, chances are it's for one of three reasons. Either you're looking to make improvements that will benefit the current occupants, you're looking to sell, you're looking to make a worthwhile investment that will increase the value of the home, or else a combo of the aforementioned motives. Not all home remodeling projects are worth the investment. In some cases, they can even deplete a home of its value. We've got five worthwhile remodeling ideas that will more than likely increase the value of a home.


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1. Siding Replacement


While this remodeling project isn't exactly exciting, replacing your home's outdoor siding will eliminate the need for expensive, continuous maintenance and, in most case, you'll be able to recoup a large portion of your investment. In fact, the return on investment is about 72.9% according to the National Association of Realtors. Keep in mind, this return is only applicable with vinyl siding. Vinyl siding will also give your own a nice face lift and increase its curb appeal for as long as you choose to live there.


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2.Entry Door Replacement


According to the most recent Inman Cost. vs Value report steel front door replacement offers the second highest return on investment when it comes to home remodeling jobs. With a low cost, somewhere below $1,500 and a 91% recoup when sold, it is hard not to consider this domestic redo. Steel doors offer an extremely durable and resistant barrier between you and the rest of the world. They can also become the focal point of a residence and seriously boost curb appeal. Moreover, in previous years Energy Star doors warranted a hefty tax deduction. Whatever your reason, if you're looking to improve your home but only have a few thousand dollars to throw around a steel door may be the answer.


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3. Landscaping


According to the Washington Post, a yard remodel can offer anywhere from a 100 to 1,000 percent payback. From adding fences to new shrubs, most landscaping remodels start with a design plan. While a professional job is desirable, you can often utilize garden centers and nurseries to help you with the leg work. From there, acquiring, installing, and maintaining the plants and infrastructure can be done by you or a professional landscaper.


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4. Bathroom


Bathroom remodels are significantly cheaper than most rooms in the house. For one, there is going to be less square footage to cover. Bathroom remodels can incorporate resurfaced baths, floors, tile, toilet, sink, vanities, wall fixtures, and lighting. Depending on what needs to be done, a remodeled bathroom could cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $15,000. The steeper price tag includes labor costs. However, with a basic knowledge of plumbing and electricity and a bit of elbow grease, many jobs can be completed without the help of a professional.


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5. Minor Kitchen Remodel


An upgraded kitchen can often spearhead a quick sale and it is often the first entered and most frequently occupied space in a home. It is also costly and inconvenient to remodel. Common upgrades include new appliances, new cabinets, upgraded floors, new countertops, a fashionable sink, and a fresh coat of paint. Unless you're a contractor, a full kitchen renovation could cost you well over 50K. However, minor kitchen renovations, which don't cut corners but incorporate budget friendly furnishings, could slash your renovation price tag in half. They also offer a hefty reimbursement at the time of sale.


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Many homeowners are eager to redo outdated rooms, but remodels are costly. Meanwhile, when it comes time to sell many jobs have little to no return on their investment. While not all budget friendly, practical investments offer aesthetic fixes, they do improve a home owner's quality of life while offering them future security.




Jessica Kane is a writer for OSHA Campus Online, where you can complete a variety of OSHA training courses 100% online at your convenience.

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Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:53:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Welcoming Sweater Weather: Five Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space Longer]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Welcoming-Sweater-Weather-Five-Tips-to-Help-You-Enjoy-Your-Outdoor-Living-Space-Longer/ Labor Day has passed and while technically summer isn’t over until September 22nd, for many, especially those who have to go back to work and school, we’ve now unofficially entered autumn.  But just because the days and nights are going to start getting a bit chillier doesn’t mean you have to pack it in and stop spending time outside.  You spent all that time a few months ago getting your outdoor living space ready for use, why not continue using it into the fall?  Here are some simple things you can do to enjoy your time outside even once the temperatures begin to drop.


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Add Heat

The best way to extend the time spent in your outdoor living space is to add heat near seating areas.  There are a few different options for adding heat, some permanent and some portable.  One of the easiest and most portable ways to add heat is a fire pit.  It can keep you toasty warm and also provide a place to toast marshmallows for some late season s’mores.  If you want something portable but are nervous about fire a space heater could also be brought outside to help take the chill off.  Just make sure the one you use has been manufactured with weather-resistant hardware, and keep it sheltered from moisture since water and electricity do not mix.  If you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside into the cooler months you may want to invest in an outdoor heater or outdoor fireplace.


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Use Weather-proof Furniture

If you have an outdoor living space with furniture you probably already have weather-proof furniture.  But the proper furniture can help you enjoy your outdoor living space longer than pieces that can’t hold up against the elements.  You should still plan on covering it or bringing it inside when it begins to snow, but furniture made from materials like powder-coated steel, teak, and poly-resin wicker are built to withstand the elements and last through many seasons.


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Add Lighting

Perhaps one of the saddest parts of fall is that it starts getting dark much earlier in the day.  So if you want to make use of your outdoor living space into the autumn months, lighting is a must.  You may have been able to get away with little to no lighting the summer, but since you don’t want to have to head inside at 5 o’clock you’ll need some artificial light.  If you had some strings of lights up for the summer you may want to add more or supplement with lanterns.  If you have outdoor lighting connected to timers, remember to adjust the timers so the lights go on when it first starts getting dark.  


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Get Protection from the Wind

Blustery fall days can put a damper on your enjoyment of time spent outside, so look for ways to protect your space from the wind.  Decorative screenscan help break the wind when needed, and can also be used throughout the house as room dividers when not needed outside.  Outdoor curtains are also a good way to get protection from the wind.  They can be kept tied back out of the way when not in use to not obstruct your view, and then easily closed when it gets too windy.  Decorative screens and outdoor curtains can provide added privacy for your outdoor living space as well.


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Make Things Cozy

Obviously adding heat will make things cozier, but you can make things look and feel cozy in other ways as well.  Stock up on throw blankets and pillowsto bring some of the comforts of the indoors out.  Throw pillows make a great outdoor accessory not only for coziness but also because they’re easy to switch out with the seasons.  Decorating your outdoor living space for the season will also help it feel homier and cozier.  Keep your outdoor space looking fresh and vibrant to entice people to spend more time there.


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The autumn landscape has a lot of beautiful colors and sights to offer, so don’t let a little chill in the air scare you inside.  Follow these tips and you’ll be able to easily upgrade your outdoor living space into the best fall hangout spot around.  Grab your favorite warm beverage, snuggle up with a throw, and let the good times with friends continue.

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Tue, 05 Sep 2017 19:05:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Hasegawa Ladders]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Hasegawa-Ladders/ Sometimes you feel like you have to compromise between having necessities in the home and having things that look nice.  More utilitarian objects are useful to keep around, but rarely fit into the decorating scheme of the rest of the house.  If you have a garage you can toss them in that’s great, but for those with less sufficient storage space it can be a real dilemma.  Luckily there are more and more companies making products that not only serve their purpose well, but look great doing so.  Today we’re spotlighting Hasegawa ladders, which bring both style and function into the home.  


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Started as a family business in 1956 in Osaka, Japan Hasegawa has gained the reputation for creating the best quality and safest tripod ladders in use today.  Transcending traditional ladder design and aesthetics, Hasegawa’s Lucano ladders have even won Japan’s Good Design Award for turning a piece of equipment into an artful element of interior design.  Their two lines of step ladders - Lucano and Slim - are both durable while remaining slender when closed and incredibly lightweight.  Fastening screws are hidden away so the eye can focus on the graceful profile of the ladders.  The ladders are also designed to stand up on their own when closed which helps save space.  The Purill Step Stool features a fun design and is crafted from resin that’s super durable but also lightweight enough for even the smallest member of the family to move around and use.  They all come in a range of bold colors that will only enhance any decor.


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Obviously a helpful, functional product, Hasegawa ladders have many uses within the home other than just being used to reach high spaces.  They can be used as a plant stand, nightstand, or bookshelf.  If you place two near each other and put a piece of wood spanning across them you’ll have an attractive temporary table.  Since they’re so slender these ladders are easy to store, but since they look so good you’re going to want to keep them out as part of the decor.

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Fri, 01 Sep 2017 16:01:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Guest Post: Music for a Backyard Dinner Party in the Summer]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Guest-Post-Music-for-a-Backyard-Dinner-Party-in-the-Summer/ Summer is my favorite time of year. You can go swimming when the heat becomes too much, you can grill some delicious food, and you can have evening dinner parties in your backyard. Now, a dinner party is not the same without some smooth tunes to listen to, and there are some music choices that are perfect for the summer. Here are a few of my favorite songs to listen to when we are entertaining guests outdoors.


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1. Summertime – Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr0tTbTbmVA)

This is a classic that talks about barbecues and playing hoops in the summer, but the part that sticks with you the most about this song is the chorus that says: “Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.”


2. I Can’t Go For That – Hall & Oates

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccenFp_3kq8)

The lyrics of this song don’t really have to do with summer, but they are smooth and catchy, which makes it perfect for a backyard dinner party. The saxophone solo is amazing, and no matter who is present at your party, you will notice someone dancing or singing along with this song.


3. Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDHErN3dOkc)

A classic about a teen who took her Daddy’s T-Bird to the hamburger stand instead of the library. It’s all about having fun with a little risk, which is the basis of summer fun when you are a teen.


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4. Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVQjsPUjZwA)

This summer classic is about working through the summer, and how he is basically fed up with not being able to enjoy the days of summer. Though, instead of feeling bad for him, the beat simply makes you want to dance.


5. Hot in Herre - Nelly

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi3mW_0pm10)

Nothing is truer than this song when it comes to a hot, humid night in the middle of the summer. There have been plenty of nights when taking your clothes off would cool you off, but if you are having a dinner party, simply dance to the beat.


6. Party In The U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M11SvDtPBhA)

This music video is what summer is about: drive-in movies, dancing, and hamburgers. The beat of this song will have you putting your hands up and clapping to the beat in no time. Nothing says it’s a party more than “Party in the U.S.A.”


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7. California Gurls - feat. Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F57P9C4SAW4)

This song has such a cheery, lighthearted set of lyrics that you can’t help but play it at a summer dinner party. The lyrics are catchy, and people of all ages will sing along to the song.


8. Modern Love - David Bowie

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hDbpF4Mvkw)

Though this song is not directly related to summer, it has to do with love. Nothing is more iconic than a summer love, which is why modern love is a great summer hit. It also has lyrics that are so catchy that you can’t help but sing along; making it perfect for a backyard dinner party.


9. Lovely Day - Bill Withers

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEeaS6fuUoA)  

This song is perfect for a warm summer’s day because as the lyrics state it’s “a lovely day.” The original song is smooth with a classic beat that you can’t help but sway to, but if you want a more upbeat style, try the Karizma remix.


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10. Summer Of '69 - Bryan Adams

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFjjO_lhf9c)

The summer of ’69 was an amazing time, and as the song says “those were the best days of my life.” Going to the drive in and hoping that your summer love would last forever was part of the summer when you were a teen, which is what makes this song so perfect.


11. Cruel Summer – Bananarama

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ePIZugahFc)  

This is yet another song about the heat and the burning pavement of summer. The upbeat style is great and the lyrics are so catchy that you will be singing about a “cruel summer” before you realize it.


12. Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIYiGA_rIls)

Nothing says summer more than tanning on the beach and enjoying the summer sun. Surfing and being free to “soak up the sun” is something that we all wish we could do all summer long. The lyrics are catchy, which is part of what makes this song so memorable.


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13. Summer Breeze - Seals and Crofts

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H5TzNCW448)

This mellow harmony is perfect for summer relaxation. As the song states: “Summer breeze, makes me feel fine,” so as you are relaxing in your back yard, you can connect with the song as the breeze blows across your face.

What are some tunes that you would recommend for a back yard dinner party?

Jessica Kane is a writer for SoundStage Direct, the number one online source for the best vinyl records and turntables.

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Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:02:57 +0000
<![CDATA[California Dreaming: How to Get Cool, California Casual Style]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/California-Dreaming-How-to-Get-Cool-California-Casual-Style/ Known for its laid back, carefree style, California casual is all about good vibes and well-balanced spaces.  It’s no surprise that this relaxed take on minimalism has been steadily growing in popularity.  California casual has been taking over Instagram feeds and has many dreaming of putting together their own fresh, breezy interiors.  It looks easy and effortless, but there’s still some things to keep in mind before getting started.  Important to remember when putting together a West-coast inspired space is that comfort and ease of livability are at the forefront of the style.  Here are some more basics of California casual.


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Have an Earthy Color Palette

The casual California style is light, open, and airy.  Walls are often white or off-white and furniture upholstery is usually neutral as well.  California style is about merging indoors and out, so your color palette should take its cues from the tones found in nature.  When choosing pieces made from wood, opt for lighter woods.  Furniture made of darker woods or with a dark wood stain may feel heavy and out of place compared to the rest of the color palette.


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Add Plants

A key aspect to California casual is incorporating plants into the decor.  A house plant will add life, color, and energy to your room.  Whether opting for a ceiling height tree with sprawling branches or a more contained tabletop plant, make sure to get a variety that will do well in the amount of natural light your space can provide.  Plants are also a great opportunity to bring in pottery accents, another popular feature of California style, through their pots.  Look for unique handmade planters to really up the visual interest of the decor.  


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Use Natural, Organic Materials

As already mentioned, California style strives to bring the outdoors in, so the use of natural, organic materials is important.  Natural materials can help a space feel clean and pure, which plays into the California casual aesthetic and philosophy.  Furniture made of raw woods, woven rattan, or with live edges are a good starting point.  You can also incorporate natural materials through accessories with things like sisal rugs, linen or wool throws and pillows, or even just by displaying objects found in nature.


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Look for Mid-century Modern Lines

Palm Springs in California became a haven for mid-century modern style so it’s no surprise the elements of mid-century linger in current California interior design.  Look for pieces with sleek lines, wood frames, and tapered legs.  A mid-century modern inspired sculptural lounge chair is a great accent piece for living spaces.  A sleek bench is also a useful accessory in almost any room of the home.  If you’re worried about your decor becoming too retro looking, balance the mid-century pieces with some industrial inspired pieces.


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Create Cozy Layers

Since the base of the California casual style is mostly neutral, color, pattern, and texture are brought into play through accessories.  It can get chilly at night in California, so woven accessories are a great way to add texture as well as provide warmth.  A great rug will help keep feet warm and inject color and pattern into the space.  Sheepskin rugs and furry throws are especially popular because they add warmth but their bright white color keeps the decor light and airy looking.  Ethnic textiles and weavings hung on the wall will add texture as well as pattern and color, and can create both visual and literal warmth to the room.  Since the California style is relaxed and casual feel free to mix different patterned and colored throw pillows and blankets.


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You don’t have to live in California to appreciate the laid back style that’s been cultivated there.  California casual has a great combination of minimalist yet still relaxed and welcoming that’s appealing to people across the globe.  We may be from New York, but we can’t hate on California’s design instincts.




Shop this style:


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Tue, 29 Aug 2017 19:19:25 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With...Heather Peterson]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Heather-Peterson/ After discovering the power of design at a mere five years old, Heather Peterson has spent the past two decades bringing creative visions to life.  Starting out as a curator and photo editor for Real Simple magazine, she realized it was creating a feeling of home that made her happiest.  In January 2011 Heather launched a decorating blog, Love Your Space.  Heather Peterson Design followed later that year.  Now Heather works with clients across the country, at most budgets and in many styles to produce interiors that they’ll love.  Seeing how she creates spaces full of personality, we were at once fans of her work.  We reached out to Heather and she recently sat down to answer some questions for us.


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Photo Credit: David Peterson


What do you think drew you to design and creative outlets?

I've always been creative.  When I was looking for my first "real" job out of college, I told a headhunter that my only requirement was working with creative people.  All of my career twists and turns have been in creative industries, but generally in support roles.  It wasn't until recently that I realized I don't need to support artists professionally--I get to BE the artist.


Who’s your favorite designer?

How about my top 5?  I love Peter Dunham and Kathryn Ireland for their different takes on the British-California vibe.  I'm a huge fan of Angie Hranowsky and Fawn Galli for their adventurous use of vintage finds and color.  But if I were to hand over the reigns of my own home to another designer, it would be Muriel Brandolini.  I've followed her career for two decades and have always admired her worldly eclecticism, her use of art, and her unerring originality.


What’s your current favorite interior design trend?

Deep, saturated color on millwork.  It's such a great way to highlight beautiful trim.  If you use the same color on the walls and add in modern lighting, it can really energize older homes and make them feel current.


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Photo Credit: David Peterson


What interior design trend do you wish would go away?

Designing for resale.  This is the downside of the popularity of all those real estate shows: milquetoast decor.  I say bring back the personality!  Decide what you love and put that in your home.  Don't worry about the next people.


What do you think is the most versatile color palette? And how important is color to a space?

I love color.  But to me, contrast is more important to a successful design than a specific color palette.  My home is full of color and my office is very neutral; both work because of contrast.


What’s your approach to design?

I'm very visual and often have a vision that sort of presents itself early on in the process.  (The first time this happened was when I was looking to buy my first apartment.  I toured a beautiful pre-war Brooklyn apartment with picture moldings and parquet floors.  It was lovely but didn't feel like "me."  On the subway back to my job in Manhattan, the living room decorated itself top to bottom in my mind.  I got off at the first stop to call the agent and make an offer.)  That said, the aesthetics don't work if there's no flow, so I generally start with floor plans.  It's like a puzzle.  I like to come up with a bunch of possible layouts to help my clients figure out exactly how they want to live in their space.


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Photo Credit: Melissa Oholendt


What’s your favorite home accessory?

I'm a textile girl.  I love global textiles--suzanis, pulkharis, kantha, shibori--and like to use them beyond just pillows.  Think headboards, chair seats, or even just hung on the wall.  So much of what goes into a house can have sharp lines and hard edges.  I like to create opportunities for softness.


What’s something you think every home needs?

Art.  It doesn't have to be original or expensive, it just needs to speak to you.  Art can also be employed strategically to hide flaws, create division of space, and bring balance.


What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?

A 4,000sf Edwardian home in San Francisco that we nearly gut renovated to suit a young family.  One of my best friends from New York bought it just as I was deciding whether to move ahead in this career.  She said, if you want to go big with design, let me know.  We had so much fun, and it really allowed me to flex my design muscle.  I love the result, but more importantly, that project was a major confidence boost.  It showed me what I can do.


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Photo Credit: Melissa Oholendt


Do you think your experience in photo editing helps you put together and edit interiors?

Absolutely!  I approach design as a series of compositions--the balance of volumes and negative space.  That visual sense came from my time in the photo industry together with my art history background.  Producing photo shoots is also great training for the practical, project management side of design.


What inspires you the most?

Magazines!  I am an unabashed fan of shelter publications and read them cover to cover the minute they hit my mailbox.  I have years of back issues that I revisit on the regular.  It's interesting how you can see stories really differently, depending on the lens of your current work.


What decade do you think had (or has) the best interior design?

I'm a big fan of our present moment because it really takes advantage of the best of the past.  I love the way designers are mixing eras and provenance, mixing high and low.  With the rise in e-commerce and global trade, so much is available to us that wouldn't have been even a decade ago.  It's pretty exhilarating.


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Photo Credit: David Peterson


How did you transition from interior design blogger to interior designer?

When I started the blog, I was seeking career change but wasn't sure if I wanted to be a designer or a magazine editor.  I was decorating my own home at the time, blogging almost daily and sharing posts on Facebook.  Friends-of-friends started contacting me to help with their spaces.  Since I don't have formal training in design, blogging was a great way to experiment and hone my skills.  Before I had a full roster of clients, I created content for the blog that served as a temporary portfolio.  My online presence also made potential clients feel like they knew me.  It made the thought of working with a designer much more approachable.


What do you think the future of design looks like?

I think the pendulum is swinging from a maximalist aesthetic to a more pared back look.  I'm not saying minimalist!  Just very considered, with an emphasis on each item and the relationship between them.  I think it's a rigorous and disciplined approach and not at all easy. But done well it is both interesting and peaceful.  I think we all want a little less stuff in our lives.  A considered space leaves room to live.


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Photo Credit: David Peterson


Thanks Heather for taking the time to answer our questions!  We look forward to seeing your next projects.  If you want to see more of Heather’s work check out herwebsite and follow her on Instagram for some behind-the-scenes glimpses. 

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Mon, 28 Aug 2017 17:58:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Introducing ST2: Why We’re Digging This Custom Brand]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Introducing-ST2-Why-Were-Digging-This-Custom-Brand/ It may cost a little more, but sometimes you want something you know was made just for you.  Or maybe you need a custom piece of furniture due to size or other restrictions.  That’s why we like to provide our customers with brands that are willing to put in the work to make exactly what you want.  Today we’re going to take a look at one of the newest custom brands we’ve taken on - ST2.


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Scott Thomas Hamed created the ST2 brand to build custom made furniture.  A recipient of the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) Pinnacle Award it’s clear that Hamed knows what he’s doing when it comes to furniture design.  Bench crafted in the heart of Amish country out of high quality materials, ST2 furniture is made to order, and easily customizable to get exactly what you want.  Whether classic or modern in style ST2 creates unique furniture and cabinetry for any home project.  Since every piece is made in America there’s no worry of long overseas shipping times.  ST2 products are also great for contract and hospitality projects for the same reasons - ability to customize and American manufacturing.


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France & Son is proud to now be carrying this high quality, American made furniture brand.  Check out the ST2 designs we have to offer here.  If you find something you like simply place an order and the craftspeople in Ohio will get to work building your piece.




Shop this ST2:


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Fri, 25 Aug 2017 19:19:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Reigning Cats and Dogs: Seven Tips for A Stylish, Pet-friendly Home]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Reigning-Cats-and-Dogs-Seven-Tips-for-A-Stylish-Pet-friendly-Home/ We all love our pets, but sometimes having a pet can seem incompatible to having a neat and stylish home.  Pets can create messes, and have a lot of their own accessories that come with them.  Fortunately designers, architects, and interior design brands have started to produce design solutions for our four-legged friends.  Not only are more companies creating stylish pet products, but more furniture and furnishing brands are creating pet-friendly products that meet the needs of humans and animals alike.  Here are some of the best ways to keep your home looking good and pet friendly.


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Look for Durable Fabrics

If you don’t want to slipcover your furniture (which is also a totally viable option), you’ll need to look for upholstery that can stand up to fur, paws, claws, and messes.  Stain-resistant fabrics like treated leather, microfiber, wool blends, coated cotton and denim are all easy to spot-clean with dirt just wiping away.  While leather is easy to clean and fairly durable, it can be scratched and ripped by claws, so if you have a dog that’s going to be going on the furniture, be sure to keep their nails trimmed.  If you have a cat, make sure they have alternate scratching post options.  If your pet is going to be allowed on your bed make sure to choose easy to clean bedding.


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Get Durable Flooring

Choosing pet-friendly flooring can be a tricky task.  Carpeting won’t get scratched by the nails of rambunctious pets, but it’s harder to clean up messes and is more likely to stain.  Hardwood floors are easier to clean, but can get scratched, and be slippery for pets (especially older ones) to walk across.  Laminate and vinyl flooring are good options, but if you really want wood, a common compromise is durable area rugs or rug tiles placed over hardwood floors in areas where pets are most likely to be.  Area rugs are easier to pick up and clean when needed, or even completely changed out should damage become too much.  They’ll provide a softer, warmer place for your pet to lay and play while protecting the floor underneath.  Just make sure that the rug is secured with anti-skid measures, otherwise your pet and your rug may take a trip into the wall.


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Match Colors to Your Pet

Obviously you’re not going to let your pet’s fur gather into large tumbleweeds, but you also don’t want to have to carry a lint roller in a holster 24/7 (not sure why this turned into a wild west analogy).  If you get upholstery and rugs that are similar in color to your pet’s fur (or a pet that has similar coloring to your already established decor) the fur won’t show up as easily.  Patterns are also better at hiding fur and dirt than just plain colors.  You don’t have to match everything to your pet, but this tip can help you spend less time vacuuming and more time playing with your furry friend.


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Keep Throw Blankets on Hand

Throw blankets are a valuable accessory to keep on hand whether you have a pet or not, since they’re an easy way to add a splash of color and pattern to your decor, and also to keep warm on chilly nights.  If you have a pet though you especially should consider keeping some throw blankets around.  Throws can be put down as a cozy spot for your pet to curl up next to you, and then easily picked up and shaken out or washed to get rid of any fur or dirt.  It’s easy to keep a bunch on hand for quick change outs should unexpected company arrive and you need the couch looking clean.

 

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Keep Collectibles Safe

Having a beloved collection to display can be perilous if you have a pet.  Luckily it’s fairly easy to keep them safe.  If you have a dog just look for shelving and tables that are out of wagging tail range.  If you have a curious cat you may need to look for storage options with glass cabinets so objects are still visible but out of swiping reach.  Also make sure any collectibles are not in a similar area to where your pet’s toys are stored.  Even the most well behaved pet can get caught up in the moment of play and grab the wrong thing by accident.  


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Create Special Spaces

You want your home to feel welcoming to your pet too, so give them a special space that’s all their own.  Whether it’s their own room that can be a bit messier than the rest of the house, or a space built into already existing furniture your pet will be happy to have a homebase.  If you have stairs, the often forgotten about space under the stairs is a great spot to build out as private room for your pet.  There are also a ton of tutorials online about how to turn old furniture into pet dens or look for pre-made ones on websites like Etsy.


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Look for Modern Pet Accessories

Designers are catching on to how much people love their pets, and want to incorporate their pets into their lives and style.  This means that there are now tons of stylish, modern pet accessories that will blend right in with your own furniture.  Pet beds, scratching posts, litter boxes, and toy storage bins have all gotten modern upgrades that you and your pet will love.  Even food bowls have become more fashionable.  It’s also becoming common to build food storage and feeding stations into cabinets so they don’t take up as much floor space.  Pretty much whatever your personal style there are now pet accessories that will match it.  


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It is possible to have a pet and still have a stylish, modern home.  You may need to stay on top of cleaning a bit more than those without pets, but it can be done.  You and Fluffy and Fido can all enjoy comfort and aesthetic harmony in the home thanks to growing awareness of the importance of pets and their place in people’s lives.  Now go give your furry friends a pat and a treat.


Here are some more adorable inspirations:

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Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:34:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Floors Galore: The Ultimate Flooring Guide]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Floors-Galore-The-Ultimate-Flooring-Guide/ Choosing flooring can be a complicated task as more and more options become available.  With a ton of styles, finishes, and installation options it can be tricky to decide what’s right for your space.  You may have an idea about what some of the traditional flooring options are, but when you start getting into engineered wood versus laminate flooring the lines can start to get a little blurred.  We’ve put together this guide to give you the lowdown on the popular flooring options you may be considering.


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Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is perhaps one of the most sought after flooring options and is renowned for its durability and natural beauty.  Hardwood is a good option for open floor plans because it can help easily maintain continuity between rooms.  Between domestic and exotic wood species there are numerous options of color and grain pattern available.  Hardwood flooring is typically available in 1.5 - 2.5 inch wide strips or 4 - 8 inch wide planks.  Though technology has improved hardwood floor finishes to make it more durable it is still susceptible to scratches, scuffs, and wearing.  Fortunately hardwood floors can be refinished numerous times.


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Engineered Wood

Engineered wood has a top layer of real wood veneer backed by either layers of plywood or recycled wood fiber substrates.  Since the construction of engineered wood makes it more stable and less sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity it is a good option for kitchens and basements.  Engineered wood is also a good idea if you’re looking to install the flooring yourself, since many companies are now creating engineered wood floors that are “clickable” and lock into place without the use of glue or nails.


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Laminate

Incredibly low-maintenance, laminate flooring is similar to engineered wood because it has a bottom layer of plywood or recycled wood fiber substrates.  But instead of real wood on top it is a photograph that’s been covered in a plastic coating.  Since it uses photorealism technology to produce look-alike finishes it’s available in many different styles from different types of wood to even stone or ceramic tile.  Most laminates are floating floor systems that can easily be installed directly over existing floors.


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Bamboo

Bamboo may sometimes get grouped into the hardwood category, but technically bamboo is a grass, not a wood.  Tough and durable, bamboo flooring is created by gluing strands of bamboo together to form solid strips or planks.  Depending on how it’s assembled you can find different grain patterns between flat, vertical, or woven, to choose from.  Since bamboo grows quickly and easily bamboo flooring is considered a sustainable flooring option.  


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Cork

Though cork comes from the bark of a tree, it is not hardwood flooring.  Cork is another sustainable flooring option since the tree is not cut down to create the product - the bark is simply harvested off and allowed to regrow.  Cork makes a unique flooring option because it has unusual grain patterns with speckles and whirls.  Cork can be installed as planks or tiles, and needs to be sealed (and resealed every few years) to keep out moisture and protect against wear and tear.


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Linoleum

Made from renewable, biodegradable materials such as linseed oil and cork, and gets its rich colors from mineral pigments, linoleum is considered one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options.  Linoleum can be installed as a sheet that’s glued down or as tiles for a floating floor system.  Linoleum can be purchased with a protective coating that will help prevent staining and stand up to foot traffic.  If you opt for linoleum that doesn’t have such a coating it will need to be refinished every so often.


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Vinyl

Virtually maintenance free, vinyl flooring isn’t called “resilient flooring” for no reason.  Tough and durable, vinyl sheets and tiles are flexible and slightly soft underfoot.  Cushioned vinyl products are backed with a thin layer of foam for added comfort and safety, and all vinyl is backed with a layer of felt.  Thicker vinyls can have a textured surface that resemble real stone or wood.  Vinyl flooring has a wear layer to help protect against stains and scratches.  Good quality vinyl should be able to last up to 20 years.


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Carpet

With more colors and textures available than any other flooring systems, carpet may be one of the most versatile options.  Wall to wall carpeting has fallen out of favor over recent years, but some rooms, such as the bedroom can still benefit from carpeting since it is softer and warmer than woods.  Wool carpeting is naturally durable and resistant to moisture and stains, and has the best feel against bare feet.  If a carpet is not made of wool, it is most likely going to be made out of a synthetic fiber.  Synthetic fiber options for carpeting include nylon, acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene olefin which all have their pros and cons for various settings.


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Ceramic Tile

With many shapes, sizes, and colors available, ceramic tiles allow you to easily create custom patterns.  Ceramic flooring tiles come in four basic types: glazed ceramic, quarry tile (which is unglazed), porcelain (available as glazed or unglazed), and terracotta (unglazed).  If using for a bathroom or kitchen, look for ceramic tiles that have had an anti-slip finish applied, or use unglazed tiles to cut down on the chance of slips and falls.  Porcelain is the most durable of the ceramic tile options.  Double check to make sure the tiles your purchase are rated for use on floors.   


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Concrete

Concrete as a flooring option has been rising in popularity over the years, likely in connection to the popularity of industrial style.  Concrete has long-lasting durability and is also incredibly low maintenance.  Just plain gray may seem unappealing, but with a wide range of sealers and specialty stains available concrete can be stamped and stained to resemble polished marble, tumbled stone, brick pavers or almost anything. There's no limit to the design possibilities, which makes concrete a great option if you want to turn your floors into a work of art.


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Now that you have information on all the options, there’s still some questions to consider before selecting the flooring for each room.  Bathroom and other high moisture areas will require flooring made to withstand moisture like ceramic tiles or vinyl.  You’ll also need to keep in mind how much foot traffic the area will be getting and how much maintenance you’re willing to put into your flooring.  But hopefully this post as at least made the process a little bit easier.  

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Tue, 22 Aug 2017 19:42:15 +0000
<![CDATA[Rock Solid Style: How to Add Marble to Every Room of the Home]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Rock-Solid-Style-How-to-Add-Marble-to-Every-Room-of-the-Home/ Marble is a material that’s been used for centuries and has carried with it a sense of class and luxury.  Since it has been around for so long though, it can also be seen as a bit out of date to use in home decor.  Fortunately for fans of marble it’s been making a comeback in the world of interior design.  Though once a bit on the extravagant side, marble designs now are leaning more towards simple and modern.  Less is more as marble has become more of an accent material than base to start from.  Marble is being paired with sleek polished metals and warm woods to create a balanced look.  Since marble is such a classic, and classics never really go out of style, here are some ways to add a touch of marble to every room in the home.  


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Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the easiest places to incorporate marble into your decor.  That also makes it easy to go overboard though, so choose just one or two marble elements to keep your bathroom from turning into a marble quarry.  Marble flooring is a classic bathroom option, as is a marble tub or shower stall.  A marble sink would also be a nice, smaller marble accent.  If you really want to keep the marble to a minimum but still include it, add a marble tray to keep toiletries organized.


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Kitchen

The kitchen is also a traditional place for marble to be found in the home.  Marble countertops are a classic design element, though for serious home cooks they can be a bit too finicky and stain-prone.  Instead try a marble backsplash.  More out of the way of knives and spills you’ll get the look of marble without the fear of damage.  A marble sink is another accent option for the kitchen.  Marble pendant lamps are a nice, unexpected way to add some marble to the kitchen.


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Dining Room

In the dining room, nothing can beat a stunning marble topped dining table.  Tulip tables combine the tradition of marble with the sleek appeal of mid-century modern design.  But if tulip tables aren’t your style you can always get a more standard based dining table topped with marble.  A marble chandelier is also a unique way to add some marble to the space.  If you only want a little bit of marble in the dining room there are plenty of table top accessories that will add just a hint of marble to the decor.


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Living Room

Perhaps one of the most popular marble products to emerge from the revival of marble in interior design is the marble coffee table.  With tables to fit pretty much any style of decor a marble coffee table is probably the best way to include marble in the living space.  Since marble pairs wonderfully with other natural materials such as wood, linen, and leather, all of which are often found in living rooms, marble will easily fit into your space’s design scheme.


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Bedroom

The bedroom may seem like one of the more difficult places to add marble, but there are still some good marble accent options.  A marble topped side table can make an elegant nightstand.  A marble based lamp is also a nice touch.  You could also use a marble tray to keep jewelry or other accessories organized.  If none of the real marble options appeal to you, consider marble patterned bedding or wallpaper for an accent wall.


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With a variety of color grades of marble available, don’t feel like you have to stick to just the traditional white.  If white marble seems too austere or formal for your style experiment with other color options to find what works best for you and your space.  There’s also good news if you’ve been wanting to add some marble to your home but have oddly sized or shaped spaces.  France & Son is now offering custom marble table cutting.  From 79” down we can create a table top with the size, shape, and edge you desire.  Just contact customer service for more details or a price quote. 





Shop this Style:


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Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:52:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Cream of the Crop: Six Tips to Get Modern Farmhouse Style]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Cream-of-the-Crop-Six-Tips-to-Get-Modern-Farmhouse-Style/ Known for its warmth and simplicity, modern farmhouse style has been steadily growing in popularity.  Combining the cozy farmhouse aesthetic with the clean lines of contemporary design, modern farmhouse style offers a fresh take on country inspired design.  Retaining a certain level of sophistication modern farmhouse style embraces vintage and antique accessories but still keeps them to a minimum.  Part of the popularity of the trend is due to the HGTV show Fixer Upper where stars Chip and Joanna Gaines use farmhouse style as the base for almost all of their home transformations.  Other reasons for its popularity include a bit of a turn away from the starkness of minimalism, and a desire to return to simpler times when the world feels overwhelming.  As more and more people embrace the style we figured we should give some tips on how to create a fabulous modern farmhouse style interior.


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Start in Neutral

Farmhouse style has its roots in the country where farmers didn’t have access to the wide array of paint color options we do now.  Because of this the base of modern farmhouse style is a neutral color palette.  White, cream, beige, and gray are all a good place to start when putting together the palette for your space.  You can add some bolder colors as accents but the overall color scheme should be neutral and light.  Earth-tones work best for adding in more color.  Layer in natural wood tones to complete the look.

 

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Bring in the Wood

Speaking of wood, a major aspect of modern farmhouse style is the use of wood.  Wood floors and other architectural details help the space feel more connected to the outdoors.  More authentic farmhouse locations will likely have exposed wooden beams but if you can’t manage that design element there are still plenty of other opportunities for adding wood.  A classic farm table is great way to inject the space with the natural beauty of wood.  Rustic benches, either around the table or in other locations around the home are also a popular modern farmhouse accessory.  If you can find vintage pieces or furniture made from reclaimed wood that suit your needs the look of weathered wood will complete the modern farmhouse aesthetic.  If not, the wood you do bring into the home will age and make the interior look even better over time.


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Load Up on Rustic Charm

Vintage or vintage-style decor is a must for modern farmhouse style.  Now’s the time to hit up all those flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops to find the perfect rustic pieces.  On a farm everything is a little rough around the edges so keep this in mind when searching for vintage finds.  If it’s a little beat up or worn down that just adds to the charm.  As long as a piece is still structurally sound a little wear and tear shouldn’t persuade you from including something in your modern farmhouse space.  Things in a modern farmhouse interior should look well-used and loved.  Chalkboards are also work well with the rustic aesthetic.  Just make sure to not overdo the accessories - you still want your room to have space to breathe.


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Include a Touch of Industrial

Farms have machinery on them so a touch of industrial style is completely appropriate to modern farmhouse interiors.  A set of industrial style chairs or stools in the kitchen or dining area will complement the rustic woods and neutral tones in the rest of the space.  Industrial style pendants and lighting are also a great way to inject some industrial into the decor.  Simple and utilitarian these types of pendants are enjoyed by both modernists and farmhouse style fans, meaning they’re perfect for modern farmhouse.  The sleek quality of metals will help accent the rougher natural texture of whatever wood is around.

 

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Mix Textures

The mixing of heavy and light is important in modern farmhouse style so to counter some of the heavy wood pieces make sure to include some soft accessories.  Vintage quilts are certainly a good place to start, and can add some pops of color.  To keep with the rustic theme mix and match the textures of your pieces to get a more authentic feel.  Since the color palette is largely neutral mixing textures will add visual interest that may otherwise be lacking.  With rugsthrow pillows, and other soft accessories feel free to mix fabrics like cotton, canvas, wool, chenille, or burlap.  Low maintenance fabrics will help maintain the casual feel of modern farmhouse style and slip-covered upholstery easy wash-and-wear care is often included.


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Embrace Open Shelving

Some people have very strong feelings about open shelving, but open shelving in kitchen and dining areas is one of the basics of modern farmhouse style.  You don’t have to have all of your cabinets be open, even just one or two vignettes of open shelving are plenty to achieve the desired effect.  This open shelving helps display heirlooms or other beloved vintage necessities or accessories.  They add character to the wall and allow for the easy switching of decorations based on season or just mood.  If you’re still worried about objects on the open shelves getting too dirty or knocked down wood-framed glass doors are a suitable compromise.


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Modern farmhouse style is becoming so popular because it combines all the charm of rustic, country style with modern, more streamlined sensibilities.  Incredibly flexible, it’s a style that allows you to express personality a bit easier than some other styles and makes room for displaying beloved vintage and antique pieces.  Since an actual farmhouse is out of many people’s reach (and desires), perhaps best of all you don’t have to actually live on a farm to enjoy and employ modern farmhouse style.

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Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:18:13 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With… Maria Chatzistavrou of Lime Deco]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Maria-Chatzistavrou-of-Lime-Deco/ When you think of Greece you may think of amazing beaches or the ancient Greek philosophers, but they also have gorgeous interior design.  You’ll probably be ready to book a trip to Greece by the end of this post - we know we were!  One interior design firm doing amazing work in Greece is Lime Deco.  Founded in 2007 by Maria Chatzistavrou the office is based in Kolonaki and does interior design work for private residences and commercial spaces.  The Lime Deco philosophy is to improve their clients’ quality of life by creating exceptional interior spaces that combine aesthetics and function.  We recently reached out to Maria to find out more about Lime Decor and Greek interior design.


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Have you always been interested in design?

Actually I decided to study interior design at the age of eight. So, yes design was always part of my life. My job is my passion with which I earn money. Design is connected to my everyday life.


What are your favorite types of projects (residential, commercial, etc.)?

I change preferences and always look for new challenges. Ten years ago I was mostly designing commercial spaces and offices. Τhen I decided I don't want to do that any more and pursued to design residences and summer retreats. Now my challenge is to design hotels and that is what I prefer to undertake. I have, though, something similar all these years. I love the challenge of different projects, with different style and budget.


How do you approach design?

I try to connect with the people involved, understand their needs and respect the available budget. After this first assessment, I visualize which style suits the most.  Design for me is a chemistry of all those things.


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What’s your favorite color palette?

Now the colors I mostly use are shades of grey and cigar. Ι think that there are global influences that become our favourites, since we mostly find furniture and decorative items that have this palette already.


What do you think is the most versatile color palette?

I think someone will find wider variety in the palette of beige and grey. Those are the colours that suit with everything. Their use is safer and you can put together even the most strong or dark colors and have good balance in your space.


What are some hallmarks of Greek design?

I must say that Greek design has influences of global design. But you could say that the climate, the sun and the variety of the landscape influence Greek design. So depending on the place you are in Greece, you might find white shades and simple lines like in Cyclades, or dark and rough shapes like on a mountain scenery.


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How does Greek design differ from American interior design?

The same way as the weather, the landscape and the daily light differs. American design involves in bigger spaces and you could say in more imposing spaces. More people will get involved and the marketing of design is addressed to more people. Greek design is in a lot smaller scale and more simple


What inspires you the most?

The most inspiring thing for me, is to design a space that will become a wonderful daily routine of a family, a traveler or an employee. After all I design spaces and spaces are to be lived. My challenge is the design something unique for every client I have.


Who’s your favorite designer?

I admire the work of many designers but usually I find influence in such different things, like fashion, a street market, an old piece of furniture, a painting or even the view from a window. I also prefer to design different projects so I cannot stick with the style of a specific designer.


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What’s your favorite piece of furniture?

Barcelona Chair is one of my favourites. It is a piece of art, functional, elegant and timeless. You could find it either in a modern or in a heavy classic interior.


What’s your favorite interior design trend?

I love to use natural materials. To mix linen, bamboo, wicker. I think those materials are closer to us. At the same time I adore the classic material like marble and wood. Mostly I love the variety of marbles and αlthough it is a timeless material ιτ has again become fashionable.


What do you think the next popular interior design trend will be?

If you look at the fashion market, you will see that classics are coming back. Even the clothes are becoming more complicated and elaborate, so [interior] design will follow.


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What do you think is the key to good design?

Harmony, balance and functionality and all those in the available budget.


What’s your favorite home accessory?

Ι believe that lights and curtains make a home complete.


Any advice for aspiring interior designers?

Always respect the will and the budget of their client and do their job with passion and open mind.


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Thanks again Maria for taking the time to answer our questions!  We always appreciate getting a new perspective on design.  To keep up to date on Maria’s work you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram and Facebook

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Tue, 15 Aug 2017 19:13:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Honoring an Icon: 150 Years of Frank Lloyd Wright]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Honoring-an-Icon-150-Years-of-Frank-Lloyd-Wright/ Frank Lloyd Wright may be one of the first really famous architects.  Even those unfamiliar with architecture will likely recognize his name.  Part of this is because he recognized the power of the media.  He took advantage of the medium to promote his ideas and work by appearing on television interviews and even being a guest on the classic game show What’s My Line?  Much of modern architecture can be traced back to Wright’s innovative work.  In honor of his 150th birthday which would have been this year we’re taking a look at the man and his work.


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Born June 8, 1867 Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 structures in his lifetime.  Over half of them (532) were completed.  The last project before his death in April 1959 is also one of his most recognizable.  The building for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City kept him busy for sixteen years.  The final form of the building is a large beige spiral that emerges from its Fifth Avenue location.  Its unique central geometry was meant to allow visitors to easily experience Guggenheim's collection of nonobjective geometric paintings by taking an elevator to the top level and then walking down the slowly descending central spiral ramp to view the artworks.  The floor of the ramp was to be embedded with circular shapes and triangular light fixtures to complement the geometric nature of the structure.  The building itself is as much a work of art as that which is housed within it.


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In the early 1900s Frank Lloyd Wright pioneered the Prairie Style of architecture.  Prairie style houses often feature one or two stories with one story projections, low-pitched roofs with broad overhanging eaves, a prominent central chimney, an open floor plan, strong horizontal lines, and a wide use of natural materials, usually wood or stone.  Inside Prairie Style homes Wright used themed, coordinated design elements that were repeated in windows, carpets, and other fittings.  By the 1930s Wright’s designs had matured into the Organic Style.  The peak of his Organic Style and one of his most famous residences was Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.  Constructed over a waterfall the house features a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces.  Fallingwater perfectly captures Wright’s aim to design structures that created harmony between humanity and the environment.


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Part of what made Frank Lloyd Wright so relevant was that he readily embraced change and experimented with new materials.  He made innovative use of new building materials like precast concrete blocks, glass bricks, and zinc cames for leadlight windows.  He was also one of the first architects to design and install custom-made electric light fittings.  Glass became a major element in Wright’s designs because it fit well into the philosophy of organic architecture.  Glass allows you to view and interact with the outdoors while still being protected from the elements.  Wright even compared glass to lakes, rivers, and ponds which he called the mirrors of nature.  He would string panes of glass along walls to create light screens to join together solid walls.  The large amount of glass helped create a balance between the light and airiness of glass and the solid, hard walls.


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Wright strove to elevate American society through architecture.  He said that his work always aimed to serve the client’s needs.  He wanted to provide affordable, individualized homes for middle-class Americans that would be both functional and elegant.  Wright was determined to create a style of architecture that drew on the diversity of American culture and would come to be seen as natural to the country.  The Prairie Style broke away from more compartmentalized rooms and focused on a more open concept.  If you enjoy your open floor plan home, you should take a moment to thank Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Mon, 14 Aug 2017 18:38:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Golden Lighting]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Golden-Lighting/ Looking for lighting can get overwhelming.  The wrong light in a room can totally throw off the look of the space.  Even once you’ve figured out how much and what type of lighting you’ll need you still have to find the actual fixtures themselves.  If you’re not sure what style you want it can get exhausting researching so many different brands.  Instead look for brands that offer a range of styles, from traditional to modern and contemporary.  Today we’re going to take a look at once such brand that focuses on lighting - Golden Lighting.



Founded in 1982, Golden Lighting began primarily as an importer of manufactured goods from overseas.  By the 1990s their focus had shifted to residential lighting fixtures with more decorative lighting products continuing to be added.  Now a leader in the residential lighting industry, Golden Lighting offers something for everyone.  The company prides itself on having an outstanding reputation for understanding customer needs.  They then integrate these needs into their product designs.  







Golden Lighting is also committed to fostering inspiring designers and supporting the design community.  Earlier this year the company teamed up with Florida State University to host a collegiate level lighting design competition.  The students were taught the basics of lighting design and asked to use what they learned to create a design for LED bathroom fixtures.  Contestants were judged based on the creativity, functionality, and the marketability of their products.  This summer during June Lightovation, Golden Lighting displayed all of the FSU students’ lighting designs in its showroom at the Dallas Market Center.  All of the concept boards were displayed and Golden Lighting showroom visitors were given an opportunity to vote for who would receive the People’s Choice Award.






With a wide variety of styles Golden Lighting has a lighting solution for every room of the home.  Next time you need a new ceiling or wall lamp, remember to check out Golden Lighting’s options and you won’t be disappointed.  

Shop Golden Lighting:

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Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:40:42 +0000
<![CDATA[A Place of His Own: Man Cave Decor Ideas]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/A-Place-of-His-Own-Man-Cave-Decor-Ideas/

For men whose significant others decorate most areas of the house, a man cave provides a place that he can make entirely his own. This increasingly popular room of the house usually features masculine decor and serves as a space where guys can hang out on their own or with friends. Therefore, most men want their man caves to be rugged but welcoming. Here's how to achieve that look in six easy steps.


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Put Your Passions Front and Center

Your man cave is your space, so you should put your stamp on it by decorating it to match your passions and interests. Are you a music guy? Hang instrument racks so you can display your stash of guitars on the wall. Are sports more your thing? Consider mounting a basketball hoop, placing a collection of trophies on a shelf or displaying team jerseys on the walls. Automotives are another popular decor scheme for man caves. Use headlights for lighting or hang up old license plates and street signs. Some guys even display a whole car inside their man caves!


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Lay Down Rugs

Many men have a garage, a basement or an outdoor shed for their man cave space. Although this is an easy way to achieve the rugged look that many guys desire for their area, the cold, hard floor of these locations can also be rather uninviting. A full floor remodel is one solution, but laying down area rugs is simpler and cheaper. Plus, you can easily switch out rugs if they get dirty or you're just ready for a change. If you expect that your space will be heavily trafficked or that you will carry in a decent amount of dirt from working outside or in the garage, consider purchasing an indoor-outdoor rug, which may hold up better than one designed solely for interior use.


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Arrange Furniture for Lounging

The man cave should be a place where you can unwind on the weekends or at the end of a long day. Therefore, it is imperative that the furniture is completely lounge-worthy. You are going to want couches or recliners where you can stretch out. And if a nap happens? All the better. Soft leather couches are particularly masculine. Wool has a tough and rugged feel too. If neither of those materials is in your budget, consider a synthetic microfiber, which often wears well over time.


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Build a Bar

One of the favorite parts of the man cave for many guys is the home bar, where he can grab a drink for himself or his friends. This can be large or small. If you consider yourself a mixologist and love blending cocktails, you may want to go all out with a full bar so you can play bartender at home. Keeping a few beers on tap is a great addition to this setup. If you're more casual about your drinks, keep your man cave bar setup smaller with a basic counter and a refrigerator to keep cans and bottles cold. If you're a wine connoisseur, a wine cellar makes an excellent addition to your manly space.


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Add Entertainment

Whether you're hanging out by yourself or inviting the boys over, entertainment is a must for your man cave. A classic pinball machine is wildly entertaining and can be used whether you're flying solo or hosting a crowd. Darts are another item that can be used on your own or with others. Pool tables are good if you have the space; they are best for those who regularly invite friends over.


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Install a Big Screen

Sometimes, no matter how many games and toys you keep in your man cave, you just want to chill with an action-packed flick. That's why every man cave needs a big screen. Huge televisions are great, but it can sometimes be more cost effective--and definitely cooler--to get a projector and a large screen. Retractable screens are handy because you can roll them up so they are out of the way when not in use.


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Your man cave should be a space that is tailored to your unique tastes and interests. As such, you may find that not all six of these decor suggestions fit your vision for your man cave, or you may want to use every one of them. The ultimate goal is to design a room where you want to be--a room that unequivocally declares "This is my territory."

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This post was provided by Jessica Kane, a writer for The Pinball Company, the best online source for new, used, and refurbished pinball machines, arcade cabinets, and more!


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Thu, 10 Aug 2017 19:10:07 +0000
<![CDATA[Gray Area: Why Gray is Our New Favorite Neutral]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Gray-Area-Why-Gray-is-Our-New-Favorite-Neutral/ You may associate gray with rain or blustery winter days but gray doesn’t have to be depressing.  The right shades of gray can be relaxing and soothing.  We mentioned in our post about rug trends that gray is growing in popularity and taking preference over beiges.  This is true not only for rugs but interior design in general.  Gray has been become more popular as the trend for Scandinavian style interiors has grown, since the color is frequently found in their color palette.  Today we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons gray is our new favorite neutral.


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So Much Variety

Some people probably think gray is gray and that’s all there is to it.  But in reality there are so many different shades of gray.  Most neutrals have either just warm undertones or just cool undertones, but shades of gray run the gamut.  More complex than you may think, grays can have undertones that take on shades of pink, blue, lavenders and greens.  Grays with blue and green undertones will bring a cooler feeling to the space while grays with pink and taupe undertones will add a warmth to the palette.  Lighter, softer shades may give a room a more feminine feel while darker, heavier shades provide a more masculine effect.  With hues from nearly white to nearly black, there’s a color in the gray spectrum for every setting.


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Tip - Use Matte Finish Paint

If you’re using gray for your walls, the best option is to use matte or flat finish paint.  If you use semi-gloss or high-gloss paint your gray can end up looking more like industrial metal.  Of course if you want an industrial look you may decide that gray in a high-gloss finish is just what you’ve been looking for.


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It’s the Perfect Backdrop

Since it’s a bit of a color chameleon gray doesn’t have a ton of its own personality.  But this is part of what makes it an almost perfect neutral.  Gray is an ideal backdrop to any style from traditional through modern and contemporary.  If you love switching out pops of color fairly regularly gray is the perfect choice since almost all colors will look good with it.  Pinks, blues, and yellows are especially good color options to pair with gray.  You can even layer different shades of gray with each other to create a more complex, sophisticated look.  If you have any pieces of furniture you want highlighted or art you want to show off gray walls can help them stand out while not being as harsh on the eyes as white.


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Tip - Pair with Cream

It’s better to pair gray with cream and other off-white shades than just pure white.  Pure white can look too jarring against the softer gray.  Just be sure to choose a cream or off-white that has a similar warm or cool undertone as the shade of gray being use.


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It Can Be Casual or Elegant

Gray wouldn’t be a good neutral if it wasn’t versatile, and as you probably already gathered from the previous paragraphs, gray is incredibly versatile.  Whether used on the walls or used for furniture and accessories gray is just as suitable for elegant spaces as it is casual ones.  In general paler, cooler grays are more fitting for casual spaces while darker, warmer grays fit the more sophisticated, elegant aesthetic.  But really any gray can work in any space as long as you pay attention to the color of the undertones while planning the rest of the palette.


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Tip - Have Sufficient Lighting

Gray is already the color of shadows, so you don’t want a gray room to appear even darker if there’s not enough light.  Layer your lighting through the use of table lampssconces, and floor lamps to prevent shadows and keep the room looking its best.  Natural lighting will also help bring out the natural tones in the gray as the lighting in the room changes throughout the day.


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Modern and edgy yet timeless and classic, gray is able to suit almost any mood, setting, and room.  Even once the trend for gray dies down it will still be a great neutral that won’t look dated or out of place.  With so many shades of gray available, even if everyone started using it, your specific gray decor would still look unique.  Consider adding some gray to your space and you won’t be disappointed.





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Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:36:48 +0000
<![CDATA[No Card Required: Five Tips For An Enviable Home Library]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/No-Card-Required-Five-Tips-For-An-Enviable-Home-Library/

If you love books you’ve probably been swooning over the impressive home libraries that pop up on Pinterest and Instagram.  If you have a lot of books you also have probably started wondering what to do with them all.  When most people think of a home library they think of a room filled from top to bottom with books and not much else, which makes it seem that a home library is only an option for those with the biggest of homes.  But fortunately for book lovers everywhere a home library doesn’t have to be just a fantasy.  A home library can be worked into almost any cozy nook, so let’s take a look at how to put together an Instagram worthy home library.


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Find the Right Spot

The library doesn’t necessarily have to be its own dedicated room, but some thought should still be put into where to set it up.  A room with doors is ideal so you can close out noise when needed, but any part of the home that doesn’t get a lot of traffic can work.  You should aim to pick a spot that gets a lot of natural light and/or can be well lit artificially.  You also want to pick a space with sturdy floors, since the weight of books quickly adds up.  Once you’ve chosen the perfect place it’s time to make sure your home library meets the rest of your needs.  


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Get Comfortable Seating

While the focus of the library may be books, perhaps the most important aspect to your home library is seating.  Most people don’t read standing up, so you want to make sure you have a comfortable place to sit.  You can’t enjoy your favorite books if you can’t get comfortable.  If you’re fitting your library into a nook, a built-in or tucked away bench is one of the best seating options.  If you have more space you can have more seating variety.  A nice, comfortable armchair is a classic choice, with styles available to suit pretty much any decor.  Pair with an ottoman and you can put your feet up and really get lost in the story.  If your library is doubling as a guest room, a sleeper sofa is a great option, since it provides a comfortable place to sit when you want to read but can easily turn into a bed when guests are over.  Whatever option you go for, make sure you choose seating that will provide you with the proper support so you can read without fear of back pain or other discomforts.


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Have Proper Storage

If you have a lot of books, you need a place to keep them.  Make sure your library has enough shelving to hold your books.  Built-in shelving is a book lover’s dream, but if you can’t get built-ins, there are still plenty of other bookcase options.  You don’t want the shelves to sag, so make sure you get a bookcase with shelves that are at least 1 inch thick.  You can maximize shelf space by stacking books two deep.  Take advantage of every space you have with shelving of some form from floor to ceiling.  The spot above doorways is often overlooked, but is a great place to stick some more books.  Ultimately, if you just don’t have the space for all of your books, you may have to make the decision to keep some books out and displayed and keep the others safely stored elsewhere.


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Provide the Right Amount of Light

When building a space centered around reading, you definitely want to make sure there is enough lighting.  Poor lighting can cause eyestrain, fatigue, and headaches.  Even if the location of your library gets plenty of natural lighting, you’ll still need some supplementary light for nighttime reading or gray, cloudy days.  Look for a table or floor lamp that can help you see the smallest print that you’ll be reading.  Position the lamp so that it illuminates the page but doesn’t get light directly in your eyes.  The light coming from the lamp should be a little brighter than the rest of the room, but not overwhelmingly so.


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Set the Mood

Libraries should be quiet, but they don’t have to be boring.  Well picked accessories can help set the mood of your library to whatever you desire.  Bold colors and eye-catching pieces of art are just as at home in a library as the stacks of books.  Color will play a big part in the atmosphere of the room.  If you want an airy and relaxing space to read look into blues and yellows.  If you want more of a classic library feel reds and browns may be the way to go.  Rugs and throw pillows and blankets can help you add color and pattern while upping the cozy factor.   Set up a space that will make you feel comfortable and happy, even if it ends up not looking much like a traditional library.


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Whether in a small nook or its own room a home library can be a great addition to any home.  While home libraries are a big draw for book lovers, even if you don’t read much, a home library can be a nice space to keep the books you do have, and be a quiet little getaway for relaxation and reflection.




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Mon, 07 Aug 2017 16:58:16 +0000
<![CDATA[Spotlight On: Sean Dix]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Spotlight-On-Sean-Dix/ Born in 1967 Sean Dix just missed the peak of mid-century modern design innovation.  But perhaps because he grew up with the style already around him, and was able to study under famous architects and designers from that time, Sean Dix has emerged as one of today’s most influential designers informed by the mid-century modern aesthetic and sensibility.  Born in Kansas but now based in Milan and Hong Kong (where he currently resides), Sean Dix traveled and lived around the world before settling down to establish Dix Design + Architecture.  He has taught and lectured in numerous schools throughout the world in addition to designing furniture and interiors.  


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A common element to Sean Dix furniture is a lack of common elements or signature look; there’s never any superficial detail that marks a piece as a “Sean Dix design.”  Yet his work does have a quality and sensibility to it that allows it to stand out.  Each idea lingers in the concept stage for a long time, and doesn’t even get sketched until the concept has been defined.  No piece of Sean Dix furniture is hastily put together - everything is thoroughly conceptualized and studied before coming to fruition.  When you get Sean Dix furniture you know you’re getting something both functional and stylish.


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Whether you prefer modern, contemporary, or industrial style interiors, there’s a little something for everyone in Sean Dix’s work.  High quality, stylish, comfortable (when applicable), it’s hard to find anything to complain about when looking at Sean Dix furniture.  The best part is that he’s still a working designer so you can continue to expect great new designs to be released.  Just remember to keep an eye out for new products!




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Fri, 04 Aug 2017 15:44:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Sitting With...Huzefa Rangwala + Jasem Pirani of MuseLAB]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Sitting-With-Huzefa-Rangwala-and-Jasem-Pirani-of-MuseLAB/ Founded in 2012 by Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani, MuseLAB was built around a passion for design.  Labeling themselves a design engine, MuseLAB is an end-to-end design studio, able to offer customized environments, interiors, and furniture.  Giving every project the same careful thought and consideration Huzefa and Jasem provide pure and focused experiential design to help each client tell their story through their space.  Inspired by their designs we reached out to MuseLAB to find out more about what drives them.    


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Have you always been drawn to design?

Huzefa - Great design is always about how we use objects. My arts teacher from grade school, in retrospect, influenced me to a great extent, in how a pen and a paintbrush performed the same task but were designed to be held differently. And being surrounded by a photographer for a father and a fashion designer for a mother, subconsciously reinforced my interests towards everything design.

Jasem - Yes! I am a KFI (Krishnamurti Foundation of India) product. The curriculum at KFI boarding schools is grounded in the belief that a school is a place where one learns about the totality, the wholeness of life. Here besides academic excellence great emphasis was given to self development and discovery. This approach at Sahyadri School and Valley School where I attended from 7th grade to 10th grade and then 11th to 12th grade has influenced me greatly.  These schools had great art and culture programs – when in school I spent a lot of my time in the art village – drawing, painting and exploring various art forms.


What’s the biggest influence on your design aesthetic?

Huzefa - I have always been a keen observer of everyday objects and events. What appeals to me is not merely the aesthetics of the design, but the details that create the design. Details allow me to experience nuances and it is these experiences that influence my sensibilities at various scales of design, be it architecture, interiors or products.

Jasem – I often ask myself these three questions when I see a simple but appealing object or space. What is the purpose of this object or space? How or what would I change or do differently?  What is unconventional about it? The context and materiality of the object or the space needs to be relevant to the lifestyle of the culture of that place. These conversations about culture and context are big influencers on the design aesthetic especially when there is so much global influence and homogeneity.


What is your favorite color palette to work with?

Huzefa - Each project is different, in terms of the program and context; so is the client. Hence, at MuseLAB, we do not believe in having a favorite palette to work with; because we simply love colours. Our strength lies in putting them together - in groups of threes or tens. It is a bold yet studied approach which is confidently executed in our thoughts and then, on site.

Jasem – I am not sure if there is a favourite but we definitely do not shy away from colour.  There is always an underlying warm or cool base which is layered with texture, pattern, prints and splashes of colour and in some cases bold colour.


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What has been your favorite project so far?

Huzefa - Of the built Interior design works, Free-spirited is my favourite project thus far. The balance of warm undertones with bold pop colours, advanced machining techniques with hand craftsmanship, customized furniture and curated accessories and most importantly, a free hand by our clients, truly reflects the mindset of MuseLAB and the level of details we have to offer. It was one of our first projects and still remains my favorite.

Jasem – X-Stitch boutique is my favourite project to date. Here we looked at traditional details under a lens and reinterpret it to match modern sensibilities. By collaborating with the client and the inclusion of the cross-stitched pattern combined with the cement sheet panels we were able to design a space that looked at both traditional craftsmanship method and materiality and the result was a design that is looking determinedly forward.


Has traveling had an influence on your designs?

Huzefa - Travel has been an integral part of my life. It opens my mind to culture, food, architecture and above all, sustainable global design trends, both past and current. A lot of our projects reflect our love for patterning, colours and textures; needless to say, these are derived from visions captured during our travels.

Jasem – Yes, most certainly as traveling helps me, get outside my own comfort zone and allows me to adapt to a different culture and place. It unravels complexity by giving fresh perspective to ideas, as well as helping us experience issues that affect different cultures or even tiny details that we might miss out on. It is often interesting to observe and understand diverse ecosystems when traveling and the hospitality of these places. These experiences enable us to understand how to design for emotions and different lifestyles as these touches can completely change a mood.


Through your travels, where do you think has the most exciting designs?

Huzefa - Travels take you to the most progressive cities and the remotest corners of the world too. My time spent in walking the streets of Paris, New York and Mexico City allowed me to experience and interact with design stores, museums, boutiques and restaurants. However, it was the sustainable construction techniques and the use of indigenous materials in the architecture of the secluded villages of Korzok (at the Indo-Tibetan border) and Ban Na Pa Paek (at the Thai-Burmese border) that excited me the most from all of my travels.

Jasem – Traveling the course of Mexico in 2008 I vividly remember how well as one crossed various cities the wayfinding and signage was all uniformly designed and each place had a symbol. Seeing that attention to detail through the length and breadth of the country made me very happy. Besides that all the small hidden boutiques and design gems through the city of Mexico were all a delight to experience. The new and the old exist together at ease.


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What is your dream project?

Huzefa - Pardon me, but I might rant here because this is my favorite question of the lot (and also because I love talking about dreams). I have two dream projects. The first, albeit a bit selfish, is a dream home for myself. I have always wanted to own a farmhouse with a horse stable by a lakeside. The material palette, the ideas, the aesthetics are all in my mind, waiting to be thawed once I zero down on that dream site.

The other selfless passion project is to design a foster home. As an architect, I would like to put to use my knowledge and skills to collaborate with like minded people in creating a model of sheltered happy communities for the less fortunate elderly people in India, and across the world.

Jasem – My dream project would have to be a hospitality project, it could be a bed and breakfast but one where I get to design every part of the experience from the communication design to that last detail of tableware. If that does not happen through a client then I shall have to explore it by means of doing a self-propelled project. In addition to this project I would like to spend some time studying and documenting a neighbourhood within Bombay and then present a design guideline that stresses on sustainability and supports and accommodates local vendors and organic markets.


You’ve designed some products (I love the pet-table) as well as interiors, which do you enjoy doing more?

Huzefa - In the formative years of MuseLAB, we reached out to product design during our downtime. In doing so, we realised how much we enjoyed the process of creating objects and furniture pieces through a process of research and development with material vendors, fabricators and craftsmen. Today, our product brandMuseMART, boasts of 11 bespoke products ranging from architectural wall hooks and modular wine racks to kids wall art and tangrams, amongst others, all in Birchply.

Jasem – The need to do products arose from the simple desire to design and explore self-propelled projects or products that are not necessarily client driven or are based on a brief designed by us. In addition to this product designing also helps us look at minute details and there is no denying that it is a great feeling to be able to hold an object in hand and say that this is designed by us.


Who are your favorite furniture designers?

Huzefa - I have always enjoyed the furniture designed by the modernist master, Le Corbusier.  His style is distinctively restrained yet powerful, just like his architecture. Amongst our contemporaries, I avidly follow the works of Doshi Levien. Their collaborative series of design objects in dialogue with the iconic architecture of India by Corbusier is inspiring.

Jasem - The classic Eames chair is my favourite and the most exciting part of the chair is how Herman Miller is continuously evolving Charles and Ray’s work to adopt the latest advances in materials and technology. Amongst the contemporary designers I have been keenly following the work of Jory Brigham and appreciate his approach to materials. His pieces though asymmetrical are well balanced and the little details that he incorporates are both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.


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What is your design process?

Jasem - The need to tell a story with every object or space. Stories influence our thought process. In our initial interactions with clients besides developing the brief we also observe and discover the client’s story. That helps us with building the concept and once we have the concept in place the materials and details all fall in place forming the design narrative.


How does the Indian aesthetic differ from the American one?

Huzefa - India is a diverse country, a result of a jambalaya of design theories from around the world given that our country was visited/invaded by scholars/rulers from the East and the West. The availability of homegrown skilled craftsmen who are pursuing century old techniques of their forefathers, allows us to marry the modern with the traditional. This cross pollination of cultures has transcended into an exciting multi-dimensional design aesthetic that is part Indian and part global. The American aesthetic on the other hand is far more focused; the play is on a single style. It is pure in its entirety, even if it is influenced by global design.

Jasem - Though the Indian aesthetic with it’s global influences is pluralistic in some form it can best be described by the sanskrit word “rasa” an Indian concept of aesthetic flavour, an essential element of any work of visual, literary, or performing art that can only be suggested, not described. It is a kind of contemplative abstraction in which the inwardness of human feelings suffuses the surrounding world of embodied form.


I noticed a lot of little animal accents in your projects, do you like animals as a design element, or have you just happened to work with a lot of clients who enjoy animals?

Huzefa - That’s a great observation. I would like to believe it is a mix of both.

Jasem - Animal accents bring in that quirky playful vibe making the space whimsical and they make for great conversation starters when entertaining guests.


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What’s the hardest room to design?

Huzefa - It has to be a kitchen. And not just any kitchen. It has be a kitchen for the “Indian Household.”  We Indians love food and everything connected to it; and this involves hours spent cooking in a kitchen, ideally designed with the principles of form follows function. It is the most frequently used room of the house by the entire family, braving the chaos at breakfast and enjoying post dinner conversations, all in the same day. As architects, we have to ensure the design rides on the virtues of longevity, functionality and aesthetics.

Jasem - I could not agree more.


What one thing would you like people to know about MuseLAB?

Huzefa - MuseLAB was conceived as a curated practice; at the onset, it was clear that we would focus on everything design, design that we believe in. We are a small, boisterous yet resourceful bunch of creative individuals. The scale of the projects change, but the approach remains unaltered. Thus far, we have worked on projects ranging from the master planning of a resort to a public toilet prototype, birchply key chains and concept boutiques stores to possible collaborations with ceramicists and rug makers. And we promise you will hear extended bouts of laughter every time you pass our studio - our mantra to good work is to stay happy.

Jasem - We are a process driven firm and we stress on the ideation stage to ensure that the concept is something that everyone who is a part of the project is convinced with and on the same page. In studio we often encourage our junior designers to explore different avenues, to be wanderers and share experiences.


What do you think the future of design looks like?

Huzefa - It is exciting. Globalization has made the world a smaller place. Social media has connected me to world architects and designers I would have otherwise not had any access to.  Collective collaboration is being accepted with an open mind and being practiced by various design disciplines. There are banes too (with the Pinterest pandemic). But there are more boons. How else would a small Mumbai-based practice owned by two individuals (who have lived and worked in New York and Atlanta almost a decade ago) be invited for this wonderful interview collaboration for a New York based blog.

Jasem - There is certainly a demand for good designers and therefore often times the process of design is accelerated and therefore an idea is not nurtured enough which is a huge challenge.  The pace is a threat to the quality of the craft. Everyone is looking at Pinterest and Instagram and therefore styles and trends are getting saturated pretty quickly. We need to take more time for the creative process and look outside of design for inspiration. And with globalization as access to products, objects and information becomes easier more and more people will respond to design that offers adaptability and individual expression.


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Thank you so much Huzefa and Jasem for answering our questions!  We know you’re busy and it means a lot that you took the time to share your answers and perspectives with us.  We can’t wait to see what designs you have in store next.  To stay up to date on what MuseLAB is working on check out their website or follow them on Facebook.  

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Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:41:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Watch Where You’re Walking: Our Four Favorite Rug Trends of 2017]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Watch-Where-Youre-Walking-Our-Four-Favorite-Rug-Trends-of-2017/ As flooring options like hardwood remain strong as a favorite and concrete grows in popularity, area rugs are also becoming more and more popular.  Even if you want to let your floor show, there are some areas you want to be softer and warmer, like around living room furniture and around beds.  Area rugs are also one of the best ways to add some color, pattern, and texture to a space.  Like most aspects of interior design rugs have their own trends that vary from year to year.  Since we’re a little over halfway through this year it seems like a good time to take a look at some of our favorite rug trends that have emerged in 2017.


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Bold Patterns

While geometric patterns will always be a classic, the trend is now moving more toward natural, organic shapes and lines.  Rugs are beginning to be seen as works of art and watercolor and brushstroke inspired patterns reflect this.  Some rugs are even recreating actual images such as landscapes.  Other rugs are taking a more textual approach and using handwriting as a pattern.  Tribal inspired patterns are also continuing their popularity.  If you’re nervous about overwhelming your decor with a bold patterned rug, look for ones in only two colors or with the pattern rendered in neutrals.


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Neutral Tones

Neutral colors and cooler tones are growing in popularity in both wall-to-wall carpet and area rugs.  Grays in particular have been becoming increasingly popular and taking preference over beiges.  Part of the reason for gray’s rise in popularity is that it works so well with the dark hardwood floor trend that is also occurring.   Natural, earthy neutrals work well with the trend of including organic materials in your decor.  Neutral toned rugs allow you to add pops of color in other areas of your decor while still adding texture (and pattern if desired) to the space.


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Natural Fibers

Environmentally friendly, sustainable fibers such as wool, sisal, jute, and blends have been growing in popularity as environmental awareness does.  Not only good for the environment, these fibers are also great for indoor air quality, and make an ideal choice for those with allergy or asthma concerns.  Many are chunky or have multi-level looping which adds texture that beautifully contrasts to the smooth finish of hardwood and concrete floors.  Many come in muted, neutral colors, though wool can easily be dyed brighter hues.  Worth remembering when deciding what rug to place where - wool and jute rugs are softer than sisal and seagrass ones.


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Vintage Look

The Boho trend has brought with it an upswing in the popularity of vintage, or at least vintage looking, area rugs.  Oriental rugs are enjoying a resurgence of popularity, but while actual vintage Oriental rugs may be too valuable to walk on, a new vintage looking rug can give you the same style with no fear of destroying an antique.  The distressed look adds a ton of vintage or rustic charm while maintaining the quality of a brand new piece.  If you have any real vintage rugs you want to show off consider hanging them like tapestries so they can still be seen but will be safer from dirt and damage.  


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Even though they’re currently popular, all of the trends on this list have a timeless quality to them that won’t make your space look dated as soon as the trend is over.  As sustainability and environmental consciousness continues to grow we foresee the natural fibers trend only getting stronger as time goes on.  The great part about area rugs is that they’re easy to roll up and switch out if you get tired of that trend or want to try a new one.





Shop Rugs:


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Tue, 01 Aug 2017 17:40:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Business As Usual: Five Office Essentials and How to Select Them]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Business-As-Usual-Five-Office-Essentials-and-How-to-Select-Them/ Unfortunately summer vacation can’t last forever.  When it’s time to head back to the office you want it to be as welcoming and comfortable as possible to help ease the transition back into work days.  We’ve looked at how the modern office space is evolving but there are still some essentials that every office needs.  Today we’re going to take a look at essential office furniture, and give some tips on what to look for when purchasing new pieces for your office.  


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Desk

Even if you mainly use a laptop that can be taken anywhere, it’s still nice to have a desk that can serve as home-base.  Whether you want a traditional desk or a standing/convertible desk it’s important to remember function over form.  You can find a desk that matches your aesthetic preferences, but it has to meet all of your functional needs first.  A good office desk will provide ample space above and below the desk top.  If you’re getting a traditional desk the height should be between 29 and 30 inches from the floor.  Drawers should be able to open to their full length and easily close while bearing weight.  Different desk top surfaces are better for certain settings over others.  Metal and steel are ideal for more industrial environments because they can stand up to a lot of wear and tear.  Wood and veneer are not quite as durable but have a more traditional look to them that you may prefer.  Laminated surfaces are often the best affordable choice for the average office setting because they’re durable for their price and still look good.


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Chair

If you have a traditional or convertible desk you’re going to need a chair to sit in (at least occasionally).  Even if you have a standing desk it’d be a wise idea to keep a chair in the office for when you need a little break or for guests.  If you’re going to be spending any length of time sitting you definitely want your chair to provide adequate support and comfort.  It may seem like a bit of a large investment, but plan on spending at least $200 on an office chair.  In the long run you’ll save money as cheaper chairs will wear out quickly and not provide the support your body needs.  A good office chair will support the natural curve of your back at all times while you’re seated.  You’ll also want armrests at the proper level to support your arms and take some of the strain off of your wrists.  Whether or not you get a chair with wheels is up to you, and how often you move around.  But if you do a lot of moving around and getting up and down a task chair with wheels is the better option.


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Storage

Even as office work becomes more and more digital, you’ll still need some form of storage.  There will probably always be some things you need to keep hard copies of, or some reference materials that need to be kept on hand.  The things you do have lying around you’ll want to keep neat and organized and that’s where storage comes into play.  If your desk doesn’t have enough storage space you’ll need some supplemental furniture.  Bookshelves, sideboards, and filing cabinets are all great storage options depending on the size of the space and how much stuff you have to keep organized.  If dealing with any confidential documents a filing cabinet with a lock is a necessity.


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Task Lighting

If you’re lucky your office has a lot of natural lighting.  But even offices full of windows and sunshine will need some task lighting.  Whether it’s a cloudy day or you’re burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline chances are you’ll need supplemental lighting.  Most desk lamps provide downward focused light, which is good.  If you have a large desk you may want to look for a lamp that has an adjustable shade or arm so you can easily move the light around the different areas of your desk.  Look for lamps that can take at least 60 watt (or equivalent) bulbs for balance between too bright and having to strain your eyes.


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Personal Touches

Your office needs to look professional but that doesn’t mean it can’t have any personal touches.  If you’re spending a lot of time in a space you want it to reflect your personality at least a little bit.  Office appropriate accessories are a great opportunity to do this.  While your computer and cell phone can supply you with the time, a wall clock is still a nice addition to an office well.  Wall art is also a good way to spruce up bare walls.  If your desk is feeling a little empty a small sculpture or model that reflects your interests will add a touch of individuality to your space.  A rug is always a great way to add some color and pattern to a space, and the same applies to offices.  It’s always a nice touch to surround yourself with little things that will make you happy when you see them.   


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Now that you know how to pick out the best furniture for your office you may even start to look forward to spending time there.  With functional, stylish, and comfortable office furniture it can help the work day go faster and be and overall more enjoyable experience.




Shop Office:


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Mon, 31 Jul 2017 17:59:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Introducing: Soy Creative Candles Plus Bonus Interview]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/Introducing-Soy-Creative-Candles-Plus-Bonus-Interview/ Most homes have at least a couple of candles in them, but how much thought do you really put into your candles?  For some the answer is likely “not much at all,” but for others the answer is “a lot!”  For years interior designer Alfonsina Romero had the idea for a unique organic candle made of soy wax and inspired by edible ingredients.  She recently turned that vision into a reality by founding Soy Creative Candles.  To create an experience for all of the senses Alfonsina knew she wanted to keep the scents a secret and then launch them in a memorable way.


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For her candles Alfonsina chose vegan soy wax and other natural ingredients to achieve the edible ingredient inspired collection.  All Soy Creative candles are poured in the US and don’t have the musky perfume scents found in many candles.  The first scent in the collection, No.01, is chocolate with notes of raspberry.  With her scents Alfonsina aims to achieve a creative blend of a main ingredient and a complementary one.  The next scent, No.02 is already under development, but will remain a secret until its launch in late 2017.  


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We asked Alfonsina some questions about Soy Creative Candles and candle making in general and she was more than happy to answer them for us.  


What inspired you to create your own line of candles?

I love candles and always wanted to have a candle line with an interesting concept. For years I sat on the idea, names, and concepts until it all made sense last summer. I created a custom scent with my manufacturer, whom I had ordered an organic raspberry candle and an organic chocolate candle from. I like scents that don’t contain perfumes and smell very natural. I burned both candles together and the scent was so delicious and pure I felt like I wanted to eat them! I asked her to mix both scents in one candle. It took many trials and testers to get the scent right, but that is how the first scent from the collection was born. I was also enthused about the scents being “edible ingredient inspired” only. To stir things up in the candle world a bit, I wanted to build the brand on anticipation and an experience for the senses, by having two memorable launches a year for each new custom scent.  


Why did you choose vegan soy wax over traditional beeswax?

Both options are the only natural and neither contains paraffin. Soy has a significantly better price point and we are not limited with what we can do with the scents. Soy wax keeps the candles affordable and it’s a readily renewable resource- it comes from an agricultural crop. Soy wax has a low burning temperature so it’s safer around children and animals. It is also clean burning, and environmentally friendly.


Can you explain the process of candle making a little?

The process of creating and producing Soy Creative entails numerous trials and edits to get them perfect! Candle making is almost like making chocolate, except you can’t eat the result!


How do you come up with the scents?

I rely on my creative process. I don’t have a list of scents pre-planned—I let the idea happen organically. The scents however, are not random, as they need to work synergistically with the previous scent when lit at the same time. The scents should also be yummy- without perfumes.


How important is smell to an interior?

It’s as important as the visual experience. An aroma can help convey a mood and ambience; it talks to the senses, triggers responses and memories. It is essential when creating a vibe and designing an experience.


What are some of your favorite scents for the home?

The scent of fresh chocolate with a hint of raspberry for sure. I also like Eucalyptus, and herbal scents like basil. These are not hints for Creative No.02…


I know the next line’s scent is secret until the launch, but any hints on what direction the next line might be taking?

It will be the opposite of the chocolate- it’s edgy but cozy and not sweet, yet works so well when it’s lit next to the chocolate! The scent is exciting and will be the signature white color.


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The launch for Creative No.01 took place at France & Son’s Chelsea showroom on July, 13 and it was a lively celebration.  The event had its own red carpet and live music, summer drinks and custom chocolates greeted the over 60 attendees who attended the launch.  Truly a fun evening indeed, it was a great kickoff to the first scent of Alfonsina’s line.  Here are some pictures from the event.


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We’re so excited that we got to host the launch party for Creative No.01 and proud to be selling the 8 ounce jars at our Chelsea showroom.  We look forward to finding out what future scents Alfonsina has up her sleeve.  

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Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:20:04 +0000
<![CDATA[A Feast for the Eyes: Our Six Favorite Restaurant Design Trends of 2017]]> https://www.franceandson.com/blog/A-Feast-for-the-Eyes-Our-Six-Favorite-Restaurant-Design-Trends-of-2017/ Designing a restaurant can be tricky.  Following trends may help bring people in at first, but you risk a restaurant that looks out of date in a few short years.  Luckily it is possible to follow trends and still stay relevant as trends change.  The best compromise is to start with a timeless design base and bring trends in through paint, seating, and artwork.  These elements are all easily interchanged and updated.  Trends aren’t a bad thing - they just have to be used with caution, and unless you want to update your restaurant’s decor every year or so, with a “less is more” approach.  We’ve looked at some enviable restaurant design before, but today we’re going to look at some of our favorite trends in restaurant design happening this year.


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Concept and Theme Based Decor

Okay, so the first trend is the hardest to follow the advice given in the intro with - if you’re going to go with a concept or theme, you kind of have to stick with it.  But more and more restaurants are turning to concept or theme based decor to create an immersive and interactive dining experience.  A fun theme and entertaining gimmick will get pictures taken and shares on social media.  But the real motivation behind the trend should be the desire to keep diners happy and enjoying their time in your space.  Many restaurants are including games in some way, either with separate dining and gaming areas or integrating cup and food holders into the sides of tables so the top remains clear for board or card games.


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Raw Materials

As sustainability and eco-friendly materials continue to grow in popularity and importance, more restaurants are highlighting their use of them.  This use of visible raw materials tends to create a rustic or industrial look due to the exposed metal, brick, wood and concrete.  The combination can create a wonderful blend of textures that makes the space more dynamic.  If you’re going for this look though, try to stay away from adding vintage style Edison bulbs to complete the style as the exposed vintage Edison bulb trend is on its way out.


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California Modern

The era of busy, overstuffed restaurants seems to be coming to an end.  In its place is a new trend toward lighter and airier design.  Inspired by the surf, sand, and sun of the California coast restaurants that embrace this trend tend to blend bohemian vibes, industrial elements, and plenty of greenery to create a light and bright space.  With white or pastel walls these restaurants are welcoming and incorporate plenty of natural lighting and elements of nature.


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More Casual, Less Formal

While there will always be fancy restaurants around, mid-level restaurants may be on their way out.  As people are looking for more casual places to eat, restaurant design is following suit.  Food hall/cafeteria style casual dining establishments are already gaining popularity in large cities and will likely continue to do so.  Old-school lunch counters are also undergoing a rebirth.  The counter-service setup allows customers to easily drop in anytime of day and grab a bite to eat.  These casual style dining environments also carry with them social media allure, which will bring people in so they can experience it themselves.


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Tropical Paradise

When people think of mid-century modern design they think of the clean lines of Scandinavian design.  But the mid-century had its kitschy side too.  Tiki and tropical was very popular in the mid-century and now it’s back.  Flamingos, palms, Hawaiian prints and pineapples are all making their way into modern restaurant design.  Tropical design aims to create a paradise aesthetic that transport diners to a lush oasis.  Fortunately these new tropical designs are a bit more culturally sensitive than the tiki bars of the 1950s.  


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Pink!

Pink has already become a popular color in the home and now it’s moving into restaurants.  The muted blush/peach/salmon hue dubbed “Millennial Pink” is showing up in restaurants everywhere from tabletops to door jambs.  The result is Instagram ready restaurant interiors that show you’re pop culture savvy.  The best part of the pink trend is that it’s easy to work into your existing decor, and will be equally as easy to change out once the pink trend dies down.


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Many