linen & lavender

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Rustic entrance doors, image via French Home by Josephine Ryan, edited by lb for -

If you are like me, 
you can pick up a home magazine 
or design book, thumb through it quickly 
(without even opening up the pages entirely) 
and know if there’s something in it you’ll love.

Table setting, natural light from iron frame window, image via Maisons Côté  Sud Dec08-Jan09 edited by lb for -

Within mere seconds I can tell whether it’s worth taking home to delve into further.  

When I find something that speaks to me in that way, I am thrilled.  It is such a treat and I make sure to create the ideal ambiance around me before I sit down to finally peruse its pages.  

This usually entails making the perfect cup of coffee or my favorite tea and sitting outside on my pillow-covered bench with a view of the garden and the sound of the fountain in the background.  Then -and only then- am I ready to take a leisurely stroll through its pages to discover exactly what treasures await me.

Love every element in this image via Maisons Côté  Sud, edited by lb for -
It is such a passion of mine, I relish every moment when I come across a wonderful building or an artful vignette or even just one piece of furniture that speaks to me in some way.  It makes me happy just to see something I love -never mind actually recreating it.  

Oh, it might stir me to make plans for some version of it for my current home or to be carried out in some future abode of mine.  If that’s the case, I might make a little sketch and muse on how to make it work for myself or maybe for someone I know -but, if it never comes to fruition, that’s okay.  There is much to be said just for the “drinking in” part.

I realize as I write this that it all might sound a wee bit dramatic and even somewhat bizarre to someone who doesn’t share my passion.  

“Do you really get that much out of it?” (I can hear someone asking.)  And to that I respond with a resounding, “Yes! Absolutely!”  

I’ve appreciated the art of creating a beautiful environment since I was a little girl but it’s really the “spirit of place”   or life-enhancing aspect that intrigues me more than anything.   

To have a hand in the creation of a peaceful, soulful environment that uplifts, nurtures and inspires its inhabitants- a space for dreaming and for realizing a life well-lived every day.  ~Well, that is the ultimate in my book.

Balance of comfort, style, easy elegance, image via Maisons Côté  Sud Dec03-Jan04, edited by lb for -

Now I can hear someone saying, 

“Yes, yes, yes.  -‘Spirit of place’ and all that.  -But how do you describe your personal style preference?”

Well, that will be evident and possibly more easily conveyed with each photo-filled post I write but, generally speaking, my personal preferences in the world of design run in the genre of what I term “European Country.”  I tend to lean more towards those designs using neutral tones and time-worn finishes. . .

Think Gustavian grays

Time-worn gray paint finishes, image via Maisons Côté  Sud Fev-Mar 2005, edited by lb for -
and mushroom-y taupes juxtaposed with dark espressos

Leather dining chairs, pewter stemware, image via Italian Country Living by Caroline Clifton-Mogg, edited by lb for

and ethereal whites . . . and an abundant use of textures and natural materials;

Rustic wood counter and old mirror backsplash, pears and melons still life, image via Côté Ouest Fev-Mar 2003, edit -

(love!) Irish moss and maiden hair fern, figs,

Still life photograph:  platter of figs, on charger, glass bottle, image via The French Home by Josephine Ryan, edited by lb for -

and aubergine, lavender and . . .

I’ll delve further in future posts, I promise.  But for now, the blog title I chose ~linen & lavender~ speaks volumes in answer to that question.

Linen, natural linen, is my all-time favorite fabric.  On a trip to Nice I purchased several yards of a very old hand-made linen, dark and grainy -very earthy in its appearance.

Raw edge natural linen table drape, image via Maisons Côté Sud, edited by lb for -

Although I purchased artwork and several other items that trip, the linen was hands-down my favorite take-away and I thoroughly enjoyed the hours I spent mulling over the options . . thinking about this incarnation and then that one it might become.  —Not unlike one might hold on to a bit of rare truffle they’ve splurged on; stowing it away until the perfect opportunity to incorporate it into just the right recipe. . . Enjoying every moment of anticipation until they are finally sitting down to savor every bite with just the right wine and in just the right setting-

If you’ve ever had the perfect truffle dish paired with the perfect wine (say a great Brunello di Montalcino, perhaps?), I know you are right there with me now. . .  Ahhh, Roma!  Thanks for the memories!       But I digress.

Suffice it to say, these things can’t be –shouldn’t be- rushed! It’s important to savor every memorable bite and as with most anything worthwhile, the time spent leading up to “the event” is part of the equation- the dreaming. . .creating. . .all that anticipation and tender-loving-care truly gives life to food and to a well-designed living space, as well.  To overlook those moments, is to miss out entirely on the heart and soul of it all. 

The lavender aspect of the title speaks to my love of nature and the importance of it in every day living and thus, in good design.  The scent of lavender represents to me everything clean   and restful- a bundle of associations and memories all in one little herb:  

It’s a well-kept home and a day at the spa; it’s my favorite b&b and summers in Provence; it’s little brown perfume bottles from a flea market in Grasse and hand-made soaps and bees and honey. . . And I could go on, but here’s my favorite:

Slipping into crisp white linen sheets, freshly laundered and laden with the scent of lavender

The perfectly made bed, white linen sheets scented in lavender, image via Maisons Côté Sud Fev-Mar 2004, edited by lb for -
. . .ahhh.

Everything seems right with the world

Betwixt linen & lavender 

That’s my idea of heaven on earth.

~Here’s wishing you yours!


photo credits in order of appearance: 1-French Home, Josephine Ryan; 2-Cote Sud, Dec08-Jan09; 3-Cote Sud, Dec03-Jan04; 4-Cote Sud Feb-Mar05; 5-Italian Country Living, Caroline Clifton-Mogg; 6-Cote Ouest, Feb-Mar03; 7-Italian Country Living, Caroline Clifton-Mogg; 8-Unattributed 9-The French Touch, Jan de Luz; 10-Cote Sud, Feb-Mar04; 11-Lavender Fragrance of Provence, Hans Silvester; 12-Provence Interiors, Lisa Lovett-Smith

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Posted in 00Inspiration File, bed linens, design, essence, European Country, garden, Grasse, home, lavender, linen, linen and lavender, Maisons Côté Sud, Nice, philosophy, Provence, Roma, Rome, Spa, spirit of place.


  1. Wow! You described the exhilaration I feel when I open my mailbox and see a favorite Magazine waiting for me.I immediately think of what I have to do and what I can cancel so that I can have some free time to peruse my newest collection. That is what makes me happiest. What a cheap thrill.

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