Graceful living in Italy and France...

The smell of jasmine winds its way down our 16th century cobblestone street in Umbria as I step outside to greet the day.












Thursday, July 29, 2010

Passersby on the narrow pedestrian street pause to chat when you’re preparing something tantalizing.

Despite Francesco’s current weakened state (due to a bad infection he got in the hospital while recovering from eye surgery) we have been active at Le Muguet with various projects to make the house even more beautiful than it already was when we left in April.

Jacques Antzak, a local Vers upholsterer, has been sewing and hanging curtains and bed canopies stitched up from magnificent toile fabrics we found during our last visit. There are now curtains in the salon of the brilliant gold & red toile that compliments the ochre and yellow accents in the room; bold blue toile spattered with palm trees and oriental scenes on the antique wooden ciel de lit in the bedroom; more subtle blue & white birds on the toile in the guest bedroom that we have christened, in their honor, the ‘chambre des oiseaux’.

We mounted nine antique Montereau ‘vieux Paris’ plates – cream-and-black scenes of Paris – on the long stonewall near the front door where they make a stunning array, and two Edwardian plates in brown & cream next to the old ‘comptoise’ clock that graces the corner of the little stone mezzanine.
After four coats of paint we finally achieved the right color and texture on the wall showcasing the eight antique colored prints of Renaissance courtiers of the reign of Henri II. (The first coat was dark ochre painted over with a rose color, highlighted with various grays and browns, and finally covered completely with the same tone found the local Vers stone. The result exudes the warmth and depth of butterscotch.)



Various pieces of Ginny’s great collection of Circulon cookware (that she packed and mailed over in April) are now hanging under the antique brass utensil rail we purchased at a flea market, along with an assortment of old funnels, hand mixers, and kitchen bric-a-brac. The room is a visual delight but is also a cook’s dream – plenty of counter space, good small & large appliances, sunlight flooding in through the large window where passersby on the narrow pedestrian street can (and do) pause to chat when you’re preparing something tantalizing.



The terrace is especially nice at this season for anyone longing to roast in the sun and is perfectly heavenly for sitting out at night sipping wine and star gazing. The barbeque works well and the large table is a fine place to eat dinner while listening to the clink of petanque balls in the park in front of the house. (Petanque is played there all day long and into the night; you can hear the so ft murmur of the players’ voices well after sundown.)


To me, the greatest change at Le Muguet has been in the so-called ‘Oiseaux Room’that was, when we found it, nothing more than a small white room with a forlorn looking day bed and a rickety wood & canvas ‘closet’ bought (probably) from a dime store. The sofa bed and clothes-hanging contraption are history and the room now shimmers with curtains and a small ciel de lit of blue & white fabric, wall s graced by butter yellow paint that coordinate nicely with a Vers stone wall facing the bed. We added a real closet by chopping off a bit of the adjoining bathroom and this tiny bed chamber – once so under utilized – has taken on a zestful spirit. It will be a pleasure, I believe, for those sleeping in this room to be so near the large open terrace with its cooling breezes.

1 comment:

  1. And a "magical makeover" it is, indeed! Magic is the word that keeps coming to mind when I read your posts. You guys are the best. Chris and I can't wait to visit! Am really enjoying your updates. :-)

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