Monday, May 30, 2011

My French Closet: After

 Well, it's not completely finished, but it's almost there.  The carpenter is coming back later this week to complete the finish work, and after that the closet will be ready for painting.  At the moment, it's hard for me to imagine the finished product, but I know in a week's time, it should be ready for the reveal.

In case your wondering, I have tested out the various shelves--there's different depths and different spacing--and they're going to work out well.  So, even though it's been more than three weeks in the making, all good things are worth waiting for, n'est-ce pas?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My French Closet: The progress

Well, here's the progress so far (these projects always take longer than one expects, don't they?)  One set of built-ins has been installed in my closet, and so far, so good.  Of course, there's lots more to do--filling nail holes, sealing gaps, and of course, painting.

At the moment, it reminds me of the computer desk in my son's dorm room, but I'm confident that once it's trimmed and painted, I'll be pleased with the result.  I placed a few sweaters on the shelves, to test the width and depth, and my sweater collection will fit perfectly.

The carpenter returns tomorrow, and I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My French Closet: The painting

Over the weekend, work continued on my closet redo.  This part--painting the shelves--was easy, but took most of the weekend because there is at least an hour drying time in between each coat of primer and paint.  The color is Benjamin Moore Architectural White; I chose a satin finish rather than a semi-gloss.

I've also selected a paint color for the closet interior and the bedroom;  "Edgecomb Gray," one of the Benjamin Moore Historic House Colors.  More taupe than gray, it's a perfect neutral that will complement the white baseboards and trim.

I'm hoping the project will finish this week, and will post pics as the project moves forward.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My French Closet: The plan

Apologies for not posting this yesterday as promised; I also apologize if your comment disappeared from a previous post.  The Blogger platform was down, and a number of reader comments were lost.

The inspiration for my closet is the armoire.  With its shelves and drawers and hanging space in one tidy package, the armoire is standard in many apartments and small homes that lack sufficient closet space.

Armoires are efficient and convenient; when you open the doors, you can see everything at a glance:  folded items on open shelves, hanging space high enough so nothing touches the bottom, and maybe even a drawer or two for precious items.

I've always loved the idea of an armoire, but have never had a room big enough to hold one; as efficient as they are, an armoire can eat up a lot of space in a room.  But here, in my new house, I can have the best of both by converting a closet into a built-in armoire.

Working with an architect and contractor, we came up with the interior closet plan posted above, that will provide plenty of hanging space and lots of open shelving/cubbies to hold my shoes, sweaters and folded items.  I am not a DIYer which is why I needed help with the design and construction, although I am spending the weekend painting every single one of those shelves before they're installed next week.

So, if you're looking for ideas for your own closet, feel free to borrow my design (you can click on the image to enlarge).  I'd love to hear about your project too!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My French Closet: Before

Okay, it's not really French, but it is my closet! 

In my bedroom, I'm fortunate to have a larger-than-average closet.  At 38 inches, its deeper than other closets in the house, though a quirky configuration of rods and shelves and dormers (which you can't see in this photo) make some of the space impossible to access.

The closet is also high and long, but as you can see, the current set-up results in a lot of wasted space.

When I moved in, this closet had a set of inexpensive, hollow sliding doors that moved on a track.  Before having the wood floor refinished, I removed the doors and the track.  When the floor was completed, I decided I liked the closet without the doors, and now I have a true "walk in" closet.  I know it's unusual to not have doors on a closet, but I keep the closet tidy so, the absence of doors doesn't bother me. 

Another thing that's unusual about my bedroom is that I don't have any drawer space--by choice.  Rather than a bulky dresser, I've always had cubby space in my closet, a series of built-ins to hold everything from shoes and lingerie to sweaters and scarves.  This closet has only one shelf running the length of the closet which is where all of my sweaters and folded clothes are currently stored.

So, working with the contractor, we've designed a closet interior that will include floor-to-ceiling built-ins as well as plenty of space for hanging.

Tomorrow's post:  The plan

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moving forward

If you been reading My French Corner for a while, you might remember that back in November I moved to a new house.  The move happened a few days before Thanksgiving and I had just enough time to move in, place the furniture, and prepare to entertain for the holidays.  Since then I've been in conversation with an architect, a contractor, and a landscaper in preparation for some major interior and exterior changes.  

Not wanting My French Corner to turn into a home renovation blog, I've refrained from posting about the house plans.  As always, I wanted to stay on message, to retain the original intent of my blog.

But as I continue to engage in conversations with the architect and the contractor, I realize that my choices are driven by the same aesthetic that drives my blog:  less is more, simple is better.  To that end, I thought it might be fun to share my projects and the thinking behind them.  So later this week I'll share my first major renovation project:  my closet.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Au revoir to the blue jean

Or, more precisely, the 100% cotton denim blue jean.

For months I've been shopping for a pair of jeans to fall in love with.  But not just any jeans; I want a pair of 100% cotton denim jeans.  Ones without elastane or lycra or whatever else is in jeans that make them s-t-r-e-t-c-h out ten minutes after you put them on.

I was willing to pay any amount, if only I could find some cotton denim jeans.  So the search continued and what I learned is that jeans for women not only stretch, but, they also have names.  GAP jeans have names like "Perfect," "Sexy," and "Always Skinny" (ah, don't I wish).  Even my old faithful Levis were no longer available in cotton, and are sporting the names "Demi," "Bold," and "Supreme"(is it me, or do those names remind you of coffee?)

Then yesterday, I found myself in the men's department buying jeans for my son and found what I was looking for: 100% percent cotton denim jeans.  Regular jeans. The waist fits, the length is good , and the price was affordable.  I'll be the first to admit they look like guys jeans--a little roomy in the thigh, a little wide at the bottom; they're not perfect.  But they're straight without being skinny and the right shade of blue and most important, they won't fall down minutes after I put them on.

In the meantime, if you are also mourning the death of denim as we knew it, can you let me know where you get your jeans?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

And the winners are . . .

First, I have to say the I LOVED your stories about your most memorable French meal.  And, I was surprised by how many of those meals were enjoyed in unexpected places--you know, the little cafe you see as you're walking down the street and decide to duck in for a quick bite?  Thank you for sharing and I wish I had enough copies of the book to give to each of you.

The winners are Cathy, from The House Where the Black Cat Lives, and fellow Francophile blogger Aesthetic Alterations; each will receive a copy of French Cooking in Ten Minutes.  This is a beautiful reprint of Edouard de Pomiane’s classic collection of recipes for simply prepared meals illustrated with period pen and ink drawings.  Ladies, email your info to me at, and I'll send your book this week.

Again, mille mercis for your comments, and, check back soon for another giveway!