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The commode, mirror and headboard as well as the pretty little chairs were found in the tour of the Chateau bedrooms. Renee liked the smaller scale of the pieces, but not the dark color of the wood. Sophie had no objection to refinishing the pieces, so Louis offered to paint them in the soft cream color that was to be the main color of the bedroom. He suggested he might even paint a faux marble finish on the top of the commode. Sophie was very pleased when she saw the finished furniture in place.

The floral lamps and the white ceramic roosters were discovered in another wonderful little shop in the town of Goult that specialized in accessories created by local artisans. Sophie was delighted that her desire to have roosters in both rooms of the little cottage would be realized. She was a “morning” person and liked being awakened by Le Coq. Renee was happy to find the pair of off white roosters. She didn’t think the bright colors of a realistic rooster, like the one downstairs in the breakfast room, would fit into the decor of the soft romantic bedroom.

The delicate arrangement on the corner pedestal came from America. Renee’s former colleague in San Francisco had sent several branches of this dried plant to her. Renee had seen them in her friend’s apartment and thought they were lovely. It was called “the silver dollar” plant because the seed pods that developed in the late summer looked like shiny silver dollars. Renee had written her friend describing the plans that she and Philippe had for the Chateau project. Her friend thought the fragile branches with their shimmering little pods would be a nice touch in the romantic bedroom that Renee had described.

The slatted and plastered ceiling in the breakfast room is similar to the one in the dome. This style of ceiling and the familiar terra cotta floor tiles are typical of Provence interiors. Le Coq takes center stage in this sunny room perched above the country style sideboard. Even though Le Coq is a French symbol, this particularly handsome rooster came from a wood carver’s studio in the Black Forest. Sophie had purchased it on a recent trip back to Austria.

The sideboard, stained a wonderful shade of brick red, is a smaller custom-made version of one found in the “cook’s pantry” in the Chateau. The original, a dark walnut nineteenth century dressoir was over 7 feet tall and more than 5 feet wide. It was used to house the family’s everyday pottery. The plates on this smaller cupboard were from a large set of Austrian china that was part of Sophie’s “dowry”. The space at the bottom of the cupboard was perfect for displaying two of the chickens from Sophie’s collection.

The classic French dessert table and little serving cart were purchased from a local merchant who was retiring and closing the doors of his pastry shop. He had not yet found a buyer for his building but was selling the fixtures. Again it was the delicate scale of the pieces that Renee thought would make them appropriate for the small size of the rooms in the cottage. Even the colors, the warm brown cherry wood and the creamy marble tops would fit well into her chosen color scheme for the breakfast room. The Quimper plates and chickens came from Sophie’s collection. It was Sophie’s idea to use a pair of the chickens as lamp bases.

Seeing the wonderful large picnic basket prompted Philippe to suggest using it for the “delivered” breakfast. A similar smaller basket was used to hold newspapers and magazines.

The colorful little striped rugs were ordered from the same shop that created the bedroom rug.

The pair of comfortable wing chairs had been in the sitting room of Sophie and Claude’s Paris town house. Because they were a wedding gift from Sophie’s parents, the couple brought them along with other furnishings years ago when they moved into the Chateau. They were re-upholstered in a country floral print and red checked cotton fabric to coordinate with the warm red color of the sideboard and rush seated chairs. When the red chairs arrived, Louis quipped “Van Gogh would have painted them yellow!”

The antique chess table with ebony and ivory chess pieces had belonged to Sophie’s father-in-law. He and Sophie’s husband Claude had spent many happy hours hunched over the little table.

Renee used the same upholstery fabrics to create the cloths for the little breakfast table. The table runner and napkins came from the same shop that made up the bed cover. Renee liked the classic stripe fabric so well she ordered enough to cover the deep cornices above the curtained windows. Louis produced the hand painted “sayings” that decorate the side walls.

At night the Petite Chateau, with its glowing lights and creamy stucco walls reflecting the moonlight, had just the romantic and magical essence Aunt Sophie had envisioned and that Renee and Philippe had been able to create.

The End

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