on the photos to see them bigger.
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.
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.
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
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
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!”
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
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.