After nearly two decades of cultivating the formal interiors of a 1920s Georgian-style house–a study in perfection with its symmetry and fine details–a designer discovers that her heart lies with the tranquil charm of a 1920s French provincial home.
When Mary Finch traded formality for casual living, friends marveled at how seamlessly she transitioned her original furnishings. “I bought very little for this home,” the designer reveals. “I just re-covered, rearranged, and used things in new ways.” Mary’s affinity for antique porcelain inspired the warm palette in her expansive living room.
Legendary designer John Fowler maintained, “A room must be essentially comfortable, not only to the body but the eye … well behaved but free from too many rules … mannered yet casual and unselfconscious.” Mary espouses Fowler’s view, insisting that homeowners can live graciously at any level. “No matter how fine and beautiful, the space should draw you in,” she says. “I know I’ve done a good job when people want to relax and linger.”
Morning light casts a golden glow on this elegantly appointed ladies’ bath. Originally a sewing room where bobbins were wound and thread tensions adjusted, it now serves as a space for unwinding and releasing tension, as the whir of the sewing machine has been replaced by the flow of water pouring into an Empire tub.
Left: A sunny guest room beckons with Old-Paris French porcelain plates displayed above the bed. Right: Softly hued drapery and upholstered walls provide delicate counterpoints to more substantial pieces in the master bedroom.
“Comfortably French” can be found on page 45 of our French Cottage 2015 issue.