Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Humble Retreat

Home..... my sanctuary.

What is "home"? I often asked myself this question. Is home the house where I  was born, where my parents still live in my small village of Clermont Dessous? Is it my house here in Connecticut, where for the past 18 years I have seen my sons grow up; my garden evolve? 

I believe that home is really my sanctuary where I find the true meaning of life and love, all within a few walls. I feel safe and at peace in my private cocoon, every object, every piece of furniture has a story, emotions are linked to every room, to every book on my bookshelves. I do not have personal photographs on walls or tables, as I do not need reminder of the past, home for me is the moment, the photo albums are in the library, personal treasures to be cherished and shared with close friends.

How does home relate to design? When designing for clients or myself, I operate from instinct, I need to know my clients, feel the space, and my role is to create an environment that will become  their sanctuary, their place of peace, beauty and warmth. Home is not about trends or fashion, it is about comfort, design; a home needs to have a soul.

My home has been published numerous times in national and international magazines and  books (latest in the new Conran book about green design). I often ask myself why,  as it is not nearly as sophisticated or as large as most houses I worked on.  I like to think that that my house just shows as what it is ... pure and simple ... a house with all its imperfections, its raw beauty, its life, a house with a soul if you will.

At Home Magazine recently published a story on my home which I am sharing with you, and I feel that they truly capture the inherent simplicity of what transforms a house into a true home. Thank you Amy, Stacey and Josh for including my humble home in your wonderful publication.


  1. Francine,
    Your written words about a real home are so true!!
    A real home has a soul! And your home has it!! Definitely! The pictures here in the magazine are just beautiful and I think that you are so right, they captured the soul of your home! Amazing!
    PS Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. Wonderful post, Francine. So happy you're back!
    How was the opening party? I want to know, maybe you could post some pictures for us. Sending xx's

  3. Dear Francine,
    I believe that you are being a little modest about your is absolutely beautiful. I love it and am a little envious !!!! I think that you have probably heard of Kelly Hoppen, the English interior designer, and your home reminds me of her's. You have a very beautiful home with such wonderful pieces. It also looks like a home and not a show piece. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I have really enjoyed looking at it. XXXX

  4. Francine, your place is amazing! I adore every room...the details are wonderful...the feel is wonderful. I feel like I'm there, and wish I were :)

    Thank you for sharing this with us...I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!


  5. I would move in without changing a thing.
    Beautifully tastefully done.

  6. Dear Francine
    Your home is a dream! Absolutely gorgeous without being lavish.. Perfect! I can see the influence of your french heritage.. but also your vast travels. It truly does have a nurturing soul and the garden is just as lovely as your home.. somewhere peaceful and relaxing to unwind. Perfect really and just what I dream of owning myself one day [dreaming!]. Congratulations on this wonderful article and thanks for sharing your home with us. I know I will be coming back to look at these images again and again ... and dream a little more.. xx Julie

  7. dear francine...
    absolutely brilliant... i hope to have a personal tour someday... i knew how gorgeous it might be and these are more amazing than i dreamed.
    my favorite part of this post is "show me what no one else wants" i always think that way... we will be friends for life.

    BRAVO... it is stunning... xx pam

  8. Francine, I am so impressed, your home is indeed a haven. I love it and your poignant words. How can I get a magazine?


    Art by Karena

  9. Hello Francine,

    I live in Romania, a place where we don't have homes like yours.That's why I'm so pleased to see your humble home as you called it. I was really impressed about what you wrote, because home is not just about trends,'s just a peace of's like a mirror of our soul.

  10. So beautiful - in a society that moves so frequently, this is often a hard question to answer. But I'll go with Frost - "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."
    -Sanity Fair

  11. whoa!!!
    my dream...
    to like in a barn or old stables.

    your home is truly sophisticated, francine.
    i love every square innch of it.
    and BTW, i am the same as you with design.

    i must get 'a feel' for the space and a client's home in order to create an environment that will be a place my clients will never want to leave.

    xx happy mother's day

  12. Francine,
    When I saw your home I thought it was so beautiful!! But ...what else could I expect from someone whom I always thought had such good taste and glamour!
    Happy mother´s day


  13. Francine,
    I am blown away with what you have put into this post. It is just fabulous.I love that entry way table with the branches, awesome.
    terrific job, I so enjoyed this,


  14. This is your home? I have this issue, I died over this home...and now dying again right now!!! Beautiful! Just beautiful.

  15. It is all so MAGNIFICENT! Happiness exudes!

  16. Dear Francine
    Thank you so much for the lovely birthday wishes.. xx Julie

  17. Wow! Francine it is beautiful and what great "bones " you had to work with!!!!! I really like the blending of styles and that chest in the bedroom.. Can you just pack it up and mail to my HOUSE??????Congratulations on a wonderful portrayal of your home and work.
    Maryanne :)

  18. Your home just amazes me - simple stunning. What a dream retreat to call home...I want to move right in.

  19. Love your thoughts about what makes a house a home. Homes have souls, warmth and offer comfort as well as style.

    Love your purple couch! Happy weekend.

  20. I came back to see that Mirror and entry table.
    Is it made of branches ?

    Your concept on a home is written so well.


  21. WHat a gorgeous house!!


  22. Francine,
    Somehow late tonight I found myself at your doorstep! It most warmly say's welcome. Just like you .
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    xo Lisa

  23. Just gorgeous! You have created something genuine and worthwhile.


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