Sunday, August 29, 2010

Paris, again....

Do you ever think..TIME FLIES..... It seems that I was just in France and off I have to go again. I do not want to seem blase...that is not the point. Mind you, I love Paris and France but there are times when I wished I did not have to set foot on a plane for a while. Ran out of my little anti stress pills, without which I do not think I could board a plane. For someone who lives between France (only child...parents living in Southwest of France) and New York,  and who loves to travel, works with French artisans, it is a curse to be so scared of flying....did I mention, I cannot sleep on planes.

Enough of my pointless whining. I always look forward to Maisons et Objets. I have been going for the past 15 plus years and used to import about ninety percent of my furniture from France. I moved all manufacturing to the States about three years ago after seeing the sad shape of small manufacturers in North Carolina. After all, I became a US citizen for a reason and will do anything I can to help local economy. I have, however, been faithful all these years to the wonderful and talented and dear friend Henry Becq of Modenature, Jose Esteves my favorite lighting designer...and will not miss an opportunity to meet them during the shows.

Maisons is also a wonderful way to look at furniture, form, colors, trends and styling, which I will be doing for two days, meetings, talking, looking, absorbing, taking notes and buying...

Which brings me to the point...let me know if you would like for me to take any specific notes that I would share with you.

Until then, Francine

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Langkawi, a jewel in the Andaman seas

I am constantly reading about new hotels, resorts, spas.... I have a great love for Asia and we have a family tradition of celebrating New Years Eve In Bangkok, watching the spectacular fireworks on the river. I fell upon an article on a new Four Seasons hotel just about to open in Langkawi, Malaysia. I was intrigued as I had in mind to visit Malaysia and especially to hike in the oldest rainforest in the world. Being very impulsive, I picked up the phone, called the Four Seasons Langkawi directly and booked a week for my family and I. They had just opened and had great introductory rates..... then booked malaysian airlines, all I had left to do was to organize the logistics of traveling throughout Malaysia.

Langkawi island is an enchanting archipelago of 104 islands in the NorthWest coast of Malaysia where the Straits of Malaca meets the Andaman Seas. The island is densely populated with tropical rainforest covered peaks, jungle clad hills, surrounded by stunning turquoise seas, powder fine sands and swaying coconut trees

I love monkeys and always have camera ready, this little guy saw us, swam to the boat, proceeded to climb, take our water bottle and started to drink...

red hawk-eagles in flight

It took seven years to build the resort and its spectacular pools and stone walls. The inspiration for the resort is one of my favorite spanish architectural marvel, the Alhambra Palace. The resort blends with its natural surroundings, with exotic woods, stone, neutral earth tones. The design team, Bill Bensley, Jeffrey Wilkes, Lek Bunnag, have captured the essence of a traditional Malay village setting with its pavillions, influenced by Asian, Indian and arabic architecture.

Reflecting pool

Details:Asia meets Morroco

The Morrocan bar

Life is tough for these two teenagers...

Parent's room

kids's room 

Marrakech meets Bali bathroom

My favorite spot. Up at 3AM (jetlag) i would read in the outdoor bath, then go for a run and impatiently wait for the Breakfast buffet to be ready

Main pool for adults and kids

The lap pool with its private cabana.I would swim my laps every morning and enjoy the peaceful view. no kids allowed....

Ready to go sailing...

I also need to mention, this magical week was not pure play, I did work extremely hard at my inspiration for our spring textile and furniture collection...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Chic Design Shop Gets Bigger and Better (from

Thanks Elle Decors for your mention....

A Chic Design Shop Gets Bigger and Better

Written by Dickson Wong

Intérieurs, New York City

Francine Gardner, a favorite of decorators coast to coast, has moved her elegant downtown Manhattan store Intérieurs to an expanded space uptown. The two-story showroom is outfitted in dark woods and an earthy palette, providing a sophisticated setting for the tastemaker’s mix of chic upholstered furnishings, artful lighting by José Esteves, and 19th-century industrial chairs. Also available to shoppers for the first time are outdoor seating, tables, and accessories, displayed on an open-air terrace. At 228 E. 58th St. Call 212-343-0800;

For more chic new restaurants, hotels, and shops, click here.

A Chic Design Shop Gets Bigger and Better

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Design:Le noir et le blanc...(Black and white)

Entrance by Steven Gambrel

Life is not a black and white affair, it is filled with greys and sparks of colors, soft, aggressive rich colors that adorn our every breathing moment. Yet  our eyes, our sensitivity is drawn to the simple complexity of black and white photography, movies, sculptures....To live in a black and white space one has to have a  strong sense of design, proportions, confidence. Black and white interiors are usually seen as modern, rigid, graphic with strong architecture, they can be very intimidating, cold and yes, even pretentious...

I am working on a new collection of furniture for this fall that will be introduced in October with the magazine New York Spaces. The few pieces are all handcarved and inspired by an almost black Ethiopian utilitarian agricultural shield that stands at the entrance of my showroom. The beauty is in its form, and the shape of the carvings. I envision the pieces in the perfect black and white environment with a touch of ethnic, some great textured textiles, modern artwork on the walls and accessories to give the room an intimate personal feel.

Paola Navone for Baxter rocking chair. The collection is to be featured this fall in my Interieurs Showroom

Paola Navone sofa for Baxter
I am very drawn to the ethnic yet modern look of this space

Le mobiler industriel
As you may know by now, having introduced the industrial look years ago in my showroom, I never tire of these utilitarian pieces, now so fashionable. they fit perfectly in a black and white space

Frederick Mechiche parisian loft

This room is the epitome of modern eclectic industrial style 

Eclectic by Frederick Mechiche

Room by Daryl Carter

Great contrasting doors, room by Daryl Carter

Living space by MR Architects

Modern space by Frederick Mechiche, the ultimate black and white designer

Accessories rightly chosen and placed can create a statement and enrich a room. One can give the space its own identity with these last touches. Art and curated objects should reflect the owner's style, love and passions.

Art by Danny Hughes 

Accessories from Interieurs

Contemporary ceramics from Interieurs

I like to display these large ceramic platters on a cocktail table

These glasses are a fun contemporary touch

Fabulous ceramic display

 Some accessories displayed in the Interieurs showroom

Interieurs showroom

My question is: Could you envision yourself living in any of these spaces? If your answer is yes..... welcome to my world

If you gag at the sight of these rooms...that is fine too as we are unique individuals with our own sense of style and taste, the importance is to be true to yourself in your likes and dislikes

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