Book Review: ‘French Home’ by Josephine Ryan

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There must be something both literary and Gallic in the air today! In addition to presenting book picks by Vicki from French Essence, I’m just dying to share one of my own recent favourite reads: ‘French Home‘ by British antiques guru Josephine Ryan. This book found its way into my Christmas stocking, and every turn of the page inspires either a squeal of delight or a groan of ecstasy! It is definitely worth buying for the eye candy alone.

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The images display a skillful blend of pieces ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries, beautifully exemplifying the author’s description of ‘the self-assurance that effortlessly combines old and new…the chemistry that happens when a look is pulled together with a certain nonchalance underscored by enormous confidence’.

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The author’s most powerful advice? Patience in the pursuit of interiors that evolve over time—
not a new idea to be sure, but one that seems all the more desirable in the face of these
stunning vignettes.

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Of course there are the usual ‘traditional’ french interiors too, enviable parlors and salons, droolworthy kitchens. Ryan’s text draws out the details and conventions of French decor that our eyes might miss. The cafe chairs dragged from the patio and drafted into service by the fire, the band of washed out blue paint that gently anchors the room…

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…the French inclination to display well-loved kitchen implements rather than hiding them from view. These homes are stylish yet livable, refined yet comfortable, and as Ryan so aptly states, they suggest ‘a reverence for…things that are as beautiful as they are useful’.

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Of course the use of color in French homes is legendary, and this book doesn’t disappoint. Subtle washes of grey, bone and umber populate the pages, punctuated with the occasional pop of ocher and madder. In fact Ryan devotes an entire chapter to color, and it’s of great use to those of us who covet the subdued and sophisticated tones inherent to French style.

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Finally, the collections and displays throughout the book are a tribute to the French love of objets. We would expect an antiques dealer like Ryan to be a master of the art of display, but there is a feeling that we too could achieve this sense of timeworn and haphazard elegance. In the end, that’s what makes this book so lovely; it is full not only of stunning inspiration, but also of concrete ideas for achieving aesthetic harmony in your home—no matter what your style.

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All images courtesy of ‘French Home‘ by Josephine Ryan, photographs by Claire Richardson.

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30 Responses to “Book Review: ‘French Home’ by Josephine Ryan”

  1. Kimberly Julie Says:

    This book has been on my Amazon wish list for a few months now… I want it BADLY.

  2. sherrieg Says:

    *swoon* Amazing. I just might have to get my hands on this one!

  3. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    that is so country French… from the open shelves to the no fuss decor!

  4. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    that is so country French… from the open shelves to the no fuss decor!

  5. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    that is so country French… from the open shelves to the no fuss decor!

  6. milly {elephants & redwoods} Says:

    that is so country French… from the open shelves to the no fuss decor!

  7. Kristin Says:

    Oh my gosh! I just got this book too… and I LOVE it! I just had to go from page one to the end in my first sitting and have bookmarked so many pages it would probably be better to mark the pages that I’m NOT interested in. You just beat me to posting about it!
    xo, Kristin

  8. Abbey Goes Design Scouting Says:

    BEAUTIFUL! On my wish list for sure now!

  9. Abbey Goes Design Scouting Says:

    BEAUTIFUL! On my wish list for sure now!

  10. Courtney Says:

    The subtle use of color is gorgeous, and, yes, while her advice might not be new, I love it all the same- it is something to which I wholeheartedly subscribe!

  11. Courtney Says:

    The subtle use of color is gorgeous, and, yes, while her advice might not be new, I love it all the same- it is something to which I wholeheartedly subscribe!

  12. Luphia Says:

    so many gorgeous rooms, this sounds like a must read! i love these “alternative” french home pictures, different from the usual french furniture that you see

  13. Luphia Says:

    so many gorgeous rooms, this sounds like a must read! i love these “alternative” french home pictures, different from the usual french furniture that you see

  14. Cyd Says:

    Note to Self: must find house with incredible fireplace by which to place the perfect square breakfast table.

  15. Lecia Says:

    So, so beautiful!

  16. Georgia Says:

    oh, if i could speak and write French, i would type my post in the beautiful language to go with this beautiful post!
    gorgeous spaces. i love the bathroom—perfect.
    i’m so jealous that miss Anne snagged those rockin’ sunglasses before i could! you did that just in time, girlie, ’cause if you hadn’t i woulda. 🙂
    for real, i’m glad you got them. they are pretty sweet! 🙂
    thanks for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment on her guest post! YOU’RE the peach.

  17. Georgia Says:

    oh, if i could speak and write French, i would type my post in the beautiful language to go with this beautiful post!
    gorgeous spaces. i love the bathroom—perfect.
    i’m so jealous that miss Anne snagged those rockin’ sunglasses before i could! you did that just in time, girlie, ’cause if you hadn’t i woulda. 🙂
    for real, i’m glad you got them. they are pretty sweet! 🙂
    thanks for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment on her guest post! YOU’RE the peach.

  18. juliette c. Says:

    This is definetly the house I would live in!!!

  19. juliette c. Says:

    This is definetly the house I would live in!!!

  20. Jenny Says:

    Now this is beautiful…

  21. Jenny Says:

    Now this is beautiful…

  22. Michelle Says:

    those beams in that room are great.

  23. Gina Says:

    the wooden bench in the first photo is gorgeous!

  24. Gina Says:

    the wooden bench in the first photo is gorgeous!

  25. Alice Q. Foodie Says:

    Wow – I love that fireplace in the dining room. Only in France, eh?

  26. julie Says:

    what beautiful interiors – lots of inspiration. i’ve been catching up on some of your recent posts and really enjoy your blog!

  27. Chelsea Fuss Says:

    Gorgeous.

  28. Camila Says:

    How did I not know about this book earlier! I love all the pictures you posted. I’m going to have to get myself a copy as well.

  29. Trina Says:

    Oh, thanks for sharing pics.. I have been spying out this book! So pretty!
    xx Trina

  30. katy Says:

    I love these so beautiful!

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