20 July 2008

Cote de Texas Top Ten Designers - #5

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Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Charles Faudree steps up to claim #5 on the Cote de Texas: Top Ten Designers list. What Mario Buatta is to English Country design, Faudree is the Country French equivalent. And, just as Buatta is affectionately known as the King of Chintz, Faudree is the King of Toile. The two designers share much with their over the top excesses, attention to detail and their unabashed enthusiasm for their art. Faudree makes no excuses for his designing style - nor should he. He loves the Country French style and has loved it since when he was a teenager and purchased his first French Provencal chair. He has no desire to test his mettle with other styles such as contemporary or mid century modern. Fortunately for Faudree's fans, he stood out the whole Tuscan revival period all together. Faudree is perfectly content to give his clients what they want, and what they want is Country French.

Faudree's design motto is "too much is never enough" and judging from his interiors he strictly adheres to this. He weaves his rooms with layer upon layer of fabrics, accessories, antiques, art work, mirrors and rugs. Each layer is carefully blended together so that his interiors flow with ease, there are no harsh contrasts in a Faudree designed room. Country French's appeal for Faudree lies in the warmth of the furniture and the casualness of the interiors. Never overly dressy, his rooms are filled with the fruitwoods that Country French furniture is famous for. For Faudree it is all about the "mix, not the matching" - the mix of "fabrics, periods, colors." His interiors are a soft blend of muted colors and polished woods. He prefers certain fabrics and tends to use the same ones over and over again. A favorite is Petit Parc by Pierre Frey. In fact, he frequently uses many Pierre Frey fabrics, along with other French fabric houses. He also favors Bennison fabrics for the muted quality of their hand blocked prints. But toiles are, without a doubt, his signature fabric and are what made Faudree a household name.

Besides the importance of fabrics in his interiors, symmetry plays a major role. One or two pairs of antique French chairs are found in almost every Faudree designed room. The layouts are classical - there's no edginess to a Faudree room where a certain comfort comes from the familiarity. Accessories are another part of his layering, and here Faudree goes international with a smattering of English and Asian mixed in with the French. He adores English Staffordshire figures and frequently makes lamps out of them. He uses plates everywhere, in cabinets, on shelves, and on the walls. Dogs, both real and figured, abound in a Faudree interior.

Though Faudree's look appears to be constant, he has evolved subtly over the years. Where once all his homes were filled with red toile, today that has changed. He is using less and less of red and even less of toile these days. His interiors are quieter and lighter, with white and painted furniture popping up here and there along with piece or two of the popular gray painted Swedish furniture. Nowhere is the evolution of Faudree's style more evident than on the covers of his books: while the front cover of his first tome was all red checks and toiles, his newest bookcover features a room in soothing white with pale grays and blue accents.

Faudree was born and bred in Oklahoma and continues to make his home there. In fact, he had made several homes there claiming to have moved 11 times in 25 years. Found on many magazines' Top 100 Designers lists, Faudree is extremely in demand and his popularity shows no signs of slowing down in the least. He runs a shop in Tulsa, and has a line of beautiful reproduction Country French furniture. He is a noted author with three best sellers under his belt and a fourth about to be released. And on top of all this, he has a fabric line in the works. Faudree's designs were frequently published in magazines during his meteoric rise to the top, but lately, he is saving his best work for his books. And really, who can blame him?

Charles Faudree with his signature "pretty" look is certainly not for everybody. But for those who do admire his work, their loyalty is unwavering.

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Classic Charles Faudree: symmetry and red checks, red prints, French chairs, red table, Asian accessories and English Staffordshire. Layers upon layers are typical of Faudree's "look."

The newer Faudree: pale cream walls, painted furniture, pinks instead of bright reds. This bedroom, though classic French Provencal, is lighter in touch than the typical Faudree look. Famous for his luscious bedrooms, this room is an excellent example.

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The proof is in the cover: the subtle evolution of Faudree's style. The first book, 2003, is all red buffalo checks, a mixture of red toiles and his Cavalier, King Charles spaniel. This is the look that made Faudree a superstar in the design world.

To order this book from Amazon, go here.

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The second book, two years later, no reds and no toiles - instead Faudree uses a taupe damask with blue and leopard accents. French fireplace mantel, Asian accessories, and French fruitwood. The Cavalier, King Charles spaniel remains the same. Faudree's legions of fans are receptive to his lighter approach.

To order this book from Amazon, go here.

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The new book, his fourth, is due to be released soon, and it's cover is a complete departure from his first cover. White walls, damask, seagrass. and stylized zebra. Glass coffee top is a rare contemporary touch. Even the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is missing!!!! Though still French in every sense of the word, this look is more sophisticated and shows growth. Faudree's third book was cowritten with a florist and is not a design book in the same sense that these other three books are.

To preorder this book from Amazon go here.

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A soft, muted living room with all the elements in place: pairs of French chairs flank the French fireplace, antique chests, oils, plates on the walls, French bronzes, needlepoint rug, Bennison fabric, curtains with trim, cushy pillows, a tufted ottoman, and a black chinoiserie tea table. Classic,
"pretty" Faudree. The look he is known for.

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True Country French: painted buffet with a faux marbleized top, blue and white porcelains, red toiles on the pair of french antique chairs. I love the Italian painting above the buffet. Symmetry, always!

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Dining room with painted, peeling buffet, pewter accessories, Staffordshire lamps, toile curtains, and painted French chairs. Note the traditional French style timbers in the walls.

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Faudree moves often and his furniture shows up with different fabrics and in different configurations. Here, the same buffet, pewter and lamps is paired with a wine tasting table and different chairs. Notice how in most rooms, Faudree uses beams and textured walls in a typical French manner. Here the walls appear paneled, in the above picture, they look stuccoed.

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For this client, Faudree uses a floor plan he repeats often: one large living and dining room combination with a fireplace on each end. Fruitwood antiques with striped and checked fabrics. The cushy pillows are a print fabric. A tall wood table takes the place of a traditional coffee table - a look Faudree favors. Behind the sofa is the dining area. The roof is pitched with wood beams. Seagrass covers the scored concrete floor.

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In a bay window, Faudree places a small wood table with two French armchairs.

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A close up of the dining area with a large, French table and a mixture of chairs. A popular French lantern lights the area.

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This charming painting has shown up in several different Faudree homes.

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Here, she shows up above the mantel at one of Faudree's weekend homes. His favorite Pierre Frey fabric is on the walls, while blue and white buffalo check cover the cushions on the French chairs.

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A weekend home, The Roost, with its welcome sign - no detail is left undone.

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Here, a pillow is marked "The Roost" as are the bath towels at Faudree's weekend home.

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At Faudree's weekend home, blue and white checks are mixed with the Petit Parc fabric. The fruitwood furniture is replaced with creamy painted furniture. The ceilings are paneled. Bois paneling on the walls furthers the rustic look. As always, blue and white vases symmetrically placed bring balance to the large room.

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Another view of the weekend home's large living room, dining room combination.

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Behind the sofa is the eating area. A painted day bed is covered in blue and white ticking, with blue and white toile and Petit Parc pillows.

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At the dining table with it painted scalloped apron, white painted chairs are covered in blue and white checks. A huge tapestry hangs on the wall.

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Faudree introduces Swedish at his weekend retreat with this painted secretary.

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A pillow reflects his love of all dogs - real and figured.

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This charming bathroom with an antique window adds architectural detailing so important to Faudree's interiors. A gorgeous antique armoire that most would give a place of honor, is casually put next to the tub. Notice the mix of accessories hanging on the wall - each piece adds to the layering effect Faudree is famous for.

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Another bathroom, less rustic, but still, comfortable and casual. Again, just because it's a bathroom is no excuse not to decorate it as if it is a living room!

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This is a living room in a former Faudree house. Light gray fabrics mix with brown and taupe fabrics. A patterned area rug grounds the space. Symmetry, as always, shows up with the matching sconces balancing the larger oil painting. Faudree adores sconces, lighted or not, and uses them frequently. The ceiling, rafters, and stairs are rustic wood, giving the house the appearance of an old, French maison.

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This dining room in a former Faudree house is all Country French. From the chandelier to the gorgeous barometer on the wall, each piece adds to the romance of the room. Toile curtains mix with a mini print on the chairs. As usual, his large array of blue and white transferware is hung in symmetrical patterns on the walls.

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An early version of a dining room from one of Faudree's homes. His large collection of blue and white transferware hangs on the walls. An even larger fruitwood buffet is placed in front of the bois paneling. A tole chandelier hangs over the table where Faudree has placed wing chairs covered in toile.

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Another dining room with French chairs and table and a large painted buffet topped with a mirror. Again, the curtains are a printed fabric.

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A typical Faudree vignette - a gorgeous French chest with trumeau, sconces, books and bronzes. All are placed in a very symmetrical arrangement.

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A mix of French blue fabrics and the ever present Petit Parc. A rare, contemporary styled rug is underfoot.

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This study has a gorgeous overmantel trumeau with attached sconces. The shelves, painted blue, are filled with Staffordshire figures. Faudree's Cavalier King Charles dog sleeps in a chair covered in his beloved Petit Parc fabric. A steel table sits next to it. A large antique tole chandelier hangs over the table.

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More Staffordshire mixed with antique books.

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For this client, another living room-dining room combination with a high pitched roof. The sofa is a gorgeous wood framed French reproduction.

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The dining area of the large room. As usual, two matching fireplaces are used in the large room - one at each end.

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For the same client, a French red and blue fabric is used on the twin beds, while a mixture of fabrics is used for pillows. The client's large blue and white transferware collection is hung on the walls in a symmetrical pattern. A charming painted desk becomes the bedside table.

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A vignette in a room with a large, painted secretary. It's amazing how many wonderful pieces of painted Provencal antiques Faudree finds for his clients. Are there any left in France?

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This living room shows Faudree's use of high tea tables or gateleg tables in place of low coffee tables. Bois paneling is used to bring in the architectural detailing so important in a Faudree room. A tole chandelier hangs over the gateleg table.

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The dressier, "pretty" side of Faudree. A large painted screen becomes the focal point. A French bergere is covered in two fabrics - the fancier silk covers the front, while the less expensive check covers the usually unseen back - this is a traditional way of upholstering French chairs.

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Faudree sells a line of reproduction French furniture. Here, the Josephine chair is shown in a fruitwood finish and dressed in a red toile fabric.

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Benches come in two sizes and styles - with a cushion and without.

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Here, the Patrice chair is shown how it comes and how it is delivered to the client.

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The Gabrielle table is shown with it's fabric top.

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This home was featured several years ago in Veranda magazine. The architect is Jack Arnold, also from Tulsa. Arnold and Faudree, both lovers of Country French, have collaborated on many projects. This home is a beautiful interpretation of a Country French maison de campagne.

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The great room, like so many seen already, is a living room, dining room combination. The design of this type of room is itself a lesson in symmetry. A large chandelier hangs over the center of the room. Painted a soft yellow, the fabrics are predominantly yellow with green accents. The rug covers the entire room. The furniture is mostly painted pieces. A tall tea table takes the place of a coffee table. Notice the ceiling treatment with its whitewashed timbers and rafters, giving it a country house appearance.

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Each end of the room has an identical fireplace and trumeau.

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The family room shares space with the kitchen and breakfast area. Chairs here are Bennison.

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The library has a more contemporary rug than expected.

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The library again- a beautiful painted secretary sits in between two slipcovered chairs with matching curtains. Notice the round, tole clock above the secretary. Empty wall spaces provide perfect landing places for another accessory.

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The bedroom has a large canopy bed.

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One side of the bedroom with a beautiful painted buffet and chair and ottoman. A large, oval canvas fits perfectly between the Bennison curtained windows.

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Another view of the bedroom with its French limestone overmantel and blue painted bench. The canopy's fabric is Bennison on the outside, a check on the inside. The walls are wallpapered in a trellis pattern.

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A corner of the bedroom with its beautiful desk.

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The master bathroom with its huge trumeau mirror and paneling. Again, bathrooms are not just rooms with bathtubs, but beautiful spaces decorated with the same care as the living room.

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The back of the house - the large living room/dining room looks out from the french doors. On each side of the wings are large outdoor living spaces overlooking the pool.

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The other outdoor space also has a fireplace and French antiques and reproductions.

I hope you've enjoyed looking at a sample of Charles Faudree's designs. If you weren't a fan before, maybe you've been swayed by the beautiful photographs! If you were a fan - I KNOW you've enjoyed the eye candy as much as I have! Myself, I've long been a devotee of Faudree's work, and although my love for red toile has waned during the years, it appears it has for Faudree too. I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of his new book to see exactly how far he has taken his love of painted and Swedish furniture! Be sure not to miss the next installment of Cote de Texas - Top 10 Designers, #4!!!