I think everybody who is into interior design has had one special style that they have loved throughout their lives.  For me, it’s been French design – probably I should say Country French design.  Ever since I was first exposed to it when I was a young teenager, I feel most connected to this style of design.  I don’t know if I can even say why -  but I think it’s the shape of the furniture, the feminine curves of the chair backs and legs and arms, the warm fruitwoods of the buffets and armories, the comfy chaise longues and the linen toiles, the gilts and boiseries, the parquet floors and stone walls, the common shutters and tiled roofs, the landscapes of lavender and olive trees, the fountains and reflecting pools – together, it moves me more than any other design style.  Country French or the design found in Provence and other southern regions of France is so beautiful it’s hard to imagine anyone not being moved by the landscape of the area, the stone farmhouses and the charming old towns.  Here are some examples of country French:



There is beauty in the fields of lavender and olive trees.



And there are the beautiful houses in the country,  made of stone and tile roofs.




There is the lit a la polonaise with silk fabrics next to simple painted furniture.



There is the lure of hidden courtyards behind wooden doors and iron transoms.





There are urns from tiny to large.



And a clock on the side of a Provençal mas.



There are stone walls and light blue shutters along with a charming pergola at the end of the gravel terrace.



Here’s an entry hall in a mas with double front doors and old stone floors.




And antique plates hang on boiserie instead of fine oil paintings.




What’s there not to love about a mas with light aqua shutters and a tiled roof?




Or a town center in Provence with hanging lanterns?


Just go inside a mas with original beamed ceilings and stucco walls to see its appeal.




Could you resist lavender fields with a tiny Provencal town in the background?



Or try to resist a parterre planted with box.




Visit a bedroom in a restored French chateau.



Or enjoy the sight of an incredible collection of copper pots at Chateau Ansouis.



This mas has a typical French gravel terrace along with a pergola.



Find the beauty in a kitchen with a tiled floor and a beamed ceiling.



Enjoy the dappled sunlight on a covered terrace.




Is there a prettier combination of colors – terracotta and gray?



Enjoy a brunch on a front terrace.



Or rent a suite at a Provencal hotel.



Find the beauty in a kitchen of an French antique dealer.



Younger Frenchman are turning to grays and monochromatic interiors.




But, there is still beauty in the old ways.





The charm of a bakers rack and a crystal chandelier.





Could there be anything more beautiful than this….



Or this, a dining room both rough and luxe.



Mirror inset cabinets and tables along with a fabulous sink.



Three toiles, though most French use only one.



The grass goes right up to the swimming pool edge.




The quiet beauty found in all gray.




And a pantry filled with baskets and linens.



Box and gravel and wisteria and shutters – hard to resist…



As is this dining room in a Provençal mas.




Even the churches are beautiful in their simplicity – 12th century Abbaye du Thoronet.




Wire covered pantry doors filled with cream & white dishes and glasses.





Small and beautiful!  Just perfect.


A French farmhouse kitchen couldn’t be prettier.



The beauty of Provence – it’s like a painting…




that so many artists have found irresistible.   Paul Cezanne.


Now that you are all feeling the French vibe, are you ready for giveaway?




Our sponsor, the French Garden House is hosting the giveaway. 

There is so much available to buy here – from jewelry, to antiques, to furniture, old and new!  They carry Tara Shaw and Eloquence – two of my favorite companies.  There are things for the garden, for the kitchen, for the bedroom and the library.  There is something for everyone!!

Here are my favorite things in store:


This antique French sterling silver cuff bracelet from the 19th century.  That kind of looks like a J!   To die for!




This antique English food cover with a family crest is another favorite.



And finally,  I just love this set of antique mother of pearl knives!!!  They are gorgeous!!!


NOW – what is your favorite item at the French Garden House????



In order to enter the contest, you must first go to the French Garden House at


look around and pick out your favorite item on their web site.  Then come back HERE, to the comment section and tell me your favorite thing.

That’s it!

The winner will receive a gift certificate for $250.00!!!

Use it for anything you want!


Contest ends this Wednesday night at 11:59 pm.

Good luck!  And a huge thank to you French Garden House for this generous giveaway.













Dear Miss Cote de Texas


  La lettre RTP

Today, we have a letter from Houston, West University actually – right by my house!

Dear Miss Cote de Texas:

I am in the midst of a HUGE renovation project right down the road from you  and I need some assistance with a look I have been in love with forever….lanterns over my island!

I have attached two different pictures of the lantern look I love.  I have scoured the internet and have found a couple different sources who appear to make lanterns that look similar to these that I can get wired for electric, over gas. However, I know you are the queen of all things design so I wanted to see if you have any reliable sources you have used in the past to produce lanterns that look like this at a reasonable (okay, cheap) price. To the trade or retail would work.

Also, if you have any advice on specific dimensions to be used, that would be fabulous. My island size is 6’10” long and 5’ wide. Oh, one more thing…have you had any luck retro-fitting 6” can lighting for something like this or is it always necessary to completely re-wire and patch the hole where the can lighting was previously.




Here are the reader’s two inspiration pictures:



This picture from Houzz, shows two Paris street lanterns with the yoke detailing.   These are from Lanterns and Scroll, but I found their web site not very customer friendly.  HERE.  Notice how high the ceiling is – two stories.  



The second inspiration picture came from a story I did about this house and its renovation which lasted an amazing 20 days!   HERE.  These lanterns were vintage, if my memory is correct, and she bought them in Dallas many years ago.


Dear Reader:  I feel your pain.   I, too love these lanterns and for years have looked for a good, reasonably priced source.  Even better is finding an original lantern from France that is priced less than a new car!



This original lantern cost $4500.  It is 19th century, from Watkins Culver on 1st Dibs.   watkins


This original lantern is 19th century from 1st Dibs, Watkins Culver, HERE.  $4,900.  And it still needs to be electrified.



Chateau Domingue - 18th French bought from a Provencal Mas.  Price – call the dealer.  Again, it still needs to be electrified.  So, reader,  you can see, buying an original French lantern is something very few of us are able to do.  But, there are decent reproductions that I have found.




Like I said, I have long loved the French lantern look, but was priced out of buying a original.  That’s why I was so excited when I found my lantern at M. Naeve.  It was reasonably priced and though new, it had the exact look I liked.  So much so that I bought two!




The second lantern hangs on my staircase landing.  Unfortunately M. Naeve doesn’t have any more of these.   As I told you a few weeks ago, the good news is that Aidan Gray is coming out with a lantern that was based on this one.   But, until then, where to go to buy a good looking Parisian styled lantern that is reasonable?







I found this rectangular shaped lantern for a client.  It is from Pottery Barn and we bought two.  One, here, is in her family room.




Then, in the adjoining breakfast room, we repeated the same fixture.  The price was so low – that buying two was in the budget.  And I think it’s a great look.  For an island though,  I would use just one of these.


Pottery Barn is a little strange, though.  Their lanterns tend to go from being available in one catalogue to not in the next.  This particular one above is not for sale right now.  But, the lantern below, was recently made available again, after it was off their inventory list for a long time:




At $349, the price is right and so is the size:  15" wide x 17.5" deep x 27.5"  HERE.





See how large it is.  Your island seems rather large, so it might be able to take two of these over it.  It would be worth a try – you can always return them if they are too big.




Holly Mathis Interiors bought this Pottery Barn lantern and then painted it.  Notice the yoke – a very authentic detail especially at that price point.  Since the yoke seems to be important to you, I would definitely test these lanterns out.




This handsome lantern is from Ballard Designs.   Though it doesn’t have the yoke detailing, it does have a pretty dark bronze finish.   It is much smaller than the Pottery Barn lantern at  19"H X 13" – but, it’s hard to judge the size you need without seeing your space. 


image And here is what is looks like over two chairs.  You can see how much smaller than the Pottery Barn lantern it is, which might be better since you want two over the island. 





From Ballard again, the Francis lantern might be a better choice.  It’s bigger at 23 1/2"H X 15"and actually looks very French.   There is no yoke, but the chair is very attractive, as is the top “chimney” element.  And, it’s only $299.00 – so buying two is very reasonable.



Look at it over a bed, you can see that two of these might be perfectly sized for over a kitchen island.  HERE.





From Bellacor, I bought this one for my mother-in-law and it is a great bargain at only $166.00!   I would replace the sleeves with white candles though.  It’s a nice size at 11 1/2"W x 22"H.  Several bloggers bought this lantern – it’s a great look for the money.  HERE.



On Pinterest, this lantern was painted a fun Kelly green.  It look so different painted green.  Red would be another great color to paint it – or black.


IMG_7509 (1)

Here you can see it hanging in blogger Southern Hospitality’s former house.  HERE.  It’s a great bargain and a great look.




Ever since I found my daughter’s chandelier on Amazon, I always check that web site for everything.  I recently read an article that said Amazon’s prices are the cheapest out there – so it’s a great place to look for bargains.  This light fixture is fabulous!  Three on one row, which would look fabulous over an island.  It measures 9.5" Width, 42" Length, 23" Height.    HERE.




Restoration Hardware has two lanterns that are decent.  This design is pretty, but it drives me crazy the way the light is.  It measures a nice 17"W x 20½"D x 34½"H and comes in either a zinc finish or a rust finish.  It’s a beautiful lantern but the lightbulb is terrible.  I don’t know why they designed it this way.  If it had a conventional lighting unit, it would be  at the top of my list.  At $429, it’s slightly higher.  HERE.




Restoration Hardware does have this one, smaller at 12" x 20½"H and the bronze finish bothers me somewhat.  but, the shape is pretty.  I’m surprised Restoration Hardware hasn’t come out with one fabulous lantern.   $399 – still higher.   HERE.




Circa Lighting has several lanterns that I like, but some were too expensive to show here.  The first, Ralph Lauren “Lauren” brand at 17 3/4”x23” is the perfect size for two over a kitchen lantern.   No yoke, but it does have the pretty chimney top.  Very similar to the Ballard lantern, but twice the price at $660.00.  I would love to see both in person to compare the quality to see if this high price is justified.  HERE.




This one really has a “look.”  It’s very attractive and comes in three sizes and black or white.  This is the biggest and my favorite – at 25”x39”, it is really large and expensive at $1,540.00  HERE.



But…the smallest one is 14x21” and is $660 – and could be a good choice over an island.   HERE.  It really has almost the same exact look as the antique lantern from Chateau Domingue: 



Of course it is missing the patina, but I’m sure for a lot of people, this original antique has too much patina!




I know this lantern, The Brantley,  is way too expensive, but I just can’t resist showing it.  From Suzanne Kasler for Circa Lighting, it has a wonderful faux patina.  And I love the shape.  It truly does look the price.  It’s 12”x21” – so two would be perfect for the kitchen island, if you wanted to spend a small fortune.  $1,470.00.  HERE.



$856.00 from  Troy Lighting HERE.

At 24.5" x 12.25" it’s a great size, though somewhat expensive for two.  But, look how gorgeous this is!  No yoke, but who cares when the lantern is this pretty!!!  Love the finish on it. 




Troy Lighting again – this lantern comes in 3 different finishes – small it is 20.75" H x 10.25" W for $658.00.   But it you like the previous one, this one is just a bit smaller and less expensive.  Worth thinking about – if it’s in your budget.  Get the finish on the larger one – in the gray.   Much prettier.





But, by far, the best is the Bevola copper lanterns HERE.  You custom order these by style, size, and accessories.  They come ready for either gas or electricity.   They are gorgeous and are quite popular.  While more expensive than the kind I have shown, they are still not outrageously priced.  They look more than they are.  The Bevolos are an investment and since you are remodeling, it might make sense to spend the extra money to get something really special.  This lantern is from their French Quarter collection.



Here it is with the yoke detailing.



The London Street lantern is equally beautiful.  



Here, a reader sent in her kitchen with two French collection Bevolo lanterns.  Gorgeous!!!  I don’t know how much they actually are, but it would be worth it to ask them.


So, I think you have a lot of options – for over your island.  Depending on your budget, you have a lot to choose from.  My choice if budget wasn’t an object would be the Troy Lighting, the larger one.  Maybe I’d even chose that one over the Bevolo.  It just has a “look” – a little different, but still with the feel of the antique Parisian lanterns.  I also like the Ballard Francis lantern – for the price – a great look.  And, the Pottery Barn is a great look, also.


About your question regarding re-wiring, I think you won’t have any problem with wiring since the can lights are already there.  I use the BEST electricians in Houston to hang chandeliers and sconces.  Half the time, I don’t even need to patch where they’ve worked.   They can hang a sconce where no one else can.  They are amazing!!!  If I wre you, I would call them and have them hang the lanterns where you are ready.  It won’t take them but an hour at most and they are very, very reasonable!   Their name is on the left side of the blog, along with my favorites.   There name is The Bennett Fan Company.  Call Randy @ 281-484-1401


And, while I was searching online for lanterns, I found a few chandeliers that caught my eye for various reasons:



From Wisteria, at 38”x32” for only $799.00 HERE.  There are others for less money on the internet, but this one just has a very pretty look to it and I think it’s worth spending a few hundred dollars more if you can afford it.   The proportions are so lovely as are the tassels and the finish.  It looks like a retail winner.




This chandelier is from Horchow and is really pretty also and much cheaper!!!  I would buy this in a heartbeat, regardless of my budget.  It’s smaller than the Wisteria one at 32”x22.”   There is a sister one that is much larger than this at  32”x33.” 



Only $395.00.   WOW!




  This bedroom by Pamela Pierce has long been a personal favorite of mine.  It has to have been published over 10 years ago, but I still love it.    The bedspreads – are so pretty, as are the soft colors, the taffeta window shade – and the dainty chandelier.    I found a chandelier on Horchow, one from Circa Lighting, that reminded me it. 




Also on Horchow, a Visual Comfort chandelier – “Flanders” – while not gold, there is something about it that is sweet like the one in Pierce’s bedroom.  The crystals add just  hint of glamour.  I wonder how this looks in person because in the picture, it looks really nice.  It’s on sale now for 30% off $755.00.  HERE.  If anyone does buy this, let me know how it looks in person. 


And this last one:



Remember the September issue of Elle Décor with the Kelly Wearstler house located on Mercer Island, Washington?   I run hot and cold with Wearstler and even in this house, there were a few rooms that I just don’t get – the guest room for one.  But, and a huge but, others are stunning.  Like this stair hall off the main salon – I think it’s gorgeous, with the French Art Deco inspired brass railing that Wearstler designed.  The contemporary space mixed with the classical looking sculpture is really special – and so Kelly.




But it’s the library that took my breath away.  WOW.  Wearstler tore out the bedroom above this space to make it two stories.  The fireplace was clad with a gorgeous slab of black marble with shots of white through it.  She trimmed in rows of brass.  Amazing.    The desk, also designed by Wearstler is a wood version of the marble.  Against all this are the moss green shelves filled with books and accented by brass lights and railings.  To call it stunning doesn’t seem quite grand enough.




The desk, I wonder – did Kelly give the carpenter a trapezoid figure to carve on the sides?  And following the geometric angle, notice the molding on the sides of the shelves – a triangle followed by a circle.  Something only Kelly could dream up.  The rug itself a looks like another geometric pattern.  And the lamps – the perfect touch.





The pièce de résistance!  The spiral staircase mimics the larger one found outside the salon.  I think this is the most wonderful room Kelly has designed.  I just can’t get enough of it!




The dining room is designed in shades of purple, something Kelly says she has never done before.  She designed the console using the same wood as the library’s desk.   Notice the two chandeliers.  Described as Venetian glass, the two fixtures are the focal point of the room, where the walls are covered in de Gournay paper.  The ceiling is a shimmering gold. 


Looking at the house, it’s obvious that Wearstler used top of the line resources.  It looks like money was no object – the quality of the surfaces, the custom furniture, it all looks so expensive – for lack of a better word.  


I love this tablescape.   The tall lamp is balanced by the nude bronze and the triangle.  The painting is so wonderful on the de Gournay wallpaper – I love the colors in it.  And those oreo cookie sconces!   Only Kelly!   The Venetian chandeliers are listed in the references as from Tom Thomas.  I looked on their web site for the chandeliers but they weren’t there.

But, if you want to design a room around those Venetian chandeliers, you are in luck!  Look what I found, on Horchow!




The price, $2,005 – plus they are on sale!  They aren’t called Venetian, instead Horchow calls them Retro Glamour Chandelier.  They are from Cyan Designs. On Horchow, it does say the chandeliers are on Elle Décor’s Facebook page.    HERE.  It did make me wonder what Kelly would think if she knew the chandeliers were on Horchow.  She prides herself on using such original objects, but maybe she wouldn’t care at all.  It just really surprised me to see them for sale on a catalogue.  

The good thing though is if you wanted to replicate this dining room design – with the availability of the chandeliers, I think it would be possible to do.  It certainly wouldn’t look as great without the painting and the console, but the wallpaper could be fauxed and you could substitute a black console instead of the black and white one.  The table would be hard to copy, but a limed wood version might work just as well.  Still, the most important element are the chandeliers – and those are available!!  Fun to think about!


If you have a question for Dear Miss Cote de Texas, be sure to email me at mrballbox329@aol.com    I still have a few left to answer, so if you have submitted one,  I will try to get to it soon!!!

Until next time!