Sunday, January 31, 2016

Decorating With A Billot de Boucher........French Butcher's Table

I recently did a post about the marble topped presentation tables used by French butchers that look so beautiful in a French style kitchen. However, nothing quite warms up a kitchen like a well worn French butchers table. This blog post is dedicated to introducing you to the ‘billot de boucher, ( pronounced bee-o de booshay). This style table with it's thick slab top was a preparation table, ideal for tasks to get the meat ready to be displayed in the butcher's window. They were usually made of beech, oak, or maple banded with iron braces. The billot de boucher was usually double sided with a carved scalloped apron over large drawers for holding knives and other butcher's tools. Decorated with bronze cow head details on the backboard this table sat on four fluted legs.

The ‘billot de boucher is the perfect accent for you rustic French kitchen and a real conversation piece for your home. They are expensive so if you have one or are considering one for your kitchen I am green with envy.

The French butcher table (billot de boucher) was designed to last for decades. As with most French furniture this piece was functional yet aesthetically appealing as well. This butcher table has the traditional shaped skirt typical of the earlier blocks and a beautifully decorative detail.

The most valuable are the large oak French butcher's tables built in the 19th century as they are considered the most rare. Billot de bouchers that include features such as a knife holder or storage drawers are also considered to be more valuable.

The French billot de boucher had a backsplash usually decorated with a shield (or in this case a shell) in the center and bronze cow heads on the pediments. Also there might be an original enameled maker's plaque still in place.

Hard to believe that these wonderful French butcher's tables were at one time just business furniture. Now thought of as a beautiful element that combines functionality and  aesthetics, their character helps this piece anchor your French kitchen.

Aged cow head details on backboard of this billot de boucher. This one is made of wood instead of bronze.

The surface of the billot de boucher provided ample working space for one or two butchers.

A French butcher's table is a lovely rustic accent table that is perfect for the kitchen but would look equally great in a foyer or hallway.

via Pinterest

Muriel Priou / Photo : Sophie Lloyd....via Elle maison

A French butcher's table is a wonderfully functional piece and perfect for the kitchen of someone who really enjoys cooking.

The fundamental element of the billot de boucher is obviously the cutting board made ​​of pavers ( pieces of wood) that have a thickness ranging from 8-20 cm. The plateau is surrounded by stainless steel brackets that hold the wooden elements tight to each other.

A beautiful single butcher's table, still with all the elements of the double table.

I love the drawer on this butcher table.

Even without a backsplash this French butcher's table is an asset to any interior.

This French butcher's table has drawers and also shelves for storage.

Authentic Original Antique French billot de boucher -  c.1890 


If you don't want to use it for a kitchen work table, use your billot de boucher as an accent table for displaying collections or even as a kitchen desk.

There is no mistaking an antique billot de boucher. It will definitely be worn in the center from all the use it has gotten over the years. Don't let anyone fool will be bowed in the center!

Many antique French butcher table collectors have a passion for restoring and refinishing their tables, however this may decrease their value. This is definitely a piece you don't want to over restore.

Old beech wood billot de boucher standing above two drawers. These pieces were sometimes referred to as "logs".

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Decorate With Collections Of Creamy White Ironstone

The simplicity, durability, and variety of styles makes antique ironstone one of the most sought after collectibles. Who can resist it's creamy goodness.

Old ironstone with it's beautiful crazing and stains was England's cheap, but durable alternative to porcelain, and was mass produced for the colonies. Josiah Spode was producing ironstone by 1805 and exporting it in mass quantities to France where it's popularity surpassed the traditional faience pottery. It was, however, actually patented by the British potter Charles James Mason in 1813 . Many other European countries including Sweden produced white ironstone during the 19th century. 

If you are a collector, the question is how do you display your beautiful winter white treasures. I like authenticity and believe ironstone collections should be displayed in cupboards close to the kitchen where they were meant to be. These dishes were used regularly, not seen as part of tabletop vignettes throughout the house. I also prefer a casual stacking of dishes, bowls tureens etc. as opposed to single pieces lined up for show. Also don't think your collection need be made up entirely of Ironstone. There are lovely English and French white porcelain dishes that are perfect compliments to the display. It just looks more in keeping with what a French or English kitchen would actually look like. 

If you are interested in collecting Ironstone I would highly recommend that you begin by purchasing a lovely old cupboard to display them in and then let your collecting take off. Scour vintage stores, flea markets, and even yard sales for pieces at great prices. Of course at antique stores you will pay more unless you luck up like I did a few weeks back when I found a great tureen at 40% off.

Collectors have created a demand for Ironstone and the price has risen accordingly, but you can still have fun searching for that perfect piece.

With the popularity of the French style home, collections of these white dishes against a white or light background has become a favorite look. By the way, there is no iron in Ironstone. It is named for it's strength and durability. 

My personal preference is to see these Ironstone collections displayed "en masse" for impact.

Although the price for  Ironstone has risen significantly,  you can still find a good piece at an affordable price if you are willing to treasure hunt a bit.

Ironstone prices vary greatly. The cost of a piece for your collection will depend on several things such as  pattern, condition, and rarity. Also whether you buy from an antique store or scour flea markets will make a difference in price.

A few years back ironstone was fairly easy to find because of lack of interest. Now so many wonderful tureens and covered dishes are being collected by people wanting to bring a French farmhouse look to their homes.

I especially like ironstone collections with the stacked look.

My own white collection displayed at Christmas in an old built-in cabinet located down the hall leading to my kitchen. I have some really good pieces of English Ironstone and then I also have some random white English pieces (Johnson Brothers Old English Staffordshire "White Granite" ware, and John Maddock & Sons Royal white porcelain) that are thrown in simply because I like them and couldn't resist adding them to the collection. I love it all, tureens, casseroles, compotes, plates and platters. I am also not opposed to a chip or stain.......makes it look authentic because when being used these things happen. 

I enjoyed using my tureens twice during Christmas entertaining. Covered serving pieces made my mashed potatoes and other vegetables look so elegant while desserts presented on my cakeplates (decorated with a bit of holly and covered with cloches) were a hit with visitors.

Sometimes a piece will tell you that it is ironstone, but not always so you need to get educated on the look and feel. There are marks, however, it is not uncommon to find pieces that aren’t marked at all. Be aware that just because it isn’t marked doesn’t mean it’s not ironstone. www.k-co-copenhag... FOTO : Bjørn Stiler.

The best way to tell is by look and feel. Pieces may range in color from white to cream and even a darker tan color.  Ironstone will feel heavier than you think it should and you will notice that pieces may have crazing, (cracks in the glaze). If you are considering a collection of Ironstone, learn to appreciate the imperfections that come along with such vintage pieces.

To make your display of Ironstone more interesting add a little variety to the collection. There are so many wonderful and unique pieces out there just waiting to become part of a fabulous collection.

People have their favorite pieces of Ironstone to collect. Some love pitchers, some platters. Like this collector I love tureens and covered dishes They seem to beckon me!

I think an Ironstone display looks best when your collection is mis-matched. Don't worry about getting all the same pattern, or for that matter a collection made up entirely of Ironstone. A mix looks much better anyway!

Whether dressed up or countrified, Ironstone complements every style.

Ironstone platters displayed in a plate rack.

Some pieces have cracks and chips, and all have the marks of being used. Ironstone was made to be used so a good collection should include some of these pieces if you want your display to look authentic.

You don't always have to use a cupboard for display.This is an interesting way to show off a collection of Ironstone in a way that makes it look like it is still being used.

Another example of a collection of Ironstone tureens.

Pretty French style dining room with crystal chandeliers, distressed furniture and a collection of creamy white ironstone.

White Ironstone collections are a great idea for adding a French flair to your kitchen.

Nathalie Vingot Mei

Let me encourage you to use and enjoy the pieces of Ironstone in your collection. These wonderful white dishes are not meant to be kept strictly behind cupboard doors.

Collections of Ironstone have a special magic around Christmas when greenery is added into the mix. I think they're perfect for serving on holiday tables. The white simplicity of these dishes will never go out of style.

Don't you just love the creaminess and patina of old Ironstone? And if a French farmhouse style kitchen is your heart's desire, then you must create a cupboard overflowing with white!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Friday, January 15, 2016

Decorating With Plaid Covered Walls

If classics can actually be considered trendy, then plaid is super hot right now. I have already published several blog posts on plaid decor over the years but not one on plaid walls. So here goes! And whether you decide to paper, use fabric, or paint your wall in plaid, hopefully this post will help you make decisions on how to create instant warmth and sophistication with this great pattern. 

Plaid walls based on historic tartan fabrics have a timeless appeal and have roots in traditional and preppy style interiors as you will see in the initial images. However, the current trend leans towards bolder, colorful, and oversized plaid wall treatments in a vast array of modern patterns like those you'll see later on in the post. Either way it is a wonderful pattern to work with and has a broad appeal.

Plaid, the wonderful iconic textile, started trending in the fall of 2014 and this classic favorite will add instant sophistication and warmth to any space. Since plaid is a woven fabric, I prefer covering the walls with actual tartan instead of paper. It creates an even warmer feel. I can't tell from these pictures which has been used on the walls of these homes but either way I am sure you will enjoy seeing what can be achieved by adding plaid to the walls of YOUR home.

The wool plaid warmth on these walls set the perfect stage for antique furniture and artwork. Plus a room with red tartan plaid is absolutely beautiful when decorated for Christmas.

Plaid is a wonderful go to fabric for the walls because it comes in a variety of colors and scale combinations. Plaid walls look so distinguished and work well with other traditional fabric patterns you would use on furnishings and flooring.

Plaid walls don't always make a space look masculine. This room is an example of how the use of other patterns and softer jewel tone colors like this amethyst can blend the masculine and feminine aesthetics.

via Pinterest

Painting your woodwork in a creamy white will make the plaid on your wall pop even more. Add a corresponding color in your bedding or other furnishings to soften things up a bit.

Warm, country style plaid adorns the walls of this traditional English style interior. Leather is the perfect accent for these plaid walls and the tufting on the sofas help to provide a distinguished feel.

Jean-Louis Deniot

You can also just cover a portion of a wall with plaid. I like how the alcove is distinguished from the rest of the wall through the use of a small scale plaid.

This Ralph Lauren signature style bedroom wouldn't look near as cozy without the warmth of plaid wool applied to the walls.

I love this stately pattern for it's traditional look and dignified feel. The plaid walls are perfect for this manly bathroom.

If you desire the warm saturated look for your plaid space, then definitely cover the walls. Gold framed landscapes and equestrian pictures look wonderful on plaid walls. Throw in floral rugs and some pillows featuring English cabbage roses, to soften it all up, and you are good to go.

Diamond Baratta

Plaid is also ideal for feature walls. Apply it to one wall or just a portion like has been done over the arches in this room. You can see how well the patterned rug with it's large scenic circles works with the plaid. The reason people like plaid so much is the ease in which you can coordinate other fabrics with it.

Don't be afraid to use plaid on the walls of a small space. 

A bath or powder room is the perfect place to manifest those plaid walls you have been dreaming about.

Because of it's pattern, plaid covered walls can provide extra dimension to your space.

Elegant, rustic country plaid walls create an inviting lodge style foyer.

Plaid covered walls also go hand in hand with an equestrian interior. 

This dining room is another example of how plaid walls can be easy to work with as they coordinate so well with other patterns you might choose for window treatments and upholstery.

Loving the leopard against these green plaid walls.

Grey plaid walls with clean lines and modern scale give this sitting area a casual elegance.

Modern plaid walls give a room a chic look that is clean and crisp.

Buffalo plaid walls in neutral khaki and cream with colorful eclectic accessories from Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Don't let mixing plaids intimidate you. A wall like this covered in a bold plaid and chairs that echo the colors only in a different plaid pattern can actually look and feel cohesive.

With today's plaid patterns on your walls you can still enjoy the historical Scottish tradition while you create a more modern and contemporary image.

source unknown

New offbeat colors, scales, and applications are modern and interesting. Try covering a sofa with the same plaid as you use on your walls.

source unknown

Plaid is considered traditional but that doesn’t mean that it has to be used in traditional ways. Have fun with your plaid walls. Do something unique by considering a diagonal plaid.

A Lilly Pulitzer Home vignette with colorful plaid walls.

While traditional style calls for a smaller scale plaid, modern interiors lean toward over-sized pattern like this room with it's walls painted to resemble plaid. Play with scale......don't be intimidated.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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