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Saturday, November 18, 2017
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A French Twist on American Country Style

Rural Intelligence Style French Chic: The Art of Decorating Houses (Rizzolli; $50) doesn’t sound like a coffee-table book with a lot of relevance for people decorating Hudson Valley or New England houses.  But the author, Florence de Dampierre, just happens to live in an 18th century clapboard house with Federal-and-Colonial details on historic North Street in Litchfield, which is as Yankee as it gets. And in her own life and professional decorating projects, she has adapted what she considers French style for an all-American way of life. De Dampierre, who has written previous books on the decorative arts (Chairs: A History and The Best of Painted Furniture), is clever enough to know that pictures of her home may not be enough evidence to convince some people of the relevance of French style in a rural American context. Thus, she cites a long list of American taste-makers who were Francophiles from Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to Edith Wharton and Jacqueline Kennedy, who wanted to turn the White House into an “American Versailles.”

Rural Intelligence StyleFrench Chic is reminiscent of Bunny William’s best-selling An Affair With A House with its intimate look at every corner of de Dampierre’s Connecticut house—from the recherché billiard room to the pool house to the herb garden. It even includes pictures of table settings for dinner and lunch parties as well as recipes for gâteau au chocolat de ma grandmère and soupe de betteraves. For all its practical tips, the book is really about inspiration—the je ne sais quoi of style. De Dampierre quotes Edith Wharton and seconds her philosophy: “French taste? It’s the way the women put on their hats and the upholsters drape their curtains.”

Florence de Dampierre Book Signings

Saturday, December 13; 2 - 4 PM
Hudson Home
356 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.822.8120

Sunday, December 14; 2:30 - 4 PM
Harney & Sons
13 Main Street, Millerton; 518.789.2121
Rural Intelligence Style
The billiard room at the Litchfield house.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 12/10/08 at 04:42 AM • Permalink