Country French Fall/Winter 2019

Country French showcases luxury homes that epitomize the spirit and beauty of French country style. With stunning stonework, windows, and old-world flooring, as well as magnificent fabrics and fully equipped kitchens, these homes are owned by devotees of the style. Large, beautiful photos in a clean design and minimal text take readers on a virtual tour of each residence.

United States
Meredith Operations Corporation

in this issue

1 min
from the editors

For many country French decorating connoisseurs, the beginning of their love affair with this classic style begins with a trip abroad. Wandering through the streets of Paris or the country lanes of Normandy, it is impossible not to feel awestruck by the history, character, and architectural significance of the centuries-old homes that have retained their beauty through the passage of time. This is thanks in large part to the careful craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail, which have forever been the cornerstone of European architecture. Re-creating this venerable look isn’t easy, particularly when you’re starting from scratch in the 21st century. But for those with a passion for all things country French, it’s a challenge worth embracing. Just ask Beth and Rick Stukes, Alabama homeowners who built a new-to-look-old French manor…

5 min
courting the past

Gravel crunches under her feet as English-born Dani Blasena strolls along a path at her California home. With the sound of chirping birds, sweet scents of lavender and roses drifting by, a cup of coffee in hand, and dog Milo at her side, she savors the quietness. “It feels like a slice of Provence right here in California,” says Dani, who has lived the world over as a diplomat’s daughter and runs a wedding and event planning business called HauteFêtes. “I don’t take a single moment of living in this house for granted.” Creating a tranquil French-inspired paradise for their blended family of four children, ages 16 to 24, in Rancho Santa Fe has been a labor of love for Dani and her husband, Kurt, as well as interior designer Tamara…

4 min
the gathering place

Long before any sketches were drawn, the empty-nest owners of this canyon-top property in Phoenix expressed a simple desire: They wanted to create a gathering place that would welcome their large family home. The request for living spaces with strong indoor-out connections conducive to easy entertaining eventually led the owners and their design team—builder Jerry Meek of Desert Star Construction, and interior designer Inga Rehmann, interior designer Laura Huttenhauer, and architects Don Ziebell and Zahir Poonawala, all of Oz Architects—on a journey to Provence. “Having traveled all over the world, the owners appreciated European-style homes that lived elegantly but comfortably,” Rehmann says. “We went to France with the owners to find special things so the house would hold memories and tell stories even before they moved in. We actually picnicked among…

5 min
romance in bloom

Courtney Allison appreciates the beauty in old things: armchairs covered in faded, fraying fabric; burnished gilt mirrors speckled with age spots; leather-bound books with ruffled pages yellowing from use. These collected treasures speak to her in a language that things shiny and new do not. For Courtney, patina tells the story of an object’s past lives, with each chip, crack, or tear offering anecdotal evidence of its being oft-used and well-loved. So when Courtney stumbled upon an old house tucked into the California countryside, she didn’t dwell on the broken windows, rotten siding, and unfinished ceilings that rendered the abandoned cottage uninhabitable. Her attention settled instead on the grooved knotty pine walls, worn hardwood floors, and tall painted cupboards in the kitchen. “I knew this house had a story to tell,”…

2 min
ever green

There is a tradition in Provence that when three cypresses are planted near the front door, it’s a sign of hospitality. The entrance to this farmhouse in the Luberon now has four for good measure. But when a Canadian family purchased the old stone mas as their second home, they were faced with a bare piece of land surrounding it, albeit with beautiful vineyard views beyond. They had a vision of sunny days spent outside listening to the cicadas sing and of lazy strolls along paths meandering through terraced garden beds brimming with native shrubs both fragrant and flowering. All in all, they wanted a lush yet relaxed landscape softly framed by boxwoods. The couple asked interior designer Aline Alphen and landscape designer Patrice Gonfond to interpret their dream. “We created…

5 min
southern grace

Pitched roofs are great for shedding snow, but there’s little use for them in Auburn, Alabama, a place that may only see a few flakes a year. So when architect Louis Nequette presented Beth and Rick Stukes with a sketch for a French-style home that was more Medieval château than farmhouse, Beth set the sketch aside, asking: “What do we need those pointy roofs down here in the South for?” Beth promptly invited Nequette, her son and architect Brent Uptain, and his wife, Karyn, on a road trip to explore the French countryside. They hired a driver and let the winding dirt roads direct their way. “Beth had more of an idea of what she didn’t want in a French-style home than what she did want,” Nequette says. “She didn’t have…