Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flowers around the house and other "French" touches

When I returned from my first research leave in Paris, I realized one of the habits I had picked up was that of buying flowers for my house, weekly. Cut flowers are a luxury that needs to be treated as a weekly habit.

I love having flowers in the house.

Most often, I buy star lilies or carnations: they last. Sadly, roses and tulips do not, usually, last even a week. Daffodils are also good, but so very seasonal. Paperwhites are seasonal, too, but so stylish and bright in a winter house.

I like color and scent in cut flowers: star lilies are good for both. A delightfully spicy scent and the prettiest shape and colors.

Other "touches" that make a rented apartment home:
  • candles, which offer bright light and scent; my favorite is jasmine
  • incense: my favorite is cedarwood, which gives a fresh, clean scent to my apartment
  • photographs: color and b&w photos of family, friends, and ancestors in striking frames, not matching ones
  • artwork: postcards, original prints, commemorative plates, and posters, again in striking frames
  • pillows: from all sorts of French and English tourist sites, most in medieval styles
  • tablecloths and matching cloth napkins: bought in Parisian markets, Amsterdam markets, and antique stores (1930s and 1940s prints)
  • trays: especially tole trays

The point is to add shape, color, texture, and detail that reflect your taste and style. My taste is eomwhere between minimal and Victorian (closer to minimal!). In the end, it also connects to the William Morris quote: the touches are just as important to making your house beautiful and practical -- in combination.

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