Have you ever thought about WHY you love “the French look?” I was thinking about this today and wondering what makes my favorite French rooms so interesting and captivating. Why is it that these rooms seem to speak to me and pull me in for a closer look often inspiring me to spend hours looking at each photo? I’ve decided that the answer for me is best described as the “French use of texture.” My favorite French rooms have a multi-dimensional, visual depth that can only be achieved with a layering of textures that appear to have been put together gradually over time.
When I dissect my favorite French rooms I see multiple layers of metal, wood, porcelain, fabric, glass, minerals and plants. My favorite rooms have many of these elements blended together to create a cohesive and beautiful “visual feast” of textures. Too much of any one texture would be flat and monotonous, but mixed together they add interest and depth to a table top or vignette.
One of my favorite textures often associated with French design is metal, specifically antique French Wire Ware or “Fil-de-Fer.” You’ve undoubtedly seen wire ware. No Provencal kitchen or patisserie appears complete without a piece or two of this utilitarian yet beautiful wire ware.
There’s been a recent resurgence in wire ware’s popularity spurred perhaps more today by its beauty than its original purpose of functionality and durability. These pieces were originally made of a medium to thin gauge wire that was readily available and inexpensive and made to be used repeatedly in the everyday workings of a French household. “Fil-de-Fer” pieces range from simple kitchen utensils and cooling racks to intricately worked compotes and chandeliers.
This antique French wire ware glass holder or bottle carrier is a wonderful example of the French ability to combine beauty and functionality. (From the collection of antique French items in My Faux French Chateau on-line store!)
One of my personal favorites is a large, vintage French wire ware basket that I use outdoors to hold wood for the fireplace. I love the size of this basket and its small hanging “shelf” that’s perfect for holding kindling wood and matches.
You can find vintage and antique French wire ware in antique stores, many of them on-line. However, pieces are becoming increasingly more difficult to find, and, like everything else that is popular, they are becoming more expensive to purchase.
I found this wonderfully decorative vintage French wire compote with tassels in the on-line store named “Relique” at www.relique.com.
Many people associate French wire ware with vintage egg collection baskets like the one below from “Frog Goes To Market” at www.froggoestomarket.blogspot.com.
Or, most of you have probably seen lots of examples of French wire market baskets. This is a beautiful one available at “Loop the Loop” an on-line store at www.looptheloop.org.uk.
A much rarer and less often found (and much less affordable) example of antique French wire ware is this beautiful 19th century French Wire Demilune plant stand found in the on-line store “Gore Dean” at www.goredean.com.
To make these popular wire ware pieces more readily available and affordable, Pottery Barn, Two’s Company, Wisteria and other home décor companies are offering wonderful reproduction wire ware products.
I especially like Pottery Barn’s French Wire Hampers. If you have to have dirty laundry hanging around the house it should at least hide out in something pretty!
(This photo and two below are courtesy of Pottery Barn)
I hope you enjoyed this post! Have a wonderful weekend.
Au revoir, Mitty