This month’s issue of Elle Decor Magazine (January/February 2014) is the International issue, republishing highlights from editions of the magazine outside the US. This issue is a lucky treat because it features both a French farmhouse in Normandy and an ultra-chic Paris apartment!

(See our take on the Normandy Farmhouse here.)

On to the apartment. Photography By Antoine Baralhe. Design by Sylvie de Chirée.

Midcentury Eclectic Living Room

Midcentury Eclectic Living Room

Serene Bedroom

Serene Bedroom

Glamorous Dining Room

Glamorous Dining Room

Midcentury Quirky Kitchen

Midcentury Quirky Kitchen

All the rooms are glamorous in gold and white, with an eclectic mix of midcentury and more traditional furnishings. My favorite details are the paper lanterns in the kitchen and the colorful pottery in the dining room, not to mention the low bookcase in the living room.

Here are some gold and white items from I Dream of France that would mix well in this chic Paris apartment:

 

Le Cluny Jacquard Tablecloths - Lemon Rust

Le Cluny Jacquard Tablecloths – Lemon Rust

 

Paris Ceramic Mug

Paris Ceramic Mug

 

 

Paris Ceramic Salt and Pepper Shakers Set

Paris Ceramic Salt and Pepper Shakers Set

Pré de Provence Shea Butter Enriched 150g Soap Lemongrass

Pré de Provence Shea Butter Enriched 150g Soap Lemongrass

Eiffel Tower & Butterfly Necklace - Antique Bronze

Eiffel Tower & Butterfly Necklace – Antique Bronze

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This month’s issue of Elle Decor Magazine (January/February 2014) is the International issue, republishing highlights from editions of the magazine outside the US. This issue is a lucky treat because it features both a French farmhouse in Normandy and an ultra-chic Paris apartment!

First up is the Normandy Farmhouse. Photography by Nicolas Mathéus. Design by Franz Potisek.

Normandy Farmhouse Green and White Kitchen

Normandy Farmhouse Green and White Kitchen

Love the classic green and white color combination. Elegant and earthy. Note the cooking pot and two wineglasses at the ready. It is a French home after all!

Normandy Farmhouse Green and Red Rustic Dining Room

Normandy Farmhouse Green and Red Rustic Dining Room

Earthy gives way to rustic in the dining room.

Normandy Farmhouse Elegant Living Room

Normandy Farmhouse Elegant Living Room

Softer greens and reds, and a stone fireplace mantel and overmantel.

Normandy Farmhouse Pergola with Pink Climbing Roses

Normandy Farmhouse Pergola with Pink Climbing Roses

Normandy Farmhouse Green and White Bath

Normandy Farmhouse Green and White Bath

Shades of green and white recall the kitchen combination. This is equally classic and elegant.

Here are some green, white, and red items from I Dream of France with an earthy elegance that would mix well in this farmhouse:

Couleur Nature Fig Red-Green Tablecloths/Runners/Napkins

Couleur Nature Fig Red-Green Tablecloths/Runners/Napkins

Couleur Nature Figs Red-Green Placemats

Couleur Nature Figs Red-Green Placemats

Laguiole Table Knives Ivory Handles Set of 6 on a Wooden Block

Laguiole Table Knives Ivory Handles Set of 6 on a Wooden Block

French Country Verdigris Metal Oval Bucket with Ear Handles

French Country Verdigris Metal Oval Bucket with Ear Handles

Pré de Provence Shea Butter Enriched 150g Soap Verbena

Pré de Provence Shea Butter Enriched 150g Soap Verbena

I’ll show the Paris Apartment in the next blog entry.

I spent some time this weekend catching up on magazines and noticed that two featured French twists on classic dishes in their February issues.

Provence Herbs in Linen Bags from I Dream of France

Provence Herbs in Linen Bags from I Dream of France

First, InStyle showed baking halibut wrapped in parchment paper with herbes de Provence. This is our favorite way to prepare fish at home, including sole and salmon. (Aluminum foil instead of parchment works fine.) We also like to wrap lighter-flavored fish with lemon and onion slices, with a little bit of salt and thyme. Just bake at 350 degrees and check every few minutes until the fish flakes with a fork. Wrapping the fish keeps it from drying out while it cooks, and doesn’t make a mess in your baking dish. Easy and healthful — who says French cooking has to be complicated?

Daniel Boulud's Lasagne Photographed by Kana Okada for Elle Decor

Daniel Boulud's Lasagne Photographed by Kana Okada for Elle Decor

In Elle Decor, Daniel Boulud’s column shares a recipe for chicken lasagne with spinach and mushrooms. This is on my to-do list for sure! This recipe is very old-world European because it has you make bechamel (white sauce) instead of the ricotta cheese mixture that is more typical in the States.

This month’s Elle Decor is also the International Issue, which I love because all the articles are republished from other editions of Elle Decor. The pieces are shorter than what usually appears in the American edition and have a different style of writing. Naturally, they feature a Paris apartment filled with art, checkerboard marble floors, klismos chairs, and a copper bathtub. However, my favorite was from Elle Decoration Russia, which showed a traditional Russian country cabin (called an isba) reproduced inside a Moscow apartment. The owner actually took a wall from an old cabin and had it re-installed inside the apartment to be as authentic as possible. My favorite detail was the kitchen’s painted cupboards, beautiful and special.

–Brett

All of a sudden, we hear people talking about macarons everywhere! Three different shelter magazines mentioned macarons in their September issues. Veranda and Elle Decor announced the opening of a Ladurée patisserie in New York City. Ladurée is a a Paris institution dating from 1862, famously making macarons and other pastries for many years. They are credited with inventing the macaron. Even their pastel boxes and shopping bags are collected by fans.

Laduree Macarons

Laduree Macarons

Better Homes and Gardens magazine lists websites where you can order macarons made by other companies in the United States.

But what is a macaron? It is a sweet confection made of two soft meringue-like cakes sandwiching a frosting filling. Macarons are made in many different flavors, such as strawberry, chocolate, caramel, and pistachio. They are slightly chewy but very light in texture A macaron is nothing like the coconut cookies called “macaroons,” but is like a distant Continental cousin to the American whoopie pie.

Laduree Strawberry Macarons Stacked

Laduree Strawberry Macarons Stacked

On the other hand…Jean-Michel and other residents of the Poitou region (about three hours southwest of Paris) claim to have the real macaron. Recipes dating to the 16th-century Medicis family describe a macaron as a one-piece confection made with ground almonds, sugar, eggs, and salt. If you visit Poitiers, be ready to try the “real” macarons!

Although we sell candies and cookies at I Dream of France, we do not currently offer macarons. We do, however, have beautiful kitchen towels decorated with macarons. Click any of the photos below to view them on our website.

Coucke Terry Square Kitchen Towel - Macarons

Coucke Terry Square Kitchen Towel - Macarons

Coucke Macarons Jacquard Dish Towel

Coucke Macarons Jacquard Dish Towel

Sweet Dreams!

–Brett

The April issue of Elle Decor magazine is themed “the travel issue” and is full of luscious dwellings abroad. Capturing my heart is, of course, an apartment in Paris overlooking the Rue de l’Université on the Left Bank of the Seine. The apartment belongs to a glass and ceramics designer named Olivier Gagnère who has worked for Bernardaud among others. Ceramics are a particular passion of mine, and we were lucky enough to tour the Bernardaud factory in Limoges a few years ago. Peeking into the private home of one of their designers shows another facet of the creativity of this world. What a treat!

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Gagnere Paris Apartment - Simon Upton for Elle Decor

What I love: the liberal use of the colors lavender and tangerine; the striped Basque tablecloth (similar to our Saint Jean de Luz coated tablecloth); the wall collages of framed drawings, watercolors, and photographs; the bright red dinosaur perched above a cabinet; the pint-size kitchen with a full-size table set for four. These are among the best things in life…color, humor, breaking bread with friends. Wouldn’t you agree?