French Country Elegance

BY DESIGN

August 04, 1991|By Yolanda Garfield

This elegant interpretation of a style known as French country dispels the image many people expect -- that of rustic furnishings in rough finishes covered with quaint prints.

For the owners of this French country-style home in Potomac, formal entertaining is a top priority. So they asked Rehoboth Beach designer Diane Gordy to update the home's interior to a sophisticated look in keeping with the architecture.

To infuse the living room with a light, airy quality, the walls were painted a pale yellow, then the floors were pickled, a process that consists of staining the floors white, rubbing the stain off with a rag, then sealing. Existing sofas were re-covered in pale chenille. No fewer than four conversation areas offer numerous seating options for guests. A needlepoint rug and several paintings provide bright accents.

In contrast to the airy living room, the intimate dining room is swathed in a rich floral shirred fabric. The same fabric is used on the fronts of the lightly gilded dining chairs, which have been backed in pony skin dyed to resemble cheetah skin. An unelectrified Waterford crystal chandelier shimmers above a Lucite dining table. The dramatic contrasting colors and the luxurious materials elevate simple French country to simply elegant.

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