the style we're obsessing over and the designers behind it

there aren’t many things in the way of home trends that I'm not in love with right now. for the most part, that’s shaker cabinetry, streamlined profiles, mid-century modern, and scandinavian styles. thankfully, those are all here to stay. give me some good design and I'm one happy camper.

but. buuuuut.

straying far from aforementioned western transitional/modern design cues, I’m completely, head-over-heels obsessed with what I'm calling french modern with old world flare interiors. I am beyond excited to explore this incredible style and a few of the geniuses that bring it to life.

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as a composite of three styles, here's a handy synopsis before delving into what this style is all about:

french design

 tres francias!

tres francias!

by definition, an extremely elegant, delicate, ornate and historical style. fabrics (curtains, especially) are abundant and luxe, and white is everything. most distinctly, wall, ceiling and crown mouldings are exquisite, and they are everywhere. look down and you'll undoubtedly see some parquet flooring.

modern design

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unlike the rigidly defined french style, modern design has a much more fluid definition, broadly generalized as simplistic and minimal. stemming from the industrial design mantra of "form over function," modern design is centralized around just that, making form and function work in conjunction with each other. simplifying the function of a product = simplifying the form. voila, modern design! solid colors and swooping forms are also key.

old world

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old world design is complex. it is dark, brooding and rich. heavy materials, thoughtful spaces, exquisite detail, texture play, extraordinary wall details; these all come into play in old world design. dark, natural woods, deep textiles, gothic sconces, brass finishes - expect to see them all.


when it comes to ~french modern design with old world flare~, one could generalize it as merely being “eclectic,” but it’s more than that; it can’t be segmented into one supremely broad category as there are several distinct, foundational elements. whereas "eclectic" interiors are - for lack of a better term - a jumble of styles that just work, there are key characteristics that make a french modern interior, a french modern interior.

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1. moulding details everywhere (french): adorning the walls, ceiling, baseboards, and crowns. we’re not talking board & batten, but true, exquisite french moulding.

2. rich, luxurious textiles (french): from rugs to furniture and drapery. velvet is highly used, and absolutely not without a heavy-hand.

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3. dark palettes (old world): dark jewel tones - or pure black - on the walls is extremely impactful. on the mouldings, this gives an ultra-dramatic edge.

4. vibrant and colorful, streamlined furniture profiles (modern): modern statement pieces with clean lines and slight curves, in solid, vibrant colors. the more tufts the better, and bonus points for tufts on velvet.

5. antique brass finishes (old world): no silvers, rose golds, nickels here; staying true to the era is a large part of both french and old world design, and aged brass was what was used. silver and others would have been nowhere to be found.

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6. portraits and vintage artwork (old world): in many old world spaces, portraits of famous figures (or oversized mirrors) were hung in elaborate (brass) frames.

7. contemporary chandelier or pendant (modern): a steampunk or mid-century modern chandelier is always found in french modern spaces. these are statement making and bold, and are drastically contrasting from the delicate moulding on the walls. the color of the pendant is contrasting from the walls, especially if the wall color is dark. say the walls are emerald; a stark white & brass pendant chandelier would be ideal.

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this style isn't exactly new, and some designers have been mastering it for quite some time. granted, they probably haven't adopted the same "french country with an old world flare" namesake, but the key styling points are consistent. so who are these designers?

jean-louis denoit

deemed one of most prominent designers of the century by elle and commonly seen featured in design publications, denoit and his work is extremely well renown. though self-proclaimed as an "eclectic" designer, we happen to think he's king of french modern.

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jonathan adler

a name you're probably already familiar with, adler is one of the most reputable and recognized names in design. his work is the hallmark of the french modern style. after all, even his self-proclaimed style and tagline is "classic meets modern." his spaces offer highly traditional elements mixed with unexpected, bright pops of color and mod decor.

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joseph dirand

the designer for brands like chloe, givenchy and balmain, joseph dirand is a legend, and for good reason. he creates spaces with drama, flare, and regality unlike any other. his spaces aren't overtly whimsical, but create drama through architectural structure, with each space seeming to have an unexpected architectural fixture. his designs may not be bursting with color, but they still manage to end up dripping in drama.

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so, are you sold on the french modern with an old world flare style? more so, are you sold on the name?! design is incredible in that it's always up for individual interpretation, so let me know your thoughts!

interested in seeing more? we've got a pretty killer collection you can check out right over here.

x - mk