My obsession with all things French began not on a trip to Paris but one to Oklahoma. I visited a home designed by the great Charles Faudree. Based in Tulsa, his works appeared in numerous magazines from House Beautiful, Veranda, Traditional Home, and Southern Living. He wrote six books, all of which I cherish, designed a fabric line, was named one of best 100 designers in America, and a passionate owner of his beloved Cavalier King Charles spaniels. His illustrious career ended in 2003 but he still serves as the impetus for my passion of French and Southern décor.
As a designer of both quaint cottages and large estates, Mr. Faudree believed that certain little pops of “je ne sais quoI” or “the mix” created the look that we now all envy.
He considered “the mix,” necessary in all good design. By placing works of art in a grouping, highlighting an entry hall to create a warm and welcoming space, and filling a table full of breathtaking little treasures to create a feeling, expressed not only his style but reflected that of his clients. Style was the key to his greatness and no where could it be seen better than in his use of lush fabrics that combined buffalo checks, ticking stripes, florals, and, of course, toiles to represent a story, a statement of that room.
The beauty was always in the detail. Past and present, old and new, rustic and refined, understated yet elegant. But despite his famous mix, there existed a cohesion in every room he touched. Consistency also played a part as he often used his favorite objects; French commodes, gilded mirrors, bergeres, shell boxes, plates, platters, and stoneware, Staffordshire dogs, grand clocks.
Charles Faudree elevated French Country to a stunning artform, tried by many, succeeded by few. Known for his accoutrement (often without the pretense of stuffiness) his discerning eye generated beauty that seemed to simply evolve with ease.
Yes, Charles Faudree was my first design crush and I feel honored to be able to look at his work.
(all photos credited to Jenifer Jordan)