Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Trip to France Part Two: The Chateau

 Part Two: The Chateau! 
We had three destinations when we left for France, first landing in Paris for one overnight, and then we would be off for five or so nights at a French Chateau that one of our Annie Sloan stockists located online!  It proved to be the most fabulous of places and I am thrilled to be able to share with you how gorgeous and old French style this chateau is.  Still privately owned but available for rentals, this is a family home that sits right on the coast of France in the northern region called Brittany.  The town is Dinard, which was well known as a resort area back in the turn of the century, and it still is in many respects.  There is a big casino with first class hotels that dot the coast, and then there are a series of grand homes that share the coast line as well, including our chateau.  We dubbed it Our Brittany Manor, and used this as our hashtag on postings on Instagram.  So if you have an Instagram account, check out #ourbrittanymanor to see many little movies and photos of this spectacular place.
The front of the manor
The rear of the manor, that faces the ocean.
When we last left off, we were in Paris. We spent one night and the
next day readied to travel to Dinard on the northern coast of France.

Mr. Maison Decor was our designated driver (or else he would get sick)
and apparently I had created a 
monster by snapping his pic so many times during the trip. 
 So I snapped another one since I wanted him to look normal to all my readers.
We set out from Paris in our rental car~   
When we passed the Eiffel Tower for the second time, 
we realized we had driven in a circle! 
 For over an hour!!! 
ARGH!!  Are you kidding me??  
A four hour ride was now a five hour ride....
We couldn't figure out how to get our navigation system working in the rental car, 
and had tried to decipher the map and the roadway signage, apparently to no avail. 
 So renewed again, all four of us tried to pick the correct roads to get us to Dinard....
when we finally rolled into town, we had been in the rental car longer than
 it took me and Mr. Maison Decor to fly from Boston to Paris. 
 On top of that, it was now dark, and we couldn't seem to find our entrance to the manor. 
 We drove up and down the beautiful street with walled compounds and fancy gates, 
and it was at about the one hour mark, that Mr. Secret Agent (Janet Metzger's husband) 
got out of our car and located our manor entrance. 
 It was set so far back that we couldn't see it from the street.  
After entering the stone pillars, we headed up a two hundred foot driveway 
and finally we saw the large stone chateau ahead of us!! 
It was pitch dark outwith some lights on in the window!! 
We were super excited to just get out of the car after being trapped
 for over six hours!  On top of that, it was a Sunday and there 
were no stores that sold wine or beer for us to bring to the manor. 
 I kept my fingers crossed that Janet and I would soon be clinking wine glasses 
and Mr. Secret Agent and Mr. Maison Decor would be clanking beer steins!
The next hour was a blur...as you can see from the kitchen island, we did have
wine, although no beer was to be found.  Kathie and John, from Toronto, Canada,
also Annie Sloan Stockists from Kathie Jordan Designs were there and had brought
 a few supplies with them.  Virginia Weathersby, who had secured the rental, was there
as was Stacy Christenson, an Alabama stockist.  We had bread and cheese and sausages,
some pate and red wine.  We were as excited as kids on Christmas morning to check out 
where our bedrooms were, and after doing so we settled into the wood paneled library 
next to a big fire in the stone fireplace.  It was cozy and old world at its best, with the 
weathered leather chairs, the red velvet French Provincial settee, wrought iron chandelier
and massive fireplace at the rooms core.  Old family portraits of this home's family hung
on the walls and were in frames on the table tops.  We felt like part of this upper class
family that had come for a family reunion of sorts. 
 We were ready to take a load off and just sink into the chairs
 and get to know one another.
The husbands had never met, and so we all hoped they would
 get on well together.  Almost immediately we knew we 
would all have a great time.
 And did I mention, this home had Wifi for internet access?!
So that was fantastic as we could check in on our emails and
see how our stores were doing, connect with family as well as post pics
 on Facebook and Instagram while we were so very far away. 
 Janet and I had spent more than six hours away 
from our internet connections!!  
You can see her face in the blue glowing light of Facebook!!
Yes it appears that Janet posts even more than I do! 
We were feeling very happy and relaxed and finally
 were at our home away from home we dubbed
"Our Brittany Manor".  
Virginia had done an awesome job getting this great place!
So let me show you some shots of what the place looked like.
 There was a winding stair case in the entryway
 with a wood rail and iron balusters.
The home had three full floors and original artwork dotted the walls,
 as in the rest of the manor.  I noticed that there are no gratuitous decorative wall art.
There was simply just ART.  Lots of family photographs mixed in with the art,
Not a lot of mirrors, which came as a surprise to me. 
There were plenty of original old light fixtures
 in the home, but no grand chandeliers,
with the exception of a miniature one in the first floor bathroom
and a blown glass fixture in the living room that may be 
from Tiffany or Murano!
 Most every room had wood paneled doors with old iron hardware. 
Essentially each room
could be contained in privacy if needed. Many of the floors 
were intricate old marble mosaic tile
floors, with pretty patterns. The flooring would switch from wood flooring
 to mosaic then back again from room to room.
Maybe because this home was on the ocean, they used the tile
as one might for a beach house~sweep out the sand, and the water
is not going to harm the tile.
 The carpet covering many of the rooms was pedestrian, 
most likely due to the high traffic and abuse associated
 with it being used as a rental property on occasion.
Other than the carpeting, this place was all first rate!
 The front door was a simple double door that had lavender and 
yellow stained glass panels.
There were other doors all over the house, but these were the only 
stained glass doors, and they
matched the windows that followed the staircase all the way to the top floor. 
 An old Biedermeier glass front bookcase filled with books
 was to the right of the front door.
 And next to that was the  entry to the library.
The library with the massive fireplace and leather chairs with paneled walls.
This room was one of our favorites!
Looking back this way, you can see the front entryway.
There were two french doors that were dressed with white linen panels
that looked out over the front lawn of the manor.
  The kitchen was bright yellow with lots of blue and white tiles. 
The walls were half tiled in white, while the island and the
 large gathering table was done in white ceramic tile with a blue and white border. 
 Blue and white curtains hung from the windows and french doors 
in the eat-in area, and a long buffet cabinet held white dishes
 and bowl and mugs for every day dinner service. 
 We would gather in here in the morning for breakfasts 
of croissants and boiled eggs and toast with jam.  
Pots of coffee would be made, one after the other until 
we were off on our daily plans.  See the
eggs sitting out on the counter? That is how they keep the eggs in France. 
Why are ours kept in the fridge? 
 There were little differences like that which I found interesting.  
Stacy, Janet, me, Andrea, Virginia, Kathie and Diane back
 in the kitchen with more wine and cheese.
 Off the kitchen was a large walk through area to the living room 
which was the butlers pantry.
There were built in cabinets on every wall of this room 
done in yellow with white trim.  Another
french doors was dressed in blue and white toile drapery panels, 
and a big skirted table in blue 
and white softened the space with a lamp and a vase of flowers.
 We charged our iphones and ipads in the butlers pantry.  
This was a walk through space that connected the front foyer 
as well as the kitchen and the main salon, or living room.
 The salon had a formal area and a sunny sitting area that looked out over the ocean. 
 This was the formal part, with salmon velvet barrel back settee and chairs 
in the French style with gilded woodwork.  The floor was gold and
 black and pinkish colored mosaic work, in a decorative pattern
 to mimic a carpeted space.  There were fine antiques everywhere, 
like the beautiful desk and the antique
light fixtures.  The walls were painted seafoam green
 and it was just a lovely bright large room.
 A huge gilded mirror hung at a slant so one could see the ocean view. 
 An old tripod lamp added additional light to the room. 
 A pretty french provincial style wood mantel had 
a delicate antique fireplace screen and you could see it was often used.
 Spectacular Murano style hand blown glass chandelier and sconces
 were gorgeous in the colors of the sea.  This is a closer shot of the blown grapes
 and the petals of the glass on the bronze fixture.
t
 Barley twist lamps with bright green shades
 stood next to a marble chess set and family
collectibles and photographs.  A fine oil painting of the sea
 hung above the marble topped cabinet.
 And as you may see in the mirror reflection,
 a sunroom style sitting area is adjoining this salon area.
This was a great gathering room with beautiful views.
We spent many hours in here.
 I imagine it was a porch at one time, but now it is open 
to the rest of the space and is the most inviting of all the rooms
 with its commanding view of the Dinard Harbor. Little sailboats 
dot the harbor and the view is breathtaking. 
 Pretty view are everywhere the eye can see.  White slipcovered
furniture fill this room and once you sit down, you will not want to get up.
We took more than a few photos in here, like this one on the night
of the welcoming party for Annie's conference.
An antique telescope in working order sits at the ready
 for closer views of your intended target.
Bits of antique gilded furniture is found scattered about in this manor, 
like this little footstool underneath the telescope. 
There are a pair of doors with curving granite staircases
 that lead to the outside in the back of the chateau.
 There are so many lovely views! 
The curved staircases take you down to the lawn 
where there are two levels until you reach the stone wall, 
where you will a gated entry to a path to the private sandy beach.
Oh yes, this place was truly amazing, inside and out!! 
I will take you there in a bit...but back to the interior of the chateau.
 The huge dining room was off of the salon and the library.
 It stretched from front to back of the manor.  The walls 
were painted a magenta pink
and the draperies were done in a vibrant modern floral.  
Old wooden rush seat French chairs
were plentiful~here you see the tables after we joined them
 together for our big dinner party
the second night we stayed in the manor. 
 The owner had two tables set up at each end of the room.
 The large china cabinet had loads of white china monogramed
 in gold with gilded edges that the owner encouraged us to use.
 We set the table and Janet cooked
 us all a feast to celebrate that all had arrived to the manor. 
Kathie lit the candelabras. 
 Around the table from left to right: Me, Kathie and John Jordan, 
Andrea Young and her mom Diane,
Stacy Christenson, Virginia Weathersbee and Janet Metzger 
with her hubs to her right out of the camera view. 
My hubby took was the photographer.
Here is the other end of the table~bon appetit!
Cheers! Beer and wine flowed until the wee hours of the morning.  
And we discovered we had somehow polished off 17 bottles of wine! 
It was a night I will always remember.
This was the next day in the kitchen...see the empty bottles? 
We decided to put all the dead soldiers up on the kitchen shelf.
Not sure why I thought it was a good idea, but I will say, that wine 
from France is so good, and you will not get a headache!  Viva la France!
Back to the tour...
One of the amazing and cool things about this place was this 
wonderful conservatory off of the dining room.  
Huge arched french doors lead out into this three season space.
 There was a garden hose hooked up inside this room 
for watering of the plants, 
washing off your sandy feet from a return from the private beach.  
A marble bistro
table and wicker chairs were the furnishings.
 Plants and vines crawled up the walls. It felt like I had stumbled
 into this most amazing time tunnel and had traveled back in time. 
There was sand on the floor,
and canvas deck chairs stacked in a corner. 
This grand home had such a 
history to it, and I wished I knew more of the family 
who lived here for generations.
 Around the room was a beautiful iron grate in the floor 
where the water could be washed 
away.  A beautiful mosaic pattern in a garden style
 was underneath your feet.  I spent one 
day sitting in this room with a book (Annie's newest book!!),
 as I had caught a cold and was home alone while the others
were at the conference. The guys had traveled to 
view the beaches of Normandy, 
and I found myself in this cozy and tropical feeling room
 imaging how it was well
loved and used throughout  the past century.   
I would love to have a room like this in my home! 
So I poured a glass of wine
and dug into Annie Sloan's latest book, on room recipes
 for color and style, very soon to be released. 
The stockists who went to the conference got a sneak copy!
While I read up on the style of French Elegance 
I couldn't help but notice that 
the conservatory doors were painted in shades right out
 of Annie Sloan's color palette. 
A pale French Linen and Paris Grey combo 
was what I saw for copying these pretty doors.
One can never have enough french doors in a home.  This must have been
the edict given to the architect as every single room seems to have
a french door.  Well, not the bathrooms, but the bedrooms and every
other room had them, and I just loved how they brought the outside in.
I loved this color combination too~and the old weathered wood floors.
I found it all so inspiring!
Now I will show you some of the bedrooms. 
They were all very French in decor~really lovely!
Toiles and florals with traditional French Provincial furniture.
 The red toile room that Kathie and John stayed in was very grand.
 A pair of chairs in matching toile sat by the french doors.
 One can open the doors to see and hear the ocean right below.
 A beautiful French trumeau mirror hung with lots of artwork
 and table top accessories decorated the room, antique, of course.
 This was Lydia's room, a Maine stockist from Maine Country Home. 
 She would arrive later in the week.
 This was Andrea Young's room, a stockist from California.
 This was our bedroom, in pink and green chinoiserie toile!
I took these pics the moment we came into the room and set down our bags.
Here is Prince Charming looking for a safe space to stash his cowboy hat.
There were other beautiful rooms, like Janet's room, that was all done in 
blue and white toile.  I have a movie of the home that 
I will add so you can tour these 
to get more of a feeling of what the home felt like on a walking tour.
A few of the housemates and I  made a little
 two part mini series film called
"Downton Annie"
It was our tongue in cheek way to remember this grand home
 and how special it was. To travel to France for Annie Sloan's conference,
and spend this time together under the roof of this amazing chateau,
was so much fun, so we decided to create a mini film.
I will be working on finishing the film and writing the third chapter
for my blog post of our trip to France.
So stay tuned if you are enjoying our trip!
I will be adding more personal photos, like us at bistros and on the 
edges of cliffs, and goofing off and looking at priceless antiques, and
drinking more than our fair share of wine, and all that kind of good stuff.
Until next time! 



Photobucket
Related Posts with Thumbnails