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C'est Magnifique! This month's Fox Tales will be the polar opposite of last month's clean lines and rustic industrial styling. Instead we will positively overflowing with that French je ne sais quoi as we explore the design aesthetic and inspiration of the nation that defines style, opulence, and elegance. From architectural details to putting a modern twist on classic French-inspired design we will be covered in crystal, glowing with gilding, and enveloped in velvet for the next few weeks.

This series was inspired by a couple new clients but in particular our #virginiachateau project. This delightfully elegant client has a definite taste for the finer things in life and asked Laura to bring the richness and grandeur of classic French design paired with some more transitional design sensibilities to the new #virginiachateau that she and her husband are building. This request sent the LFID team into research mode, pulling photos from traditional 18th and 19th century French Chateaux in order to get a firm grasp on the origins of the aesthetic so that we could then update it for a stunning 21st century home.

Photo Credit: Chateau de Versailles

The research process naturally started out with a look at the ultimate French Chateau, Versailles. The former home of such style icons of their day as Marie Antoinette and Madame de Pompadour was the undisputed epitome of French elegance in design. With it's gilded walls, extravagant chandeliers, and luxurious furnishings it was an immense display of wealth, power, and the height of design during the Baroque and Rococo eras.

Photo Credit: Chateau de Versailles

Another of the royal residences, the Palais de Compiegne, is pictured below. This space as well as the above bedroom from the Grande Trianon at Versailles both feature the Louis XVI chair which was immensely popular in Rococo design. The simpler, more geometric styling of this chair stands in direct contrast to the more intricate and ornate styling of Louis XIV and Louis XV chairs that were used extensively in Baroque design and can be seen featured in the first photo from Versailles.

Palais de Compiegne Prince's Double Apartment

Photo Credit: Palais de Compiegne

For a more typical example of Rococo design you can look to the two below photos from the Chateau de Valencay and the Chateau La Durantie. Both of these spaces exhibit the lightness and elegance that was characteristic of this era. The lighter and airier Rococo design aesthetic was in direct response to the heaviness and excess of the Baroque period and focused on a color palette of pastels, whites, ivories, and golds in contrast to the bolder, more saturated hues that were prevalent in Baroque design.

Chinoisserie (the European interpretation of Chinese or Asian art) also became very popular during the Rococo period. The aristocracy were especially fond of incorporating this Asian influence in such pieces as pottery, room screens, tapestries, and the like as is demonstrated in the below photo with the large urns and screen.

Photo Credit: Chateau de Valencay