With antique barnwood beams, old Spanish roof tiles on top and picture-perfect views of the rural backdrop of Ojai, California, it’s hard to believe that Steve and Brooke Giannetti’s Patina Farm hasn’t been a part of the landscape for at least a century.
Patina Farm, this elegant rustic home, was built from Brooke’s desire to escape the city life and move to the country. “I always had this dream of raising animals and chickens on the land,” says Brooke. “We built this from scratch, when there was nothing but a couple of ancient oak trees. We based the house around the vistas of the trees and mountains. Steve, an architect, sited the house to take advantage of all the views.”
Now the home they designed together is shared with three miniature Pygmy goats, three babydoll sheep, four mini Sicilian donkeys, a little over a dozen assorted chickens, four dogs, a house rabbit and a couple of button quail. “They kind of roam, and they’re so happy here,” Brooke says. “They bring so much to our life and our land.”
Natural and Rustic
Since homes in the area are Mediterranean style or traditional wood farm structures, the Giannetti home takes its design cues from a combination of the two. “It was also inspired by some of our travels in Europe to France and Belgium,” Brooke says. “When we were in Belgium, there were a lot of houses that used antique building materials in a clean, fresh way, and that’s what we did here.”
Beautiful details, from wooden arched doors to clean plaster walls to antique barn beams, create a “juxtaposition of modern and ancient elements,” Brooke says. “We wanted it to feel timeless, so that people couldn’t tell if it was old or new.”
Antiques and vintage pieces are a big part of Brooke’s style, and she celebrates the beauty of patina and the imperfections in time-worn antiques and materials. “I think they bring their own history to a space,” Brooke says. “They aren’t so precious, and they are very forgiving for use with children and animals.”
For furnishings, she prefers Swedish antiques and imports pieces from Europe for her home as well as her business, Giannetti Home. “I love Swedish antiques,” Brooke says. “They tend to be a little more rustic, but they have a refinement to them, and their palettes are calm and neutral.”
Lighting is especially important for decorating with antiques, and Brooke sources wall, ceiling fixtures or table and floor lamps to create a more natural and period-appropriate look. “We don’t have any canned or recessed lighting. I’m a big believer in letting these fixtures make the room glow,” Brooke says. For this reason, she selects lacquered brass light fixtures. “They just get prettier as they age over time.”
Tied to the Land
Because the home is in the Ojai Valley, it’s surrounded by trees, mountains and horse properties, so it’s only natural that the Giannettis would want to connect their house to its rural setting. This meant the home should blend in with its surroundings. To achieve this, they clad the exterior in rustic limestone for an earthy, soothing feel and chose large windows with slim mullions so as not to obstruct the beautiful views.
“We limited the palette and materials to give it more of a flow,” Brooke explains. “We used one type of limestone, so it flows from the inside to the outside spaces. The floors are a similar color. It’s all neutral and inspired by the surrounding nature, so it’s very calm …It does have that feeling of being far away.”
Accessories are minimal but intentional, and Brooke opts for a natural palette, whether decorating with baskets, leather pieces, Belgian linens or warm unlacquered brass.
For the room layout, they kept in mind how they would use each space and where the sun would be throughout the day. Brooke and Steve’s master suite, for example, is situated to receive the eastern morning light, and their offices are on the west side of the house. “We’re also connected to where the animals are.”
Her animals and the connection to the outside are Brooke’s favorite things about her home. “It’s such a transparent home; it’s all about connecting to the beautiful vistas that surround us,” Brooke says.
The Cook’s Atelier, a French culinary boutique, cooking school and wine shop in Beaune, France, started out as a dream shared by a mother and daughter with a passion for food and wine.
“We wanted to create a convivial gathering place where we could share our love of food and wine with other home cooks from around the world,” says Marjorie Taylor, who co-founded The Cook’s Atelier, along with daughter, Kendall Smith Franchini.
Combining their years of cooking, viticulture and oenology expertise, they’ve turned their knowledge of the foods and wines of France into a family business and brand (Kendall’s husband, Laurent, is the shopkeeper).
“We envisioned taking guests to the market to purchase local produce, artisanal cheeses, meats, charcuterie, and freshly baked bread from our favorite artisan food producers,” explains Marjorie. “We dreamed of teaching hands-on cooking classes and workshops, using classic French techniques, followed by long, leisurely French lunches around our table. In the evenings, we imagined hosting candlelit dinner parties with new and old friends.”
The American expats now living in France set up shop in a 17th-century building in the center of historic Beaune. The Cook’s Atelier highlights local artisan food producers and winemakers from Burgundy and throughout France. Guests come to their culinary workshops in their “teaching kitchen” and intimate gatherings to learn about Burgundy, one bite and cooking lesson at a time. Their menus are “inspired by the bountiful markets of Beaune.”
The Cook’s Atelier culinary boutique has a curated selection of unique items for the kitchen and home. Their online shop ships internationally. “Everything is hand-sourced,” says Marjorie. “We’ve been collecting our vintage items for over three generations. We enjoy using the things we love daily rather than saving them only for special occasions. We are particularly drawn to natural and white linens, copper and zinc elements, French vintage finds, marble, shades of white and gray, and plenty of patina.”
This year, they will be launching their own line of provisions, which will include organic first-pressed French olive oil, local Burgundian honey and spices. “We feel that people are drawn to the act of returning to the table and sharing a meal with family and friends,” Marjorie says. “It’s about much more than just the cooking. It is the overall experience of cooking and gathering.”
Few homes in southern California have the architectural character or timeless appeal of older homes. If a classic style of home is at the top or your list of must-haves, you often have to search high and low for the right house.
But when Rachel Ashwell, designer and founder of Shabby Chic, stumbled across this Brentwood house eight years ago, she fell in love with its quirks and knew it would be just the place to call home.
“The architectural style is a hodgepodge,” Rachel says. “It has a bit of a Southern feel, but it also has a Spanish, an English and an Irish flair.”
In the main living room, a large brick fireplace is the focal point of the room and sets the warm, comforting tone of the rest of the home. The fireplace is so large you can walk inside of it, Rachel says, which is common in Scottish or Irish houses. “It’s actually what drew me to buy the house to begin with.”
While the home already had many exceptional details, including arched walkways, beautiful balconies, and original doors and hardware, Rachel decided to restore some of the key design aspects to a more classic style.
“As often is the case, the baths and kitchen had been renovated, but in a slick and polished style, so I restored them and put them back to what I consider would have been the authentic style for the house,” Rachel says.
For the kitchen, she found some white subway tiles from an old Belgian subway that offer just a slight hint of sheen and contribute to the simplicity of the space. Other elements that bring her kitchen together are dainty pendants above the farmhouse sink, simple white floating shelves neatly stacked with plates, and white painted barnwood-style cabinets. “It has the illusion of a funky little kitchen, but it’s a really good, functional one.”
When Rachel moved in, walls separated the kitchen from the main living room; she opened everything up so it’s all one large space. “It feels like New York loft living, and I have a lot of guests stay here, so I wanted it to have a feeling of a lot of space and not lonely with all these closed-off rooms,” Rachel says. Now with multiple seating areas and dining and workshop areas, it’s an ideal multipurpose room for everyday use.
A big part of the home’s charm—and what Rachel is very well known for—are the many floral designs in fabric prints and small-scale use of wallpaper patterns you’ll find throughout the home. They add a soft and sophisticated touch in her signature Shabby Chic style.
“I like to do the patterned wallpaper in these little nook areas,” Rachel says. “I tend to use vintage wallpaper. Often you can’t find a large quantity of vintage wallpaper, so that’s why it’s confined to one space, but it’s easy to do.”
Another design trick for bringing in soft color: Rachel paints the walls white, but from the floor to about 3 feet off the ground, she paints it over with a light gray, pink or blue for a two-tone look. “It [adds] color in an unassuming, subtle way,” she says. “They did that a lot in Morocco, and that’s where I got the idea.” These small but impactful design details give Rachel’s home its personality.
Antiques add patina and character, and Rachel looks to flea-market pieces to create the look of timeworn elegance she loves. “Nearly all the cabinets, tables and chairs are flea market-found and refurbished to the point that they’re functional and clean, but I try to hold on to the authentic patinas and textures,” Rachel says.
She also mixes in a few reproduction furniture pieces from the Rachel Ashwell Furniture collection to achieve the style, scale and function she wants. Many of her antique pieces are recovered in machine-washable fabric for durability since they’re white. Her collections of antique dishes, trays, vases and containers decorate hutches, tabletops and shelves for a cozy, charming look. All the bedding, in fabric patterns or soft hues, is romantic and vintage inspired.
What is the essence of Rachel’s decorating style? “I guess I would call myself a bit boho, but it’s also very classic. I don’t like things that go in and out of style,” Rachel says. “My mantra is ‘beauty, comfort and function.’ Everything in my house needs to be inviting and needs to be useful. That’s where I start.”
4 Elements of Rachel Ashwell’s Style
Want to emulate Rachel’s signature style? Learn how with her tips.
Soft color: “My palette tends to be on the softer side,” Rachel says. From various pinks and raspberries to teal, the look is fresh and inviting.
Eclectic: “I like things to be eclectic but not chaotic. I might organize it or give it a theme with color. Think expensive mixed with flea market and Target.”
Glamour: “I always like a little bit of glamour.” These bits of bling can be crystal chandeliers or a rug with silver threading through it.
Timeworn: “Embracing the beauty of imperfections and faded grandeur is a big thing for me. I don’t get too neurotic if something gets chipped.
The biggest challenge of collecting antique pieces is figuring out how to display it all in a thoughtfully curated way. Alys Geertsen, owner of Paris Couture Antiques, collects and sells French-style antiques, and stages her home with pretty pieces that also control clutter. Here’s how to create organized spaces with romantic character.
A Pretty Front
Since her home doubles as an office space, her formal front room has to impress, and Alys does so with a collected, romantic touch. In her front room, a mix of French antique and new furnishings and a select few vintage accessories set the mood.
Home Office Goals
Hidden behind antique barn doors, Alys’ office is equally functional and full of vintage charm. A late-1800s hutch from France conceals her art supplies inside drawers and behind doors. The small wooden carrier on top of her desk is full of shipping supplies for her business, including twine, scissors, labels, envelopes and pretty ribbons to wrap packages.
“It’s very important to me for my office to be both a space of visual inspiration and beauty, and be functional,” Alys says.
This thrift market vanity was refurbished with black chalk paint and crystal knobs. A stool found at yard sale reupholstered with a silk floral pillow was an extra feminine touch. The vanity drawers easily store all of her makeup and she displays some antique perfume bottles on top. A Hollywood regency wall mirror and a smaller 1940s Venetian mirror complete the glamorous ensemble.“I try to make all of my spaces functional yet beautiful. I believe you can have both,” Alys says.
Every year, I roll out my rolling pin to make a special batch of cookies as a sweet treat to my nearest and dearest. My all-time favorite recipe is the raspberry Linzer cookie. Its charming “windowpane” cutout design and wintry sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar make this the perfect gift to share with neighbors and friends.
Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam
This version features the flavors of vanilla and cinnamon, while whole-wheat flour adds depth. But linzer cookies are perfect for a bit of customizing to enhance your favorite flavors. Feel free to add some finely chopped almond bits or swap in almond flour for a nuttier flavor. Not a fan of raspberry? Use your favorite jam! Make sure you have a Linzer cookie cutter set to create the cutouts.
Recipe by Margie Monin Dombrowski
Makes about 20 cookies
You will need:
2 cups all-purpose whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
raspberry jam for filling
confectioner’s sugar for dusting
You will do:
Spoon flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl.
Using a an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat at a low speed until well blended, being careful not to over-beat.
Add the mixture of dry ingredients to the bowl until just combined and it forms a dough.
Divide the dough in half and wrap both in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper to ensure non-stick and even baking.
Roll out each portion of dough to about 1/4 inch thickness with a lightly floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.
Use your large cookie cutters to cut out the cookie shapes, then use the small cookie cutters for the “windowpane” cutout on half of the cutouts. These “windowpane” shapes can be fragile, so carefully transfer these shapes to your parchment paper.
If your cookies fall apart after the cutout, try cutting out the smaller shapes while on the cookie sheet.
Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow cookies to completely cool.
Spread raspberry jam over the cookies without the cutout shape. Add the cutout cookie on top to create a sandwich with the raspberry jam peeking through. Dust the top of each cookie with confectioner’s sugar. Serve and enjoy!
Frilly linens and burlap. Antiqued finishes and chipped edges. What’s not to love about the French farmhouse style?
“Farmhouse style exudes warmth and comfort, like a warm apple pie on a chilly night, while the French element adds elegance and sophistication,” explains Anita Joyce, owner of the Cedar Hill Farmhouse blog. “The combination just works.”
To emulate Anita’s soothing “Farmhouse French” style, blend high-end details with earthy, comfortable materials. “I use farmhouse elements like grain sacks, homespun linen, white ironstone plates and platters, old earthenware bowls and crockery, worn wood ladders, dough bowls, chippy iron beds, French enamel pitchers and worn baskets,” Anita says. “If it’s rusty or has chippy paint, it’s probably perfect.”
Next she mixes in French Louis XV and Louis XVI chairs, feminine French style lamps, original artwork, old candlesticks from churches, French silverware, silver teapots and water pitchers, French clocks, a cloche or two filled with luscious ivy, or Florentine trays as gold accents.
“Remember, you want to mix the rustic with the refined: Think sparkling crystal chandeliers mixed with a rusty iron bed frame, crisp white linen monogrammed sheets and a burlap covered bench,” says Anita.
Anita’s Favorite Decorating Tips
Add vintage! Try local flea markets, consignment stores, antiques festivals and thrift stores to find something unique.
“Age” your accessories with paint and antiquing wax.
Reupholster fancy antique French chairs and settees with grain sacks and homespun linen sheets.
Old dishes are inexpensive, easy to find and add so much charm.
Limit your color palette for a calming effect.
Anita is also author of French Accents: Farmhouse French Style for Today’s Home and podcast host for “Decorating Tips and Tricks.” For more information, visit cedarhillfarmhouse.com.
The farmhouse aesthetic strikes the right balance of casual and chic to make any home feel relaxing throughout the year. Just a few cozy details make it all come to life.
Here are some key elements to recreate the look in any space in your home and even outdoors.
Nothing says farmhouse better than an old metal lantern. Whether copper or bronze, lanterns enhance the ambience, especially with the warm glow of candles inside.
Dainty candleholders: Another way to set the mood, antique pillar candleholders add old-fashioned charm.
Pretty posies: Fresh flowers bring color and natural beauty to any space, and are an absolute must when creating a romantic-rustic vibe.
Natural fibers: Choose natural-fiber fabrics made of cotton, linen and wool for accents and upholstery. Un-dyed and less processed cloth will offer a more rustic look, while vintage fabrics add a touch of history wherever they are used.
Patina-ed pieces: Decorate with antique and flea-market finds that show some wear (the rustier the better).
Time-worn woods: Perfectly imperfect wood furniture pieces bring character and warmth to any space, weathered finish and all.
Agrarian flair: Accent with barn-style accessories such as antlers, horseshoes and old metal pitchforks as the final authentic touch on your farmhouse decor.
A romantic scavenging experience awaits at the Three French Hens
“We sell a mixture of handcrafted vintage and antique
items,” says Traci Tessone, market owner. While you shop through
their unique selection of romantic décor, you can enjoy fresh produce
options as well. “Some popular items are our jewelry made out of
vintage repurposed items, our handmade candles and our local
honey. We like to keep everything affordable.”
If you love one-of-a-kind custom finished furniture and the thrill of hunting for unique vintage goods, then you have to stop by the Vintage Flamingo flea market in Gulfport, Mississippi for an amazing assortment of curated treasures from decades past. The market is only open for one weekend out of every month, so if you see something you can’t live without you’d better not think twice!
“We have classic romantic style with a flair, whimsical and vintage,” says Sharon Ladner, co-owner with Michelle Jacobs. “The store is overflowing with home décor to suit any style and price range. Our market specializes in vintage, recycled and repurposed items. It is extremely rare to leave empty-handed. We specialize in seating for anywhere from two or eight, dressers, entertainment centers, patio furniture and all kinds of vintage wall décor.”
Next time you’re in the neighborhood, check your calendar and you just might be lucky enough to see what kind of deals the Vintage Flamingo vendors have to offer!
Romantic Gulf Coast in Gulfport
2nd Thursday–Sunday of every month vintageflamingoms.com
If your eye finds the beauty in patina and can appreciate those diamonds found in the rough at a flea market, then you’ll love Paris Couture Antiques in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Owned and curated by Alys Geertsen, Paris Couture Antiques is an online shop run from her home that offers fixtures and accessories in Parisian and Provincial styles. “I have everything from vintage santos figures to crowns and everything in between, but my main draw is antique and vintage lighting,” says Alys. “A lot of the crystals on the light fixtures or accessories were manufactured in Europe, so the quality is superb.”
Other beautiful treasures include gilt mirrors with real 24-carat gold leaf that work well in interiors both vintage and modern. “I pick unique items that you’re not going to be able to find anywhere else,” she says.
Also offering design services and scheduled appointments in her home shop, Alys helps clients create the look they’re dreaming of by sourcing just the right elements to bring it all together beautifully.
“These accessories aren’t going out of style in a couple years, you’re going to love them forever,” Alys says. Visit pariscoutureantiques.com.