A Colorful French Style Cottage

Antique textiles can be found throughout the home—one of Kaari’s favorite pieces of décor. “I use them to layer and create texture,” she says. “They are also nice to snuggle under!”

Nestled into the relaxed hillside of Los Feliz in Los Angeles, California, this colorful French style cottage fits perfectly within the neighborhood of established and aspiring creative types. Homeowner and designer Kaari Zabala took an innovative approach to the design of her home, combining old and new pieces, along with French and Native American-inspired décor.

Vibrant reds, soft yellows and creams make this living room both exciting and relaxed. Its wooden ceiling beams and fireplace are wonderfully reminiscent of the French countryside.

“There are lots of primitive pieces used to soften the atmosphere,” she says. “We have a mix of old and new in our home—but mostly old!” Kaari is the owner of the popular craft-workshop store, French General. Her store promotes a French-inspired lifestyle and sells items like textiles, ephemera collections and household décor found only in France. Her affinity for French things are directly seen in her own home as well.

For a special evening, bring some décor outside and create a cozy space for you and a loved one. Though this patio isn’t in Paris, with comfy seating, wine and appetizers, it is just as romantic.

Kaari keeps the store and her inspiration thriving with her trips to the South of France every summer, utilizing the items from her store and inspiration from her trips in the design of her home. With a twist on traditional provincial style, she takes advantage of unique décor, combinations of old and new, rustic elements and a vibrant color palette to bring the essence of French style to her home.

Beautiful greenery lends a natural sophistication to the Kaari’s outdoor seating space.

Distinctly French

Built in 1936, Kaari’s home is 1,500 square feet of cozy space that channels classic aspects of provincial style. Throughout the home, Kaari creates feelings of grace and comfort that are highly valued by the French.


Kaari hung a rural painting in the kitchen along with an eclectic mix of chairs around the table. Creating elements of nature in your home is a sure way to achieve a provincial style. Use a unique canister rather than a vase to add a rustic feel to any space.

In the main bedroom, pieces such as a hanging chandelier, bedside lamp and chair boast feminine curves and gilded accents that add fanciful flourishes to the space. A lovely French sliding glass door opens up to the exquisite backyard, bringing the outdoors into the elegant design of the bedroom.

Sliding French patio doors bring plenty of light into the master bedroom, and the stunning views are part of its appeal. An rustic chandelier mixes with floral fabrics to create an elegant country vibe.

The kitchen boasts a mix of fine antiques and rustic patinas. While kitchens used to simply be a place to cook, Kaari turned her kitchen space into a display for her favorite collectibles. A country-inspired armoire has open shelving to display her delicate chinaware and, inspired by French vintage, Kaari turned one of the walls into a display of old-fashioned scissors, framed butterflies and other household items.

Kaari transformed one of her kitchen walls to display an eclectic collection of antique items, including scissors, butterflies and kitchenware. This wall gallery brings old-world style to her French home.

The main table, on the other hand, speaks to the relaxing atmosphere of a French marketplace with bright sunflowers, croissants and fresh jam. The chandelier adds a touch of elegance to the space, while a gilded painting brings in a rural element. These décor items blend the rustic and the refined in the space, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

An assortment of beautiful kitchenware is displayed in the French armoire’s open shelving. Pops of country colors like yellows and reds in the delicate china sets keep with the home’s color palette.

Color and Textiles

In the living room, Kaari combines her passion for textiles with a classic French theme. She loves to collect antique Navajo rugs and uses them to cover the floors of her home. Their colorful presence prompted her to use their color schemes as inspiration for her color palette, resulting in reds, creams and earthy browns. To help balance the boldness of the bright reds, she created a contrast with soft yellow accent walls and creamy linen décor.

Every corner of the home is put to use, such as this cozy nook that boasts comfortable seating and a lovely view through French-style windows.

Kaari takes advantage of her own collection of fabrics from French General to create lovely patterned pillows in plaid and striped designs, as well as for upholstering most of the homes daybeds, sofas and chairs. She uses Old World sensibility paired with cheerful colors and patterns to channel French provincial style throughout her home. To help others achieve the style, Kaari suggests repurposing old textiles. Try reinforcing old quilts with a layer of linen on the back or use old tablecloths to make pillow covers. Kaari says, “Every scrap of fabric can be used to add personality to your home.”

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of French Style Magazine. Pick up your copy today for more elegant French country inspiration!


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