House Tour: The Romance of European Elegance, Part I

Growing up in Europe, Lidy Baars learned to appreciate the finer things in life. Born and raised in her grandparents’ lavish estate in Eindhoven, Holland, Lidy lived in beautiful world filled with exquisite French and Dutch antiques. Her grandparents’ home enraptured Lidy from an early age, and even though she left Europe when she was 8 years old, this early love of antiques would influence her personal and professional life for years to come.

Romantic European Decor
A panoramic view from the living room overlooks a bloom-filled garden oasis while rays of light shine through the oversized windows, illuminating Lidy’s antique and vintage furnishings.

“The house really was beautiful, filled with lots of antique armoires, petit point chairs and beautiful porcelains. It truly was a magical way to grow up in my early years,” she recalls. “I developed my love for antiques in the home of my grandparents. As an adult, I’ve realized that with every home we’ve lived in I’ve tried to recapture the same feeling my grandparents’ home had.”

Romantic Antique Silver
Lidy brings nostalgia into her space with antiques, such as this silver tea set, adding a touch of modernity with flowers and even candy vines.

Now that she’s all grown up with children and grandchildren of her own, the antiques dealer and proprietress of the online boutique French Garden House found her ideal home in Huntington Beach, California. For the past 18 years, Lidy and her husband, John, have enjoyed their quaint cottage, which is filled with love and antiques much like her grandparent’s home.

In 1994, when Lidy and John began searching for their family home, they wanted the perfect place to raise their two daughters, a place close to the ocean so their children could ride their bikes to the beach.

Romantic European Master Bedroom
In the master bedroom, the vanity is created from her mother’s vintage Sears sewing cabinet. While it once carried a sewing machine, Lidy transformed the antique by painting it white and placing a gilded French mirror on top.

“We had looked at many homes before finding this one,” she says. “Some were much larger, but the minute I stepped inside the front door of our house I knew this was home.” With three bedrooms, it was substantially smaller than her grandparents’ three-story house. But the single-story, 1960s beach cottage was just the right place for the young family. While the home wasn’t perfect, Lidy immediately recognized the home’s potential and she was especially taken with the expansive garden view.

Romantic European Kitchen Decor
The light-filled kitchen is decorated with Victorian silver, cafe au lait bowls and French linens, which Lidy and her family use every day.

“When we bought the house, everything was pink—the carpet, the drapes, the counters, the walls. It was a sea of pink,” she says. “We put in wood floors, repainted everything in calming shades of white and added sea grass carpeting to the bedrooms. To make the best of the garden view, we replaced the old, dated windows with beautiful wood crank out-style windows. Our living room has a whole wall of those windows to let in every available ray of light.”

Romantic European Antiques
A small vignette in the bathroom is comprised of antique celluloid pictures, a pair of children’s shoes from Lidy’s collection and antique apothecary jars, which are used to store scented bath salts and lavender.

And when it came time to decorate her home, Lidy recalled her days in Holland to help guide her. “What I’ve taken with me from my European heritage and something the French are masters at, is that your home should reflect you and your family,” she says. “I have everything from flea market finds to French antiques in our own home but nothing that isn’t practical. I believe in cozy relaxed settings where guests can place their cups on the coffee table without a worry and kids can pull up a small antique chair and color in their coloring books.”

Stay tuned for Part II to see more of Lidy’s romantic European kitchen and the garden she can’t live without.

By Justine Lopez

Photography by Mark Tanner

Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel

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