Collecting: Floral Paintings

Learn the ins-and-outs of collecting beautiful antique floral artwork.

Photography by Gay VanBeek
Photography by Gay VanBeek

Most people enjoy receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and roses seem to carry that little something special. Collecting paintings depicting floral arrangements will ensure that your home abounds with floral arrangements at all times. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Some people have been collecting for years, whereas others are just starting out. The following are some tips for beginners, and perhaps a refresher for those with a burgeoning knack for assembling a fine collection.


Photography by Gay VanBeek
Photography by Gay VanBeek

Train your eye to recognize value.

According to Gay Van Beek, floral painting aficionado and head “Romantic” at, “When looking to purchase an antique oil on canvas, you need to inspect both the front of the painting and the back of the canvas. The painting on the front will be crackled with age, sometimes with small holes and even tears that have been repaired by placing tape over them from the back. The back of the canvas on an older painting will be dark tan to dark brown in color and stained with age. The canvas on a newer painting will be just slightly yellowed or all white. Recognize the finish, the feel of the canvas and even the smell of the aging paint.”


Photography by Gay VanBeek
Photography by Gay VanBeek

Start by purchasing a few inexpensive prints.

Ms. Van Beek adds, “Antique oils on canvas are becoming increasingly difficult to find, and most amateur collectors love the old patina of the paintings as much as the roses themselves. The dark backgrounds add a punch of color to any home décor and look particularly stunning when placed against an all‐white palette.”


Photography by Gay VanBeek
Photography by Gay VanBeek

Study resources as much as possible.

Visit museums, exhibits and by all means talk to artists and other collectors. Not only will you gain knowledge, you might establish a meaningful friendship.

Ms. Van Beek explains, “Many rose artists today fashion their paintings after the American painter Paul de Longpre. Although he was born in Lyon, France, de Longpre is classified as an American painter because most of his work was completed in the Los Angeles, California, area. His home and lavish gardens were the first tourist site in Hollywood and, because his gardens were so beautiful, he was often called the King of Flowers. De Longpre is most known for his “yard‐long” paintings (long, narrow paintings) that are very popular today.”


Get as much hands on experience as possible.

In conclusion, she professes, “If the painting is framed, the best way to determine the age of the painting is to remove the frame. Is the canvas nailed to the stretcher? Pre‐1915 canvases were always nailed while their newer counterparts were stapled. Check the nails—are they shiny? If so, there’s still a good chance it’s old and was just re-stretched. The wood on the back of the stretcher of a true antique painting should be very dark. The darker the wood, the older the painting is. It is rare, but occasionally the original label will be intact indicating who sold the painting, where it was auctioned, or the art gallery from which it originated.”

You’re all set to start your floral painting collection, or continue your current assemblage with an expanded expertise. We want to thank Ms. Gay Van Beek for her wonderful contributions and expertise in this niche of collectibles.

A huge “Thank you” goes out to you from Romantic Homes Magazine. We appreciate you.

Access this helpful guide for more information on what to look for when considering the purchase of an antique painting at


Behind the Curtain With Ami Austin

Princess-Style Bedroom Design Photo 1


Creating alluring atmospheres that beckon her client’s desire to come home provides the ultimate satisfaction for Memphis, TN designer, Ami Austin. For the last 10 years Ami Austin Interior Design has completed many contemporary, transitional and traditional projects that reflect world-class elegance, and one-of-a-kind results. She generously offered to share her wisdom, and the beauty contained in this gorgeous Disney-themed, but seemingly grown-up bedroom.

Ami offers the following advice when taking on a project such as this, or with any project that has inspired you:

Have fun. She finds great joy in discussing an individual or family’s preferences to help make decisions for color palettes, fabric swatches and so on. Discuss your ideas and desires with family, friends and design professionals. Open dialog with others throughout the process will allow you to keep expectations in balance and foster your sense of fun.


Princess-Style Bedroom Design Photo 2

Decide upon and then remember the top priorities of a design project. Keep in mind your best interests, and how you will be using the space. If things start to stray, revisiting these notions will help the project stay on track.


Princess-Style Bedroom Design Photo 3


Create a budget and time frame. Ami believes this helps keep goals aligned with your chosen style, and project objectives. Goals are important for not only you, but for everyone involved in a project. You must know how much you are willing to spend on a project and commit to that amount. Expressing your expectations to your contractors and everyone involved will keep efforts focused.


Princess-Style Bedroom Design Photo 6


Choose wisely. Consider the careful selection of furnishings and fabrics to ensure both form and function. If the room is going to serve many functions that might call on a fabric or finish to be hardier than normal, then choose items that are practical.


Princess-Style Bedroom Design Photo 5


Know the ability of your artists. The painted mural in the room was used to solve the problem of the low-pitched ceiling. Ami chose an artist she has been working with for over ten years, and on hundreds of projects. She knew this artist could achieve the desired effect. The family was mesmerized during the reveal by the illusion of height that was created.


Princess-Style Bedroom Design Photo 4


We asked Ami to share her parting words with you all and this is what she said, “Keep learning and searching for resources and ideas that inspire. For anyone seeking to recreate an interior space, or any aspiring interior designer, seek thematic choice options, favored color palettes, and all manner of inspiring possibilities for the interior. As a designer, I am like a sponge when traveling, attending seminars and scouring the market for finds. It keeps you better as a designer and more resourceful for your clients.”



Mirrored bedside chests are by Currey and Co.

Mirrored vanity is Lillian August

Paint: Sherwin Williams Ski Slope (ceiling); Hinting Blue (walls)

Bedding: Ami Austin design using Matelasse by Thibaut, and a Pindler linen.

Pillows, shams: Duralee

Headboard: Ami Austin design made in Memphis, TN.

Chaise: Found while antique shopping. Recovered and painted to match headboard.

Mirror (large Venetian): by Go Home

Table (small next to chaise): by Bliss Studio

Chair (dressing): by Cox using Zoffany.

Lighting: Myran Allen

Décor: Ami Austin Interior Design

Book Review: French Chic Living



The Book: French Chic Living. Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful
The book, French Chic Living. Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful

According to the author, Florence de Dampierre, French style can be summed up in one word that essentially translates to the word “Taste.” Dating back to the seventeenth century through present day, the taste for luxury, etiquette, beauty, and quality remain the dictates of French life. The French also make distinctly clear the difference between bon gout (good taste), mauvais gout (bad taste), and erreur de gout (in poor taste), and use the terms often.

Her book, French Chic Living: Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful, will expand your knowledge about kitchens, kitchen gardens, sprucing up, flowers and plants, and entertaining at home with flair. The book is a useful guide to help you create a welcoming, comfortable and lovely home. Florence shares personal stories of her time in France that lends a heartwarming element to the book. If you haven’t visited France, she creates the picture for you.

The simply appointed French kitchen
The simply appointed French kitchen

The Kitchen

In many homes, the kitchen is considered the center of family life. A great kitchen is well planned, equipped with essential must-have cookware, and pantry items. The book goes into expansive detail about fruits, vegetables, garnishes and oils and how they contribute to making a kitchen thoroughly functional and divine. Recipes are included for items such as ham and cheese quiche, a quintessential French dish. Preserving and pickling fruits and vegetables is also considered a popular French pastime.

Leafy greens are an essential part of the Kitchen Garden
Leafy greens are an essential part of the Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden

Whether it is a humble vegetable plot or an intricately designed garden, the French Kitchen Garden has evolved for centuries. Their designs, planting techniques, irrigation and drainage systems have been imitated throughout Europe. Special care was taken to enclose these gardens that protected even the most fragile herbs in winter. The book provides everything you need to know from garden essentials, tools, to how to create an herb garden. There’s even a recipe for rhubarb pie if you’re interested.

Nice clean windows and floors throughout the house make a difference.
Nice clean windows and floors throughout the house make a difference.

Sprucing Up

“Embracing the simple pleasures of a well-kept home will increase your happiness,” Florence professes. “Making an effort to tidy up and clean your surroundings will reward you with a positive outlook on life, and make you house-proud.” Her grandmother taught her that lemon, savon de Marseille, and lavender are three key ingredients that can clean and “improve” anything. The book expands into areas including the kitchen, bathroom, surfaces and materials, and her go-to general household tips. She also shares methods on how to remove stains from fabric and other material, and pests from your home.

Fresh cut flowers in colorful vases add cheerfulness to the mantel
Fresh cut flowers in colorful vases add cheerfulness to the mantel

Flowers and Plants Within

If you want to bring nature in doors, then flowers, plans and ornamental trees will help you achieve this. This is a sure way to beautify your surroundings. The book covers many aspects of the process including: preparing and conditioning cut flowers, how to extend their life, choosing a proper vase and creating an exquisite arrangement.

An elegant dining room table setting ala French chic
An elegant dining room table setting a la French chic

Entertaining at Home with Flair

The key to entertaining guests is to create an inviting atmosphere. Florence believes, if you need to hire help, do it. Everything from setting up the bar, choosing linens, silverware and centerpieces to casual entertaining outdoors is included in this extremely detailed and carefully executed book. Each of the 240 pages is filled with wonderful stories, tips, and examples that give you everything you could ever want to know.

If you’re looking for a fabulous book that lives up to its title, then check out, French Chic Living: Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful.


French Chic Living; Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful by Florence de Dampierre, published by Rizzoli International Publishing, Inc., ©2015.