21 Nov 2012

French Vintage Home

Do you know French Vintage Home?  If you are mad for all things French, like me… you will love their site… Audrey Freidman and Laura McGuire share our passion for France and have created an online source for beautiful vintage wares that Audrey sources in France… I recently asked them to tell me how they started their business and what it means for them… I thought you might like to get to know them and their gorgeous French wares… With the holidays so close, French Vintage Home is a brilliant resource for those extra special and unique gifts… Their linens are nothing short of exquisite… and their kitchen wares so adorable… perfect for the friend you want to spoil or fellow Francophiles…  xv

 Have you always had a love of all things French?

 Laura… To me, the French lifestyle and architecture is the epitome of beauty. The food, the fashion, the landscape, it is all so beautiful. As an interior stylist, my life’s work is all about creating beauty and seeking creative inspiration wherever I find it… and France never fails to inspire. When I was growing up, my Aunt had an apartment in Paris, and it seemed like the most glamorous lifestyle.

Audrey…. I have always loved France and French style. The longer I live here the more I appreciate and understand its beauty. I am a history buff and living in a 14th century village is a remarkable experience. Every day I am moved when I see an old door or piece of hardware that has been around for centuries.

 How did you two meet…and what made you decide to start an online business?

 Laura… When we met, we discovered we had a mutual love of adventure, travel, antiques, and all things French. I was interested in any business that involved spending more time exploring France.

Audrey… Because I live in France I have been shopping at the Brocantes on a regular basis. I got the idea that I could buy things that the American market might like so I started collecting. I knew I wanted a partner who could photograph the items beautifully and manage and develop a web site. My daughter-in-law told me to look at Laura’s web site and the minute I did I knew she was exactly who I was looking for.

Your website, French Vintage Home, is gorgeous…who is the creative spirit behind French Vintage Home…Is it both of you or do you enjoy different roles in the business?

 Laura… I thought of the name French Vintage Home while riding a bicycle through Normandy. We had discussed several names, but French Vintage Home seemed to say it all, very simply. I am the creative force behind the website. I worked very closely with our web builder, and it is a slow and tedious process to get the ideas in your head translated onto the web. My experience as a stylist and photographer has given French Vintage Home its’ look and feel. We do have different roles. Audrey, living in France, does all the buying and is fluent in French. Audrey has strength in sales and promotion, and I am all about the beauty. We ship the items to the US and I photograph and manage the website and shipping.

Audrey… I would say both of us. I buy all the things and Laura photographs them and puts them on our site. I try and find things that keep the integrity of French Vintage Home that are lovely and affordable.

Audrey, you spend many months in France… Tell us about your life in the Dordogne… the day to day and the reasons that it is home for you.

I adore old houses and the creative process of renovating them. In 1998 I bought a 15th century Chateau that was a ruin. Along with a beaux-arts architect it was restored to its original beauty with all the necessary modern conveniences like bathrooms and the internet. I have subsequently bought a 14th century village house which I had renovatedand is now for sale. I am looking for another great property to renovate and know that I will find it soon. A typical day for me is to take a long walk with my little Maltese dog Skye and then stopping for a café au lait and a croissant. I must say as Skye and I are getting a bit older, our walks are a bit shorter. She gives me no relief if I decide not to go out one day, she barks until we go. I shop for food every day at the local boulangerie, green grocer and boucherie. I avoid the supermarkets as I have enough of them in the U.S.

Because I have so many friends from all over the world, I am either going to their houses for dinner or they to mine. I have a passion for cooking and setting a beautiful table. I owned a table linen manufacturing and importing company for many years so setting tables and buying dinnerware were my favorite things to do, they still are. My collection of dishes and linens is well used as I try to set the table differently for each dinner party. Entertaining is something I do with great pleasure, I truly enjoy it. I am blessed to have a very large family and many times during the year my children and grandchildren come and visit me. I am happiest when they are there.

Laura, your photography and styling on French Vintage Home makes me want to jump right into the images… Have you always had a love for French textiles and antiques?

I have always had a thing for linens, French in particular, and have a large collection of my own. I was an antique dealer when I lived in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. I seek out items that have a past and a well-worn patina. They bring a sense of history to our homes and a way of honoring those who came before us. For instance, I love old, French, mix and matched flatware… the weight, the smooth finish, the sense that you are the only one with this special collection. I use to dream as a child about discovering secret, forgotten rooms in old homes filled with antiques, so I guess I have always gravitated toward things worth saving and collecting.

Audrey… I adore Laura’s images also. We both love French textiles.

While I had my company we had a license with Ralph Lauren to do all the table linens for him so I do love designing new things. However, I have a very soft spot in my heart for French vintage sheets, tablecloths and antique toile de jouy fabric.

 What are your favorite French collectables?

 Laura… I think our favorite antiques evolve and change over time, but my love of linens and tabletop has always been a constant. I especially love French cream ware dishes right now, mixed with lovely monogrammed linens.

Audrey… Aside from textiles, I love all things kitchen and buy as much vintage silver cutlery and serving pieces as I can find. There is something wonderful about picking through lots and lots of things just to find the few beautiful pieces for French Vintage Home.

 French Vintage Home… Here 

 HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Audrey’s book suggestion… and one that is a perfect gift for the holidays…

The Book of Fine Linen… here 

…xv

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24 Comments

Penelope

Vicki,
I love this website and have visited it before via French Essence! I also own the wonderful book you have shared on Linens I bought this six years ago and still enjoy reading it.! When I was in France, the volume of vintage linens available was a big surprise to me and I hope to buy more on my next visit. As An American preparing for Thanksgiving, our wonderful holiday which centers around family and friends, we bring out the best of our linens! All my daughters love beautiful linens and my grandmother passed on vintage linens to me. Thank you for sharing everyday your love for all things French! Have a wonderful day!

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JoAnne Bassett

I love all of the beautiful vintage French linens. As a child my Mother taught me embroidery and I later learned needlepoint and others. Personalizing linens is a very beautiful thing. Loved reading the interview. I live in Southern California and have a French heritage..I do not travel to France often enough and this gives me an escape..

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La Contessa

LOve your interview and the questions asked!Love how she walks with her dog daily and shops daily…………..now I”M certain I will LOVE their site………….off and clicking away!XXX

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Veronica Roth

Oh, it’s so lovely to read about ladies doing what they love to do and making it a success. Thank you for introducing their website to me Vicki. Although I spend the most time in England, I do love to visit France and love all things French too.

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Karena

I do love their site. Linens are a favorite of mine as well as unique serving pieces!

xoxo
Karena
Giveaway from Scalamandre!

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Hallie

Delightful reading during a very busy time. Thank you. I’ll star this one and it’ll stay in my mailbox!

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Pamela RG

So interesting to learn about Laura and Audrey. They have a wonderful friendship and business relationship. Their love for anything French, beauty and the web just all compliment each other. Your interview is very good Vicki.

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La Pouyette - Karin

Yes! I know Laura and Audrey and French Vintage Home. Some of the photos were taken by Laura at our place, because Audrey lives nearby.
It’s a small world on a “small” planet! Isn’t it….:)
xxxk

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sharon - my french country home

A great site to recommend Vicki; I was lucky enough to meet Laura when she stayed with us here in Normandy. She has a sure eye and such a talent for styling and photography, I’m so glad to see how successful her business has become.
Sharon
x

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Shell

Thank you Vicki for sharing such gems of talent. I cannot get enough of beautiful lens and love to set a beautiful table for my family and friends. It is a shame more people don’t indulge in this little piece of goodness more often. Sometimes it is important to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Food always tastes better at a beautifully laid table. Bon journee’ Shell – A Darlings Nest

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Karyn

Vicki , what a lovely post. But why do I get so emotional ? Whenever I read about a person describing their passion for all things French , my eyes well up with tears. As much as I feel blessed to live the country of Australia. Im so drawn to France sometimes it hurts. I sometimes say to myself ‘ its just the romantic in me ‘ but deep down I know its more than that.
My friends & family dont understand why I get so emotional , this is why I love blogging , I know there are other people out there just like me.
Karyn x

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24/7 in France

I understand totally, as I felt the same way – it took me a while to live my dream of living in France. In the near future, I will be publishing a book telling the story of my personal journey to France – to be announced on my blog (24/7 in France). One’s passion is always emotional – listen to your soul!

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Anita Rivera

Good evening my dear Vicki! I have been away for two days and miss you ALL so much. LINENS are my favorite here because of the texture they add to the scenery in a dining room or even the bath. THIS IS THE SITE I need for my purchases in the near future. THANK YOU! Anita

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Pauline from Phillip Island

I loved this post Vicki. I am always looking for places to buy beautiful things to decorate my home and, like everyone on your site, I love all things French. Do you have any contacts here in Australia?

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Vicki

One of my readers in Sydney has a wonderful shop in Bellevue Hill called, Lemon Tea No Sugar… Pamela specialises in imported vintage French linens and many French products… If you are in Sydney, do pay her a visit and make sure to say hello from me… :)

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