11 Feb 2015

To Use An Interior Designer Or Not?

Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer

Do you use an interior designer to create your home or is the interior a pleasure that you keep all to yourself?

In Provence our story, travels and adventures fashioned our interior. We moved to Europe from Australia with a houseload of memories and those stayed with us. The interiors were never designed, they evolved.

And how they have changed over the years.

The essential ingredients have remained much the same but the overall look, very different.

Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer

As much as I respect and admire professional designers, being the creator of our home at that time was important for me. My every waking moment was focussed towards the farmhouse, the gardens and the olive groves. I couldn’t have shared the project with someone, even if I had wanted to. Falling in love with Provence and making it a reality was a dream come true: the interiors were a large part of that dream.

Our interiors have moved with the years, through my “phases” and with our travels. The farmhouse does not look the same as it did when it was featured in My French Life and French Essence. We have found new treasures, travelled wider and our tastes have changed.

Yet, the layout and the infrastructure remains very much the same. At the time ( 15 years ago now) I decided that simple and non complicated would work and stand the test of time. It has.

I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that we love Mas de Berard more now than ever. We may not be in Provence as much as we would like but when we are it is still as magical as ever.

Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer

Neutrals are where my mind is right now. I have come to understand the nature of Provence and I value the cool and the calm inside.  In Provence the majority of life is lived outdoors, on the terrace. The views from the farmhouse across the gardens are bold and impressive; it is these views that dictate the interiors. The backdrop of neutral linen brings the outside in and allows our pieces to set the scene.

The bathrooms and bedrooms have been furnished with flea market finds over the years; it’s an ongoing journey. When I look around our home, every element tells a story. Weekend and the brocante have become a ritual to us.

Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer

The kitchen however is a different story.  A much loved painting breaks the neutrals and makes this room a favourite in the winter time. Like the rest of our home there was no real planning with the decor; we loved the vibrancy of Tim Maguire’s berries and felt they were at home in the kitchen.

I have always felt that in a country property the heart can be found in the kitchen, Provence is no exception.

Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer


Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki ArcherMas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer

So my question, to use or not to use an interior designer?


I believe there is no right or wrong answer in the same way there is no one perfect style. Style is probably one of the most intimate, most flexible and personal characteristics we pursue and interior design is the same. A good interior must be tailor made to sit well in the local environment and to reflect the owner, whether it is created by a professional or not.

Mas de Berard, St Remy de Provence, Carla Coulson, Vicki Archer

I often think being an interior designer must be one of the best professions of all. Imagine all the homes that could be considered, “yours”. I am sure many designers put their hearts and souls into projects and feel that a little piece of them is left in every job.

Do you use an interior designer or prefer to go it alone? I like the half way approach: To work closely with someone who you know and trust, someone who can deliver your vision in a way that feels completely your own.

Win/win… xv

More about interior design from fellow bloggers, here.


images of mas de berard taken by carla coulson and styled by vicki archer for living 4 media

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I’ve tried several times to use a designer, but struggled with it. The people I’ve tried to work with don’t really listen, they come in with this own perspective and views, and push that.

One designer decided I liked the french country look (I don’t). She wanted me to look at french country plate racks and fabrics. She said of the things in my house that I really did like, “I don’t think that’s YOU!”.

I told another designer that I wanted to concentrate on the family living area because those were the rooms we used and enjoyed the most, and just dress up the formal living area a bit – give that room a more ‘finished’ look. I wanted to spend the money where my family would most appreciate it. She presented a plan to spend a lot of money on the formal room (new, expensive furniture and rugs and art!), moving all the cast off furniture to the family area (because its at the back of the house and nobody will really see that, right?).

The secret must be to either find someone with your ideal taste, or to know exactly, exactly what you want and just use the designer as a conduit to getting the goods.


Maybe in a past life, Tish… ;)
I would love to have been a designer but actually of film sets… that’s in my next life!


I would like to add, as a result, I’ve never been successful at using a designer, although I have the money and desire to do so.

My strategy has been to find a picture that I like, and copy it. (My new guest bedroom looks like Brooke Shields’ bedroom as shown in Architectural Digest – I think I nailed it!). Unfortunately, the family room (and entry) remains un-done, which disappoints me.


There is always time Lily… :)
If you have a way that works for you at least when you are ready you will have the result you want…


Oh Vicki ……. I couldn’t wait to read your BIO post this month. I admire you from afar and just LOVE your style. I do have to admit that I have ‘ Farmhouse Envy ‘ when I see images of your home in Provence !! It is absolutely beautiful and very much my style ……. but, not something that I can fully replicate in the suburbs of London, even though we are in the countryside of Hertfordshire !!!! Thank you so much for another little ‘ look in ‘ !! XXXX


Thank you Jackie… and I agree Provence would not work for me in London that’s for sure … it wouldn’t fit for one thing… ;)


I know what looks good, but I just can’t manage to put all the pieces together. I have wasted so much money on the wrong sofa… the wrong colour on the walls.. the wrong tile in the bathroom. For my next round of renovations/decorating, I will definitely hire a decorator. I confess that I need the help.


Then you will have a fantstic result Bonnie because you knoe exactly where you need it… The success is often in the knowing, don’t you think?

Gina Diamond

Very interesting question. In the past I have felt that I wanted to make my home my very own. I recently began working with a designer and I am very happy I did. She has provided some wonderful ideas that I would not have dreamed of. She has her fingertip on all of the resources available. I do not feel that she is going to make my home something that is not reflective of me or my family. Instead, I believe we will work together to make it the best it can be.

One fun story. She selected 4 chairs for our keeping room and told us to take a look at them. She did not give her opinion on the one she liked the best. After viewing all 4, we came to a decision. When I shared our decision with her, she was so happy and thought it was the best choice. I love that she did not try to make our decision for us and it was great fun to see her reaction at our choice.

La Contessa

I AM with YOU VICKI……….the thrill of the HUNT.STORIES……….everything and I mean EVERYTHING has a story in my home!!!!I once traded olive oil for sconces………………XX


Vicki I have used an Interior Designer for assistance in the past, more in pulling it all together when I had a much larger home. Now I have collected enough over the years, know what I love and surround myself with layers of love and beautiful detail!!

I love you homes of course, beautifully done!

Featuring The HighBoy


Thank you Karena,
“layers of love and beautiful detail”… So true… interiors are about the layers.. building up over time, working with each other and telling their tales..

sharon santoni

It’s always a delight to see shots of your beautiful home in the South Vicki, and certainly proof that you’ll never need help designing your homes.



Such a beautiful post, Vicki. I’m fortunate that one of my best friends is a very talented interior designer, so I have your halfway approach. It’s been wonderful to have a someone who knows her way around a tile showroom, etc. to make recommendations and guide me to something truly gorgeous I would have otherwise missed. But the best part is that she knows me so well, and we have fun whenever we get our brains and creative energies together.

But if I was ever lucky enough to have a home in Provence to redo, I would look to you for styling tips! XOXO

Our French Oasis

For me in order for a house to become a home it has to tell a story and I don’t think a designer could do that for me – every item we own is either inherited in which case it tells the story of generations past or we have bought because we fell in love with it either at home or abroad. I love the juxtaposition of old with new. Most of all a home should feel welcoming – I love going out and I love going away but most of all I love coming home!


Me too… I am such a home body that sometimes I need to make a super effort to actually leave the house!

Peggy Braswell

since I am an interior designer I think one should use one + I never try to push my look on anyone + always come up with something the owner has never thought of. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


That’s the brilliant part of using a good designer… they bring out a better version of yourself…
I am sure you know exactly how to do that Peggy… :)

Cathy C

…I think a combination of personal hands on and professional know how often works. Knowing what one not only likes but needs is important. I may love love love a look but know that it won’t fit my life style. One area I always seek profession guidance: window coverings (or in some cases- no covering at all).


Windows are the hardest of them all.. I agree, I am not a fan and in France we have shutters. They are practical and work well and blend into the rustic ambience. It’s more difficult in London, they are a necessity and I don’t know if i have ever got them right yet!


So elegant and beautiful, so you. I haven’t used and interior designer and you’ve just explained to me why! Thanks. My home is such a deeply personal expression of me and the life I live. I agree about the heart of a home and yours is stunning. Thanks for giving us a peek.


Thank you so much Jennifer… Our homes are our personality aren’t they? Our foibles ( is that a word??) our amusements and our passions…
Who would be without that?
I never understand someone who doesn’t care about their home… I have lived in all sorts of homes ( not always as lovely as this farmhouse) but I always made it ours and gave it those personal touches that made me feel happy… :)

Stephanie Anderson

My best friend was a designer. I learned so many wonderful interior design secrets from her! I must have hundreds of magazine and blog pictures that I have torn out or copied of rooms I like! I am also VERY lucky that my husband has allowed me to indulge in my own interior design projects. :) I have designed my daughters apartment in New York, one daughter’s house, another daughter’s condo and a son’s apartment in Minneapolis. I do use an interior designer for my house but I “infuse” a lot of my heart into every project that I do. I am not quite that confident yet to do my own house! I am just blessed that my children like my French style. As always Vicki your post is wonderful. Thank you.


Stephanie… it would seem you really have the knack…
I believe that if you really have an eye and love all things interior it’s something we just “have” to do… :) With help or without…


This is a good topic! I am an interior designer, and the comments posted are very helpful to read. It seems that it is not uncommon for some to hang out a shingle billing themselves as a designer, yet with no formal training, industry experience, or art background. These are the ones who disappoint their clients and give designers a misleading name. Every designer should understand building, drafting, lighting, art and furniture history, fabric construction and fibers, color theory, etc.—not to mention a bit of psychology. A designer should be able to deliver well-designed rooms that reflect their client’s personality and lifestyle. I would never push a design scheme on a client, because it’s not my home or office.
Designers can offer so much that is not ever available in a retail store or on line. We have trade access to a vast array of fabrics, materials, furniture, lighting, paint and wallpaper, accessories, etc. My work is bespoke, and I design a lot of furniture for clients—which makes it even more personal and special. As for price, a good designer can save you money by helping you select the right pieces and colors for your rooms so you don’t make expensive mistakes. Good design should incorporate timeless elements with good bones that will age gracefully—and make one smile. I absolutely love my work…


I can read between your lines that you do, Pam… and as I said in my last paragraph I think being an interior designer would be a marvellous job… What is better than creating beautiful homes for people to love… :)


I have always had far too little cash and so I have developed a lot of flash! In every home that I have had, people come in and their first response is “This is so you” which I take as a compliment! Yes, I do have an “eye” for things and will wait a very long time for just the right whatever item that is on the list rather than settle for something that I will be unhappy with. That being said, I do have an ability to see beyond the the wreck that might be starring me in the face and see how it could be. I do look around at what others are doing for inspiration….like those simple boxwoods in the terracotta pots arranged “en masse” on your beautiful patio, Vicky….just might find their way into my garden…with my own little twist!

À bientot, Vicky!


Inspiration and little ideas found here and there is what makes our interiors so unique, Wendi…
I do have a passion for those boxwoods… they are with me wherecer I roam… :)


I find things that I like and put them together in a way that works. Some things are old, some are new, nevertheless, they come together seamlessly. If you are able to decorate well then by all means, D.I.Y., if not and you can afford it, hire someone but that designer must understand that it’s all about you and what YOU want, not them. Vicki, you have a lovely sense of design that is subtle yet sensational. I decorated my home Parisian French and french Country by researching it on line and buying books by Charles Faudree. I believe the home and it’s rooms should be an extension of me, a place that makes me happy. A place that brings pleasant memories and reminds me that I’m not done yet. A home is where I can dance like no one is watching and feel it’s warm embrace as I walk throughout it. A home should feel like a good friend. A home’s decor should reflect that. You should be able to walk through a person’s home and know them.

D. A. Wolf

Elegant, warm, eclectic, welcoming, and entirely respectful of the architecture and settings. I would have expected nothing less.

It is such a delight to peek “inside” someone’s home. Thank you for sharing yours with us! I loved this topic.

The Enchanted Home

Your home is nothing short of spectacular..these pictures made my heart sing! I think it all boils down to great taste!! My mother was not formally trained yet has superb taste, I know plenty of others who are ASID certified and I wouldn’t’ trust them to do my laundry room…lol.
I am my own designer but if I ever wanted to enlist the help of a sounding board, it would be someone whose taste I admire and most closely aligns with my own.

lisa thomson-the great escape

I think there’s a time and place for interior designers/decorators. It actually isn’t their baby when they leave because it’s all about the client. Their dreams and treasures. If a person is limited with time or if the project involves choosing from the ground up, a designer can be valuable and priceless. I can say all this because I am one :) You’re place is so gorgeous Vicki!! I just love the neutral palette with a hint of color here and there to keep it warm. Beautiful photos!!

Paris Rendez-Vous and Beyond

Yes, people with a sense of style can do it themselves Vicki….with so much inspiration on instagram and various websites. But a designer, if they’re innovative, passionate, creative and helpful with also have that “IT” piece of advice or suggestion…..and then your home will have that WOW factor. Good designers are worth their weight in gold!!!!!! After all that’s what they’re trained to do. It’s their profession. They are surrounded with new (and old) resources, have special contacts, know when to add or edit….I think they’re wonderful. I’m doing a bit of both in my new townhouse Vicki….designer help + ‘moi’…..and I’m loving it. Move in at the end of April….and can’t wait!!

Vicki…your home is gorgeous by the way.




Vicki, your inspiration and your beautiful books captured my heart four years ago now right before my first trip to France! I have returned now four times and will continue to return! I have enjoyed the book French Essence and have given it as a gift more than once. I do agree with the neutrals as my home has evolved too to neutrals. Your home was/is gorgeous and you have done a great job! One of the best designers I know, has no training just knows the trade so to speak. I think if you love where you live, that is what matters most! Our homes should be a place of refuge for our family and our friends!


Basically , Vicki, you don’t need a designer. You could be one yourself! You have done it all exactly right . An inspiration for me and our recently acquired country house in the Perigord. I can’t wait to call it home! Thank you for shRing yours with us! Diana

Glamour Drops

Vicki, I was horrified to read your paragraph about a designer feeling each of their homes is part theirs….That couldn’t be further from the truth and is, in fact, the sign of a failed process.

A clever interior designer is the conduit between what a client wants, but doesn’t quite know how to create, and what will make a home truly work for the family who love to live in it. It should never be about the designer – and there should never be a piece left of the designer in their home – unless a client has engaged a self-taught designer who can only replicate one style.

Ingrid Ambrose

I love your photos of your home!! I am an Interior Designer in Sydney who listens to my clients…many become friends along the way. I find that the people who come to me for assistance don’t know what they want or how to pull things together. I do a lot of colour consulting…and of course colour works with the natural light in a room and also peoples preferences for warm or cool colours…it’s all about neutrals at present but finding the correct neutral that doesn’t have a tinge of pink or green…or whatever my clients don’t like is often the challenge. I ask a lot of questions and find out their tastes before I do anything.
If you look at my facebook page or my website none of these homes look anything like my own. They are the starting point for my clients to then continue adding their finds along the way. On my instagram there is a photo of my floor to ceiling bookcase and that is more of my story. I love a mix of classic French and modern pieces. I love that pink sofa in your photo and yet I don’t have anything pink at home. I appreciate many different styles and so it’s not hard to go along with what my clients want and need for their own homes. I am currently working on a very rustic idea (not my thing at all). It’s a challenge I am enjoying!


These photos make my heart skip a beat. Absolutely gorgeous and why would you use a designer, when you have achieved such a beautiful look. This is my dream look.

Lynne B.

Your home is beautiful Vicki. Such attention to detail. Elegant yet comfortable. I love it!
I once used an interior decorator (years ago) but I did not do enough research. I think I just picked someone from a book after looking at a few photos. From memory, I think the main problem was that the colour of the walls she advised was much too dark and made the house dull. The other decoration was too “contrived” too and, thinking she knew a lot more about decoration than me, I wasn’t confident enough to speak up. We lived with it for a couple of years then gradually changed things to what I love.
You may not have formal qualifications, Vicki, but you are an interior designer.

Coco Chick

I have just used an interior designer and I am finally at peace in my home.

I love all the elements of creating a home, the design, the comfort, the colours etc. etc. however after many years of collecting and changing I finally decided it was time to bring it all together.

And oh what a success. I found the designer who spoke the same style as me and the end result is brilliant.

My home is neither huge, expensive , and my budget was modest and realistic, but the simplicity and design of the house made it easy to create a fabulous interior.

My family and I were involved in the process and we now all agree we are living in the calmest, most peaceful environment.

The end result is finally the end of shopping, no more looking or coveting, no more bits, no more things.

Now our time is devoted to creating, to dreaming and to a home full of friends and family.

I would now give the advice to my family, get the plan and enjoy working towards the finish.
Excellent design is expensive, so purchase for the long term, not the short . In other words in the major pieces like couch , dining table and chairs , buy the best and buy slowly and never never buy what is a trend.

Finally, my interior designer gave me the confidence to spend what was needed and bring it all together the way I had pictured it.

It may take a lifetime


I/we never used an Interior designer . We have moved house so many times and depending on the size/ apt or house/US or Argentina, between the two of us, we bought and decorated some nice homes. I was always happy when we sold them and the buyers would ask if they could buy our furniture or a painting lol .. I am afraid that having lived in a few cities/countries and having decorated quite a few homes, it is easy to tell when a home has been done by the owners or a designer. I would never want my house to look like someone else decorated it.
Cookie cutter decor. Whatever is “hot” this season .. Besides, it was much more fun to buy a painting in Paris or a rug in Argentina or china in London than just going to a decorator.


Have been following your blog almost since the beginning and it’s wonderful to see how things have evolved in your farm house and garden. Even though you used old stones and doors and other architectural details there was still a slight feel of newness to your creation. Now with time the garden has grown and the patination has developed so it feels as though your family has lived there forever. The warmth and the love is visible everywhere. Doubt many interior designers/decorators could achieve this as it’s so very personal to you and your loved ones and changes as we all change over time. I remember the early days when you had a modern Chinese oil painting over your fireplace which seemed to shock some of your readers. I rather liked it, but I guess the one you have now blends with the low-key more relaxed and peaceful ambience of the room. Nothing shouts “look-at-me” or “wow” which many designers seem to want to achieve. But everything has style, beauty and serenity. That said I do like the occasional surprise and colour accent and your newer art work and pink three seater are divine!
I love what you did with LBJ too – we felt so at home and relaxed there last year, and totally spoiled. Perhaps one day we’ll meet up with you and David in a market in Aix or St Remy or ISLSorgue. It would be a great treat. Best wishes, Pamela

Marsha @ Splenderosa

In actual fact, no one could have said it and lived it better.
The calming, serene palette is perfection and I do love the painting in the kitchen.
Thank you putting so much into this post, Vicki. It was a difficult one for me.


I use one, me…lol I design living rooms, dining areas and bedrooms, about 8 clients a month and I always use all my clients ideas & colours then add the fun and function to the room, my fav thing to do is the floor plan (even I am surprized most days with what I can do with a room) it bothers me when I read anyone dealing with a designer that comes in and gives the client what she would want and not the client taste… I could not be that designer… speech over… lol That said I did use a kitchen designer to help me this past month to work out my new kitchen… it is not a room I do, I did a few in design school but that was years ago… I needed to talk with someone that works on kitchens everyday, it was fun to get her thoughts on my ideas (she liked most of them so I was pleased) so pleased we worked together… the day before we were to put the order in she moved a cabinet, cut it down to size a bit and found the room for a pull out pantry, I pull out pantry ! so so amazing… I almost cried when she emailed me… we needed more room for food and she found it! she was and is worth her weight in gold (or silver, I will be surprizing her with a tiffany necklace when the kitchen (and bath) are all finished…) x

ps Vicki, your living room plan in front of the fireplace is to die for, loving the collection of small tables… x

Rhonda Bjelab

Vicki, you’re home is absolutely beautiful. It is just what I dream of….except I live in outer-Melbourne’. I have a question you or your readers may be able to help me with. We’ve built a new (old-looking) home the past two years. We have an open-plan kitchen/dining/ Family Room…I have the sofas, chairs, etc, anchored in the middle of our space and want to put lamps on the side tables….but what to do with the cords? I have health issues (battling cancer among other things) so have to be very careful about tripping. Am I missing some gem of an idea?


I have power points in the middle of my room to take into account for that Rhonda… If your electrician is capable could he chase some wires?? The other thing I have heard of recently is battery operated lamps… I haven’t researched but it could be worth a look… Suggestions anyone??

take care and look after you… definitely no tripping… :) :)

Anita Rivera

Oh, am I EVER LATE TO THIS ONE! HOw did I miss this?

Vicki, I so agree with your statement about neutrals. In the last 18 years of being in this house, I too have sloughed off the imitation reproductions and have gone for less clutter, more antique/vintage items that speak to us. The difference is strong; though our Minneapolis post-war cottage is not a French farmhouse, the brick structure, the arched doorways and our interior touches have made my dream come true. I love what you said about having this fabulous house and gardens to YOURSELF, and I think that for myself, I too would have to agree that if it’s YOUR home, then traces of yourself and the memories you create in it are essential to its “soul.”

Tapestries, neutrals, stone, metal, all of these elements speak for themselves and don’t need much else, other than a gorgeous bouquet of roses or a plant. Yes, simple, authentic, classic is the way to go, and you’ve arrived. LOVE IT! Anita

Heather in Arles

My internet went kaput last night just as I was settling in to read everyone’s posts (I know that you understand about that one, ah, country life) so I am discovering everything all at once today…I had to smile at how our posts over-lapped. Our house is the “poor man’s” version of le Mas de Berard! heeheehee!!!

We are so fortunate that we have our beloved brocante’s to go to…right here…no traveling required.

I am fascinated by both the painting over the fireplace and the sculpture under the stairs…would love to hear more about them at some point. :)


Hello dear Vicki
Well to answer your question, I guess ‘yes’ because I am an Interior Designer!
I trained in London in the 1980’s ( oh what a time that was) and began my career there. I have been on the most incredible journey, and had many high points. Especially working in Switzerland, France and Italy, as well as for many dear and special British clients.
I have indeed been able to leave a little of myself with my cherished projects, but also, as I am a designer who really listens to my client, I have taken a great deal of treasured knowledge away with me. Some of them have exceptional taste, they just need my input to make it come to life

One of the most wonderful times of my design life was finding other like minded friends through the world of blogs…I could hardly believe my eyes that happy happy day, and so appreciate all that is shared in this magical world.
Vicki, I admire and respect you, the exquisite beauty of your home, and I really value what I have learned since reading you as much as if you are a professional designer. I have loved looking at your photographs today
I think you will identify with and I would like to share with you some wise words of a lady I worked for in Yorkshire some years ago.
Sally, she said, houses are like a family… they grow over the years, new treasures will be added, occasions will happen., memories are made.
May each treasure that you find tell a story, a memory, be an inspiration…it will take a lifetime, but you will enjoy the journey

I must say I never tire of looking for treasure :)
Much love xx


Dear Vicki,

This was such an interesting post! I am an Interior Designer and have had the privilege to work on some wonderful projects over the last fifteen years…..mainly country houses in Kent and Sussex and London properties. I have always felt so strongly that I should never give someone else’s home the ‘look’ that I think it needs and take over…. and have found my job immensely rewarding by working very closely with the client to create a home that truly reflects their personality. My clients have ranged from those who don’t have the confidence to make decisions themselves, in which case it is wonderful to draw out of them the taste and likes/dislikes to give them confidence going forwards, to truly love their homes…….through to those clients who have very firm ideas but simply do not have the time to project manage, in which case, if they have the budget to do so, this can save a lot of time, and money by getting someone else to oversee the smooth handling of builders and decorators etc.

As for my own home…..I am with you, and would never allow someone else near it! Apart from any thing, when we designed and built our home six years ago, I was probably my trickiest client to date!

Have a lovely end to the week…..

Sophia x


I like my space private. I have a good eye. I do my own decorating, mostly. I get ideas from blogs, books, magazines, shopping fabric sources, antique shops, traveling. It’s a way of life for me. The arts are important. Thank you for your input, it is appreciated.

Rié | Portobello Design Blog

I loved your post, I agree wholeheartedly. I think it is so important to keep your “voice” and “eye” in your home; if an interior designer is hired, they should really take into account how you live, how you want to live, and what you find as beautiful… so many do not. However it is a luxury to have a friend or a professional who can help you define and make quality choices. I love your eye and your beautiful home… I personally find it inspirational. Thank you. Rié

Anne D. S.

Your home reflects YOU, your tastes at the time, your finds at the shops and markets, your heirlooms, and your whimsy. Your confidence in what you choose is a big part of how you adorn your home. Most of us also have to factor in the budget as well. Certain homes, and people benefit from the talents of designers, and the results are stunning. Your personal comfort is your guide. I think that you have arrayed your home to please you and your family…and I think it is so well suited to your setting. It is a wonderful home. I love the “Evolution of home,” the changes when I find something new, or re-positioning something to look new! For better or worse, the designer here is me!

Elizabeth Lines

Vicki-love your blog, love your home, thank you for sharing so much-so inspiring!
What is the beautiful beige china with the fluted edge? So beautiful!
Thank you!


I have had it for so long now Elizabeth… it was called Antheor, I don’t know if it is still available or not… :)


I like seeing pictures of your home in France. So beautifully decorated and put together and I love the staircase.


No, never. The places I’ve lived speak to me and tell me what they need. I admire interior designers but I’d never consider hiring one. We live in a very formal house that was built in 1913 by a European expat architect as his personal residence. The trick is to keep it comfortable and inviting while respecting the formality. I am in the creative arts, so design is a natural extension of what I do. We’ll be downsizing soon to someplace completely different and much more modern. I can’t wait to start on the next design adventure!

Jodie Chin

Dear Vicki, is there a new book on the horizon? Love what you and Carla do together……and would love to see what the farm looks like now XJC


Vicki, you do seem to have an eye for seeing what works and not losing sight of the surroundings, the environment and the culture of Provence. I know St Remy well and your style certainly has that relaxing ‘at home with the area feel’ about it. I love going to search things out whilst we are in Provence and often take little bits back home but try as I might I do not seem to have the same skill as your or my sister. She is also a woman with a good eye!! She has transformed her converted barn, like you over time, as she has grown with where she lives and, like you, it fits perfectly with the environment that surrounds her. She can place a photo, picture, lamp and flowers somewhere and the room is transformed!! I, on the other hand, only gaze with delight at admiration of my lovely clever sister.

Betty F. Kohn

As a Designer with over thirty years experience , I believe the most interesting interiors evolve over time and that incorporating elements from the past with present day comfort results in pleasing interiors that speak of home.I guide my clients with selections that stand the test of time and reflect
their unique personality….all the while refining their taste. I am a veteran of 17 ASID Show Houses
in the two Carolinas and have been honored with many awards for design excellence by ASID . Many happy clients live in beautiful surroundings that do not resemble a hotel lobby !


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