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A French Country Home: Style and Entertaining Hardcover – May 31, 2005
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About the Author
Jocelyne Sibuet is an award-winning French hotelier. After the success of her first chalets in the Alps, which provided guests with the charm of a family home without the hassle of ownership, Sibuet has created guest homes in Provence, among the vineyards of the Lubéron, and at favorite travel destination Saint-Tropez.
Catherine Deydier is a journalist who works for newspapers including Le Figaro and Le Monde and major French decoration magazines like Maison Franýaise, and she is author of a book about Moroccan beauty secrets, published by Flammarion.
Guillaume de Laubier is one of the foremost decoration photographers working today. He has photographed for many of the world's leading magazines.
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As a flip-though book, you'll find this to be an interesting work; however, incorporating ideas found herein into an American home might lead to difficulties. These three properties are each heavily associated with their appurtenant environments.
The decors and decorating details found here are, appropriately, very European. The Alpine home is the most "primitive" featuring low ceilings, log architecture, and "antler chairs" found throughout the home. Outdoor dining on the warmer, clear days is emphasized.
The Provençal home is also constructed of primitive materials, rough stone and plaster, but notably more elegant than the Alpine retreat. Many of the furniture features, (corner hutch, bookcases, etc.), are permanently built in to the actual structure. A small bedroom closet is built out from the wall, a decorative embellishment that we would rarely encounter here in the U.S. An al fresco dining area is also detailed.
The Mediterranean climate is one which most of us would savor -- and this particular residence benefits heartily from that natural amenity. The home, in this instance, is stucco with small lavender gardens abounding everywhere. There is a heavy emphasis placed upon the use of bright colors in the decor and the floors are constructed of hard tile. Exquisite old-world carving details abound here and, I should point out, that there is a great difference in age (and in price) between an "antique" in Europe and one in America.
Americans tend to not think through the concept of housing in Europe (compared to America) because we are essentially a throw-away society. We build homes to last for thirty or forty years. In Europe, the hope is that they'll last forever. Just to punctuate my point, cutting down a single large tree in Europe is a much bigger deal than it is here in America. Times are changing but families have typically inherited their ancestral homes in Europe for generations... we largely sell them and move on.
Regarding the recipes in this book, the dishes clearly reflect more of an old-world enthusiasm for certain ingredients which include chestnuts, duck, brandy, foie gras, rabbit, nettles, truffles, porcini, risotto, muesli, vine leaves, figs, goat milk cheese, chanterelles, olive bread, mint, swordfish, eggplant, anchovies, squid, and so on. Yes, we occasionally use some of these ingredients here in America but not so much on a day-to-day basis as do Europeans. So my point is that you might find most of the recipes to be either cumbersome to produce or simply not in line with your own family's tastes.
In summary, while I found this work interesting to flip through to take in the terrific photography, I think it would serve you best to snatch the public library's copy first and look it over closely prior to buying it.