Restoration Hardware reimagines French style

Restoration Hardware reimagines French style

May 26, 2014  |  featured, inspiration  |  No Comments

Beautiful objects inspired by French style have been appearing in the Restoration Hardware collection for the last couple of years. But this year’s collection marks a reinvention, even a reimagination, by curators from around the world. Looking at the HR’s catalogues, I can’t help but wonder if French style is back in vogue, a comeback led with bravado and imagination by the company.

The catalogues are full of inspirational stories of objects and styles, of craftsmen and designers fond of antiques and notable objects. Blending old styles with a touch of modernity, the company’s curators have created timeless pieces for our admiration, use, and comfort.

If you haven’t been to a Restoration Hardware showroom lately, it is worth the trip. There is an abundance of French furniture pieces from different centuries – from armoires to chairs, French lighting, curious objects like a 19th century Horse fragment, a 20th century Glass Cloches, 19th century cartographic maps of Paris, and antique hand-pressed French botanicals. Even HR’s blank journals are inspired by 18th century “couverture muette,” or mute book of the French Revolution. And this is just a tease of the myriad of pieces found in the catalogues (which, by the way, I heard weighted 16 lbs. combined).

The picture below represents circa 1900 brass brasserie table with elegant and simple lines.  I love this table. It reminds me of Paris, of my favorite cafés, of my favorite writer Proust, and of my favorite time in the cultural history of France. This is a must-have for a Francophile.

French Brasserie table

This beautiful mid-century library is called the French library. It’s made of metal and comes in three different finishes.

French Library

If you love big maps and if you have a great wall to showcase them, you can choose from a 1739 Plan de Paris decoupage map, circa 1756 Elevation of the Louvre, or a 1672 Plan de Paris Panel Map. I think the maps are just marvelous and beautifully reproduced. In the baby showroom, I even saw a wall display – a sweet baby dress made from a Parisian map.

Baby Dress - wall display

The baby collection is exquisite and courtly. If you have a baby or a young child, HR makes you dream of Versailles and tufted luxury. Your child can sit in the Versailles chair, the Antoinette bench, or the mini ondine salon bench (below). You can choose to decorate your child’s bed with a canopy, add a French script tapestry to the wall, cover the walls with French botanicals, and add elegant scones or extravagant ornamentation. Who can feel more a king or a queen surrounded by such elegance!

French tapestry

The French script grand canvas wall tapestry.

HR’s inspiration and philosophy resounds in this sentence by John Barrymore: “A man is not old enough until regrets take the place of dreams.” Thanks to HR, we can continue dreaming in French style.

Website and showrooms: Restoration Hardware













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Nico, SF, Modern French Cuisine

Nico, SF, Modern French Cuisine

May 17, 2014  |  featured, san francisco  |  No Comments

Nico is located on an elegant stretch of Sacramento Street and feels surprisingly welcoming. Upon entering, one sees the whole interior of the restaurant revealing itself as far away as the kitchen, separated from the main room by a big glass window. I was greeted by two hostesses but later learned that one of them was the co-owner. They made me feel comfortable while I was waiting for my friend to come, and I had a chance to ask questions about the chef and his hard-working team behind the big glass window.

During our dinner, we had a surprise visit—the chef came to greet us and introduced himself. Nico is a young, attractive, and soft-spoken Parisian man who speaks fondly of his restaurant and food creations. He described his cuisine as Modern French, using California ingredients with French techniques to create sophisticated and light dishes. I must add that the food looks and tastes really healthy. I had never been to a French restaurant and eaten so wholesomely without ordering any meat. Nicodecor I went to the web site to find out the name of the dishes we had, but instead I read that the menu is reinvented each night and subject to change. Before you make a reservation, please visit their website to read about their most recent menu. The latest one looks fantastic. I am definitely ready to make another reservation! Nico2 I had as an appetizer an asparagus dish with sesame dressing. I would like to know how Nico cooks asparagus because they were just perfect—firm and crunchy. My friend Kristen ordered the sardines and was happy with her choice. You can tell from my pictures that the dishes were just gorgeous. My main dish was meatless—a morel mushrooms dish with an egg and chikpeas. My friend ordered the pork. It came in a pretty brown plate, pink in color with similar colors veggies. We didn’t order desert, but we ordered a cheese plate and we loved the choices of cheese. The selection was generous in size. Nico5 We found it pleasurable to watch the kitchen team prepare our dishes behind the big glass window. They seemed to work in a harmonious way, focused and organized. We loved the fact that we didn’t feel rushed by our server. She was gracious and prompt and was smiling the whole time. The restaurant is a nice size, but it is quiet and there is enough room between the tables so you don’t feel invaded by other people’s conversations.

Nico is a little gem in San Francisco. You will be delighted by the inventiveness of this young chef and the beautiful energy of the décor and the staff.

Nico | 3228 Sacramento Street, San Francisco| (415) 359-1000

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Bobo Noir, Film

Bobo Noir, Film

February 25, 2014  |  featured, people  |  No Comments

Jeff Norman contacted me and said, “You will love Bobo Noir.” Well, I loved Bobo Noir, which is why I’m touting the horn of this short indie movie. It’s fresh, funny, amusing, and original at the same time.

You can watch it here:

Bobo is the name of a French pastry arts dropout who is banished from his family olive fortune and decides to try his chances at Hollywood. His favorite comedian is John Belushi and he dreams of soaring like him. In Hollywood, everybody stars in his own dream, even a real French Bobo, although it happens that he is black (Pourquoi pas). Bobo Noir est un film de rêves.

Jeff Norman had the idea of the movie when he visited France in 2011 and had some interesting encounters with les bobos. (A bobo is a spoiled Parisian brat/a hipster.) He directed the movie and plays Bobo. He said that Bobo Noir is “not a comedy per se, but rather a character study with a comedic heartbeat.”

Bobo is an original, but he doesn’t know it. He has left France behind but, sadly, not his parents – he has inner dialogues with them throughout the movie. His naiveté and innocence are rare gems in Hollywood, and they turn out be his greatest assets. As like attracts like, he finds some goofy Southern California characters who help him get closer to his dream — the homeless man who knows where the hottest comedy club in town is, the spiritual master turned comedy teacher, the vintage store girl, who spots the “fresh off the boat character” and gives him some good advice and addresses.

If you watch the movie, you’ll know what the difference between a Californian and a Parisian is and what the color of a green card is—probably one of the funniest moments of the movie. Jeff Norman mimics an artful French accent, which adds to the cultural twist of the movie and makes for some great laughable moments. The movie is in English and French with subtitles. And what about La Fin? Can a Bobo succeed in Hollywood? You have to watch the movie to see what happens.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you who Jeff Norman is. According to his own description, he is the “definitive Francophile who lives and breathes French culture, taking influence from such sources as Truffaut and Godard and La Nouvelle Vague to “la tecktonik” dance craze and popular webseries like Norman Fait Des Vidéos.” And I would add that he is one talented Bobo Noir.

For more information about La Famille Bobo Noir visit the following links:



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