Toward fireplaceOur AirBnB, l’Ancienne Tannerie, is featured on Hello Lovely, where Michele provides a steady stream of inspiration, mostly for interiors but also gifts and fashion. Despite many challenges in life, she maintains an optimistic, gentle attitude that is a treasure to find online.

Speaking of l’Ancienne Tannerie, I have been trying out different furniture arrangements. The kitchen and bedrooms are set–the kitchen table can only go in the middle of the huge room; the bed is where you can walk around it.

From entry toward TV chairs straight
Chairs straight or angled?

From entry toward TV chairs angledBut the living room….it’s huge, but smaller than in our other apartment, la Suite Barbès, across the landing. The living room in l’Ancienne Tannerie has a gorgeous fireplace and an enormous chandelier. It overlooks the interior courtyard. It has a huge window so it’s always bright, yet it stays cool in summer because it faces north (the two-foot-thick stone walls also help insulate).

The sofa is a Louis XVI reproduction that folds out into a double bed. The coffee table is hand-carved and was brought back in my luggage from Lamu, Kenya. All the upholstery is like new, plus the colors are uncanny–the green stripe on the sofa matches the green in the carpet; the peach of the chairs is exactly the same as the tomette tile floor though it show in  photos because the velvet catches the light differently than the tiles do, and the same peach also is picked up in the carpet. And I really like that it’s all unique–nothing you will find anywhere else. Certainly not Ikea. When you are here, you know you are in France.

There’s nothing like crowdsourcing opinions! So tell me in the comments which arrangement you prefer. Suggestions welcome!

Arrangement #1: Sofa facing the fireplace. This is best for watching TV from the sofa. But who goes to the south of France to watch TV? It also gives a view of the courtyard from everywhere you sit.SONY DSC

SONY DSC
I hate that the stereo is on top of the piano, but we had to have one in order to get our Ministry of Tourism stars.

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

Arrangement #2: Sofa facing window. The advantage of this one is that from the sofa one can see both the courtyard and the TV. It also creates a kind of corridor from the entrance to the kitchen, which seems good in principle, but which I didn’t really like in reality.From corner armchair verticalFrom TVPiano from fireplaceFrom kitchen door verticalFrom entry to TV horizontalFrom corner armchair

Toward kitchen straight
The “corridor” effect.
Straight from window
I tried to center the sofa, but then it was too close to the piano…

From entry to TVArrangement #3: Armchairs facing the window. This is where I have left things. It feels open and welcoming when you walk in. The disadvantage is that you don’t see the TV or out the window from the sofa. It also puts the sofa next to the matching armchair, which is in the corner because I wanted to separate them. What do you think?From corner armchair

From entry to TV chairs angled with molding
Chairs angled here. Same shot, chairs straight, below.

From entry toward TV chairs straightFrom kitchen with bit of chandelierFrom TV

From kitchen to entry straight
The “corridor” is more open with chairs here. Angled (here) or straight (below)?
From entry to kitchen chairs angled
Angled.

From entry to TV chairs straight less exposurefrom corner armchair 2From entry toward tv with chandelierFrom kitchenLet’s not forget the “before” photos:From entrytoward entryWhere armoire with faces now standstoward windowwhere TV now isWhere piano now isFor Easter, we were invited to the neighbors’ for an asparagus omelette. And this tiramisu for dessert:IMG_1621Was your Easter good? Easter Monday is a holiday here, and we spent it Marie Kondo-ing my closet. This suit got a thank-you and adieu because it doesn’t fit anymore. But look at the details! It was from a boutique in the Marais in Paris. La Bonne Renommée. Sadly, it has closed. I also had a kind of vest/bustier from the same shop, made completely of strips of fabric and ribbon. Gorgeous. May it find a happy new owner.

IMG_1646
Even the buttonhole shows the quality.

IMG_1649When you shop at little boutiques, you don’t see yourself coming and going.

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61 thoughts on “Hello Lovely!

    1. Original layout at the top is my favorite too. The fireplace with its mirror is your focal point. Wonderful colors, and the long drapes are so elegant. Really must invite the eye outside as well.
      Speaking of your good taste, I’d like to have a chance to bid the next time you Marie Kondo your closet. I remember À la Bonne Rénommé – gorgeous clothes that I never bought because they were a bit too “exciting” for my conservative job. But now I can wear whatever I want, and wish they were still there!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I stink at arranging furniture, but the thought of the Ministry of Tourism requiring you to have a stereo has utterly made my day….

    Love you posts,
    Mary Katherine

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mary Katherine: And it had mine spoilt…. 😉 – Hero Husband is piano/organ player and a stereo on a piano is just not on. I would search for a place to hide it but so that it can be easily accessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to, but it’s hard to find the right piece, and we don’t want to overdo it with furniture. The other apartment has built-in cupboard on either side of the fireplace.
      The piano, sadly, isn’t playable. It was in the apartment and was just too hard to take it out. Plus I love the candelabra!

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      1. Oh dear…. a non-playable piano – that is really sad!!! But I see your predicament, it’s never easy. Still, an instrument you can’t play (if you can play that is! – we were in a Loire Château with mother-in-law for her 80th and HH had to ‘fight’ to play for her as the kids of another guest ‘played with the grand piano’….) is a heart-breaking thing for me – unless we speak of a bagpipe or such – in that case I’d welcome a non-playing condition 😉 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We have a playable piano at home. But you can’t imagine how difficult it is to move a piano from an upstairs apartment. I’d like to have it repaired (well, tuned) and perhaps one day funds will permit.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. NOw I’m really laughing! I DO know how impossible it is – my husband has a pretty large stand-up piano, larger than the usual appartment sized ones and it got moved twice in Switzerland, once in a wood-panelled roof apt with some 54 steps, once from CH to UK up to a 3rd floor tiny flat and if the stars weren’t bad enough (wooden with carpets), the piano had to be turned in the door opening as the flat ‘turned’ a corner straight after the entry – then of course it had to come down again when we moved in our very grand and comfy Victorian pile. Then, back to Switzerland and up over a terrasse from the street to go into a very small living room in a tiny house on 4 floors with sort of one room per floor. Only to be moved to France after 2 1/2 yrs to our present house. AND it will be moved back to some place (where, when, how?) in Switzerland once we’ve sold our lovely, lovely home here…. And the costs! And the tuning! It has to be done sort of regularly too…. But where there’s love, there’s a way – you ‘must’ love it more, Love!!! 😉 😉 😉
            I truly think that HH would rather lose me than his instrument. As I probably would do with my cello, and luckily it poses less problems to transport 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a difficult one, for one reason: IF I can have a view (and I’m not speaking about TVs etc), I take it ANYTIME, up to the point that I don’t care about the rest of the arrangements. In our house, we have so many windows and ‘French doors’ and bow windows that it’s difficult to find even a place for sofas and fauteuils…. but I have changed the furniture around in a way that we now have the dining table further back from the vista and have 4 armchairs in various positions facing the large garden. IF I can have a view from your sofa, I’d take that one!
    Armchairs always at an angle – don’t know why but it drives me crazy when somebody puts them in a straigt manner and the first thing I do, is angling them a bit… 😉 I know! 🙂
    In general, isn’t it so that you want the guests to be able to ‘rest’ their eyes? Isn’t then the most important thing that their eyes look upon something they can ‘feast’ on – a view, a place, a courtyard?! Or you read a book and from time to time you look up and look over – the vista chosen – heaven!
    NOW, if, of course, the sofa is not near enough for overlooking the courtyard, or there is no other way to have it close to the windows, I’d clearly go for your 3rd photo’s setting. It has a great fireplace and a lovely chandelier to focus on and I’d be certainly happy to spend time there! We are unusual guests as we NEVER ever watch TV, nowhere. We’re just not into it and have far too many other interests to bother. So wherever your TV stands, in my experience, I unplug it and try to overlook it. Sorry, I know you need it for the stars as you said, but – also as you said – who goes to Carcassonne to watch TV? Or anywhere else – it’s a holiday, not a TV marathon.
    Anyway (one of my best liked words), you’ll probably have as many opinions as you have readers and I wouldn’t mind ‘a corridor’, or anything as long as the room is an inviting one. The less cluttered it is, the more it invites to explore, to enjoy, to rest and spend time in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true that the apartment is upstairs, so the view is more the roofs across the courtyard, which I think is still a great view. But it isn’t looking at the plants. I do like facing the fireplace, because even though we aren’t allowed to light fires (antipollution rules), it’s cozy, and the mirror reflects the chandelier.
      I’m going to work on a place for that stereo.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The room is beautiful! I would put the sofa facing the window (#2), because having the chairs in front of the window allows more light to pour in between them. I also like the “corridor” effect it creates, because then that large armoire makes a little more sense – it looks like perhaps a place to store your jackets on the way “in” – a foyer effect. It also makes the piano part of the conversation area. And of course, it gives the sofa a view out the window and to the TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Actually the armoire is set up to hang clothing for when there are guests on the sofabed. There’s a small entry (the double doors with windows), which has a very pretty coat rack.
      I thought the same thing about the chairs by the window–that they keep it open toward the window. And I like the openness toward the piano.

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  5. I was hoping I’d be able to play the piano when I visit someday…even though I play poorly, I play almost everyday! Now it seems I must get the trip on the calendar so we can have fun shifting things around. I sort of live for that sort of thing. (re: design freak homebody). I’ll put my ideas together and email you. Thanks for the kind words! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The room has to have balance which is more difficult to see with pictures (not walking inside the room where your eye can take it all in). I think I prefer the sofa facing the fireplace. The speakers on top of the piano need to be in a ‘box’ that opens from the front. The front drops down revealing the speakers if anyone wants to play them. The ‘box’ can be of anything that is painted/covered to fit the decor of the room.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these layouts. Not the help you were looking for, but everything is beautiful. I will say I prefer the chairs angled. I think it’s more relaxed and invites conversation. What a wonderful job you’ve done!! Brava!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, this is fun! I would try to move the stereo next to the TV – make some sort of media zone and move that lamp on the top of the piano, on the side of the striped chair( if you have a plug there). The sofa facing the window makes more sense because the piano is not left isolated. If you want to break the pattern for the sofa and chair, maybe you can swap the chair with that little desk. But it all depends on the space, light and visual impact. Eventually you’ll feel when things are in the right place, that’s why you keep rearranging them. Just show us the final result, that room is so gorgeous anyway!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought about switching the desk and armchair. The little desk (from the same lady where we got the sofa) is exactly the right size for that bit of wall next to the entry….
      The stereo doesn’t fit on the dresser with the TV, unfortunately. But you’ve given me another idea…stay tuned.

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  9. What a difference between the before and after shots! You’ve really done a fanastic job. No wonder you are being featured by Hello Lovely.

    I’m partial to the sofa facing the fireplace with the chairs angled in on either side.

    It’s so fun you have a piano in the room!

    Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ll take Room No. 3, please, with the chairs angled. It softens the overall line of rectangular furniture and opens the space around it and to the next room.
    Can you put the striped chair on the other side of the piano to get it away from the couch?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Having lived in a home built in the mid 1800s, it sometimes seems very difficult to make furniture “work” in such large rooms and make them look “homey/comfortable”. I like the sofa either facing the window or the fire place. It’s such a shame you can use the fire place, how lovely that would be on cold nights. I have a hard time understanding why people go on vacation or a weekend trip and watch telly. At any rate, whichever design you choose will be lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Before the days of mobile data, I would always turn on CNN to know what was going on in the world. CNN became associated with travel, because I would only watch (more like listen) to it when in some foreign place, preferring to get my news from newspapers. So I kind of get it. Background noise; familiar voices, especially for French guests.
      The thing about a fireplace, other than the horror of pollution if everybody lit a fire, is having to haul wood to a place best reached on foot, and then having to store it. On cold nights, there’s a sauna in the apartment!

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  12. I’d be happy with any of the couch and chair arrangements because all of the items are so lovely individually and together. (Although ideally I’d like the chair that matches the couch to keep its distance.) The TV and music system are the jolts to the eye, particularly because of their height. Is it possible to hide both in the armoire? Your questions concern placement of the soft furniture. Would it help to also consider alternate placements for the piano, armoire, bureau and desk? The desk seems like a nice gesture but perhaps not necessary. In any case, it’s a pleasure to look at the beauty you’ve created here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The desk is one of those criteria for stars. The armoire actually is for hanging clothes, because the sofa folds out and sometimes people sleep in this room. I have thought about swapping it and the piano, but then there’s a huge wall with only the vintage portrait photo. A dilemma.

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  13. I vote for the couch facing the fireplace. And believe me, I am an expert in rearranging the furniture! After years of experience, I have learned there is no point in trying to redirect the energy flow of a room. There needs to be a free flow of movement with nothing blocking doorways and windows. And to quote the (sexist but nonetheless true) words of the fellow who did our fireplace: “A fireplace is like a woman. You have to look her in the eyes.” Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am truly loving the sofa facing the fireplace with the two chairs aside, in front of, the fireplace. It welcomes sitting together, having a wonderful conversation and a glass of wine. Why don’t you add a grouping of pillar candles sitting on mirrors in the fireplace opening that you could light for atmosphere? It looks very enticing. I love your draperies! I also like the idea of moving the stereo to the TV area. I wouldn’t be happy seeing the newness of the stereo in such a charming room.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have stayed here a few times ourselves, and it is indeed a great conversation area. I love the idea of pillar candles, but I worry about people knocking them over and either spilling wax or, worse, setting a fire. We have had two small fires in our home from candle mishaps (one time, my husband was sitting about two feet away, watching TV, but the candle was behind him–a tea light that somehow busted through its holder and caught the table on fire. The table still bears the scar.

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  15. No candles! Messy wax on surfaces, fire risk, gunk on walls (soot). Perhaps a couple of the tall church candlesticks, the ones with the points so you can’t put candles on them easily! I think the sofa facing the fireplace makes the most sense, and wherever the chairs end up, angled. If they’re straight you have to turn your head 90 degrees to talk to the person in the other chair. A simple low table would work for the stereo, very plain and understated. I’m afraid if that was my living room it would be absolutely stuffed with furniture ……
    bonnie near carpentras

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you see the before photos? It was stuffed with furniture. I think that people on vacation don’t need a lot of furniture. Everything that’s there has a function–the dresser holds extra blankets and has empty drawers for those who sleep on the sofa bed. The armoire has a rail and hangers for sofabed guests’ clothes; at the bottom there’s a vacuum and iron/ironing board. No closets in the 1600s, so no place to stash such essentials. The rest of the furniture is to sit on. Just the piano is for decoration, and it’s mostly there because it was too hard to remove. In our house, there are extra chairs for when we have dinner parties, a buffet full of tablecloths, another dresser full of bed linens. But people on vacation don’t have dinner parties…

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      1. oh yes those before photos were so french. I’ve been here and seen worse. I have this problem acquiring too much furniture, there’s so much great stuff out there. You are absolutely right to keep the apt somewhat sparsely furnished with the right things. As you say, they will not be having dinner parties. The only change i would support is putting the stereo somewhere less prominent or even combining it in a cabinet with the tv.
        bonnie

        Liked by 1 person

  16. You’re right about not using real candles in a rental situation. Have you seen the battery operated, very realistic pillar candles? That might be an option. I’m a romantic!
    To Chezbon, Petro candles cause the soot that you’re referring to. I don’t recommend them. Soy or beeswax is my preference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use the battery candles in my own house if I want a candle atmosphere. I try to keep my tenants from using “ordinary” candles as if they do too much of it, a greasy soot ends up on the walls. Also dangerous if left unattended, once many years ago the house next door to me burned down because a candle was left burning. The battery pillar candles are pretty convincing.
      bonnie

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I think they are all fabulous! And although I like #1 and like #3 as well, as you said, it opens up the corridor and it just looks more airy to me. I cannot remember from your previous posts, was this always a bedroom in the past and you turned it into the lounge?

    I am sure that it is going to be welcoming and beautiful for every guest no matter the arrangement.

    Have a wonderful afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was one giant U-shaped apartment, so you had to go through two bedrooms to get from the living room/dining room to the kitchen. We separated the apartment into two, because there were two entrances. Each is about 85 square meters or about 850 square feet.

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