Design à la Française

Text by Rebecca Rochat | Photography by Med Dement

Though it was built only 21 years ago, architects Dan and Carol Randle expertly designed this French Norman style house to give the illusion of a 1920s original. The French Norman style became popular in the 1920s when American soldiers who had been stationed in France came back from World War I and began building their own homes.

Francaise1Consistent with this theme, the exterior of the house was built by Henley Brothers Construction to look as if the construction spanned a century, with wings made to look like additions built through the changing architecture of the decades. Inside the house, an assortment of ceiling types and ceiling heights add dimension. Separately, the owners also wanted their home to feel spacious and bright, so all rooms were designed with windows on at least two sides.

The French influence is evident upon entering the elegant foyer with its black-and-white diamond marble floor, installed by H.C. Corporation. The stairway banister, made of handcrafted bronze, was heated and bent on site during construction by Henley Brothers Construction. Accentuating this look, the stairwell is lined with paintings of pastoral scenes painted by the homeowner.

Francaise2A mixture of patterns, textures and colors in fabrics and decorative accents provides a warm atmosphere that invites one to sit and linger in the handsome great room. Upon entering the room from the entryway, four floor-to-ceiling arched windows immediately command attention. The furnishings are arranged in two groupings–one centered around the white-paneled fireplace wall and the other tucked into a corner in front of the windows.

Grouped around the fireplace are a sofa covered in a rare beige mohair, matching arm chairs upholstered in a Lee Jofa fabric, and an armchair and ottoman. A second matching sofa sits in the corner paired with a fauteuil chair and coffee table, the top of which was fashioned from a 19th century gate piece. Tying both seating areas together is a large Persian rug with vibrant red and blue colors. Throughout, the eye is drawn to a myriad of textures,
color and art pieces.

Francaise6The master bedroom was recently redone with a new color scheme. A trendy brown and blue color scheme is transformed into a classic look that plays off blue tones in the hand-blown Murano glass chandelier and wood tones of the classic French cane bed and French provincial bench at the foot. Refreshed draperies from Ashley Ford Interiors, made of printed English linen, are hung from the crown molding rather than the top of the windows to give the illusion of extra height. Next to the fireplace is a rewired antique etched French floor lamp with a custom-made linen shade. Two club chairs in front of the fireplace, also from Ashley Ford Interiors, are new additions upholstered in an unusual but popular new combination of quilted velvet and linen. An 18th century armoire is outfitted to hold a TV and other electronics. From each window in the master bedroom, there is a view of the landscaped nature walk below, with stone by Heritage Stonecrafts.

The upstairs has four bedrooms and baths, an office and a painting studio. Driven by the different first floor ceiling heights, these rooms rest across a variety of different levels that add to the feel of this spacious French mansion.

Architect: Dan and Carol Randle, Randle and Associates 

Builder: Henley Brothers Construction

Interior Design: Ashley Ford, Ashley Ford Interiors

Home Suppliers:

Seismic Engineering: Eddie Long, Long & Arnold Engineering 

Stone: Heritage Stonecrafts

Kitchen Design, Cabinetry: Laura Hertle, Ana Woodworks

Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors

Tile: The Tile Store

Marble Installation: H.C. Corporation

Molding, Stair Parts, Trim: Interior Trim & Supply, Inc.

Appliances & Lighting: Ferguson