Do you know French Vintage Home? If you are mad for all things French, like me… you will love their site… Audrey Freidman and Laura McGuire share our passion for France and have created an online source for beautiful vintage wares that Audrey sources in France… I recently asked them to tell me how they started their business and what it means for them… I thought you might like to get to know them and their gorgeous French wares… With the holidays so close, French Vintage Home is a brilliant resource for those extra special and unique gifts… Their linens are nothing short of exquisite… and their kitchen wares so adorable… perfect for the friend you want to spoil or fellow Francophiles… xv
Have you always had a love of all things French?
Laura… To me, the French lifestyle and architecture is the epitome of beauty. The food, the fashion, the landscape, it is all so beautiful. As an interior stylist, my life’s work is all about creating beauty and seeking creative inspiration wherever I find it… and France never fails to inspire. When I was growing up, my Aunt had an apartment in Paris, and it seemed like the most glamorous lifestyle.
Audrey…. I have always loved France and French style. The longer I live here the more I appreciate and understand its beauty. I am a history buff and living in a 14th century village is a remarkable experience. Every day I am moved when I see an old door or piece of hardware that has been around for centuries.
How did you two meet…and what made you decide to start an online business?
Laura… When we met, we discovered we had a mutual love of adventure, travel, antiques, and all things French. I was interested in any business that involved spending more time exploring France.
Audrey… Because I live in France I have been shopping at the Brocantes on a regular basis. I got the idea that I could buy things that the American market might like so I started collecting. I knew I wanted a partner who could photograph the items beautifully and manage and develop a web site. My daughter-in-law told me to look at Laura’s web site and the minute I did I knew she was exactly who I was looking for.
Your website, French Vintage Home, is gorgeous…who is the creative spirit behind French Vintage Home…Is it both of you or do you enjoy different roles in the business?
Laura… I thought of the name French Vintage Home while riding a bicycle through Normandy. We had discussed several names, but French Vintage Home seemed to say it all, very simply. I am the creative force behind the website. I worked very closely with our web builder, and it is a slow and tedious process to get the ideas in your head translated onto the web. My experience as a stylist and photographer has given French Vintage Home its’ look and feel. We do have different roles. Audrey, living in France, does all the buying and is fluent in French. Audrey has strength in sales and promotion, and I am all about the beauty. We ship the items to the US and I photograph and manage the website and shipping.
Audrey… I would say both of us. I buy all the things and Laura photographs them and puts them on our site. I try and find things that keep the integrity of French Vintage Home that are lovely and affordable.
Audrey, you spend many months in France… Tell us about your life in the Dordogne… the day to day and the reasons that it is home for you.
I adore old houses and the creative process of renovating them. In 1998 I bought a 15th century Chateau that was a ruin. Along with a beaux-arts architect it was restored to its original beauty with all the necessary modern conveniences like bathrooms and the internet. I have subsequently bought a 14th century village house which I had renovatedand is now for sale. I am looking for another great property to renovate and know that I will find it soon. A typical day for me is to take a long walk with my little Maltese dog Skye and then stopping for a café au lait and a croissant. I must say as Skye and I are getting a bit older, our walks are a bit shorter. She gives me no relief if I decide not to go out one day, she barks until we go. I shop for food every day at the local boulangerie, green grocer and boucherie. I avoid the supermarkets as I have enough of them in the U.S.
Because I have so many friends from all over the world, I am either going to their houses for dinner or they to mine. I have a passion for cooking and setting a beautiful table. I owned a table linen manufacturing and importing company for many years so setting tables and buying dinnerware were my favorite things to do, they still are. My collection of dishes and linens is well used as I try to set the table differently for each dinner party. Entertaining is something I do with great pleasure, I truly enjoy it. I am blessed to have a very large family and many times during the year my children and grandchildren come and visit me. I am happiest when they are there.
Laura, your photography and styling on French Vintage Home makes me want to jump right into the images… Have you always had a love for French textiles and antiques?
I have always had a thing for linens, French in particular, and have a large collection of my own. I was an antique dealer when I lived in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. I seek out items that have a past and a well-worn patina. They bring a sense of history to our homes and a way of honoring those who came before us. For instance, I love old, French, mix and matched flatware… the weight, the smooth finish, the sense that you are the only one with this special collection. I use to dream as a child about discovering secret, forgotten rooms in old homes filled with antiques, so I guess I have always gravitated toward things worth saving and collecting.
Audrey… I adore Laura’s images also. We both love French textiles.
While I had my company we had a license with Ralph Lauren to do all the table linens for him so I do love designing new things. However, I have a very soft spot in my heart for French vintage sheets, tablecloths and antique toile de jouy fabric.
What are your favorite French collectables?
Laura… I think our favorite antiques evolve and change over time, but my love of linens and tabletop has always been a constant. I especially love French cream ware dishes right now, mixed with lovely monogrammed linens.
Audrey… Aside from textiles, I love all things kitchen and buy as much vintage silver cutlery and serving pieces as I can find. There is something wonderful about picking through lots and lots of things just to find the few beautiful pieces for French Vintage Home.
French Vintage Home… Here
HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA
Audrey’s book suggestion… and one that is a perfect gift for the holidays…
The Book of Fine Linen… here