Chatting on the phone with internationally-acclaimed interior designer and author Florence de Dampierre, I was surprised at her take on "French chic living," which happens to be the title of her sixth lifestyle/design book.
It all begins, she said, with being organized. Not something that I would consider a requisite for chic-ness. But au contraire. It's a thought that she will amplify when making a personal appearance at the Houston Design Center as part of the Second Tuesday series on February 9.
Explaining her take on the subject, the New York-based designer said, "French chic is all about making it look easy. It's elegant but not complicated." Organization, she adds, is the key to a stylish ease in living.
With that as the basic premise, French Chic Living: Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful, explores a multitude of subjects while employing the Gallic wisdom of de Dampierre's mother and grandmother. The Parisian native takes on all aspects of the home from organizing the pantry, to polishing silver, to setting up the bar for a party.
There are recipes for macaroons and specialty cocktails, tips on flower arranging and steps for brewing the perfect cup of tea. "It's a very hands-on, practical book that covers all bases . . . It's a manual."
But a beautiful manual, published by Rizzoli, it is, loaded with dreamy relevant photographs from a friend's chateau in France.
French chic living, de Dampierre, said is "keeping it together very graciously, and actually without spending very much money . . . basically to have an elegant everyday life."
Being highly organized is a platform of her success as de Dampierre explained, "I am very organized. I would not be able to do what I am doing if I were not."
Her busy life includes her namesake interior design firm, product lines (a new carpet line launching soon), books, lectures, writing for periodicals, keeping up with residences in New York and Litchfield, Connecticut, and raising a family.