French Larkspur

Thu 9th, Aug, 2012

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Ooooh Bonjour ladies, we are going a leetle French today with French Larkspur plus we have a giveaway, yeehaw.


I would like to introduce you lovely Beach Cottage ladies to Tracey, you most probably know her if you have been around blogland much – she is chief editor of the blog French Larkspur and runs the French Larkspur shop too…I warn you though you will seriously have life envy if you spend much time at all over at her place.

So today we have a little chat with the girl that loves all things French & French Larkspur

Tell us a little bit about you, where you live, what you do and what makes you tick?

I live in the Midwestern United States in a small suburb about an hour outside of Chicago.  I have 3 children aged 5 – 10 and I am a stay-at-home mom.  I have had an online shop, French Larkspur, for about 3 years now, as well as a blog by the same name.

Both reflect my love of decorating and dedication to all things vintage.  Having both my blog and my business have allowed me to find my passion for photography, which has quickly become my very favorite hobby…well, that and shopping the flea markets :)  Over the last year, I discovered that I could combine my love for travel, especially my love for France, and my love for flea markets and take my business in a new direction.  I have been so excited to be able to make buying trips to France and bring home some of the amazing vintage finds from there and offer them in my shop!


How did you find your style, it’s French influence and how do you interpret that into your home?

I can’t even say when my obsession with “French things” even really started, and the funny things is that there was a time in my life when I loathed vintage anything!  Ha!!  Hard to believe now, but it’s true :))

But, somewhere along the way, my tastes started changing and I have been a die hard fan of using vintage items in my decor, especially French ones, for quite some time now.  Being able to go to the French flea markets, and bring items home, is truly a dream come true for me and I am giddy with excitement before each and every trip we take!!  I love using white, grey and soft colors in my home and prefer painted furniture, as this all makes for a perfect back drop for the antiques and family heirlooms I decorate with.  Other than that though, I really don’t follow any set design rules, I just decorate with what I love and go with what my eye tells me looks good.



How does your home work in real life, is it hard to keep up with…it all looks so amazing on the blog!

Thank you, you are very kind!  We all present our best view on our blogs, right??…after all, no one would get inspiration from a dirty house and piles of laundry :)

{ Oh so true my friend – I often get asked the same question, I don’t show you the yucky bits! }

The truth is though, that I have always been a bit of a neat freak and do try and keep up with things around the house, I am just one of those people that functions better when my home is in order and things are fairly neat and clean.  That’s not to say that everything around here runs extremely smoothly or that there’s never any chaos or mess!  It’s a team effort around here.  My kids have a chore chart and my husband helps out tremendously…we all pitch in and that it is what really makes things work around here, team effort!


How often do you get to visit France?

My husband and I have been to France 4 times in the last 2 1/2 years.  Our next trip will be in early September.  I will be there for 2 weeks this time around, as I will spend a week with my husband in Provence and a week with a friend in the French countryside about an hour west of Paris.  We are also trying to squeeze one more trip to France in in early November.  The plan is for us to be able to go at least 3 times a year from here on out, in order to support my growing business and the success of the French flea market finds section of my shop.  Plus, we simply enjoy it so very much…I feel blessed each and every time I am able to visit France. 





What’s a typical day like for you, with your business and blog and family?  Run us through how you roll with keeping all that going?

Our schedule is pretty loose around here and that is the beauty of being a stay-at-home mom and having an online business, my schedule is flexible.  Some days I spend time photographing products, tweaking my website, and wrapping orders, other days are spent taking the kids to their various activities and focusing on what they need from me. 

I try and keep up with the house and chores so that things don’t get out of hand, so I always do a bit of picking up and organizing every day.  And, honestly, some days I just feel like curling up with a good book and a latte taking a break from all of the craziness going on, and so I will allow myself this free time to recharge my battery so to speak! 

Right now, I am in the middle of preparing for a new e-course, Creatively Made Home, that I am working on with 4 other friends, and that is my big focus right now and what is taking up most of my non-family time!





Your top 5 French Larkspur tips for creating a home?

~ decorate with what you love, not what is trendy

~ keep things family friendly when you decorate, it makes for less hassle and, in the long run, it will make your life a lot easier not having to have areas of your home “off limits” from every day use :)

~ small touches really do make a home feel extra special: things like fresh flowers in a vase near your bed and using your “pretty dishes” for a regular week night meal just help to lend a little fun and happiness into the everyday!

~ if there is a room in your house that doesn’t get used, change it into something that will get used.  We have a family room that we all hang out in, but no one was ever using the living room, so a few years ago I switched things around and turned that into my studio…I now have a place to work on orders and projects and the kids also have a place to craft and do their homework!  An unused room now benefits the whole family.

~ don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit and move things around from room to room.  While I might have a bit of an obsession with changing things up over here, it really does help to freshen things up and pick up your spirits to change things around from time to time.  Try rearranging a room by not only moving things around from room to room, but try using items for a completely different purpose than originally intended…you would be amazed at how different a room can look with no budget, just a little imagination!


Thanks so much Tracey, I love your blog, French Larkspur (go here, it’s beeeyoutiful) and loved hearing a bit more about you and a bit more about French Larkspur and how it runs too…


Tracey has just announced her e-course too! it sounds fabulous




Creatively Made Home is an all new e-course about creating a home that reflects your heart in everyday living.  It is about inspiring and encouraging you to create and style a home that you and your family love to live in…

This five week online course is hosted by 5 friends who want to help you to define your decorating style so that it is a true reflection of your heart…everything from gardening, cooking, gift giving and decorating.

This course is about loving your home, loving your family and blessing those around you….and having fun doing it.

This course will lavish you with ideas, beauty, inspiration, joy and encouragement!

Class begins October 22.

To sign up for Creatively Made Home, go *HERE*


And guess what?

Beach Cottage & French Larkspur have teamed up to offer five Beach Cottage readers a chance to win a spot in the course.

To enter answer the following question in the comments section of this post

Best answer wins.

What’s your favourite style?  Frenchy, beachy, modern, shabby, English, country cottage…you tell me ladies, I think mine is a mixture and changes often but living here the coastal theme runs through…


I hope you enjoyed this little Frenchy post from French Larkspur all the way from Down Under and a very sunny Summer House where I am writing this today lovely Beach Cottage ladies…


p.s. Winner of the SDC giveaway is Ellie, (brian and ellie @ bigpond.com) – email and details on the way Ellie, congrats

p.p.s. Barley is back blogging and he just blogged this morning, check it out here

oh & a pic from the beach yesterday that made me smile – given some Beach Cottage vintage processing treatment HERE



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28 Responses to “French Larkspur”

  1. Alice says:

    Ohhh….I love your home Tracey…I actually lurk in the shadows of your blog(for as long as I have been following the B.C blog – about 2.5 years now). I love your photography…Around your home and of your lovely trips (though I have family in France I have never really explored France, just a quick stop over (2-3 hours)to say hello before then on our way to Germany to head back home to Australia)…So it’s really good to see it through your eyes :). Your home is lovely too and I too am a big believer of using things in ways other than originally intended (including rooms!)lol…

  2. ooooh, I LOVE Tracey!!! She is so talented and extremely kind!!! I always enjoy ordering from her shop when I can!!!

    I also love your Beach Cottage blog!!!

    As for my style – oh gosh, I honestly don’t have any set rules…vintage french including industrial farmhouse mixed with romantic country! I love mixing rustic with elegance! ;) Anyway, have a lovely day!!!!




    • Nain says:

      Oh I like your blog Jessie :). Ikea Emmie linens eh? Ikea Aust (fingers crossed, please stock)..

      My ‘style’ is still evolving, I love  anything rustic, repurposed or salvaged and brought back to life with a good clean-up and/or paint, usually white..
      Anything vintage (ie budget vintage) or MIY (make-it-yourself)..
      Trying to stick to French vintage with a bit of shabby Brit thrown in but generally eclectic.. must be child-friendly too (linen, silver, tins, wooden letters, enamel anything, easy to clean or replace)! I don’t know how to squeeze it all into my small place though so that it looks pretty.. ? :(

      • Thank you for your kind words, Nain! Do you have a blog? I was trying to visit, but couldn’t find your link. :) My style constantly evolves too. I’m sure your home is lovely – ours is quite small too! I have two boys in the house (teenager & a preschooler), so everything has to be quite functional here! That’s why vintage is great…the boys can be rough around it, and it will only add to its character! :) ~Jessie

  3. Yummy!!! And I’m loving the sound of the Creatively Made Home e-course. Very inspiring! I seriously have no idea what to call my fave style?! It changes from day to day (minute to minute?). White, tho love a dash of colour, country, tho the beachy thing is divine, french tho who can pass up the scandi look , relaxed and comfy tho we do need some form of order, light and bright tho dark can be so cosy, see! this is too hard Sarah!!!….. xx

  4. Oh to be able to scoot off to France a few times a year. {sigh} As for style, I don’t have a favorite (love them all) but I am most inspired by authentic French, modern, industrial, Swedish, and shabby styles. Is white a style? lf it is, put me down for that too. hehe Thank you both for the chance!

  5. lisa says:

    Hi Sarah…love your beautiful home….my style is beachy with white & shells plus a splash of blue here & there…you have given me some great ideas too :)

  6. Nicole W says:

    Gorgeous..! I lurk around French Larkspur also, it’s nice to see you on ABC blog =D my style is a French rustic… Even tho I live 3 &a half hours away from the coast (of Esperance WA) I also like to add a few coastal pieces, it reminds me of gorgeous childhood beachy holidays & Sarah’s blog has given me so many inspirational ways to do that.. I also love that Esperance has French connections.. I live kind of “in the bush” which is why I think I’m drawn to rustic & time worn.. I just love how I can bring all those elements that I love together.. of course with lots of white ;o)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    My favorite style is country farmhouse/beachy/ cottagey. Is that a style?

  8. Kirsty says:

    My style is what I call “eclectic”. Bit of this, bit of that, somehow hoping that it all comes together. I don’t have a favourite style as I am partial to a bit of everything but I will say i’m loving frenchy and shabby at the moment :)

  9. Jo Tilsley says:

    Love the French vintage style. But my favourite style is monochromatic with pops of colour.

  10. Jan says:

    Love Traceys blog, style and inspiirational photos..
    French,vintage, soft industrial,farmhouse, modern country, Swedish, coastal, Hamptons, organised, functional and super family friendly encouraging and upifting are all visions for our home….sounds like a Shepherds Pie of left overs but it really works and everyone loves it!

  11. Jenni Johnston says:

    I thought Barley was your son ! ! My home style, mmmmmm, art pieces (paintings, sculptures), zinc alum, wood heater, exposed internal wood poles, wooden floors, whitey beige walls, open, spacious and desperate for a new kitchen!

  12. Susan @ Afford Your Passions says:

    I love Tracey’s home – just beautiful!

    My style can best be described as “Chinoiserie chic with a coastal flair, done on a thrift store budget” – it’s hard to really pull off a pure coastal style if you are living 300 miles from the coast, so having the chinoiserie influence keeps it from becoming too beachy.

  13. Well my style is……. Lets call it “family”. Dirty clothes next to (not in) the washing basket, unmade beds during the week, beautiful comfy cushions on the floor next to the sofa because a child wants to spread out and not enough room for child and 5 cushions, piano with piano books spread everywhere so it looks like someone can play and contents of school bag on any vacant floor space where i can trip over it. On the the other 2 days when im not working at day job, the house becomes a nice mix of modern french chic, a bit of country and odd bits. I would love to know how to make all the things ii like work together in a relaxed but stylish way – and at low cost. To look like a magazine, one can only dream……..

  14. Sistergirl says:

    Tracey’s home is just beautiful. I love the look.

  15. What IS my decorating style? In the past I’ve favoured an English style, heavy on the Victorian (especially colonial). But now, thanks, in part, to blogs like A Beach Cottage, my taste has loosened up considerably and I’m becoming quite infatuated with the light and airy beach cottage style. There’s also a lot of shabby chic creeping in. So I guess I’m just, like Sarah, ecclectic. Basically, if I like it I’ll try and find a place for it! Perhaps this course could help me settle on a look that works for me and my home!

  16. Debs says:

    Love French Larkspur and have also been al lurker for a while now, as I am on abeachcottage…now my fave style is still ‘Work in progess’ style. I drive myself mad, let alone my hubby…with my indecisiveness and obsession with spraying or painting things white! He says he cant sit still incase I spray him! Love beachy,come shabby, come Cath Kidston-Laura Ashley, Rachel Ashwell….with ornate Italian, vintagy and chalky, grey, white frenchy kind of look…tinged with a hint of English cottagy garden feel going on. One day Im all white girl…another Im adding blue, pink and green polka dots. I cant decide if I like colour and get all restless!!! So I guess Im just Deb style crazy..with white?

  17. Annie M says:

    Oh Sarah what a lovely post combining two of my favorite blogs. The course sounds like just what I need as my decorating style definitely needs defining. I would sum up my favourite style that I am striving to achieve in my home as…….. OLD, NEW, BORROWED AND BLUE
    OLD..love me some vintage…pre loved items like pretty china and up cycled furniture I am beginning to give the BC white paint treatment.
    NEW….fresh flowers and the appearance of white decorative items from Ikea ( recommended by Mrs BC )
    BORROWED…I love whites, greys and soft colours, French and Scandinavian style……..ideas borrowed from all the gorgeous blogs I have been perusing especially A beach cottage
    BLUE….make my pops of colour blue like the sky and the ocean in all it’s myriad of shades

    The course would help me to bring it all together in my home..thanks for the opportunity….Annie M x

  18. alison says:

    I call Tracey’s style “Calm elegance”. Beautiful. It just occurred to me that’s what I subconsciously try to achieve.


  19. Bliss Jones says:

    What’s my scene? Hmmm….Great question Sarah!!
    I’m a bit like a revolving door…things come and go!Now I don’t mean in a frivous way.Things find there way into my life..{Just like the puppys would follow me home when I was a kid…sucker for sad eyes} And when there finished with me they go to a good home{another puppy reference} You see I <3 vintage and the sheer excitiment that go's with discovering something special at 'The Family Store','Vinnies'or left on the side of the road{with my name on it}…You can take it home and make it your own…{just another puppy incident,I hear you say!}…Anyhow my most consistent flavour running through it is with out a doubt Mediterranean and in particular Italian. There's a red sign in my kitchen that says "la Dolce Vita"{the sweet life}…my words to live by!…as in BLISS{my familys first initial} which I endeavor to make the essence of my life! Thanks for making me ponder this Sarah! ;) Sonya{aka Bliss}<3

  20. Nadine says:

    My style is unashamedly “bookish”, there are books in every room, and magazines in holders which I want to soften with decoupage. I combine real antiques (a few) with psuedo antiques, and grab all the linens I can when relatives decide they want to go more modern with placemats. I would have many more hand made embroidies on the walls but the bookcases interfere, so I hang pictures on the bookcases. I liberate items from the side of the road, my hubby despairs because I still have a net gain every chuck out! and I have a shed with stuff in it I want to work on once have finished study and work – so 2014, here I come with that, but sometimes it doesn’t pull together the way I would like it too. I have a bedroom that used to make me feel at ease, and now it is just ho-hum, so that needs to be reworked, furniture moved around etc, I am not afraid of using paint to be the backdrop for decorations, and it has been 25 years since I painted my bedroom, so that should be my starting point, but I don’t know where to start – IYKWIM. I think I would benefit from such a course, I think it would show me how to look differently at what I have, and do in my house, I am mentally blocked I think at the moment – Anyone want to buy a book?

  21. smithshack71 says:

    I love everything. If it has makes me happy, and it’s got a good vibe, then I like it. I don’t like anything that matches. I like things that go together. So, that can leave it wide open. Sometimes, I can be very happy with the way I have something arranged, and then when I rearrange it, I’m like.. ah yeah, this is right. So, I like to change it up some. I have tried to make this shack (my home) fun. Two kids here, and it’s gotta flow with us. An easy, laid back style. Eclectic. Eclectic coastal. That’s me. With a shack twist. ;)

  22. shelley says:

    Ohhh……Ummmm…..a little bit shabby with a bit of vintage, a smidge of country and some beachy accents. Let’s see – I live in a city house, own an old house in the country (that is presently being rented) and am currently renting a house by the beach for work – no wonder I am all over the show!

  23. My style is ‘anything that makes me smile’ – I’m a great believer in collecting anything that you love and making it work afterwards! You don’t need to put yourself in a category – the aesthetic of your heart is the most coherent of all and is what will make your home beautiful and meaningful to you.
    Sorry, I know that sounds a bit bleugh but that’s the lesson I’ve learned over the years.
    Oh, and grey, Always grey ;-)
    This e-course sounds so exciting – I’d love to take part – thanks for the chance!

  24. Delcie says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Lovely to read your interview with Tracey… Love French Larkspur too. I first heard about the new e course through Post Road Vintage… sounds like it will be right up my alley with 5 inspirational home décor bloggers. My style is definitely vintage (I live in a country weatherboard cottage) with florals/roses, cottage garden, (beachy bathroom)…a little bit English cottage…a little bit aussie farmhouse style …I think this course would help me define my style a bit more…I probably need to pare it back a little….Hopefully it would also give me a push to start blogging again.