French Country Garden Room

Candice Olson transforms a neglected basement into a relaxing space for entertaining.

Before: Storage Space

Toby and her family live in a newly renovated house that is a designer's dream. The home has a French decorating style, chosen because the family adores France and travels there at every opportunity. However, there was one area in the home that was sadly out of place: the basement, which was mostly used as a storage area.

The room, which opened up onto a lovely garden, was missing a certain "je ne sais quoi," but it had great potential.

So, donning my best beret, I set out to create a little fabulousness and design a French country-inspired room where Toby and her family and friends could gather to munch on croissants, sip a little Bordeaux and perhaps even brush up on their Francais.

When we think "French country," we tend to picture yellow and blue patterns and whitewashed antiques. Yet, because I don't like to take a particular style too seriously or too literally, I decided that for this project I was going to steer clear of the "anticipated" and move toward the "unexpected." I wanted to create a "French-bistro-meets-kooky-Mad Hatter" mood: a place where the traditional blends seamlessly with the modern.

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