This Blogger’s Stunning French Vintage Home Has So Many Ideas to Steal

French vintage extraordinaire Amy Mings is showing HGTV.com around her supercute and cozy home in Raleigh, Illinois. Plus, she's dishing on how to get a French vintage look in your space. Allons-y!

March 19, 2020

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Photo By: Amy Mings

Let's Take a Tour

It’s cozy. It’s cute. It’s European. It’s French vintage, and you’ve probably seen the soft shades of neutral that define this design style weaving their way into the depths of your Instagram feed. It feels a little bit millennial, but not in a terrazzo contact paper, round mirror, midcentury way. It’s more ornate … nostalgic, if you will — but it’s still Instagrammable, of course, which is what led us to author of the Maison de Mings blog and French vintage extraordinaire, Amy Mings. Her home in Raleigh, Illinois is the epitome of what I wished my apartment looked like. I sat down with Amy to get all her French vintage secrets — and she had a lot to tell. Here, we take a look around her stunning space, which has tons of cool ideas to steal.

So, What's French Vintage?

Take a step inside Amy’s supercute entryway and you’ll feel it. A gold vintage mirror — the standout piece of this space — is the first accessory that’ll catch your eye. But look a little closer and you’ll notice beautiful woven baskets hanging next to the doorway and a natural wooden bench. “I certainly think there is a farmhouse element to French vintage,” explains Amy. “This style is so enamoring to me because it’s also functional, and, like a farmhouse, everything in the space has a purpose.”

Getting Creative

When it comes to decorating, step one is getting inspired. It turns out, Amy’s inspiration is simple: France! “[My husband Mat and I] visit Provence in the south of France often. A simple walk through the Saturday market in a village like Bonnieux or Forcalquier can provide me enough inspiration for an entire year,” she says, adding that Pinterest is also a big idea generator when she’s stateside. Amy found the armoire pictured here at a barn sale, and Mat got to work restoring it. The vintage artwork came from a local estate sale.

All the Right Accessories

As for snagging vintage finds, Amy’s go-to recommendations are Facebook Marketplace, estate sales, antique stores and barn sales. The blue Victorian sofa in her living room? A Facebook Marketplace find she came across while traveling in St. Louis. The vintage cane-back chairs were also from Marketplace. Amy’s pro tip: “To give the chairs a French vintage look like the rest of our home, we refinished and reupholstered them both in classic Provencal colors.”

Dreamy Neutrals

What are the key ingredients for a French vintage space? According to Amy: “Vintage, neutral or pastel in color and, of course, ‘Le Produit du France.’” Which is why when she found her stunning, ornate piano — for free on Facebook Marketplace — she chalk-painted it a creamy white to match the rest of her home’s color palette (originally, the piano was green). C’est rêveuse!

Old World Charm

The dreamy, neutral color palette in Amy’s home continues into her hallway. Mat helped her add small touches throughout the space, and they made a big difference. Check out those vertical wall planks (white of course) and the vintage brass door levers from Grandeur Hardware. The super-cool woven light fixture was an IKEA find.

French Glam In Illinois

Cane-back chairs, touches of blush and all that creamy color? This simple, elegant dining space may be the best room in the house. Amy added a vintage crystal chandelier from Facebook Marketplace and, most recently, new dining chairs. The best part is she gave her fireplace surround a $10 makeover using chalk paint, and it’s so cute.

Vintage Touches

Amy’s also been collecting vintage confit pots for the last few years. “They work great as a neutral vessel and transition seamlessly through each season,” she says. This particular vase, used to spice up a table setting, plays host to pink and white roses. Amy completed the look with coral-colored candle sticks in brass holders.

A French-Inspired Baking Rack

Cozy baking racks — like this one in Amy’s home — are a staple in French boulangeries. “I noticed [them] from Paris to Nice and always wanted one,” Amy says — though she admitted finding one was harder than she’d expected. Most of the racks she came across in Europe were too big, so she and Mat hand-built one, then added a distressed finish to give it the well-worn feel they were looking for. And, in classic French vintage style, she decorated it with brass bowls, neutral dishware and a hanging basket.

Decorate With a Purpose

Amy’s biggest piece of advice is absolute: Find functional accessories. Yes, the cute touches in her kitchen — a cheese safe and an ironstone carafe and butter pats (plus, lots of copper) — are totally French-vintage-chic, “but the real beauty of them is that they were born of pure necessity in the sunny environment of southern France,” Amy says. Peep that adorable cake stand, which is just one of the many in Amy’s expansive collection. Cake stands are staple in the Ming house. In fact, Amy and Mat sell them at their shop: Maison de Mings. “I love using them as statement pieces to display baked goods and seasonal decor,” says Amy.

The Pantry of Our Dreams

Amy’s French vintage pantry, maybe the most functional space of all, is truly a dream. It’s filled with vintage copper (Amy’s been collecting for years!) sourced mostly from France. Some of the newer pieces are from Sertodo Copper, a coppersmith based in Mexico that Amy loves. Cheeseboards, cake stands (of course) and tea kettles are stacked throughout this inspiring space. We’re ready for brie and wine now!

An Inspired Garden Shed

This space went from totally drab to so charming. Seriously, check out the before pictures on Amy’s blog. The all-white space — painted by Amy and Mat — was carefully curated after lots of Pinterest research. Baskets, touches of brass, a cute little baby blue stool and a wowza white telephone booth occupy the space now. But, believe it or not, Amy isn’t done styling it quite yet. “I’m currently looking for garden accessories and French-inspired seating on Facebook Marketplace,” she says.

Linens, Natural Lighting and Goodbyes

At the end of a long day, Amy and Mat can sit back in their cozy bedroom — complete with linen bedding, vintage art and an inspired rug — and bask in the French vintage-ness of it all. Inspired? Us too! So, here’s Amy’s final scoop: Think functional, neutral and, of course, vintage. Have fun with it: Visit flea markets and barn sales to search for baskets, cake stands and any accessories you know you’ll use. “French vintage, like the idea of ‘being French’ itself, is more an ethos than something tangible,” says Amy. “It’s an approach to design that embraces informality but appreciates elegance.”