Continental Charm – richmondmagazine.com
Priscille Georges admits to being a 21st century woman with the tastes of the 18th century Marie-Antoinette.
âGive me some silk, some velvet, some sparkle,â she laughs.
There’s a lot of sparkle – and centuries gone by – in Fan’s historic home that George shares with her husband, Thomas. With more than 30 years of experience in interior design, George is a master in the art of integrating style and comfort of life. She has already said that future grandchildren will learn to live with antiques.
“We affectionately call [our house] The George Museum, âshe says. âWe love our stuff, we live with it and don’t care. When the grandchildren come, I’ll just say, “They’re pretty, and we’re not touching them.” “”
The Georgian Georgian House of 1903 is not as large as the 18-acre property with two houses they once occupied. But it’s bigger than the Fan condominium they loved but left in 2020 as their family grows to include partners of adult children. With nearly 3,000 square feet and 12-foot ceilings, the move gave them more space for the goods that were in storage.
George and her husband have lived in England twice and over ten years ago bought a second home in the Loire Valley in France. Their Richmond home is filled with rooms big and small that come from Europe or have a European flavor.
In the dining room, a French marble-covered sideboard dates from the early 1900s – and is a perennial challenge for movers, but it practically contains crockery. In the family room, a corner Victorian cabinet features 17th and 18th century leather-bound French books, and adjoining Victorian-era wooden shelves feature a photo of George’s grandfather as a child . A plaster photo frame, bought from a French antique dealer and showing the wear of time, was made by the cameraman of Vincent Van Gogh.
All over the house, small objects catch the eye. In the front room, which serves as a desk and has comfy armchairs inviting a tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte, the fireplace mantel features England crystal mustard pots, which George found while searching in a “void”. -grenier â- our equivalent of a chip. Marlet. The accompanying spoons of the jars came later. âFor me, it’s the thrill of the hunt,â she said. âIt may take a year and a half to find what I want, but I will. “
George’s bean collection, miniature porcelain figurines traditionally used in France for the King’s Ash Wednesday cakes, are neatly placed on side tables and shelves. “I call them my people,” said George, laughing.
Its modern French country style is evident in the furniture, decor, and fabrics, but its color palette in this residence is muted. “I have not carpeted much [here], “she says.” I really chose some really soft colors on the walls this time. We have so much artwork – the artwork is the star. “
Window treatments are updated versions of luxury coverings that may still be hung in Europe. The kitchen window sports a Roman hue in a cool paisley pattern, with a leopard-print cornice valance, “that never went out of style,” notes George.
The front desk has custom Scalamander curtains that go almost floor-to-ceiling but don’t cover the entire window, a cost-saving strategy. Adorned with antique silk tassels, the approach creates a dramatic setting for the view of the streetscape.
“Give me some silk, some velvet, some sparkle.” âPriscilla George
Throughout, George has created meaningful ‘vignettes’ – clever arrangements of various elements, grouped together in such a way that they can be enjoyed as a whole while inviting further inspection.
In the family room, a luggage rack contains two suitcases that belonged to George’s grandmother. George says the placement is a testament to his family’s love for travel and also a reminder that the ability to go elsewhere is a gift. âWe’re lucky to be able to travel these days, because people do it all the time now,â she says. âAt the time, it was a big deal. “
Her desk, topped with a piece of marble she found she had cut to measure, is topped by a display case with memorabilia as well as office supplies. On the wall to the side hangs a painting that belonged to one of Napoleon’s generals, a fact that George discovered through research. “It’s funny to think of: who did this belong to?” Who used it? she says.
For this year’s Thanksgiving celebration – as she does every year – George will lay out the table, regardless of the number of guests, and decorate it with whatever she has on hand, carefully arranged.
âPeople don’t think they want to sit at a nice table, but the funny thing is that as soon as they walk in, they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s so nice,’â says -she. “It takes more time to wash the dishes afterwards, so what?” We really have to take advantage of the moments that we get. We have learned a lot from the pandemic. Now when we can sit in the garden and have a drink with friends, that’s a big deal. It’s very important to see people. “