Magazine article Sunset

Victorian Secrets; Vintage Chandeliers, Family Mementos, and a Soothing Winter Palette: How One Couple Put Their Own Fresh Spin on Old-Fashioned Style

Magazine article Sunset

Victorian Secrets; Vintage Chandeliers, Family Mementos, and a Soothing Winter Palette: How One Couple Put Their Own Fresh Spin on Old-Fashioned Style

Article excerpt

IT MAY BE TRADITIONAL, but it certainly isn't stuffy. "I always loved Victorians--they reminded me of real-life dollhouses," says Sophie Fauveau of the 1890 Portland home she renovated with her husband, Mark Williams. "But I also knew I wanted light colors, no clutter, and a sense that everything belonged together." Their remodel stayed true to the home's period details and old-fashioned charm while infusing it with youthful, contemporary sophistication.

A French native with a keen sense of style, Fauveau took on the bulk of the design work (with help from an architect), which included a second-floor addition that doubled the home's square footage. Her palette stayed consistent: white marble (honed in the kitchen, polished to a sheen in the master bath), soft pastels, and a luxe assortment of vintage finds at bargain prices.

Nostalgia plays a major role in Fauveau's decorating choices. In the living room, the pair of white leather sofas (which she scored at an online auction site for $500) brought back happy associations from childhood. "My parents had the same ones in brown when I was growing up--these are like albino versions," she says. In the kitchen, the island is a nod to her memories of the "gigantic marble table for pastries" at her grandparents' hotel and restaurant in the south of France. And in the dining room, Fauveau covered the chartreuse walls with row upon row of family photos in mismatched gold frames. "Mark and I both live far away from our families, so it's important to us to have pictures of them all around the house," she explains.

For the couple, the house is much more than a mere dwelling; to hear Fauveau tell it, the chemistry was instantaneous. "We are ridiculously, crazily, emotionally attached to our house," she says. "Mark and I even got married in the living room. Ten minutes after we saw it, we knew we would live here no matter what it took." All love affairs should have an ending this good.

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INFO Design: Sophie Fauveau, French Touch Styling, Portland (frenchtouch styling.com). Resources: See page 104.

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY THOMAS J. STORY

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