Textured and three-dimensional tiles seem to be everywhere in 2023, with the wider-ranging category of tactile-inspired décor delivering organic, handcrafted ambiance along with options for contrasts and variations to home and office design aesthetics. One local, interior décor enthusiast encourages everyone to find the right balance for themselves by mixing and matching personalized blends of textures and fabrics.
"Homes should be the place where we feel most comfortable. They should be the place where we smile each time we walk in. So, while trends come and go, classics always stay. It's about finding that just-right grouping of items, colors and textures that please you most," says Carolyn Kalil, co-owner of Belle Maison, a French-inspired home and gift store in Franklin.
Carolyn operates the store with her daughter, Katie Polenzani.
Some of the other popular interior design trends for 2023 include the return of bold color accents, natural stone surfaces, luxe living and statement lighting. Carolyn says another popular direction currently is "softening the look of metals." However, she notes that mixing metals seems to always be a pleasing look. Gold and bronze hardware may be being edged out by selections of brass and polished brass.
Citing hundreds of years of French design, Carolyn says there are two gorgeous, signature French looks: French Provincial, which is upscale and classy; and French Country, which is elegant but more rustic. "The French have been mixing and blending these two styles in the same space or rooms seamlessly for decades. For example, without thinking, they might position a 200-year-old, antique bureau with a wire or metal sculpture on top of it. And then have modern art on the same wall behind it," she explains.
"The French combine interior design elements in interesting, pleasing styles, and that's one of the main reasons why we launched a store around the concept of doing so," Carolyn adds.
French interior design styles have the reputation of using soothing color hues, soft patterns, intricate textures and antique accents to create inviting looks that are both polished and lived-in.
Carolyn says she adores analyzing home decor trends, as it relates to history, culture and societal indicators, along with her own interests and those of the store's customers. What began for Carolyn as an eight-week adventure to study abroad in Strasbourg, France, with her high school French class developed into what ultimately became her business passion. “From the moment I got there, I fell in love with it all. The art, the architecture, the people. On the weekends, we’d visit Paris and learn about French history,” she says. "From my first trip, it just felt like home.”
Many years later, Katie spent a couple of months studying in Aix-en-Provence and says she felt the same way. Their shared interest eventually fueled a passionate plan for opening a 4,000-square-foot French store at 443 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 105. Shoppers select from among a beautiful array of French-inspired furniture, décor, mirrors, tables, dining chairs, tableware, soaps, candles, antiques and accessories.
Carolyn and Katie travel regularly throughout the Southeast United States and France to secure French antiques for Belle Maison from private collectors. Just as personal as those collections are Carolyn's suggestions about what to combine in one's own home.
"Consider what's popular, and how you might incorporate some of those design elements or accessories, but follow your heart. If your favorite color is aubergine (eggplant purple), then go ahead and enjoy surrounding yourself with it," reminds Carolyn.
Belle Maison Hours of Operation:
Tuesdays through Sundays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Facebook and Instagram: @bellemaisonnashville