Do you remember when you first noticed blogs and Bloggers?..Do you remember the charm and beauty of the images and the engaging words shared? I do. I remember the first few blogs that I became aware of that touched my heart and mind. I remember how I thoroughly enjoyed reading and became a ‘follower’.
Interview with Courtney Allison – Author/Blogger French Country Cottage
I still follow several of those original blogs. There was one that stood out to me. One that had me with the gorgeous images and beautiful translation of one of my favorite things…French Cottage Style. That one was and is French Country Cottage.
Courtney Allison began her blog years ago sharing her gorgeous style and vision. She shared how she lovingly transformed each room and then brought French Cottage flair to the decor. I believe hers was one of the first to incorporate large chalk boards. I loved how she found gorgeous, sparkly chandeliers that gave each room elegant charm.
Then there’s the flowers. It was as if she went to those wonderful California flower farms strolled along their beds and chose armloads of gorgeous blooms to style…And style those photos beautifully she did! From living room to dining room, from kitchen to garden…and more.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to stroll through her blog to be inspired, I suggest finding a cozy spot with a lovely cup of coffee or tea…and/or, there’s coming something just as good – her first book! Entitled, of course, French Country Cottage..
I am delighted to share with you an interview with Courtney….so, get that cup of tea or coffee and sit with us for a chat.
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Kathy – ‘When you first began blogging, who or what inspired you?’
Courtney – ‘I first started blogging when I was kind of searching a bit for me and who I wanted to be when I grew up. I was a stay at home mom and my kids were all in school all day and at the same time I was helping to care for my grandmother who had dementia. It was a time where I felt a bit up in the air identity wise. I had always been a stay at home mom and busy every day with the kids- and my grandmother is someone I was incredibly close to and she was disappearing bit by bit. When my younger sister and I chatted one morning about things- she is the one who really inspired me- she suggested I start a blog to create a little hobby place in some ways- where I could talk about the house renovations and things like decor and connect with others who had similar interests.’
Kathy – ‘Who are some of your favorite home decor stylists?’
Courtney – ‘I love Rachel Ashwell, Brooke Giannetti and the late Charles Faudree – who have all influenced my style and me in various ways.
Kathy – ‘Who are some of your favorite home decor authors?’
Courtney – ‘Pretty much the same as above 🙂 I also love Carolyne Roehm incredibly elegant entertaining style and Charlotte Moss Entertains and Bunny Williams Affair with a House.’
Kathy – ‘What do you love most about French Cottage Style?’
Courtney – ‘I like that it is simple and welcoming like a warm vintage cottage- with a bit of elegance and charm from gilded French style. It is the mix and mingle of the two that speaks the most to me.’
Kathy – ‘What decor items would you consider quintessentially French Cottage?’
Courtney – ‘I think anything French and elegant – such as a settee, gorgeous mirrors, simple caned chairs and pieces with details like flutings, carvings and linen. And then add some faded florals – like old barkcloth and well loved upholstery. It is definitely a mix for me. That old patina – a chest covered with chippy paint – and the beautiful elegance- paired with a gilded French mirror together. That is perfect French Cottage.’
Kathy – ‘Were you sure of your style at the time you began your blog, or did it develop over the years?’
Courtney – ‘It has definitely developed. I knew what I liked and how I wanted my rooms to look but I wasn’t really confident in how to put it all together. But one of the things I learned while renovating this house and collecting was that some things were more of a whim and some were on repeat. And as I honed that look -I was able to refine and learn more about what I love.’
Kathy – ‘Do you have a favorite piece of French decor?’
Courtney – ‘Gosh- that is hard. I would say chandeliers or mirrors. I love anything with a bit of gilding and bling and think mirrors, chandeliers and fresh flowers belong in every room. 🙂 ‘
Kathy – ‘Which room is your favorite in your home?’
Courtney- ‘Another hard one!! I honestly love rooms for different reasons so would say most of the time- my bedroom or living room-but I do love to retreat to the attic and escape to that childhood dream room for a bit too.’
Kathy – ‘If someone were to ask you where they should start if they’re interested in French Cottage decor – what would you recommend?’
Courtney – ‘I would start with what you love. I knew that I loved chandeliers for example- and so focused on collecting the ones that had the look I loved. Find that thing that makes your heart skip a bit and start there.’
Kathy – ‘Your blogging career has opened wonderful doors of opportunities for you – when did you first realize that this could be so much more…and are there still dreams, ideas you’d love to pursue?’
Courtney – ‘I started my blog for one reason… and it turned into a job and now is a full time business. It has given me such a wonderful place find myself. I absolutely love it and am so grateful for the opportunities and doors that have opened- I feel like it was meant to be because I honestly didn’t know what I was doing- I was just blogging. It is funny because I didn’t really start for any reason other than finding myself – and I found a whole world where I fit in and could be that daydreaming girl – and it was ok. 🙂 and in letting myself be more of that girl and taking a few steps – I found that I was baby-stepping towards some pretty big dreams. One of my favorite posts was about this story really- and Winnie the Pooh.’ (click image below to read)
‘And oh yes, I absolutely do have more dreams that I am pursuing and working and baby-stepping towards. :)’
Kathy – ‘What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as a blogger/stylist/editor/now author?’
Courtney – ‘One of my favorites has been the GMC Yard Sale trips. I was fortunate to be able to attend several times and it is a several days long trip where we traveled the Worlds Longest Yard Sale with GMC shopping for pieces (on a budget!) to decorate a Habitat For Humanity house as a surprise for the family that was getting ready to move in. It was always one of the most exhausting trips with early mornings, late nights and long days to design, find, and makeover things- and then the busy day of install before the family arrived- but I never wanted to miss it. There was a lot of coffee involved – and we all cried when the family walked in and started crying – every.single.time. It is such a feel good trip – so absolutely wonderful to be able to help and give back and that exhaustion at the end of it when you board the plane and can hardly move was a good one knowing you had made a difference for someone.’
Kathy – ‘I’ve noticed that in many instances, your family has been a very big part of your blogging, home renovating, decorating, creating and such, what was one of your most favorite shared experiences with your family in creating your wonderful cottage?’
Courtney – ‘So many wonderful memories! I think there are quite a few that stand out really. There have been encounters with bees while moving wiring and the water heater. Oops that created something that worked more than once and many ‘tinkering’ to get the old to fit the new or even figure out what in the world the old was in some cases. But a fond memory I have is when my boys were both in wood shop and knew how to use tools- and my middle son especially has a ‘contractor brain’. We were building built in bookshelves out in the cottage- and my husband and I stared at them wondering how to finish the tops because the ceiling is peaked above them. My oldest son found that a couple of pieces of discarded wood that had been leftover and was cut with several angles and designs on it fit perfectly reversed on the top to create a crown- and they were exactly right. And at the same time- my middle guy watched us cut the mitered crown moulding corners on those angles ceilings wrong 3 x and shook his head and stepped in and cut it right the first time- he was hired to finish the entire project and he pretty mocked us with his perfect cut the first time every time. Our projects have always involved a lot of laughs even when something went a bit haywire and I am lucky to have a contractor dad for guidance- and handy husband and sons who are a great source of help and entertainment. :)’
Kathy – ‘If you could spend several hours a day doing something, what would that be?’
Courtney – ‘I think kind of exactly what I am doing with adding a bit more to it. Photographing things that inspire me, sharing the world the way that I see it with others. I love writing books and my blog, traveling, working with companies I love, designing products and connecting with so many wonderful people all over the world via this amazing social media world we live in is amazing. I feel incredibly grateful to be working for myself and being able to do the things I do. It isn’t a job without work- it most definitely eats hours and hours of the day and week much more so than I would work at a different job. But it is a dream job. And I may be adding in a couple more things I am dreaming up too. :)’
Kathy – ‘Which of your many talents do you find that energizes you – that you could do for hours… blogging/editing/styling/photography/writing etc…?’
Courtney – ‘Photography is really my thing. I see the world full of so many moments, vignettes, compositions and I want to capture it. I love writing as well but I mostly tell stories with my photos I think.’
Kathy – ‘As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite?’
Courtney – ‘The creative aspect is absolutely my most favorite. Dreaming up what will go in the book and how to tell the story. I so enjoyed working on the book and would be taking more photos even now if they would let me haha. Least favorite- I am not sure…I have really enjoyed the process so much. I guess… editing and almost in some ways finishing the book was my least favorite. Which sounds so strange- because I was SO happy to finish it-but I also loved writing the book so much – I was a little sad to say goodbye to that part of the book journey.’
Kathy – ‘Were there some things you had to edit out of your book that you wished could be there?’
Courtney – ‘Oh absolutely. It is hard because each of the photos are somewhat like children. You love them. You want them all in the book along with all the stories. But you know, I can get a bit too chatty and I love way too many photos- and I would take 30 (okay more like 50+) of each room/styling for the publisher to choose from. And my publisher was SO wonderful- adding 40 pages to the book to allow for more – and they were so good about editing and refining and avoiding repetition. Of course, there were many things we wanted to include but that didn’t make the cut even so. Maybe they will make into the next book :)’
Kathy – ‘Will you be writing more books?’
Courtney – ‘Yes, I would absolutely love to write more books and I hope to be doing much more with that very soon. :)’
Thank you so much Courtney! I thoroughly enjoyed this time with you and am so delighted to share your new book with A Delightsome Life readers! It is so wonderful to find Kindred Spirits and to share with them their wonderful journey. I am sure there are several who felt a kinship in what inspires you, what you enjoy and in what you share. I wish you all the best in all that you will do!
Have YOU ordered Courtney’s book? I have and am looking forward to sitting down and enjoying the wonderful images and Courtney’s story. If you haven’t yet, you can order a signed copy from Courtney herself – just click on the image below.