25 Things This Charles Faudree Room Taught Me About Design

I grew up in a very plain, utilitarian environment. My mom was very sick throughout my life, so I’m not sure if she ever had any interest in decorating or design. I’m guessing she would have if she hadn’t become sick because she loved creative pursuits like embroidery and crocheting.

Before she became so sick and while awaiting my arrival, she crocheted this lovely luncheon set complete with little crocheted sleeves for the glasses. (Table setting can be viewed here: Crocheted Linens for a Pretty-in-Pink Setting)

Vintage Crocheted Luncheon Set in Pink, Green and White


My mom also had a beautiful, feminine wardrobe and she loved wearing pearls. So, I think she would have been a keen decorator.



From the moment we had our very first place of our own, an apartment we rented shortly after marrying, I loved creating a home. As full-time college students, we were on a very limited budget from our part-time jobs: his as a law clerk, mine working for a veterinarian. If you’ve been reading BNOTP for a while, you may remember this photo from a previous post where I shared our first humble apartment in married student housing. (That post can be viewed here: Humble Beginnings in Married Student Housing: Our First Home)

Married Student Housing, Brick Bookshelves


Once we graduated and could afford to buy a home, one of the biggest decorating/design influences for me in my 20s and 30s were the rooms I regularly drooled over in the magazine, Traditional Home. I’m not sure what makes us like one style of decor over another because what I saw and fell in love with in Traditional Home had no connection with what I saw growing up. The beautiful rooms I found in Traditional Home were like a glass of cold water to a wandering soul dying of thirst in a design desert.

Traditonal Home Magazine_wm


Having grown up in a home that lacked any design aesthetic or decorative touches, the rooms I saw in magazines wowed me. I didn’t realize it at the time but they were teaching me about decorating. This may sound crazy, but I think one beautiful room can teach you everything you need to know about design. Yes, just one room. That thought hit me this morning as I was once again admiring this room designed by the late Charles Faudree. I fell in love with it the first time I came across it in Traditional Home magazine. If I’m remembering correctly, this was Faudree’s own personal lake home. It exudes warmth and coziness. It says, “Come in out of the cold, kick off your shoes, grab a glass of wine, and come sit here beside me in front of the fire.” It says, “home.”

What did I learn from this room about decorating a home? It taught me the following:

1. You can mix floral and check fabrics in the same room. You can even mix different check fabrics in the same room.

2. A touch of leopard print will work in just about any space.

3. Elegant furnishings can look beautiful when contrasted or paired with more casual fabrics and elements in a room.

4. A room can be beautiful AND pet/kid friendly.

5. Stained paneled walls don’t always need to be painted over.

Charles Faudree's Beautiful Lake Home


6. Don’t line up furniture around the walls, instead pull it in close together to create a cozy seating group that encourages conversation.

7. A wall grouping is so much more interesting than a single large painting hung over a sofa.

8. A large rug works well to anchor or pull together a seating group.

9. Oriental rugs work as well in casual settings as they do in formal dining rooms. (Being wool, they stand up to kids and pets really well.)

10. Don’t be afraid to mix leather furniture with dressier fabrics, even florals.

Charles Faudree's Beautiful Lake Home


11. It’s way more interesting when you don’t use matching end tables on either side of a sofa.

12. End tables don’t always need to be tables. A stack of books, a small chest or a secretary will work beautifully.

13. Think about how a room will be used when decorating and always have a table within reach so there’s a place to set a drink or a book.

14. Antique furniture looks great mixed with new pieces and current fabrics.

15. Books add warmth to any decor. They can even act as a stand or platform to elevate a lamp or to display other decorative pieces.

Charles Faudree's Beautiful Lake Home


16. Incorporate a bit of nature into every room via flowers, pictures or decorative pieces. It will add warmth, character, and life to a space.

17. Every room needs a bit of whimsy, be it a touch of leopard or a pillow sporting the name of your home, “The Roost.”

18. Elegant lamps can work beautifully in casual spaces.

19. Lamps, candlesticks, and decorative pieces for a room are like jewelry added to a beautiful outfit.

20. Surround yourself with the things you love and that you’ve collected over your lifetime. They tell the story of who you are and how you’ve lived.

Charles Faudree's Beautiful Lake Home


21. Throws can be both beautiful and practical decorating accessories, even enjoyed by our furbabies.

22. Don’t just decorate walls with pictures, there are so many more options.

23. Symmetry can be beautiful in wall groupings, but so can random arrangements.

24. Don’t be afraid to take chances and trust your instincts.

25. Charles Faudree was a design/decorating genius who understood how to create beautiful rooms that were also practical, functional and felt like a real home.

Charles Faudree's Beautiful Lake Home


If you would like to see more of Charles Faurdree’s beautiful designs, these are two of my most favorite books by him. They can be found here: Charles Faudree’s Country French Living and Charles Faudree’s French Country Signature.

Charles Faudree's Country French Living


Charles Faudree’s French Country Signature

Charles Faudree's French Country Signature


Do you remember who or what influenced you toward the style of decor that you love? Has your style changed over the years or is it still the same as it was in your 20s or 30s?

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  1. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    Methinks there should be a 26th: A Cavalier King Charles spaniel works in any room. 😉

    • lol Definitely!

    • Every home needs a Cavi- especially a Tri! Reading this I am struck with how full circle we seem to go. In my 20’s, I loved modern-Henredon, black laquer with a touch of Asian Aesthetic. Then Traditional Home took over my life and in swept the chinztes, and swags and valances with bullion fringe. Then another home and yet another move and suddenly it was Tuscan with a touch of Country French here and there. Today I find myself leaning again towards a modern but perhaps more elegant rendition. My dear husband who would be happiest in a tent just bears with never-ending evolution.

  2. I, too, grew up in a plain home. Not because by mom was sick, but I think because there just wasn’t any money for “extras”. Maybe that’s’ why I still prefer cleaner lined traditional decorating. You resemble your mom. She was beautiful.

    • Awww, thanks Pam! I never remember her like she was in that photo, only saw her in pajamas most of my life. So I cherish that photo. I wonder if she got my sister or brother to take it because whoever took it, almost missed getting her into the photo.

  3. I was fortunate enough to meet Charles Faudree several times and he was not only a design genius, he was a true gentleman. He’s been my design inspiration too!

  4. While I love the basics of that lake house, i think for myself it’s too much stuff. My view of a lake house is a bit sparer….I really don’t want to dust all the knick knacks on vacation. That said, the room does exude warmth and personality and I agree that one should trust their own instincts and have courage when it comes to personal decor.

  5. Faudree is the master in my opinion. I love this room as well.

  6. What a lovely picture of you and your dear mother. I just adore the lovely table setting and what a treasure for you to have the beautiful crochet pieces for the table. My mother inspired me to decorate and always have an open mind about how to make a space beautiful and comforting. Sometimes you just need a can of paint and some flowers to make great improvements.

  7. You must really treasure those pieces your mother made; she was quite beautiful. My mother, even at 87, loves to decorate, and I learned from her. Even now I ask her opinion! Charles Faudree has always been one of my favorite designers too, maybe because he always included his dogs! Most of us live real lives, not in magazine covers. I never tire of browsing his books.

    • I love how his books have a dog on almost every page. He really created beautiful rooms that were so livable. I guess having dogs of his own, he knew how important that was.

  8. The first thing that caught my eye was all the sunlight. Perhaps bad for fabrics, but it can always be filtered. My style has changed much and often since my twenties, but has been settling down the last few years; I think I’ve finally determined it.

  9. Susan, how sweet & beautiful that you have this from your mother– it’s very lovely!!❤️

  10. Thank you so much, for sharing a bit of your history, Susan. What a treasure to have that gorgeous luncheon set your mom crocheted! Just exquisite work! Our histories are similar. My mom was sick, too, and our home was functional and clean but no particular style. I think that was more the thing back then. And who of us hasn’t had the “bricks and boards” bookcases in college!! Not much like student “needs” today! LOL But it worked!! In fact, my husband and I had an old wooden orange crate — the divided kind, with a partition in the middle. I stained it and applied a coat a verathane (remember that?!) for our telephone stand in our first apartment! I turned it on end and kept books stacked inside on the partition now shelf!! I have always had an eclectic approach, but leaning to Country French and English Cottage look. I like the type of thing in the photo you share. I, too, have loved Charles Faudree’s books and style, and I have poured over any number of books in the two styles I mentioned. Thanks again for sharing. Always love your blog. A bit of beauty and charm in the middle of a work day when I’m checking things online! Jane xo

    • Yeah, I think you’re right, not too many folks really decorated like we do today. That is so cute about the wooden crate. Those are the things we look back on fondly in later life. I wasn’t too happy about our TV with green people back then, but now it’s kind of funny. Thanks so much, Jane! ♥

  11. Somehow the Internet gobbled my comment and replaced my name with one of your dear readers who actually met Charles Faudree. I was never that fortunate.

    What I originally said was how beautiful your mother was and how you must treasure those pieces she made. My mother, who will turn 87 next week, still loves to decorate and I learned from her. Even now, I always ask her opinion before changing anything.

  12. Susan, I loved this post because I, too learned so much from the pages of my favorite magazines during the 1980’s and 90’s and my all-time favorite was Charles Faudree! I met him and he autographed his first book for me and he was so kind and personal! I think you and I have very similar taste and I love the warmth of wood and the use of pattern and color! Thank you for sharing! Happy Wednesday, Pam @ Everyday Living

  13. The red leather sofa and two dogs are my favorites in this room. There is so much stuff everywhere, I missed seeing one dog the first time I viewed the picture. I like loads of light in a room. Guess that is why I love your porch!

  14. I love this post! I, too, have learned from drooling over Charles Faudree’s books, and also from a friend who calls herself an interior desecrater! (She’s not really!) You have a few new tips for me, as well! Thanks for reminding me, especially as we are getting ready to redo our bonus room!

  15. I am sure you treasure that beautiful luncheon set that your mom crocheted along with that beautiful picture of the two of you. I enjoyed your list. It made me really think about what makes a room inviting and personal.

  16. Cleaning out the stacks and there are the 1990s Traditional Home mags, as relevant today as they were then. How fast time moves on, though. After WWII, which would be the age of most of your mothers, “ordinary” women didn’t decorate all that much. It wasn’t the focus it is today and the “home decor” resources were pretty much focused on people with money to spend. I just love the TH mags and they are NOT going on the burn pile. The houses in them appeal to me more than today’s white white white theme. Those a not houses normal active kids would be happy in, IMO.
    I love this room, although it’s way too busy for my real life, and now i really will go out and
    ….buy the leopard print throw.
    No dogs on the furniture, though.
    And no sun on the prints on the walls,
    As faded art won’t please my kids,
    when Father Time calls…

    Cheers, Susan from MJ

  17. Susan, we started out very similarly. I just didn’t quite develop the style that you developed. The picture of you in front of a book shelf reminds me so much of our married housing in college. I had raided attics and bought a second-hand sofa and was so proud of our little place. When I saw the first issue of Traditional Home, I was hooked. My mother gifted me a subscription every Christmas for many years. When I saw the first article about Charles Faudree, I studied each page of that article over and over and… That first Traditional Home with a Charles Faudree design made me a forever fan of his designs. It’s sad to know that we will not see new designs from him. Thanks for all of the memories you brought back to me.

    • Laurie, that’s exactly what seeing those Charles Faudree articles in TH did for me. His rooms always left me in awe and I studied them in detail. He was such a talent! I have a feeling the issues where they featured him must have been their best sellers because they featured him every two years like clockwork there for a long time. I used to keep all those issues out separate from the others I saved, they were my faves.
      I know, he will be missed and I’m sure his regular clients are missing him already.

  18. btw, I do like your pink table setting . I even have a set of the flowered plates in the middle. But had to crochet my own lace tablecloth. Might just set up something like your table for my girlfriends come Easter. Thanks for the idea. MJ

    • Thanks! So awesome that you crocheted your own tablecloth! I haven’t crocheted in so long, I don’t think I remember how now. I used to love doing that on long trips.

      • You might call it awesome, darlin’, but I call it Navy-wife boredom. A challenge I could handle while my husband was at sea almost 50 years ago…… Do I understand you that you crocheted while traveling on trips????….in the car???? Oh, my, that would call for seasick pills for me!!! I’d say you have prettier fish to fry right now. Just sharing the beauty you do is a big thing in the world as it is today….. And your mom’s work is exquisite. Those ruffles took plenty of time and attention. So glad you have kept her beautiful work and it reminds you of the mother you had and loved and who loved you. Worth more than diamonds or pearls, IMO.

  19. I just read your post about the beautiful crocheted pieces made by your mother. Even though your home may not have reflected it, she must have admired beautiful things. It is fitting that you, who love tablescapes so much, are the guardian of your mother’s lovely handwork. Thank you for sharing.

  20. First off, your Mom was beautiful, as you are! I do remember that picture of you and the post too. I also remember the table done with your Mom’s crocheted pieces. What treasures for you. I grew up in my grandmother’s house. It was a beautiful house but when she died when I was 10 my Mom, my sister and I and my Aunt lived there. Neither my Mom or Aunt ever expressed any interest in decorating but I must have been born with a gene as I was always trying to rearrange furniture, Pinted my bedroom and got curtians etc., was ALWAYS cleaning, etc. However, my “style” never developed til I got married and saw my in-laws things. Alot of Asian things that I fell IN LOVE with! Still love them and British colonial, and traditional and….. I wish I had 5 houses to decorate:):)

  21. PS, I had never heard of Charles Faudree til blogging but ADORE everything he did. I need to get his books.

  22. Marlene Stephenson says

    Good picture of your self when you were young. My mom was colorful, she liked red flocked wall paper,actually red was her favorite color,so they had a lot of red in the house.But,my parents had a beautiful old house that i miss. I like some color but, i am more neutral with blues and yellow pieces thrown in. I loved your mom’s crocheted set, it is a beautiful set to cherish.M

  23. Diane Garman says

    I always liked traditional …..but when Ralph Lauren came out with bedroom and living room designs, I knew my style was concrete. It was EXACTLY what I was searching for. dg

  24. I have both of these books and treasure them. My home was very clean but very plain My mom didn’t do much in the way of design. I, like you, have always been fascinated with all those gorgeous homes you see in magazines and Traditional Home was my favorite.

  25. My husband is retired military and over the years I have seen the wives of service men who were very creative in fixing military quarters into lovely comfortable homes away from home. We loved our decorating books and magazines that gave us inspiration much like you yourself!

  26. I love this post! My heart skipped a beat when I read my first Country Living magazine in 1977 as a young bride. I have subscribed ever since. I still love country decor, but chose a “less is more” ideal at this time. That could always change, though! Hubby is going through a mid-century modern phase, so I am trying to compromise…what we do for love.

  27. Susan~

    What a treasure you have from your mother, and she was so very pretty !!
    You have wonderful decorating taste !! I enjoy decorating magazines way to much , my weakness for sure !!

  28. I think we must have similar aesthetic. I also was very influenced by Traditional Home and they did love to feature Charles Faudree. I found his rooms so ALIVE and beautiful. I lived in Britain for a while and loved the casual way they threw rugs down and mixed plaids with florals. I’ve never quite mastered it, but love trying. I love the crocheted pieces your mother made. They are so beautiful and give me such a retro feel. It shows your mother must have loved beautiful things and I’m sure your home would have reflected that had she been able. Can I ask a favor? I am a bit of a dish hound and one of life’s delights is perusing ebay for “new” old sets of china. Could I ask you to identify, if they have marks, the three plates you show? I love pink. I’ve been meaning to stop by for some time and say I really enjoy your blog. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Cynthia, appreciate that so much!
      You can find some great deals on eBay. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s where I purchased the floral dishware that I’m using as the salad plate in that setting. It’s part of a set I bought on eBay. The seller had it listed as Homer Laughlin but she didn’t know the pattern name and it doesn’t have any marking on it to identify.
      The dishware with the band around the outer edge is by International and the pattern is Glenwood. I think Homer Laughlin made that same pattern, also. You can see them both patterns a bit better in this table setting where the lighting was much better: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/tablescape-for-bridal-shower-or-mothers-day-happy-100th-tablescape-thursday/

  29. Debra’s comment about there being too much stuff for her, made me think that we each have our own level of calming. I have always loved and enjoyed placing things around my home, memories of people and places, changing them as the mood hit. Everyone who visited our old house always commented on how cozy and homey it was. It was small, and we leaned in the traditional/country flavor. When we moved into a larger home almost six years ago, the new house did not have the feel of country, but we still liked traditional over contemporary. I think I have refined my taste via magazines, and visiting blogs, such as yours. When I started following your blog 7 or 8 years ago, you ignited a little fire when I realized I could decorate with dishes and table settings. Now I change my dining room table and hutch to reflect seasons, holidays and special occasions. So much fun and just the thing to create a new palette in my home. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jocelyn, that is so true. I love being surrounded by “my stuff.” Thanks so much for those sweet words, appreciate them so much! I’m looking forwarding to dressing the hutch on the porch for spring, as soon as it warms a bit more.

  30. I am late in responding to this GREAT post. I love how you broke everything down about the room and why it works. You are a teacher for sure!

    My mother was a wonderful at decorating. She taught school for 34.5 years and her summers were filled with making slip covers, drapes, painting and wallpapering, to refinishing antiques. She was my first influence. Her dear friend, Nancy was my second influence. She had more if a cottage, early American style of decorating and her home always felt cozy. I loved houses and furnishings all my life. I used to switch bedrooms and rearrange furniture all the time. My dad used to joke I was going to own moving company!

    I enjoyed this post!

    • Thanks so much, Mary. 🙂 Wow, that’s amazing about how long your Mom taught school, she sounds like she was an amazing teacher! That’s too funny about moving furniture. lol I tend to stick in one spot and leave it, although lately I’ve been thinking of making some changes in my master bedroom.

  31. This is by far one of my favorite posts! I love your list of 25. Charles Faudree has been an inspiration to me for years, and I think I own all of his books. My own aesthetic is patterned much after his, with a much smaller budget! The casual elegance of French and English country fits so well. While I have larger dogs, that I would never allow on furniture, his little ones fit in his rooms just perfectly.
    The little crocheted set from your mom is such a sweet way of preserving your mom’s memory. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    • Thanks, Cyndia! I know what you mean, we used to have an 85 lbs Golden Retriever and there was no way I could let him up on the furniture. I love that Faudree always let his furbabies sleep wherever they wanted. 🙂

  32. I was, and still am, a fan of Traditional Home. I still have file folders of pics I’ve torn out from years past. My favorite designer was Betsy Speert, and if you werent aware, she retired, but writes a blog, often referencing her layouts in Traditional Home. Loved the link to your first apartment. We are of about the same “vintage”…having married at 21 and 22 in 1975, I still a senior in college. Ah the memories of the apartment with Harvest Gold appliances and a macrame plant holder.

    • Oh, I love her blog! lol I remember those appliances…and the avocado green, too. Wonder if in 20 years people will be saying, “remember when everyone stainless steel appliances.”

  33. Susan, I’m so glad that I came back to this post, to catch up on a few that I’d missed. I must say it’s a beautiful tribute and insight to your life. You still look like your “young self”!

  34. Phyllis Gigandet says

    Your Mother was beautiful – you look like her. I, too, have always loved Charles Faudree. I guess it was Traditional Home where I first saw his work. As a child, I read Glamour magazine – at that time so inspired by the top 10 College Girls who were so intelligent and pretty. My Mother also subscribed to Southern Living which I continued to subscribe to after marriage – and still do – along with Southern Lady. And I love your blog as well – you’re in good company!

  35. bobbi duncan says

    Susan, I remember these photos and I believe I said, then, that you resemble your mom, who was just beautiful. She looks like a model in a 1950’s magazine. Judging from her creativity–something to cherish–I’d say she could have been quite the decorator. I,too, love Mr. Faudree and so agree with your list derived from one of his design photos. My mother was my biggest influence when I had my own home. Guests coming to my parent’s home always exclaimed that my mother should have been an interior designer–she just had the knack to pull things together, and made it seem effortless. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that gene–I take forever just picking out the paint!

    • Bobbi, I’m the same way, I take forever. Usually once I finally do make a decision, I’m pretty happy with it, which is a good thing because I usually can’t afford to do it over! Thanks for sweet words about my Mom. I love that photo of her, even though it’s not the greatest picture.

  36. BEST one EVER, Susan!! We are so fortunate in so many ways!! franki

  37. Like this post, Charles Faudree also taught me about design before I found this post on Pinterest, pinned

  38. Susan, Very beautiful photos. Thank you for the nostalgia!

  39. Stephen Felmet says

    Charles Faudree was one of my favorites, I hate he left so early. Just found your article and love it. Visited showhouse in Cashiers NC in which Charles designed the dining room. It was FANTASTIC.

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