Inspiration from Oscar nominated film

22 Feb 2013

Stain a chandelier, wardrobe, bench or iron gates with cream, blue-white, white or hard grey paint and erode parts of the furniture with sandpaper for a beautiful shabby look.

Best production design nominee, Les Misérables, is a musical drama based on Victor Hugo’s French novel with the same title.

Production designer, Eve Stewart, furnishes her interpretation of early 19th century France with iron, stonework and cracked wood.

She polishes the factory where Fantine (played by American actress Anne Hathaway) works with peeling walls and work benches with exposed surfaces.

Tying the scenes are street signs, French banners and script fabric.

Stewart’s interpretation favours Shabby Chic and rustic country décor with harsh blues and reds.

Create interest and contrast with designs from this Oscar nominated film and let them spill over into your home. Here’s how...

The design concept

The idea is to trade in smooth surfaces for raw finishes that are timeless and classic. To do this tastefully, save big furniture pieces for that obvious aged look.

Stain a chandelier, wardrobe, bench or iron gates with cream, blue-white, white or hard grey paint and erode parts of the furniture with sandpaper.

The result could be a beautiful rustic door turned headboard or a chic ladder frame that could be used for a book or antiques display.

To balance things out bring in miniature military statues, war horses and a similar stone elephant that features so prominently in the movie.

Signature accessories

The turning point in this Shabby Chic scheme is the inclusion of French décor.

Les Misérables takes place during a time of war and hope so from here on out the mise en scène should reflect this. The designs should take you on a ‘safari’ of historic discovery.

A white faded chair against a large-scale French wall motif in blue and white says 'romantic country décor'.

Soft florals and Versailles wallpaper under candlelight, glowing from iron candle holders attached to the walls, will take your breath away. These are some of the feminine elements that we see in the film.

The blue, red and white French flags can be translated onto cushions, linens and pillow cases. The combinations could vary from striped blue and white cushions to red and white upholstery or something in between.

To balance things out bring in miniature military statues, war horses and a similar stone elephant that features so prominently in the movie.

The blue, red and white French flag can be translated onto cushions, linens and pillow cases.

The combinations could vary from striped blue and white cushions to red and white upholstery or something in between.

The final touches

To pull off a convincing design, add wooden street signs and sisal or burlap fabric with an import stamp to the décor.  

Include a large, tightly woven basket as part of the layout. The rough basket edges match the raw finishes we started off with.

Arrange five or six worn books under a bell jar or on a book shelf, marking the end of the books with a war horse statue or piece of iron accessory.

To complete the look, fix a large mirror with gold or white trimming against a plain or neutral blue wall.

The mirror reintroduces the softness and delicacy of the Shabby Chic look and it ties up the whole scheme confidently.

The Oscars will take place on Sunday, 24 February 2013. – Katlego Sekano 

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