Erin François of the uber popular blog François et Moi is one of our favorite sources for interiors inspiration. From photos of her gorgeous home and her sweet family to her always stylish and refreshingly approachable DIYs, Erin's blog and Instagram feed provide endless eye candy that never fails to make us stop in our scroll.
What we love most about Erin's style is how effortless it feels - and after the dull grayness of winter, this spring we're craving the light and airy - but always pattern-filled! - interiors of Erin's 1930s Tudor. We caught up with Erin about how she uses pattern in neutral spaces, modernizing an older home without losing its charm, and, of course, how she hygges.
Hygge & West: You describe your style as "handmade modern." Can you tell us a little bit about that? What do the imperfections of handmade bring to a modern aesthetic?
Erin François: "Handmade Modern" is how I describe my style as a home DIY-er: clean and modern balanced with handmade, perfectly imperfect elements. I find these imperfections bring an approachability to the modern aesthetic and are an integral part of creating a meaningful, individualized home.
H&W: François et Moi offers approachable, stylish DIYs that inspire people to create the beautiful homes they desire with their own two hands. Why do you think it's so empowering to make something yourself rather than buy it?
EF: I originally started making things because either I couldn?t afford to buy them, or what I was searching for wasn?t available in stores. By making things myself, I could navigate around obstacles of cost and availability and be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor at the end. Empowering is the perfect way to describe it!
H&W: You're currently renovating your home, a 1930s pre-war Tudor duplex. What are your tips or advice for making an older home feel modern without losing its character and charm? What role, if any, does pattern play in that process?
EF: A bright, neutral color palette works wonders in adding modern appeal, while still respecting the home?s original charm.
Pattern is another great way to bridge old and new. I like incorporating traditional patterns that have been reimagined in a new way. Like H&W?s Hydrangea bedding or these DIY paisley stamped pillows I made for our living room.
H&W: You have our new Hydrangea (Mint) bedding in your bedroom. Why did you select this particular pattern and colorway, and how have you styled it to make it your own?
EF: On a whim last fall, I painted our bedroom a deep, teal green (Behr, Brooklyn) without any sort of grand plan in mind for the room. Let?s just say, making bold design choices without a plan isn?t exactly something I?d recommend because I spent the next 3 months trying to pull the rest of the room together around the wall color.
When I saw Hygge & West?s Hydrangea Mint bedding, the room kind of clicked into place. The deep teal in the bedding is a near exact match to the wall color, and the lighter tones layer beautifully. I also love how the feminine hydrangea pattern softens and lightens the room, especially for spring and summer!
H&W: You used our Nethercote (Blue) paper in your new daughter's super cute nursery. What about that pattern and colorway spoke to you and what do you feel it brings to this space?
EF: I wanted a Nordic storybook feel in her nursery, a place for imaginations to run wild. Nethercote?s pattern, though inspired by the English countryside, also feels a bit Scandinavian too, and the delicate woodland design balances playful and feminine in such a charming way. It?s truly the star of the room!
We went back and forth between the gray and blue colorways, but in the end went with blue. It?s both my husband, Ken, and my favorite color and is a bit unexpected.
H&W: You've managed to create a home that is cozy, welcoming, and neutral without sacrificing visual interest. What are your tips for using pattern in a neutral setting?
EF: I like to start with a showstopper piece with an engaging pattern, like a killer rug or wallpaper, as these are great room-starters. Then I?ll bring in smaller supporting patterns and textures (mainly through textiles) that draw out varying values and tints to round out the look.
Beyond pattern and texture, unexpected or quirky pairings can also help a space feel approachable and welcoming, even endearing, without needing a lot of color. In particular, thrifted pieces are often great for their eccentric and nostalgic quality.
H&W: Hygge is all about finding comfort and joy in life's small moments and simple pleasures. How do you find or create the hygge in your world?
?EF: Keeping the clutter to a minimum and having fresh flowers around the house are two hygge practices that come to mind right away. In summer months, propping open the windows for fresh breezes and cooking with food grown in the backyard are a few other favorites as well.