Thursday, July 21, 2022

Thrilling New Style and Design Book: ‘French Chateau Style Inside France’s Most Exquisite Country Houses’ by Catherine Scotto and with photography by Marie Pierre Morel

Welcome to The Style Saloniste, now celebrating its fifteenth year.

This has been an exciting trip—and on Travels with THE STYLE SALONISTE, I’ve taken you with me to rare places like Jaipur and Chettinad, as well as Paris and London and Sicily (Noto, Siracusa) and Rome and Naples and Venice and Brazil and Ecuador and Peru. And to Morocco (La Mamounia and Royal Mansour) …New York, Delhi and of course, Egypt. Great Egypt. Sailing on the Nile on SS Sudan.

Fourteen Years and Counting
I wish to send special thanks and gratitude to art director BRIAN DITTMAR, who has teamed with me from the start to create THE STYLE SALONISTE.

I am the writer, editor, fact-checker, photo editor, factotum, and founder. Brian first created the elegant and timeless header/logo that still looks classic—and each week his beautiful art direction makes my text and photos look chic and crisp and beautifully cohesive and balanced. Thank you, Brian. Your design judgment is impeccable. It has been a great pleasure and an exciting adventure working with you … with many more years and posts and ideas together. Long may we continue this journey and exploration. 

Thank you. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @dianedorranssaeks


Now, on to ‘French Chateau Style Inside France’s Most Exquisite Country Houses’ ...

This poetic and superbly produced book has just been published by Prestel, and it is gorgeous.

This is definitely a book to treasure. It is the newest French style/ design/interiors reference book, inspiration book and a dream travel book, all in one. Most impressive. 

Thirteen ultra-stylish and historic chateaus/ private residences are arrayed in this beautiful book. Each one represents a different style, a dramatic location, a joyful and/or tragic story, and a novelistic ending of renewal, restoration, repair and regeneration. These are beauties from among the purported 44,000 heritage chateaus and sites in France that were in danger of disappearing in a cloud of dust.

Each one of these ravishingly beautiful chateaus…in locations as far-flung as Normandy, Provence, the Loir, the Loire, the romantic Auvergne, the valley of the Garonne, Les Landes, Burgundy, near Mont-Saint-Michel, and the Midi…has an inspiring story. Some have remained in the same family. Others have been saved from certain ruin.

These bold and elegant chateaux (so different from those that are flung open every day as a tourist attraction) are quiet and private and thus intriguing and inspiring. They are all styles, all sizes from grand to petite, and their interiors reflect their times and their origins.

One thing these chateaus do have in common—most of the creative and passionate owners are interior designers, architects, artists, jewelry designers, antique dealers (most of them)…. and they have all been restored and updated sensitively, with style galore.

And you will love the residence of English fashion designer Peter Copping and his partner. His is the most cosy and decorated of all…very compelling. Very charming.

I love them all.

Most of the owners protect and treasure the privacy of their own domains, and few are open to the public. (Some open one day a year…for example.)

Some chateaux in the book started life as mediaeval fortresses. Others from the eighteenth century had more noble origins. Some were family residences of country grandees, while others were collectors who avidly decorated and painted and embellished their large-scale rooms and stone floors. Some have working kitchens, and others are works in progress.

French Chateau Style

Catherine Scotto’s excellent text (beautifully translated from French by Conor Biggs) includes endless information on the history of each chateau, and how and when and why the current owners threw caution to the winds and undertook years of repair and restoration.

And you meet these owners, who are fascinating, voluble and highly motivated.

It’s useful to find the list of chateaus at the back of the book. There are addresses and contacts. As it happens, some are open in summer for guided tours, while others may offer room or studio rentals for artists. One has a rose garden open for six weeks in the spring, while others are not open at all.

Look for all the authentic décor, design and improvisation with art in each room. There are traditional fabrics, tapestries, and rugs.

This is a beautiful, soulful book.

It’s already in #mylifetimelibrary

To acquire this book, check with your local independent bookshops, as well as amazon and other sites. I love to support small privately owned bookshops and always buy books from my treasured local bookshops. If they do not currently stock it, they can easily and quickly order it for you.


‘French Chateau Style Inside France’s Most Exquisite Country Houses’ by Catherine Scotto and with photography by Marie Pierre Morel is published by Prestel Publishing.

Follow along on Instagram: 

I hope you are following me: @dianedorranssaeks

Prestel: @prestel_publishing

Catherine Scotto, the author: @catherinescotto_decositter

Marie Pierre Morel, the photographer: @mariepierremorel

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Travels with The Style Saloniste: Jordan Winery, Alexander Valley

Escape to the California Wine Country: Chic new French guest suites by San Francisco interior designer Maria Khoury Haidamus offer luxury and calm repose.

The Chêne suite is enhanced by antique French furniture acquired by Sally Jordan in the seventies. Chairs were reupholstered in Mokum velvet. Lavish curtains are in a Loro Piana wool, trimmed with Houlès braid. The Mallorquina bed is by Alfonso Marina. The dramatic plaster walls and barrel vault ceiling were handcrafted by Kraftwerk, Santa Rosa.

Come with me this week to one of the most beautiful, private and discreet hideaways in the wine country. Prvately-owned Jordan Winery is situated elegantly among vineyards and miles of wild forests and ancient California oaks and manzanitas just north of Healdsburg. The winery stands at the crown of a hill, surveying the valley and miles of California beauty.

Jordan Winery is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, very impressive. This is the perfect time to visit, perhaps for a delightful lunch on the terrace, followed by a lovely quiet evening, with the new guest suites a perfect escape.

In the suite bathroom, dramatic sepia Iksel wallpaper depicts an Italian panorama. The double washstand was custom-made. Handcrafted herringbone floor tiles are by Fireclay in central California. The pendant is by Remains lighting. 

Dramatic lined and interlined curtains of Dedar wool are trimmed with an Houlès border. The window seat is upholstered in a Pierre Frey fabric.

Jordan Winery had a shimmering, powerful beginning.

French elegance, hospitality and style have been at the heart of Jordan Winery since it was founded by John and Sally Jordan in northern Sonoma County in 1972.

Sally is a life-long Francophile who admired the grand historic interiors of Bordeaux and Burgundy. She was passionate about the delights of French cuisine, especially when enjoyed with Jordan Winery's award-winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Her vision was that guests would be welcomed in spacious French-style suites, with chef-created dining, and rooms of comfort and delight. Jordan wines would be presented and enjoyed within this unique framework.

The couple hired San Francisco architect Bob Arrigoni to create a country chateau devoted to winemaking and entertaining. Included in the plan were three private guest suites overlooking lavish gardens and surrounded by magnolia, olive, persimmon, and sycamore trees and massive centuries-old oaks. A romantic etching of Arrigoni’s masterpiece is on each wine label.

Sally planned the interiors in a grand scale, their boldness emphasized by massive ceiling beams, soaring ceilings, and handsome stone fireplaces. And there was a special surprise for wine enthusiasts: interior French doorways with balconies are poised above views directly into the highly theatrical (and fragrant) barrel rooms.

To furnish the suites, Sally spent several years traveling in France to source noble 18th-century armoires, antique wing chairs, and charming handcrafted occasional tables that give each room individuality and character.

Owner John Jordan decided that with the winery closed to visitors, this year would be an ideal time to refresh and refurbish the suites. San Francisco interior designer, Maria Khoury Haidamus, admired for her knowledge of classic European interiors, was commissioned to update the three suites, now known as Cepage, Vendange, and Chêne.

Peter Fasano ‘Meadow’ wallpaper with a romantic muted wildflower pattern brings the leafy outdoor landscape into a very stylized bathroom design concept. The bed is by Baker. Original hexagonal Provencal terra cotta tiles installed by Sally Jordan were refinished, refreshed, buffed, and given a natural matte glaze. 

A traditional Drummonds soaking tub is framed by a marble embellished wainscot designed by Maria Haidamus.

“My concept from the start was to proceed with great respect for the legacy of Sally Jordan’s original classic French interiors. We wanted to maintain a similar bold scale, this time with a more neutral palette,” said Haidamus, who engaged many northern California sources and specialists to realize the scheme.

“Throughout the project, which took eight months, we celebrated and honored the landscape and the setting in the wine country,” said Haidamus. “We stayed true to our insistence on authenticity with all materials and furnishings. Everything is true to the Jordan aesthetic.”

The designer devised a new color scheme to bring the rooms into the present, paying homage to the landscape of Alexander Valley and the rich soil and rock outcrops of Jordan Winery. She selected natural fabrics in soothing tones of moss, sepia, oak leaf green, sage, and pale taupe.

Working closely with Tony Kitz Gallery, she created a collection of antique carpets and rugs from Turkey, Persia and Morocco. In harmony with the country aesthetic, rugs are in traditional patterns and a soft palette of slate blue, muted burgundy, agate green, some crafted with natural dyes.

Designer Maria Haidamus chose a series of DeSinone-Wayland plates that depict Seine River scenes on antique ceramic designs. The antique hand-carved table was acquired in Bordeaux.

The Vendange living room includes French doors that open to offer a view into the grand winery barrel room. The beamed 19-foot high ceilings and massive central beams, original to the architecture, were given a fresh more pronounced dark finish.

A neoclassical bed by Alfonso Marina from Hewn has subtle gilded details. Blue pillows display Fortuny fabrics. The original French wing chairs were re-upholstered in Mokum grey velvet. Through the French doors the barrel room is visible. 

In addition to tasting Jordan wines, guests enjoy all the pleasures of the vast property. There are pollinator sanctuaries, the apiary, and an enclosed garden with a selection of English-style David Austin roses, a lake, and the chef’s organic vegetable garden.

Breakfast delivered to the suite, or served on the terrace, includes French pastries from Red Bird Bakery in Cotati, house-made confitures, and winery-crafted wild tisanes. Rose and verbena, fresh from the garden, is one exclusive tisane creation. Lunch outdoors includes Parisian-style charcuterie and salads by Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Musto and other culinary talents of the region.

In the evening, surrounded by deep silence, guests can dream that they are indeed in France. They can thank Sally Jordan, her son John Jordan, and now Maria Khoury Haidamus, for their reverie.


R. Brad Knipstein, San Francisco
1474 Alexander Valley Road
Healdsburg, California.

Photo by Diane Dorrans Saeks