The best part about having a sister publication like Utah Style & Design magazine is being able to share content. If you've been on utahstyleanddesign.com lately, you may have read this article, but we couldn't wait to share it with Salt Lake readers.
Without question, Desireé Ashworth has a thing for the beauty and simplicity of French, Gustavian and Belgian design. Take one look at the home she and husband Matt created in Provo and it’s easy to understand why. The residence is truly spectacular making it a wonderful feature for the current issue of Utah Style & Design (Fit for a King, pages 58- 65). To learn more about the chic chateau, we visited with Desireé—the design talent behind Décor de Provence—to learn more about the inspiration and ideas that contributed to the creation of this regal home.
What inspired the home’s design?
The bones of the home were inspired from an old hunting lodge built in the 13th century in the South of France called Aramis. My husband Matt and I were so inspired by this home, that it became the foundation for our creation.
What specifically did you like about Aramis?
This hunting lodge displayed the beautiful simplicity of Provence. We loved the sparseness of rough hewn wood floors and the grayish blue stained doors—it was the perfect chateau. This home was comprised of all things Belgian and Swedish as well.
Belgian design has really been on the hot list lately. How do you define it?
Belgian design to me is seeing the beauty in the simple things, the funny little side table built by a Belgian farmer hundreds of years ago and organic rough materials that lend to a simple organic lifestyle. Less is more when it comes to the Belgian country lifestyle.
How did you integrate this sensibility into your home?
We left our floors unstained, our ceilings paneled and white-washed, and our furniture designed with rough linen, raffia and burlap.
The magazine story leads with an explanation of Gustavian Design. What’s your take this period style?
What’s so beautiful about this time period is the mind of Gustav III. He had such amazing vision and taste; he saw the beauty of French Neo-classical detailing with hints of Italian classicism and refined these elements creating one of the most sought after genres of design. Our home was not only Gustavian inspired, it’s was the perfect balance between Provincial French, Belgian and Gustavian design. I know this sounds a little confusing, but what’s so amazing is how well these genres play off each other so effortlessly.
Do you have a favorite object in the home? The Swedish Mora clock is one of our favorite pieces in the home. Mora clocks were made by humble farmers. Due to the harsh winter conditions in Sweden, farmers could not make sufficient funds, so they would make Mora clocks as gifts for married couples.
The chandelier are pretty spectacular as well. How did you end up using them?
The juxtaposition of white-washed woods, grayed pastels and painted furniture coupled with fabulous crystal lighting is a signature note to the Gustavian period. That is why we hung 19th century French chandeliers throughout the home. I splurged on the light fixtures hoping they would carry this genre boldly. The mercury glass displayed on our fireplace mantel and also our dining room table reminded me of the mercury glass mirrored walls in the palace of Versailles.
What should people to take away from seeing this house?
If you really study this home closely, you will see how we value the beauty of simplicity. There is nothing I love more than a sweet piece of furniture made and designed from the heart of a simple farmer. To me design comes from the heart and not the head and should be never over thought. This is how the people in the South of France, Belgium and Sweden live.
Matt and Desireé