Kristen Meleedy, CBR's Blog
If you love the ease and comfort of farmhouse style but want something a bit more elegant, then French country design might be right for you. This design style is popular all over the world for combining rustic elements with traditional luxury and beauty. Here we’ll go over the basic elements of French country design to better understand the style and how you can use it in your own home.
Light & Warm
French country style features warm color palettes with plenty of soft white. Pastels and other low-intensity colors like baby blue, creamy yellow and soft pink all come together with white and off-whites to keep interiors bright and soft. The style promotes a sense of casual charm that also has a bit of romance with delicate floral patterns and other organic motif that reflect the world outside the home.
Exposed Beams & Natural Stone
The more rustic side of the French country style can be seen in exposed woodwork and natural stone. Vaulted ceilings with unfinished wooden beams recall an old-world farmhouse feel and light-colored stone is practical and timeless. Stone surfaces are usually painted white or other light colors to keep lots of light in the room and soften any hard edges. You’ll also find the preference for exposed beams and stone reflected in furnishings that also have natural materials.
Copper & Cookware
One of the most iconic elements of French country design is shiny copper cookware. Gleaming but well-used pots and pans are prominently displayed in kitchens and accents like drawer pulls and sink hardware may also include copper. This creates contrast with the softness of the color palette and also provides vintage charm. Cookware in particular is a focal point in French country design, with the kitchen being the center of the home’s universe.
Rounded Corners & Curves
The key way that French country style differs from other similar design styles is that it has a lot of soft edges. Furniture and accessories have gentle curves and round shapes. To carry this through in your own design, opt for seating with rounded backs and circular accent tables. Vintage-style armoires and headboards with swooping lines and delicately carved accents are perfect examples of this element showing through. You will also find a lot of floral and pastoral imagery in French country textiles and artwork.
Emphasis on the Outdoors
The philosophy behind French country design is to create a feeling of ease and elegance while celebrating a love of the outdoors. You can create an escape to the beauty of the French countryside through the use of natural elements and by emphasizing outdoor living. Create a space that makes you want to spend time outside by adding bistro seating with cushions. A vintage bar cart for your patio or deck makes an excellent edition to the luxurious but practical mood. Try tossing a picnic blanket over a rectangular table to soften it and add casual charm.
French country design style may seem expensive and difficult to implement in your own space, but once you understand the above elements you will find many ways of making the style your own. From natural materials to romantic florals, you’ll find the perfect balance that works for any room of your home.
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If you've heard people talk about "subject-to" real estate, you might be curious what that means and if it would be a good investment for you. Briefly, "subject-to" real estate means you're buying the property but the loan on that property stays in the name of the existing seller. You're making your purchase "subject-to" the existing mortgage or lien.
Why Would Someone Buy Real Estate This Way?
When you buy a "subject-to" property, you don't have to get a mortgage in your own name. That can be perfect for people who don't want to tie up their credit or funds. It also works well for those who might not be able to qualify for an existing mortgage. Since you're not putting your name on anything that involves the mortgage, you're free and clear from that standpoint. But you'll own the house, and you'll make the mortgage payments.
Is This a Good Wealth-Building Tool?
This can be a great tool to build wealth when it's used correctly. It's very important that you continue making the seller's mortgage payments on time, and that you get everything in writing. But since you don't have to qualify for a mortgage yourself, you can choose great properties that people really want to sell. Often, this is because the owner is in foreclosure. By buying the property "subject-to", the owner doesn't have to go through foreclosure proceedings and have that on their credit report.
How Much Risk is Involved in This?
As with any type of investment, there is always risk. The biggest concern is that the seller of the property will file for bankruptcy. When that happens, the house could be included in that filing and would be foreclosed upon by the lender. You could lose your investment, since you aren't the one who has the property's mortgage in your name. Another risk is the due-on-sale clause in the seller's mortgage. Almost all mortgages have these, but they're often not enforced. Still, if the lender wanted to enforce that clause, they could demand that the entire mortgage be paid if the deed transfers into your name.
How Many "Subject-to" Properties Can Someone Own?
Theoretically, there's no limit to the number of "subject-to" properties that you could own. As long as you can make the payments, you can keep buying these properties. You don't need any credit to get started, and you won't really need much cash, either. You'll simply have to be willing to take a little bit of risk to build up your real estate portfolio. With that in mind, though, it's not a bad idea to have an attorney help you, at least right at first, to be sure you're protecting yourself and the seller as much as possible.