"Maison" is French for 'house," so the name of the blog means the "House of Mings." Amy and her husband Mat love traveling abroad to Provence and collecting French antiques. They also love all things DIY and believe in hard work. Their objective is to combine their passion for the timeless elegance of the Côte d'Azure with the rugged simplicity of rural America. Amy refers to her design style as "French Farmhouse," a style that offers a sense of refinement by combining Old World Charm and countryside elegance.
Over the last few years, they have been renovating their mid-century Bedford stone home and continually striving to bring a bit of France to their country life. Amy is the designer (and dreamer), and Mat brings many of the ideas to life. A few years ago, they expanded into hobby farming- Olde English "babydoll" Southdown sheep, jumbo Pekin ducks, alpacas, and a llama are now part of the bustling activity at Maison de Mings.
As an accountant by training, Amy has an eye for detail. She likes to start her projects with a design board or drawing. She also considers the financial component of the entire project and puts together a budget that reflects items needed and the anticipated timeline. She and Mat decide which parts of the project they can complete on their own, and how long each phase of the design will take so they can work the project into their busy schedules. They always make notes on relevant measurements and shop local when they can. Many of their design projects incorporate vintage items, so sourcing is crucial during the planning stage.
When Amy and Mat purchased their home, they knew it had "good bones" - meaning, most of their budget could be spent on cosmetic upgrades. They have renovated their home slowly as budget allows which has helped them to renovate without incurring any debt. So far, Amy and Mat have completed several interior and exterior renovations to make their home functional and reflect their style.
During the recent addition of their new garden shed, Amy kept coming back to the following considerations when looking for door hardware:
- Does it reflect our love for French style?
- Will it complement our vintage chandelier and overall aesthetic?
- Would a lever or regular knob work best for our lifestyle?
After much research, she decided to look for a circular shape rosette. She also felt a lever would be easier for their children to open, while still achieving French-inspired design. Door levers originated in Europe – as did most door hardware – and levers were all they saw in Provence for both exterior and interior doors.
Amy was attracted to Viaggio Hardware because the products are created from solid forged brass. She chose the Circolo Rosette with Milano Lever Entry Set in Satin Black for the garden shed. When asked about the look of the door hardware Amy noted, “I love how the levers add European charm and how sturdy and well-made they look and feel. The satin black option also complements our exterior decor.” She said she would love to eventually replace their front door and add a new entry set.
Amy found the Viaggio Hardware website very helpful in the planning phase as she considered various finishes. She recommends being mindful of backset size of each door you are purchasing hardware for. In older homes, doors have often been installed more than once, and the backset size may vary. This can be a surmountable problem if you have the right tools, but it's much easier to verify measurements beforehand. In her case, Amy’s French doors were new to the garden shed, so she didn't have to worry about an odd backset size. She also utilized our online installation instructions and videos to help during the install process.
When changing an entrance, Amy recommends starting with the exterior. If you have a storm door, consider painting it the same color as your main door. Updating outdoor light fixtures and adding a new entry set can also enhance the exterior of your home. As far as interior tips, she likes to keep it simple with minimal décor, so guests feel welcomed when they step in. The fewer distractions, the better!
For readers who want to do an extensive remodel project in their home, Amy wants you to know that planning is everything. Review your project carefully, plan it out in steps, keep notes on relevant measurements and the bill of goods you'll need, and a running total of the cost. She also recommends seeking professional assistance when needed. She and her husband are DIYer's by nature, but there have been times they've needed to call in experts - especially on larger projects.
Amy and Mat always have a list of DIYs and renovations in the pipeline. They plan to focus their efforts on the exterior again this year and then ramp up their garden. They also plan to add a greenhouse to their garden shed. Over the years, they've been blessed to work with several brands, which they hope to continue.
Amy continues to serve as a content creator for American Farmhouse Style magazine and represents Meyer Hatchery as a brand ambassador. She was also recently named a 2021 Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker and looks forward to working with the BH&G team!