Amy Mings and her husband Mat started the lifestyle brand, Maison de Mings. On their website, visitors can find everything from a lifestyle blog to tips for running a hobby farm. The pair’s brand is inspired by their travels abroad to France, as well as an appreciation for French antiques. Visitors can follow along as they renovate their mid-century stone home in Bedford and continue to bring French inspiration to all aspects of their life. Our latest blog shows how they incorporated the Arc Short plate and Georgetown Lever into their home.
What is your design style and how do you incorporate those decorating decisions within your home?
I like to refer to my design style as “French Farmhouse.” After spending years traveling throughout Provence, my husband and I decided to combine our passion for the timeless elegance of the Cote d’Azur with the rugged simplicity of rural America. We are always looking for ways to bring a bit of France to our country life. Our tagline is actually “American Heritage, Provencal Elegance™.” As an accountant by training, I have an eye for detail and try to incorporate our love of France into our home design. French Farmhouse style offers a sense of refinement by combining Old World Charm and countryside elegance.
When starting a design project, how do you organize and plan for it?
With our design projects, I always start with a design board or drawing – I love to dream! You can never be too prepared. I also consider the financial component of the entire project and put together a budget that reflects items needed as well as the anticipated timeline. My husband and I work together to decide which parts of the project we can complete on our own and how long each phase of the design will take so we can work the project into our schedule. We always make notes on relevant measurements and shop local when we can. Many of my designs incorporate vintage items, and sourcing is a crucial component during the planning stage as well.
Did you do a remodel on your entire home? If so, were there specific rooms that were more challenging than others? Why?
Since purchasing our home two years ago, we have completed many interior and exterior renovations. We wanted our home not only to be functional but to reflect our style and love of all things French. One of the most challenging rooms to renovate was our kitchen. We spent the most time and money on updating that space, but it is truly the heart of the home for us.
How long did this project take to complete?
We updated the kitchen in a few different phases. The first update of replacing the flooring, painting, adding new appliances, as well as adding a farmhouse sink and countertops happened within weeks. Other upgrades, such as painting our cabinets ourselves and installing marble backsplash, were completed in the second phase. We also replaced the lighting and added a vintage chandelier and crown molding to our cabinets last year. Lately, we have been working on DIY organizational projects in the kitchen to make it more functional.
How did you choose the hardware featured in this project? What attracted you to Grandeur Hardware?
As we considered updating the door hardware, I kept coming back to three considerations as I searched for various options online:
1. Does it reflect our love for French style?
2. Will it complement our vintage chandeliers, champagne bronze fixtures, and existing hinges?
3. Would a lever or regular knob work best for our lifestyle?
After much research, we decided to look for an antique brass lever. I felt like a lever would be easier for our children to open and would help us achieve French-inspired design. The antique brass would also pair well with the other vintage accents in our home.
Door levers originated in Europe – as did most door hardware. Levers were all we saw in Provence for both exterior and interior doors. I was attracted to Grandeur Hardware’s solid, forged brass products. I selected the Arc Short Plate with Georgetown Lever in vintage brass for our bedroom, bathrooms, closets, and two exterior doors. I love how the levers add European charm and how sturdy and well-made they are. The vintage brass option also complements our vintage chandeliers, champagne bronze fixtures, and existing hinges.
Did you learn any tips and tricks about door hardware that you think would be beneficial for others?
In the planning phase, I found the Online Hardware Designer very helpful as I considered various options and finishes. I would also recommend being mindful of the backset size. In older homes, doors have often been installed more than once, and the backset may vary. This can be a surmountable problem if you have the right tools, but it’s much easier to verify measurements beforehand.
Do not get discouraged in thinking you need professional assistance. Grandeur Hardware offers detailed installation instructions as well as online installation videos. We were replacing existing door hardware in our home, but it was a straightforward process. My husband was able to install the new door hardware without assistance.
Give us your tips for readers wanting to take on a remodel project or a small transformation in their home:
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 keep a running total of the cost. I would also not be afraid to seek professional assistance. We are DIYers by nature, but there have been times we’ve called in the experts – especially on larger projects.
How did you develop Maison de Mings, and what sets it apart from the rest?
“Maison” is French for “house,” so the name of our blog means the “House of Mings.” My husband and I love traveling abroad to Provence and collecting French antiques. We also love all things DIY and believe in hard work. Our objective is to combine our passion for the timeless elegance of the Côte d’Azur with the rugged simplicity of rural America. Over the last few years, we have been renovating our mid-century Bedford stone home and continually strive to bring a bit of France to our country life. I am the designer (and dreamer), and Mat brings many of my ideas to life. Last year, we expanded into hobby farming: Olde English Babydoll Southdown Sheep, Jumbo Pekin Ducks, and an MSF Llama are now part of the bustling activity of Maison de Mings.
What is next for you and your renovations/business/blog?
We have an ongoing list of DIYs and renovations. We plan to focus our efforts on the exterior again this year and will be starting our first garden. Over the years, we’ve been blessed to build partnerships with many brands that we hope to continue.
For 2020, I will be serving as a content creator for American Farmhouse Style magazine. And the biggest news of all – I will be releasing my first book later this year, which will be available for pre-order soon!! Be sure to follow along at www.maisondemings.com for all the latest updates!