Looking back on the wonderful career of interior designer Charles Faudree
Interior designer Charles Faudree, long a favorite of Traditional Home readers, was known for his fondness for all things French. He was based in Tulsa, where he had an interior design studio and shop. The multitasking and highly versatile designer—who enjoyed an international following—wrote popular books on design, led design tours of his beloved French countryside, and designed wallpaper and fabric. He designed both quaint cottages and lavish formal homes. “I’m a big believer in the mix,” he said. “A single object on a tabletop or a single work of art on the wall can be nice, but for me, mixing collections provides the most excitement.”
Faudree's work first appeared in our magazine in its second year of existence (February 1990), when we featured a Tulsa home he designed. Even then, he wielded a highly decorative style lush with objects and patterns for an "elegantly eclectic environment that is at once French and English, formal and casual, feminine and masculine." Over the next two decades, we featured 10 more houses he had designed, seven of them being his own homes. (The antique saltbox was short-lived for Faudree, a rolling stone who declares, “I feel about my houses the same way Elizabeth Taylor felt about her husbands. Each one is my best and my last!")
Three times his own homes made our covers: in April 1991, and on our 2000 and 2002 holiday issues. We watched as his enthusiasm for English florals waned and his French style bloomed in full. In May 1995, he was a Traditional Home Design Award winner. Like the magazine he grew up with, he was one traditionalist who was always evolving.
Here Faudree is shown with his beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Photographs by Jenifer Jordan
Our readers were hopelessly smitten by this frothy, French, and highly feminine dressing suite Faudree designed for a Tulsa home.
Octagonal mirrors flank the transition area between milady’s bedroom to the bath.
In a more toned down example of his work, Faudree makes a classic first impression in this foyer with a gilt framed mirror, warm wood flooring and furniture, and a tole bucket filled with flowers.
Here Faudree shows his informal side. Color and pattern suffuse this cottage’s entryway, making for a warm welcome. Collections are an integral element of every Faudree home; note the walking sticks by the door.
Here an antique bergére and wing chair pair up in a soft and sophisticated living room. Despite the formality of a dazzling crystal chandelier, the living room furniture is scaled and cushioned for comfort.
In contrast to the previous image, this living room has a country look, with a Swedish influence seen in blue-and-white checks and stripes paired with antique painted wood.
Gilt mirrors flank this living room’s fireplace, while two linen-covered French bergéres are pulled close for warmth. Plaids and florals live stylishly together. The living room has French country flair, which is perfect for the Francophile homeowners.
When decorating the living room of his Oklahoma cabin, Faudree began with a favorite fabric—a vintage floral—found at a flea market in France. The room beautifully blends fine fabrics and furniture with knotty pine paneling and an exposed-beam ceiling.
Even when living in an interim house while building his dream home in Tulsa, Faudree found time to decorate lavishly for Christmas. “A friend encouraged me to haul out my ornaments, and the result was one of the nicest Christmas seasons I’ve ever had,” Faudree said. The seven-foot blue spruce is trimmed with gold French ribbon, gold braid and tassels, freeze-dried hydrangea blossoms, pink roses, and pinecones frosted with gold.
Faudree used a peanut color to warm up the family room in this Bartlesville, Oklahoma, house. He decorated the room around a floral sofa from the homeowner’s previous home. “Fortunately, red is the homeowner’s favorite color, and it’s also mine,” Faudree said. “To give the family room energy, we pulled the red from the sofas and made it pop on the two big club chairs.” See the exterior of the home in the next image.
Red is used in the landscaping of the home’s exterior, forecasting the palette to come.
The peanut color used in the family room (shown on a previous slide) continues on the cabinets in the connecting kitchen.
A family room with a vaulted ceiling in the back of this house proved the ideal place for Faudree’s 12-foot Christmas tree. This photo graced the cover of our Holiday 2002 issue.
This exuberant room from one of Faudree’s own homes lit up our April 1991 cover.
Photograph: Gene Johnson
In this happy sunroom, the designer’s love of dogs is abundantly evident in the needlepointed spaniel pillows and porcelain bulldog. What looks like a tile floor is actually concrete, scored and stained a rich terra-cotta.
Photograph: Gene Johnson
A custom shell chandelier tones down the formality of this sun room, where Faudree was able to keep the room’s original wallpaper, patterned with palm trees.
Deep red walls cocoon a library where a cheetah-patterned rug brings a smile. See the next image for a different view of the library.
A sofa from the homeowner’s previous home finds refuge here, while a bull’s-eye mirror above it opens up the room.
On this screened-in porch of one of Faudree’s own homes, comfy wicker furniture invites relaxation.
“I love my bedroom,” says Faudree, “but my favorite place to sleep is on the porch.” (We love the vintage phone.)
Formerly a bedroom, this cozy sitting area welcomes and warms in the winter with its new fireplace.
In his cabin getaway, Charles Faudree replaced a stone fireplace with a Louis XVI mantelpiece and matching side cupboards. The new fireplace gives an architectural frame to upholstered walls.
Pink and green striped chairs add pleasing color to this dining area. Note the symmetry of the mantel vignette. See the next image for the transitional space between the dining and living areas.
Plaid draperies in the same colors as the striped dining chairs also pick up the color of the sofa upholstery, inking the dining and living areas.
In the dining room of this Tulsa home, the original plasterwork sets an elegant tone. Painted panels above the doors add French country charm that is enhanced by the bespoke gilded cornices on the window treatments.
Presided over by an imposing buffet, the dining room has an antique French farm table and candlelit chandelier. One of Charles’ first acquisitions—an antique tole footbath—has a place of honor beneath the French Empire convex mirror.
Photograph: Gene Johnson
Wallpaper made to mimic barn siding is the perfect rustic complement to the antique blue painted chairs and buffet in this kitchen. See more of the same kitchen in the next slide.
Collections of blue-and-white dishes and chickens enhance the kitchen’s warmth.
This kitchen is from one of Faudree’s own homes. It gets its French farmhouse ambience from a collection of chickens, some of which nest in the antique “thing” hanging over the island. (Charles doesn’t know what the thing is; he just knows he likes it.)
Photograph: Gene Johnson
The Staffordshire chicken and the horse’s head on the range hood (originally a shop sign), add a country feeling to the kitchen. The backsplash is an antique fireback found at the Paris flea market.
In the breakfast room, a banquette utilizes the area near the windows. An antique tole chandelier illuminates the space while garden prints decorate the walls.
Before a trip to England, the owner of this home asked Faudree what she should buy for the house. “I told her blue plates and that was what she came back with,” the designer said. Her collection now adorns the walls of the guest bedroom.
The blue-and-white toile on the chairs and ottoman is a beautiful complement to the blue-grey walls and the gingham draperies.
White leather wing chairs look stately in the master bedroom. Striped silk pillows that match the window treatments soften the look. Faudree often adds timeless grace to a room with blooming plants or cut flowers.
The marriage of florals and stripes in this master bedroom creates one of Faudree’s favorite looks.
Faudree placed his signature touch on the house with the toile in this bedroom. Here, the fabric drapes extravagantly from a Louis XVI-style bed.
The highlight of the small guest bedroom is the lit clos (enclosed bed) that is wrapped like a gift box in red toile. Curtains draw to create a cozy little nook.
Walls in the master bedroom are painted green to play up the country feeling, while an antique light fixture adds wholesome charm.
Dark and cozy, the master bedroom’s grand Edwardian bed is ideal for deep winter slumber.
In the master bedroom, an oversized wing chair in blue toile is pulled up next to the fireplace.
An Empire settee, upholstered in Stroheim’s pink-and-white “Surfeit,” became the inspiration for the remainder of this bedroom.
The fringe on the lampshade and the monogramming on the chest of drawers are among this bedroom’s pretty details. Faudree says, "The mix in the girl's bedroom shown here is more about pattern than collectibles. Pink toile on the little chair and bed curtains mixes with stripes on the wall, a hand-painted floral design on the commode, and florals on the lamp and lampshade. Start with a pivotal fabric, then mix other patterns of different scales from the same color family."
An old-time tub and the portraits hung above it give this bath a hint of frontier flair. See the next slide for another view.
Furniture not usually found in a bathroom works well in this sunny and relaxing space.
A marble-topped sink glows in soft light from sconces.
Shingles, a lantern, and a weathervane give this cottage—one of Faudree’s early homes—rustic appeal.
Faudree’s beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniels perch on pillows made from his fabric collection for Vervain. See next slide for more detail.
The breed of dogs Faudree is besotted with—Cavalier King Charles Spaniels—are featured in his Cavalier Toile Red on Ecru fabric for Vervain.