So I went over my ideas with a friend and he had a lot to say about me calling this French Country. Below are his thoughts:
French Country style is a great idea. It definitely fits with lots of stuff you already have. It also can be defined in many different ways. Since you know that France is a very diverse place, French country style can have Eastern, Western, Southern (Spanish, Italian, Provencal), Coastal or more Parisian look. From what I see on your pictures, it seems that you're going for a Provencal/Coastal look. The shade of blue of the curtains is a strong reminder of South of France and also many coastal areas from Brittany down to Nice. The brass candelabra and rural painting with their rich gold and reds have a more inner country feel, which, along with the ornate lace table cloth, gives you a more Parisian feel. The black furniture (table, chairs, etc...) and wall paints on that picture look too modern for me to work with a French country style. The wall paints might work if you settle on South of France look, but I'd choose a more classic, dark brown wood, rather than black for the furniture. So it seems you're in between two very different styles here and you couldn't have all the described pieces work together in the same room. In my opinion, you gotta decide whether you wanna go Southern or Parisian. I, of course, have an opinion on the matter that you can take or leave. From what I've seen of your house (and my memory might fail me), I do feel that the stuff you have breathe more of Paris than Provence. You have that Bistro feel in your kitchen for example. You also live in the woods in an area that could be assimilated to areas in the Loire Valley or around Paris. So I'd say stick with the candelabra and painting, keep the lace table cloth, get dark brown furniture and chairs (you don't need to get dark upholstery, it can be cream colored to have a clean sophisticated contrast with the rest and match the wall. I'd be tempted to paint either just the lower third or the entire walls in rich red, with that white wooden separation going around (very classy). Definitely no blue curtains but more subdued colors. They don't need to be too heavy in weight or color. You don't want the room to be stuffy. Plus the focus needs to be on the table with the candelabras above with the painting as a backdrop. I'd say not to use the blue plates there, even if they have French imagery on it. I'm kinda biased. After going to Holland and seeing all the porcelain there, I can't help but associate these plates with Holland rather than France. If you choose the Southern feel, they would definitely work there.
Below is my edited reply:
I think maybe calling it French is what's wrong? Maybe it's American Country Eclectic with only the suttlest of nods to France? I am sort of tired of red and we have it everywhere in the house and it dominates the living room so I wanted to do something different that would still connect (that would be the yellow that's already there).It's OK to me if it comes from more than one region because I'm an eclectic person and enjoy notes from different areas. I simply can't be true to any one style, especially if most items will be found objects. I enjoy the eco-friendly part of that AND it's great on a budget. I'm done with buying stuff new. New stuff is poorly made and it costs a ton. Most blue plates are English landscapes and that is what I already have. I don't think I'll be traveling anytime soon to pick up limited edition French China. Wish I could, but it's not going to happen soon.
From what I read, plates were an over the door thing in France. I thought centering a gilded piece of landscape art over the buffet would start to be too formal so I thought an informal plate arrangement as the center would be a little less formal and a little more country. Comfort is just as important to me and the perceived formality of the space should be slightly casual.
My furniture is mahogany wood but it's more of a dark brown then a black (it's not painted) and the style is an 1800's Sheraton reproduction with intricate inlaid woodwork. The chairs are 1800's shield backs in mahogany as well, also reproduction. Like the lace tablecloth, the set reminds me of my great-grandmother which is why I was drawn to it. She had a ton of great pieces.
What I really hate and what I want to avoid at all costs is that crap they show on the likes of the Real Housewives... they have a lot of ornate crap for the sake of being showy and over the top that is just spit out by some factory in China. It's over the top and yucko. I hate that stuff. I'm looking for that right balance of ornate, and casual. I'd like to do something fresher than the American Country that was popular in the late 80's and I'm not sure Pottery Barn American Casual fits me either.