A passion for beautiful interiors inspired by the classic styles of the Hamptons and French country led Ruth Shannon to open her beautiful new store in Milford.
Ruth, together with her daughter Madison, has designed a stunning space and furnished it with covetable, high-quality pieces that give a feeling of stepping into a sumptuous home. “That’s how I want it to feel,” says Ruth.
People tend to congregate here, it’s a little bit like inviting someone into your own villa.
An Eye For Design
Ruth has project managed several residential developments with her husband Ross and the couple have renovated several of their own homes. Together they restored 465 Mt Eden Road, an historical 1882 villa, back to its former glory as 22 offices and a café (Altar). Their latest project is a brand new Hamptons home being built on a cliff on the North Shore.
The Frustrated Architect
A former nurse, Ruth describes herself as a ‘frustrated architect’ and it’s her love of bungalows and villas with a nod to the style of the Hamptons, Normandy and the east coast of the United States that turned up a fruitless search for the elegant, solidly-made, timeless furniture she was seeking for the new build.
“Ross and I travel a lot, most years we go to Europe, and we’ve spent a lot of time in the United States and Australia,” says Ruth. “We lived in Newport Beach for a few months as well and I wanted to emulate some of the looks I’d seen on my travels, but there was nothing like that here. I found it difficult to find black and white furniture too, they’re colours that don’t date, but they’re difficult to find at a moderate price. I know why: it’s not easy, there are high barriers to entry and it’s expensive.”
Filling The Gap
Ruth felt the gap in the market so strongly that she began to work on her long-held dream of The French Villa. A business that provided the styles of France, the Hamptons, Nantucket, Cape Cod, plantation, the Bahamas, and the Riviera.
Ruth and Madison have sourced a plethora of beautiful French country, coastal and plantation-style furniture and homewares that tantalise the senses. Plush striped couches sit side by side with sleek white display cabinets. There’s a tempting display of gorgeous coffee table books on offer along with cushions, throws, vases, jars, pots, and planters.
Scouring The World
“Our Riviera and Provincial ranges are designed in Normandy and made in Vietnam,” says Ruth. “That company also supplies 30 shops in France as well as globally. We’ve also designed our own exclusive range and are working with a supplier in China. They are a family owned and operated factory so we enjoy working with them – they supply some stockists in France and Scandinavia as well.”
“Creating an air of elegance with quality product is important to us. We have a range of 100 percent hand-loomed cotton cushions and we take out the polyester inners and replace them with feathers so they’re beautiful to sink into like the couches,” says Madison. “Our aim is to make it achievable to create a complete and timeless look throughout the home with well-made furniture and homewares that aren’t too highly priced.”
Ruth and Madison have been delighted with the positive feedback they’ve received already about their new store from the local community. “I love the fact that people love The French Villa. Even the men come in and say it has a lovely feel. There is something for everyone,” says Ruth.
The French Villa: Shop M135, Milford Shopping Centre: 24 Milford Rd, Milford/09 213 2814/thefrenchvilla.co.nz