La Cressonnière: Halfbath

February 10, 2011

I want to share more of the details that make this house so interesting. But there are so many! Too many to share all at once, so I’ll start small. With the tiniest room in the house. A little halfbath on the main floor located under the staircase.

la cressonniere half bath la cressonniere halfbath

The first thing I noticed was a row of little metal plates nailed to the door. I’m not sure what these plates were originally used for, but I think they’re so pretty. Do you know? I’m guessing some kind of printing.

la cressonniere halfbath

There are a couple more metal plates on a little paneling ledge on the wall. See the gorgeous wallpaper? It’s actually not paper at all — the pattern is painted on!

la cressonniere halfbath

This is a funny little knocker on the outside of the door.

la cressonniere halfbath

And this is how the door latches closed — like a little gate.

By the way, I’ve said it before but it deserves saying repeatedly. I am very aware how lucky we were to find this beautiful home. It truly feels like a gift that we get to live here. I write these posts about La Cressonnière partly because I know readers are curious, and partly because I want to acknowledge and appreciate our good fortune. Thanks for reading along!

Update: Here is more info from the homeowners. “Those little metal plates are actually from Greece. They are called ‘tamata’ and we have collected them passing through Athens over the years on our many holidays to the Greek Islands (where my father lives). These wonderful symbols convey wishes for many purposes: the new house, the healthy baby, the new love (the heart symbol is a wonderful Valentine at any time of the year!), the successful operation, the watchful eye. Tamata are similar to Milagros in the Latin tradition. The Greeks buy these tamata then take them to the church of their choice and tie it with a ribbon to a horizontal pole under the icon or painting of their chosen saint. I’ve read that hey can also be used as holiday tree decorations.”

You clever readers, you guessed exactly right! : )

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LeeAnn Balbirona February 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

How interesting! I don’t believe they were for printing but are like (perhaps a French version of) Mexican milagros, little tokens that are made when praying for a miracle or made and left as a token at a shrine or church after receipt of an answer to prayer. I received something very similar in the mail recently from the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, same size and style, but with a picture of Mary stamped on it. The ear would be for a prayer of healing for hearing loss or ear infection, the baby for health of baby or healthy pregnancy or healing of infertility, etc. An interesting and unique decoration for a bathroom!

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2 Cameron February 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

Yes, I was going to say the same thing. I saw them in several different countries when we lived in Europe, I’m sure that’s what they are. :)

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3 Amanda February 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I have several Mexican milagros and they look VERY similar!

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4 maria y. February 11, 2011 at 5:47 am

this is exactly what they are… we have this tradition here in Greece, only we usually leave them inside churches, next to icons of the saint we are asking for the miracle…

a wonderful house, can’t wait to see the rest!

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5 Sherry February 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

Oh…I’m in love with your house!!!! Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to seeing more and more and more. Enjoy the gift you’ve been given in that wonderful place. I have one of those little plates from Germany from when my husband was there doing an internship. It was sold as an ornament with a red ribbon on it. I love it. Au revoir :)

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6 K February 10, 2011 at 9:12 am

It is so lovely. You are a very gracious person and communicate your gratefulness for your blessings very well. Keep posting pics of this lovely place!

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7 marta February 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

I just love it…can wait to see more pic!

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8 Megan February 10, 2011 at 9:19 am

Yes, I also think they look like milagros. http://bit.ly/h5liMC

What a special house.

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9 Birgit February 10, 2011 at 9:22 am

The painted wallpaper was probably done with special rollers – we find that style in many older buildings in Europe.

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10 Megan February 10, 2011 at 9:22 am

Also, I would like to say thank you for sharing information about your adventure. It’s very generous.

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11 Holly B February 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

I agree with the milagros. I’ve also seen them in churches in Greece – offerings and requests for the saints. They are beautiful. Congrats on your new French adventure!

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12 Jenna Nelson February 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

These pictures reaffirm my decision to switch my neutral walls to tones of gray. Love.

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13 bdaiss February 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

First – thank you for letting us be lucky through you. I love all the little bits of La Cressonniere you are sharing.

Second – if they are milagros, how funny that they’re in a bathroom! Who are we leaving offerings/requests to in there? : ) Either way they are beautiful and fun to look at. And I love that knocker.

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14 Sarah {Daily Design Inspiration} February 10, 2011 at 9:44 am

Well … now I’m going to have to go hand paint some wallpaper — I won’t be able to stop thinking about it until I do! How beautiful! Having grown up in Colorado, I feel like Europe is a special place where people do things that simply aren’t done here anymore. I guess my imagination is about right because that hand painted wallpaper is amazing! Thanks for sharing pictures!

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15 Amanda February 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

Just wanted to say that I love these posts about your move to France! I hope there will be many more to come. Best of luck!

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16 mrsblocko February 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

I love these pictures. Makes me wish my tiny house had neato things like this in it!

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17 Gretchen February 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

lovely! I am really enjoying the sweet details you are sharing!

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18 Kate February 10, 2011 at 10:17 am

Please keep the pictures/stories about this charming house coming! And the small details are especially interesting. Now I’m curious about the interesting family whose home this is!

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19 Delia February 10, 2011 at 10:31 am

Cool! These are definitely ex-votos, aka milagros. What an amazing house!

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20 Anne February 10, 2011 at 10:32 am

I love that you’re posting about details and your great perspective. Many might see it as a home with no reliable door locks! So glad you recognize it’s beauty and charm.

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21 Miranda February 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

I was going to say they looked like they could be molds for chocolates…like the tops on the Le Petit Écolier cookies. But, the no one would want the ear cookie, and the milagros theory makes much more sense:)

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22 Kendra @ My Insanity February 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

Please do share! I am fascinated by most everything in Europe and love the opportunity to live vicariously through you this year. I hope others aren’t accusing you of boasting. I admire that you guys made this decision and made it work for your family. I would fully expect you to enjoy every nook and cranny of your home, as well as every fresh pastry you eat, or historical site you get to visit!

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23 Alana February 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

I love painted “wallpaper” like that. It’s very popular in Eastern Europe and when I lived there I found it incredibly charming. My friends thought I was nuts since it’s considered cheap, common, and somewhat declasse there. For anyone interested in creating the effect it’s done with patterned rollers (similar to this http://rollerwall.com/howitworks.html). All it takes is the will – the technique is easy.

A side note: a Hungarian artist friend of mine used an old roller to paint the backgrounds in a series of pencil drawings he did. The effect is absolutely lovely and it’s one of my favorite pieces of art that we own.

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24 Nicole February 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I had forgotten all about the patterend rollers until I read your post. This is something my Father did back in the late 50′s to our bedrooms. Thaks for bring back the memory and the thought that perhaps I will atemp this on a smaller scale in our 1/2 bath!

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25 Ashley February 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

I love reading your posts! I loved seeing the treehouse and now this little half bath. I’m amazed at the detail of every tiny thing, but also how you notice the detail. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in life that we tend to gloss over the tiny, beautiful things. Like the heart in the treehouse…I never would have noticed until you pointed it out and as soon as you did I loved it and I was so glad to see it. It’s made me wonder what beautfiul details I may be missing in my own world. I thought about the door handles in my house…nope, not nearly as interesting as the gate hook on your half bath door. Still, I’m sure there are things I’m missing that I want to start paying more attention to. Thanks for sharing all the details of your journey…somehow I feel that I might be able to experience this adventure through you!

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26 Anna Lewis February 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

It does seem like such a special place! More like a custom B&B than a house they rent out. Makes me wonder about the owners, did they live there and see to all the details, or was it built and maintained primarily as a vacation spot, etc. Tell us all about it! I promise, we want to know. :)

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27 Lori Jo February 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

I love that you are sharing La Cressonniere and all the wonderful details… Thank you so much. Please continue to share. I smiled when I saw the funny door knocker. We have the same exact one on our guest bedroom door!

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28 Katherine in Paris February 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

The house looks so lovely. Enjoy it and keep posting photos. We are dreaming of a house just outside of Paris where the kids can actually walk on the grass. Perhaps we can find one like this.

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29 Sarah February 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

hmm makes doing ones business a little more interesting for sure! Love that slate blue paint in the last picture

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30 Sandra February 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

You’re very gracious to share your experiences with us. I appreciate it very much. Your sensitive attention to detail is awesome!

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31 Olivia February 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm

It’s the tiniest details that make a home a home, don’t you think? Please keep sharing–I’m loving these posts about La Cressonniere. Thanks for bringing us along!

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32 Emily R. February 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I am so excited for you and your family to be on this adventure and I LOVE hearing about it! The house is absloutly charming! You have inspired my husband and me to take a vacation to Paris.

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33 Sarah Jane February 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I’m not sure if “quaint” even begins to describe it…I’m just in love with such little details. It’s so romantic and just…sigh…

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34 Maria Torres February 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Thank you for sharing this wonderful expereirence!

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35 Magga February 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Love your posts, thanks for your time

greetings for Iceland
Magga

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36 Amelia February 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm

The hand knocker is a traditional Hand of Fatima (Prophet Muhammad’s daughter) door knocker, which is a north African Muslim symbol that gives the occupier of the house protection from the “evil eye”. The left hand is either for doing evil things, or to protect from the evil eye.

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37 JoEllen February 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

What a charming home and tree house! Thanks for sharing your little piece of heaven with us =)

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38 Megan February 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

How can you not write about La Cressonnière?!! I imagine you must look around and think wow am I really here? What a blessing for your family!! I wish my husband could work abroad. You never know what the future can bring!! I`m keeping my fingers crossed for one day. Please keep the France posts coming. Actually this post is to short!! MORE MORE MORE peas!! as my 1.5 year old says

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39 Laura Gaskill February 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I am completely enchanted, as I’m sure you all are! I can only imagine how magical it must be for your children to explore and discover all of these little treasures around the house – this is an experience you will all surely remember forever, and I am so happy to follow along! xo Laura

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40 Amy S February 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I love these posts—I look forward to every one!

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41 Patty February 10, 2011 at 5:37 pm

What other magical details await…?????

How are the kiddos adjusting?

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42 Margaret February 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

The tin plates make me think of chocolate molds :)

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43 mary February 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I was only told about you just after your big move to France, and you are just making my day every day at the moment. I spent last September traveling round France with my husband and 5yr old daughter Remi; and you are fueling my own desire to live there. Looking forward to every post! Thank You!!

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44 stacey February 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

When I was visiting Greece several years ago I came across these same “plates” and it was explained to me that they were used for prayer purposes in hopes of being used as a healing mechanism. So for instance, let’s say you have a friend, uncle, anyone, who has an ailing foot-you would purchase one of these plates that has a foot on it and use it as a prayer offering in hopes of healing their foot. It’s interesting that the plates are in your home as I only came across them in churches during my visit to Greece. I actually purchased several of the plates, brought them home with me and placed them in a shadowbox frame, adhering them with interesting stones that I also found during my visit…instant art!

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45 Jill February 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I love reading and seeing all the pictures of your new life in France! It’s the first thing I do when I turn on the computer each day. After you, I then go directly to Jordan’s blog! Keep it coming….. <3

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46 Cathi February 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm

And thank you for sharing! What a delightful little half bath. How is the plumbing? Is it much different from America? How old is La Cressonnière? My husband travels to London with his work. I’ve yet to go with him but he takes lots of photographs for me to see. I’ve noticed the plumbing is on the outside of the older buildings. Is it like that in France too?

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47 Jeudi February 11, 2011 at 1:03 am
48 alyson boehr February 11, 2011 at 4:47 am

I can’t wait to see more of the surprises the house reveals! Thank you so much for sharing:)

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49 Sara February 11, 2011 at 5:27 am

Thank you for sharing. It’s a nice “getaway” every morning from the snow and cold in Michigan.

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50 Joslyn February 11, 2011 at 6:31 am

love this post, thank you for sharing!

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51 Raeraegrant@mindspring.com February 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

Can’t wait to see what your adventure brings.

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52 Kathleen February 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

Thanks for sharing! Reading your posts are probably the closest I’ll ever get to living in France.

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53 madge February 11, 2011 at 11:04 am

I love this house. LOVE! Please show us every inch. I can’t wait for the next surprise.

Also, thank you so much for documenting this adventure. For years my husband has dreamed of taking the kids out of school for a year and sailing (almost) around the world. I have begged off, just completely daunted by the prospect of it all. Your posts are making me see little ways to begin thinking realistically about our own family adventure. So, again, thank you.

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54 Martha February 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

yes keep these house posts coming! i’m so interested to see everything! and so excited for your beautiful family to have this opportunity.

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55 Ashley Thalman February 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm

These are tin plaque milagros and they are fantastic!

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56 Erin R February 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

We also came across these in Greece! We were enchanted by these ornamental plates hanging in many of the churches, strung across the walls. To me the plates are such a beautiful, visual way of an appeal or prayer! Love the pictures of the house!!

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57 Angela February 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I also recognized the plates. In many churches, especially there where people go for pilgrimages you will find those ” ex voto’s ” as I think they are also called in France. They are usually offered at the shrine after a miraculous healing after prayer to that particular saint. I guess you will find them in Lisieux as well, isn’t that in Normandy too?
Thanks a lot for your great blog and for letting us all travel with you :)

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58 Marie February 18, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I was going to say almost the same thing about the little plates, but I thought they might be milagros (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milagro_(votive)).

You have such a beautiful home (and blog)!

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59 Livia March 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

It seems like such a creatively inspirational space!!

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60 Linda Tantawi March 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Just found your website….how fantastic!!!

Would love some help publicizingour giveaway!

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61 SolaGratia February 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

The little door knocker is probably from the Victorian Era. I have sold alot of jewellery made in Dieppe France shaped just like that little hand; carved out of white ivory. The hand was a 19th c symbol of friendship and often referred to as the “Hand of Friendship.” In Britain it was carved out of Whitby black jet or Irish bog oak and made into beautiful brooches. They became a favourite gift to give to a friend or in your case, “all who enter here are friends..” (The hand of friendship extended at the doorway!)

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62 matina April 12, 2012 at 3:14 am

Hello, i come from Greece and i assure you that those metal “tamata” are placed in every single church, especially in islands and churches in the countryside. It’s a strange, kind of “paganistic” custom. It was so nice to see something from my small country in a blog! You realize how small is the world .
Very nice blog, congratulations!

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