Boston's Charles Spada in Veranda

In this month's “A French Affair,” we get to see Spada’s gorgeous centuries-old Normandy estate.

Life is good in Normandy, apparently. And it gets even better when you’re invited inside Boston-based Charles Spada’s lovely manor house. Spada has a showroom in the Boston Design Center, but I suspect he jets over to France every chance he gets. Note the frame-within-frame and whimsical eye. Little touches like this one indicate a spirited designer is about. This feature is running in the January/February issue of Veranda.

Really? Leopard on a traditional high-back love seat. Oh, yes, we like this very much. Of course, all that intricate wall paneling is terribly luxe, terribly French. How lovely are those raw floors, as well? No high gloss here, just high class. Nice eye candy for a dreary January day.

Spada writes, “From childhood, I’ve had a love affair with France and all things French. I began house-hunting in upper Normandy in the mid-1990s, meandering along back roads and visiting real estate offices.” After seeing many charming but badly-renovated cottages over the years, he had all but given up hope of finding his dream home. “One evening at home in Boston,” he continues, “while perusing French real estate online, I found the Manoir de Berthouville, built in 1652 as a relais de chasse, or hunting lodge.” He promptly went to see the property and writes, “The house and grounds took my breath away. Though a bit unkempt, the old girl had lost none of her grandeur. She was, and remains, as elegant and timeless as a Givenchy gown.”

Pick a color, pick a shape and go with it. Here, it’s a washed gray, but so many variations designed to pull out the wall details and activate the surface. It would be fun to recreate this with trompe l’oiel in staid old Boston. Then pull out all the china and hang it about. Thank you, Mr. Spada, for your marvelous work.