Above: Erin Francois, DIY blogger, makes her own line of soft goods
Blogger and writer Erin Francois initially blogged about life as a newlywed when she started her blog François et Moi in 2013, she eventually gained a following for her unique DIY decorating tips and tutorials. Since then, she’s been featured on the websites of Elle Décor, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, and Good Morning America, and has become a regular contributor to popular design blogs Apartment Therapy and Sugar & Cloth. Recently, she debuted her own line of handmade soft goods, including hand-dyed indigo tea towels—sold in her e-commerce shop—and a line of throw pillows available exclusively at Ciel Loft & Home in St. Louis Park made from fabrics she prints with hand-carved wood stamps made in India, indigo mudcloth from Mali, and Hmong batik fabric from Thailand.
How did you get into designing textiles and soft goods?
I did commercial design after college, and when the bottom fell out of the economy I was laid off and moved into the construction side of the industry because nobody was hiring interior designers. I got to see how fixtures and furnishings were actually made after designs were submitted. Later, I managed the Blended Blue showroom at International Market Square, working primarily with fabric and wall coverings—that’s when I fell in love with textiles. Textiles provide an emotional experience in that they engage both our visual and tactile senses.
What do handmade goods add to a room?
I feel like handmade goods are kind of the soul of a space. They’re made by a human being, not a machine, so they add this additional layer of interest and personality to a space. They make a room seem more approachable. I have readers who aren’t necessarily into DIY-ing or making things themselves but still want to incorporate handmade goods into their homes for the soul and personality they bring.
Above: Textiles designed by Erin Francois
Where do you find inspiration for your DIY ideas?
I love to see how other people find new ways of using something in a different way than it was intended to create a solution—for instance, using a bookcase on a counter space to create an open-shelving concept instead of putting in pre-made cabinets. Visiting vintage, thrift, and antique shops always leaves me feeling energized—two of my favorite spots are Midtown Antiques Mall in Stillwater and Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis. They hold so many fantastic ideas for surface pattern, furniture lines, color palettes, and construction methods.
What’s your latest DIY project?
Last summer, my husband and I bought a fixer-upper duplex property. We’ve spent the last year renovating it and going project by project, from the kitchen to the backyard, documenting that project. Early next year, we’re expecting, so we’re turning the guest room into a nursery.
How do you decide whether to buy something or make it yourself?
It typically comes down to personal taste, cost, and the amount of time it takes to make. If I have the ability to make it myself and can make it more affordably, or if I find an idea I like but want to put my own twist on it, then I’ll definitely spring for DIY.
By Jahna Peloquin
Portrait by Vivki Taufer, Product photo by Erin Francois