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Why Jacynthe René's country kitchen is her favourite room

For the last seven years, Quebec-born actress Jacynthe René has lived in a French-country-style home, built circa 1800, across the St. Lawrence from Montreal on the province's South Shore. "I found the house when I was pregnant with my first son," says the host of the new reality TV show, Par ici la sortie, on Quebec lifestyle channel Mademoiselle Canal. "The house was not for sale at the time, but I immediately knew it would be mine without even walking in. The gardens are gorgeous. I can keep all the animals I want, and my children can run free outdoors." Her favourite room is the kitchen, which she renovated with the help of Quebec stylist France Cliché, stripping away the previous owner's seventies-inspired decor to make it seem newly old again. "I love the large space and the light. It's where I spend most of my time."

The blue chair

"This dates from the second half of the 19th century and is a Quebec antique made with braided sinew. I got it at Bleu Patine, a boutique in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu specializing in aged country furniture."

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The butcher block

"This is authentic as well - and weighs a tonne! It's origins are Western Canada. An actress friend of mine found it for me."

The mirror

"This is an old window from the last century that France made into a mirror. She used milk-based paint for the finish."

The wooden spoon

"The spoon my son Charles is holding is an antique made of maple wood. The bowls were once used to make butter. I also got them at Bleu Patine."

The floor

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"That's the [house's]original flooring, made of pine wood and iron nails. It was hidden underneath two coats of vinyl flooring when I bought the house."

The table

"This is an authentic convent-cafeteria table. France found it for me and stripped off the vinyl the nuns had covered it with. I guess the other way was easier to clean."

The hutch

"This piece of old-wood furniture, which I got at a store that doesn't exist any more, has its original patina still intact. I had seen one just like it in a European decor magazine and I died when I saw it close to my home in Quebec. I just had to have it."

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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