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Provence, France Mini-Guide

One of my very best friends moved to the South of Frace for a year when we were just 19 years old. At the time, I wasn’t much of a traveller and never did make it over to visit. It is, to date, one of my biggest life regrets. Made even more so when I stumbled upon Gert Huygaerts mini guide to Provence. If you need me, I’ll either be packing my bags, or poring through the gallery over and over.

From Gert… Last year I had the chance to be part of the wonderful Feather & Stone Photography Field Trip film photography workshop in the French Provence, one of the most lovely places in Europe!

I already read and heard a lot about the Provence, but I had never been there before. The fact that I had never been there before, was for me the reason to book a few more days at the hotel, apart from the workshop, just to get to see some of the beauty of this region. And I can assure you, I did not regret this one single moment! At the end of September, temperature still being at a very nice 25-30 degrees, it was the perfect place to get some peace of mind and see some nice things “à l’aise”.

I was staying the first days of my trip in a very cosy family-hotel called La Ripaille in the small town of Fontvieille. It was a very nice, clean and cosy hotel in the typical Provence style, with one big advantage for me… it was in the centre of the Provence, so everything I would love to see was at a small distance. For example the lovely town of Saint-Rémy de Provence was at a less than 30 minutes drive. This lovely, authentic French town showed all the beauty of its ancient history, narrow streets, lovely town squares in the shade… all you need to wander around for a couple of hours!

Something completely different and ideal to clear your mind and come to rest was the area of Le Camargue, an enormous nature resort with huge lakes, lots of birds… even pink flamingos!… and wild horses… this all with almost no-one around, just because the area is so wide-spread. It was a longer drive from where I was staying, but …also because of the nice weather… this was one of the places where I took time to sit down and relax… listen to the wind, the water …and the silence… love it!

After having my batteries charged in Le Camargue, I went to see one of the bigger cities in the Provence, Avignon. It is also a very ancient city, with a lot of different faces: the historical part, the shopping area, the industrial area, etc… It has a lot to offer, but some parts of it were also a bit confronting to… poverty was very well visible here and there… nevertheless, I think you should visit Avignon when in the Provence, as it has a lot to offer.

Something that made Marseille world-famous: soap! I couldn’t believe that this was so important for this region, but every tourist shop, grocery store, supermarket, even at the airport… they sell the Savon de Marseille. As I didn’t want to see just a shop selling this magical item, I went out to see how this soap was manufactured in the old-fashionned way! Therefor I went to see the ancient “soap factory” of Rampal Latour in Salon de Provence. Really something one should do when around… you get to know a lot about the region, the products and the history of this product.

From the 4th day, I spent almost all of my time at one of the most lovely hotels in this region: Le Hameau des Baux The Feather & Stone workshop was held in this 4 star hotel and i was worth every cent! Lovely accommodation, delicious foods, a primacies to dream dream of… really a dream come true.

After 3 days of workshop, I promised myself one thing: I will come back to Le Provence!

Photography: Gert Huygaerts | Factory: Rampal Latour | Hotel: Le Hameau Des Baux | Hotel: La Ripaille

Paisley & Jade Studio Tour

One of the very best parts about working at SMP is getting to surround myself with likeminded folks. Co-workers, vendors, the best of the best of the industry who are as obsessed with pretty as I am. Folks like Paisley & Jade, a brand new eclectic rental studio who have just opened their doors and are letting us in to take a pretty peek! With photos from Jessica Maida, there’s oh so much more right here.

From Jessica… Paisley and Jade, an exclusive eclectic and vintage rental company founded and owned by Morgan Montgomery and Perkins Morgan opened their brand new showroom in the fast growing Scott’s Addition of Richmond, Virginia this spring.

They share this new found space with Floral Designer Alexis Bishop of The Green Flamingo and Wedding Planner Kate Franzen of Lovebirds Events and together enjoy the makings and overflow of gorgeous peonies, hydrangea, Victorian love seats and the ever wedding staple of farm tables and rustic church pews.

Exposed white brick, piping and vintage tin tile ceilings give this eclectic business the proper setting with mock showroom area groupings changing weekly and per bridal consultation to best give their couples the perfect wedding day visionary.


An example of one such package they scoured for and created is the Sofia, “a soft & romantic look, perfect for a spring vineyard wedding, a shower welcoming a new baby girl, or a feminine bridal event.”

While based in Richmond, this duo often scours the east coast for unique embellishments for the stylish bride from small wares to large wares, tables to vintage tin signs, painted antlers and chair walls to everything in between.

This powerhouse of furniture and accent pieces will capture any bride’s personal style and theme at what they have dubbed themselves “Highpoint & Moore” (the intersecting streets of this new showroom space).

Paisley & Jade are collectors but also carpenters and stylists at heart. With their custom bar trough tables and church pews they are pros at their styling behind a wedding day as well. Finally complete any piece or set with sweet smelling Gardenias or whimsy ranunculus centerpiece from workspace partner Bishop and you have a studio right out of Pinterest heaven!

Photography: Jessica Maida Photography | Event Planner: Lovebirds Events | Catering: A Sharper Palate Catering & Events | Florals: The Green Flamingo | Rentals: Paisley & Jade | Showroom: Paisley & Jade

Paisley & Jade is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Paisley & Jade

20 Whimsical Nurseries

As an interior designer, one of my favourite rooms in the entire world to do is the nursery. Parents are so excited about the project. And the fact that it’s only going to be in use for a handful of years means you can be a little out there when it comes to the decor! We’ve already covered modern nurseries, traditional nurseries, and now we’re diving deep into all things whimsical. Stay tuned, because it’s about to get REAL cute up in here!

20 Whimsical Nurseries
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