I’ve just returned from spending the month of May in France. My time there was divided between hosting The Academy, visiting friends, and taking a solo French road trip to see new places and have a little creative down time. What I’m always struck by, no matter where I may be in the country, is how authentic the French live. You won’t see homes filled with shiny new items from a big box store or mass produced wares delivered to their doorstep. Homes are collected, well lived in, and speak purely to those who inhabit them. They are unique and imperfect. They are nurturing to the senses and welcoming to all who enter their doors. I had the privilege of photographing one such home belonging to my friend, antique dealer Lou O’Leary. His home encourages me to approach my own decor with a sense of authenticity and meaning. My hope is that it does the same for you.
The shopping in Amsterdam is just so good. You’ll find small independent boutiques dotting nearly every street and I made it my mission to try and pop in as many as I could. It was an easy task, considering their creative window displays and eye catching merchandise were continually luring me inside. Hands down, my favorite shop was de Weldaad. Their selection of antiques, home furnishings, accessories, and textiles were so beautifully curated. I loved the gentle wash of their soft muted color palette and worn wood surfaces displayed throughout the store. It was such a relaxing environment to browse. I seriously wanted to dump everything out of my luggage just so I could pack it up with their wares. Instead, I brought home candles and pillow covers. Sigh.
After our successful day gathering props at the brocante, we were ready to begin utilizing those finds in our styling sessions. In addition to what everyone found for their own prop collections, I set up a table with an assortment of small dishes, linens, fresh produce, herbs and spices, and beautiful artisanal bread.
Our first few mornings at The Academy begin with lectures on the proper techniques and aspects of styling. Starting with the fundamentals, the attendees are able to understand the how & why behind creating stunning that resonate meaning and convey the vision they wish to express. They are then able to implement those concepts and skills as they continue to practice throughout the week. But more importantly, upon returning home, they will have an arsenal of techniques to apply in their own body of work and creative pursuits.