back to brittany – naomi jones

back to brittany

on location

As I’m a writer as well as a stylist, I’m usually found hibernating in my home office for the first few weeks of the year, writing up my commissions from the previous year. So when one of my contacts in France got in touch and asked if I wanted to revisit her for a few days in January/February to photograph some more old barns she’d converted, at first I thought, “oh, I couldn’t possibly do that”. Then after about 3 seconds I thought, “but why not??” and got to work packing up my props basket with objects borrowed from some of the talented craftspeople I’ve discovered over the years…

The owner of the gites, Liz, is a lovely Irish lady who met and fell in love with a French farmer, and since they married and settled on his farm in rural Brittany, they’ve been converting several of their barns and cottages in the hamlet, turning them into holiday homes. Liz is oozing with design ideas, and her husband is incredibly practical and imaginative, too; together, they make an amazing combination, and I was very excited to see what they had been up to since my last visit to Petites Maisons dans la Prairie. The photographer, Brent Darby, and I travelled in comfort thanks to the wonderful, night-time voyage with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to St Malo then took the hour-long drive to our location in the morning… …via an amazing bakery to pick up some delish baked goodies for the week. After a catch-up and a tour with Liz, Brent and I got cracking, making a plan for the wintery themed week.  We chose to photograph three gites. 

Firstly, the newest and most contemporary in design, with an incredible colour palette that made styling it really fun, with eye-catching cushions by Mairi Helena and loads of woolly blankets and scarves.

…tactile pottery by Jane Lowth, notebooks by Anna Hayman, and postcards by Clare Brownlow

The second cottage we shot was the cosy gite Brent and I were staying in for our visit… 

I dressed this one like a gallery with beautiful prints by Heather Kirtland

…a print by Emma Higgins, and collections of vintage books and quirky animal figurines.

And the third gite, I styled for Christmas…

…with some fabulous hand-painted decorations by Heather Kirtland.

Liz and some of her children even popped in for a few photos.

We spent three long days working on these wonderfully unique interior shoots, so that on day four, our final day, we had some time to ourselves to explore the local countryside…

…visit a nearby brocante (sorry Mr Jones, I’ll find room for everything, I promise!), and have a long goodbye lunch with Liz before heading back to port in the evening.

We arrived back at St Malo for our homeward-bound ferry at a sensible hour, so there was just enough time for a quick walk on the beach and a wander round this very cute and increasingly cosmopolitan port (well worth a layover if you’re ever in the area).

Despite expected 130km p h winds, our overnight ocean journey was pretty smooth and we arrived back in the UK well rested and just in time for breakfast…

It was a magical week, and both Brent and I came back refreshed and newly inspired by all the wonderful things we’d seen. It was a great start to the year and perhaps next year I won’t hesitate for a second, I’ll say a big fat “yes!” to getting the photo-shooting season started as early as possible.

naomi jones

Hi, I’m naomi jones, a freelance interiors writer and stylist, and mum to Lillie-Mae. For many years I was the features editor at Period Living, but after spending a year with my daughter after she was born in 2011, I figured a freelance life would allow me to be with her as much as possible while giving me the freedom to keep up with my passion for styling and writing about people’s homes.
believe in pink
mountain pup

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finding beauty everywhere

As an interiors writer and stylist specialising in real home features for interiors magazines, I get to travel all over Europe to style people's homes, so on this blog I'm going to be sharing some of the lovely homes I visit, as well as the locations that I end up in.

I'm also passionate about good food, nature, art, urban design and architecture so there'll be the odd smattering of posts that relate to what I get up to on my days off, whether on my own or with my family, Mr Jones and Lillie-Mae, and Daisy pup.

I hope you enjoy it,

naomi x

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