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France Design Retreat

Who wouldn't love to spend their summers in France - like Kathryn M. Ireland, A-list designer and star of Bravo's "Million Dollar Decorators". I wish I could say "I've spent my summers in France", but at least I can say I spent part of a summer in the South of France at Kathryn's first Design Retreat. I have to start from the beginning to do justice to this story....

It was the Spring of 2011 and my colleague and I, Jodi, attended a charity event where Kathryn M. was the guest speaker. We were so excited to hear her speak, after watching the most hilarious and entertaining episodes of Million Dollar Decorators. We came prepared with her Summers in France book, in high hopes of getting an autograph and personal introduction. Unfortunately, as the luncheon progressed we realized that the only book signing in our future would be the purchase of a previously signed copy of Summers in France. That simply would not do for Jodi and I and so our plan began. With pen in hand and fear behind us, we set out to approach Kathryn, at the sponsors' table-might I mention. Unbelievably, upon introducing ourselves as local designers that admired her career and design work, she spun around in her chair and started a conversation with the two of us. By the end of the luncheon, we had a personal invitation to her first annual Design and Yoga Retreat at non-other than her personal home in the South of France! We were so giddy, we barely made it back to work. Of course, then reality set in. I had 10 month and 3 year old sons at home and 10 days of traveling and expenses seemed out of reach for both of us. But we did not give up on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and within a few months, we were on a plane to Spain and Toulouse, France. WOW! The experience was indescribable in so many ways--a farm to table chef, century old cathedrals, private wine chateaus, French flea markets and endless fields of sunflowers. And all of this by the side of an amazing host and tour guide - KMI. Some of the stories I can't even get into, but I will say, if you ever have a chance to experience the charm and history of the Pyrenees foothills- don't walk - RUN! It will leave you wanting to return the next summer. So I will let the pictures speak for themselves and I have no doubt you too will fall in love with this Summer Retreat. Sit back and enjoy....

View from our room! Overlooking the fields of sunflowers.

Lunch and dinner served open air with the most amazing view!

Afternoons of exploring old churches and beautiful local historic venues.

Thank you Kathryn for such a wonderful trip and the many design inspirations-and of course, continued friendship and mentor-ship.

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