The arrival of their son Louis in 2010 had Ruth Ribeaucourt and her husband Raphael craving a simpler life, so they packed up their Irish home and set out for the rolling hills of the village where they first met: Provence, France. While she greatly appreciated the slower pace, jewelry maker/antiques dealer Ruth didn’t sit still for long. She quickly began collaborating with the haute couture ribbon company her husband’s family founded, and opened two Etsy shops: Rubanesque and Exquisite Threads. As if that weren’t enough, she and her friend Corey Amaro also began offering travelers bespoke trips to Provence through Ruth’s site The French Muse.
Seven years later, her businesses thriving, Ruth was quickly outgrowing her at-home workspace. It was then that she made the bold decision to finally open up her own proper, brick-and-mortar atelier. Unfortunately, finding a viable option proved to be much more difficult than she had imagined. Some were too expensive or weren’t in the right spot, while others were too modern or required too much work. After months of disappointing showings, Ruth decided to follow up on a long shot: a 1960s-era caravan located two hours away. She was hesitant at first, but much to her surprise it proved to be in fantastic condition for its age and primed for a renovation. Plus, it offered her something a brick-and-mortar retail space couldn’t: the ability to bring her goods to the people.
Back at home, the caravan officially hers, Ruth steadily began the six-week process of breathing new life into it. She started by removing every piece of furniture from inside so she could work with a totally clean slate. From there she added in new cabinets, wallpaper and even pieced together a floor plan that allowed for two beds! What’s most fantastic about the trailer, though, is how her clever design boasts the rare balance between old/new, fresh/vintage and layered/clean.
While it took some major elbow grease to achieve such a result, when Ruth sees the smiles her caravan brings to her customers’ faces she can’t help but grin herself. She just loves how her spot has become a place for sharing stories and connecting with fellow creatives. And it’s sure to leave you smiling as well. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Joanna Maclennan & Ruth Ribeaucourt
Image above: Ruth started feeling isolated by working at home, so earlier this year she began looking for a brick-and-mortar shop from which she could sell her vintage finds and textiles. Months passed and options came and went, but none lived up to her expectations. She finally grew so unhappy with her options, she drove two hours to snag this 1960s-era caravan and transformed it into a traveling atelier.