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The City Journals

A little French flair in historic Draper

Jan 06, 2021 01:04PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

La Petite Maison sits behind the Sorensen Home in Historic Draper Town Center. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

If you’re dreaming of a getaway to Paris but can’t stamp your passport due to the pandemic, perhaps a visit to La Petite Maison would be just the thing to rediscover your joie de vivre. Simply opening the door to this “little house” whisks you away to the charms of France. 

Tucked on a quiet side street in Historic Draper Town Center, this enchanting shop offers home décor, gifts and antiques. Owners Scott and Amanda Herring intend for it to give you the experience of arriving at a French antique shop or flea market sans the 11-hour flight. 

“There’s no place that feels as good to me when I travel as France does and we’ve been all over the world,” Amanda said. 

For years, Amanda dreamt of shopping in “The Fleas” (the flea markets of Paris).  For their 15th wedding anniversary, Scott arranged a trip for them to do just that, complete with a guide who took them to the markets and helped them ship their treasures home. “We had such a great time. We said someday we need to open a shop,” Amanda said. 

“We found such amazing things that we wanted to afford other people that opportunity,” Scott said. 

The Herrings had purchased the little house at 915 E. 12600 South in 2013 so that Amanda, a fabric designer and graphic artist, could have office space outside of their home. Among the things she creates are custom, hand-tufted rugs. 

Fast forward to fall 2019 when Scott left his employment in IT as a Network Security engineer. “He turned to me and said, ‘Why are we not just doing this?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know,’ and so we decided to just go for it,” Amanda said. And why not? They already owned the perfect place for the shop itself—a charming house built in 1938.

They went on their first buying trip to France in November 2019. Amanda filled a 40-foot container and arranged to have it shipped to Utah, and then COVID happened. They’d planned to open the shop in May, but it took six months for their goods to arrive. Still, they were able to open in June and it’s been a joyous experience since. Both Scott and Amanda said that, because the pandemic has people spending more time at home and therefore focused on creating more beautiful home space, business has been good. Most sales come from people visiting the shop, but they also offer online shopping with curbside pickup as well as online sales and shipping from their website. People have found them on Instagram and ordered from places as far away as Michigan and New York.  

Though they’ve not been able to return to France since the pandemic began, they’ve curated what Scott called a “network of trusted sources” and they’ve been able to purchase new items for the store via video calls. 

The Herrings’ connection to France is an emotional one. “I think there is something about the French culture…the pace is slower, the enjoyment of food is deeper, and it has a culture of beauty that’s been mimicked for centuries. I think that carries on in so many of us. We long for those bits of beauty and quality that are sometimes missing in America,” Amanda said. 

They parlayed that love for France and European craftsmanship into their store. “French style is very broad, actually…but what’s really great about what the French have done over the centuries is that all the styles they’ve developed go together. You can put all those pieces together and it creates this beautiful effect of layering. It’s a really beautiful thing to have a collected interior. Instead of buying one complete set of furniture, it’s more about buying individual pieces that work together to create a marriage of sophistication and beauty. And what you get in that type of situation is something that feels more curated like each piece was collected on a trip or each piece has something special about it,” Amanda said. 

“If you find someone who loves France, they walk into our shop and they almost melt back into (their) trip. It’s remembering and reliving those experiences,” Scott said. 

The Herrings say they have customers who’ve become friends who visit the shop frequently. “Amanda is fantastic at changing the shop quite often, so it’s almost different every time and people come back again and again, and they’re wonderful people,” Scott said.

To add to the fun, every Friday is Frenchy Friday. They highlight an antique on Instagram and invite patrons in for pastries from Draper’s Gourmandise.  

Scott and Amanda have a big dream beyond their small, 550-square-foot shop. They hope to arrange for people to stay at a chateau in France and experience the culture and shopping they’ve come to love. 

“Having a beautiful place for them to stay in France and allowing them a chance to handpick their antiques would be a tremendous experience,” Scott said. 

“I think it’s a natural next step for us at some point,” Amanda added, “once the world opens back up.” 

La Petite Maison is located at 915 E. 12600 South, north of Draper Historic Park and behind the Sorensen Home. The shop is open Tuesday-Friday noon-6 p.m. and Saturday noon-5 p.m. Website for online orders or at home shopping is shoplpma.com or follow on Instagram @la_petite_maison_antiques  Their phone is 385-308-8249.