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Lessons in Mixing and Mismatching: Merci Reinvents a Paris Apartment

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Lessons in Mixing and Mismatching: Merci Reinvents a Paris Apartment

December 20, 2021

For 12 years now Merci has been at the top of every aesthete’s must-visit list in Paris. The lifestyle store, with its linen bedding in impossible-to-find-anywhere-else jewel tones and basement of gorgeous gardening supplies, is known for its eclectic, insouciant take on design.

Merci is approachable rather than precious; it’s an emporium devoted to celebrating the stuff of daily life in playful, room-like settings—and to presenting ideas that feel a few steps ahead of the pack. To fully demonstrate the store’s style, the Merci creative team first refurbished a nearby flat that it dubbed the Pied-à-Terre. That experience—and Paris’s lockdown when the city was at a standstill—led it to take on another space, a family apartment in an 18th century building in the 5th arrondissement. Newly complete, this Second Residence, as its known, is a celebration, in the store’s own words, of the Merci way: “pairing antiques with contemporary designs, mixing two antagonistic aesthetics, combining mass-produced objects with artisanal pieces.” Join us for a look around.

Photography courtesy of Merci.

the \1\20 square meter apartment occupies a floor of a late \18th century neocl 9
Above: The 120-square-meter apartment occupies a floor of a late 18th-century neoclassical townhouse overlooking the Seine, near the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Île Saint Louis (Merci is a 20 minute walk away on Rue Beaumarchais). Lead designer Jules Mesny-Deschamps (who was at the time Merci’s creative director) worked with Reka Magyar, the store’s head of style, to preserve the historic soul of the setup while infusing it with new life. The two wanted to be environmentally conscientious in their choices, and used the project to celebrate the Merci art of mixing and mismatching.
of course, some of the furnishings are straight off the merci selling floor, su 10
Above: Of course, some of the furnishings are straight off the Merci selling floor, such as as the steel Thank You Coffee Table, €1,900, and Pedestal Table, €870, and Four-Seater Sofa with its washed linen and cotton Sofa Cover, €470.
a small group of artists and artisans were invited to leave their mark on the s 11
Above: A small group of artists and artisans were invited to leave their mark on the space: Paris-based American designer—and longtime Remodelista favorite—Mark Eden Schooley, for instance, created the living room’s pendant light. Several Paris galleries contributed the art, all of which is for sale. The painting between the French doors is by Tadashi Kawamata, on loan from the Kamel Mennour Gallery.
antique mirrors are positioned at opposite ends of the room. the woven armchair 12
Above: Antique mirrors are positioned at opposite ends of the room. The woven armchairs are from the fifties.
the home office is known as the shaker room: inspiration for its sunny paint jo 13
Above: The home office is known as the Shaker Room: inspiration for its sunny paint job (in a custom shade of yellow) and wrap-around peg rail came from Mesny-Deschamps’s visits to Shaker villages in Massachusetts. For 15 more Shaker design ideas worth adopting, see In the Dwelling House, our post photographed at Canterbury Shaker Village. Mark Eden Schooley designed the overhead steel light for the space.
artist margaux derhy paints a trompe l&#8\2\17;oeil version of the hanging  14
Above: Artist Margaux Derhy paints a trompe l’oeil version of the hanging whisk broom. Note that Mesny-Deschamps added a contemporary twist to the custom peg rails: steel pegs.
here and there, the designers inserted african beaded pieces, such as this armc 15
Above: Here and there, the designers inserted African beaded pieces, such as this Armchair from Nigeria sourced from CSAO (Compagnie du Sénégal et du l’Afrique de l’Ouest). Each of the beads is sewn by hand and CSAO explains that each color symbolizes a god. The chevron floor is original to the apartment.
the desk is a merci collaboration with sas minimum, a group of designers devote 16
Above: The desk is a Merci collaboration with SAS Minimum, a group of designers devoted to making use of plastic waste: their signature speckled slab material, Le Pavé, is made of recycled plastic. The clamp-on steel Table Legs are from Paris company Tiptoe. The tubular lighting here and in the living room is by Sammode Studio.
a hat like brass suspension light, €5\26 at merci, hangs over a vintage  17
Above: A hat-like Brass Suspension Light, €526 at Merci, hangs over a vintage kitchen table surrounded by an odd lot of chairs—”like a small family where different identities coexist,” Mesney-Deschamps explained to News in 24.
the stainless steel cabinets are by italian line alpes inox: see race car style 18
Above: The stainless steel cabinets are by Italian line Alpes Inox: see Race-Car-Style Appliances for Compact Kitchens. The black backsplash and shelf above it are more Le Pavé recycled plastic. Note the overhead glazed steel panel that serves to set off the working side of the kitchen and conceal the range hood.
in place of the existing \1970s plastic tiles, ceramicist marion graux created  19
Above: In place of the existing 1970s plastic tiles, ceramicist Marion Graux created a tile carpet.
the bedroom has original paneling and a mark eden schooley koushi pendant, 20
Above: The bedroom has original paneling and a Mark Eden Schooley Koushi Pendant, €235. The Washed Linen Duvet Cover, €165, comes in 19 colors at Merci (it’s shown in Pink Clay).  The Washed Linen Curtains, €125, are another Merci staple.
the striped bedroll is a tensira mattress topper: see more in 7 soft, 21
Above: The striped bedroll is a Tensira Mattress Topper: see more in 7 Soft, Stylish Throwbeds. The bedside lamp is the Invider, €240, made of recycled paper, flour, and plaster of Paris. The black-and-white collage-painting is by Fernando Daza from Wilo & Grove.
the designers introduced a circa \1900 sink to the main bathroom and positioned 22
Above: The designers introduced a circa 1900 sink to the main bathroom and positioned a beaded stool from Cameroon in front of it. The walls are lined in Shaded Ivory Bricks from Briqueterie deWulf.
the antique bathtub, newly re enameled, was formerly being used in a field as a 23
Above: The antique bathtub, newly re-enameled, was formerly being used in a field as a cattle trough.
the partition in front the tub is composed of salvaged zinc roof panels from al 24
Above: The partition in front the tub is composed of salvaged zinc roof panels from Alsace.
in the den, set designer sophie glasser applied linen canvas to the walls in pa 25
Above: In the den, set designer Sophie Glasser applied linen canvas to the walls in panels that she painted to evoke Swedish Gustavian moldings. The space doubles as a guest room: the sofa bed is Paola Navone’s Ghost design for Gervasoni. The handwoven metal lights are Mark Eden Schooley’s Kute design from Atmosphère d’Ailleurs.
a collection of cyanotypes by photographer jérôme galland hang o 26
Above: A collection of cyanotypes by photographer Jérôme Galland hang over Piet Hein Eek’s One Beam Bench. Mesny-Deschamps describes the frayed tweed side chair as “a bit of a penniless aristocrat—we all have a favorite piece of clothing, a little soft, that we still wear despite its holes. Well, for furniture and objects, it’s the same thing.”
after the apartment’s second bathroom was tiled, artist sophie loncq han 27
Above: After the apartment’s second bathroom was tiled, artist Sophie Loncq hand painted the blue dots: their irregularity is revealed the closer you get. The oil drum sink is a found piece that got refurbished.

The Second Residence is open for visits next month—sign up here—and a few lucky guests of Merci get to spend the night.

Browse the Remodelista Paris archives for more inspiration, including:

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