Marketplace: Merci in Paris

I was really looking forward to visiting the design store Merci while I was in Paris. One morning I walked from St. Germain to the Haut Marais and found Merci at 111 Blvd Beaumarchais. The trip took me along the Seine, through areas of the Marais and Les Halles. It was such a sunny day and it gave me the perfect excuse to eat one of Paul’s pain au chocolat along the way. (Any excuse is a good excuse!)

Merci is located in a beautiful, large, light-filled historic building, and it is definitely very high on design. It reminded me a bit of Colette (before it got so famous and busy). The various floors showcased everything from tiny dainty rings and necklaces to classic French linen scarves to notebooks and books to furniture to kitchen gadgets. The selection of products also included some lovely leather handbags, place settings, and lighting. Within the space is a restaurant and café that looked pretty cool, but I didn’t feel like hanging out there (probably because I already had my pain au chocolat).

Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-2 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-1 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-3 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-4 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-8 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-7 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-6 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-5 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-9 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-10 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-12 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-13 Merci-Paris-White-Cabana-14

What I loved most about Merci was the cool ribbon exhibit on the first floor. The exhibit included books of museum-worthy ribbons that weren’t for sale, and boxes of ribbon sample booklets in protective plastic sleeves that were for sale. It was beautiful. I could have spent hours flipping through all the ribbons. I bought a couple of booklets that I’ll frame. That was really enjoyable.

What didn’t I like? Well, I really was expecting to see some beautiful made-in-France or made-in-Europe items, but a large majority of what I picked up was made in China. And priced really high. I don’t know, it just wasn’t for me. I was disappointed. I think I’m also spoiled because of all the time I’ve spent in NYC…I’ve seen quite a few of the items there already and I was looking for some more innovative European collections. Regardless, I feel lucky that I was able to visit Merci in person and I am looking forward to seeing how it evolves. I have no doubt that it’s here to stay.

Travel: Design Details in Paris

I feel so lucky to have spent so much time in Paris in the last decade. I’ve gotten to know some of the areas quite well, I’ve seen a lot of the major tourist attractions, and I now love to just wander the city. The store windows are inspiring, the architecture is unbelievable, and there is always always always something exciting going on in the city!

This post highlights some of the small(er than the Eiffel Tower) design details I captured in Paris.

1. This crazy cool light fixture that was in the Grand Palais gift shop.

White-Cabana-lights-Grand Palais

2. Angelina’s was a new stop for me this year. My friends and I stopped in for a rich hot chocolate and dessert. The interior was gorgeous and we had a really happy and friendly waitress. In between sips of hot chocolate, I looked up and noticed that Angelina’s has the same light fixtures as me!


3. More amazing chandeliers were to be found at the Marché aux Puces. Amazing. There were hundreds (or thousands?) of crystal chandeliers around the market stalls and they were all brilliantly shiny. Oh man. So lovely.

White-Cabana-marche aux puces-Paris

4. Lighting wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye. I am fascinated by Paris architecture. This wall and window and clover-detailed window grate was on a wall behind the Sacre Coeur. While everyone else was staring at the magnificent cathedral, I was taking photos of lesser-known walls around Montmartre. Can you imagine lifting and laying each one of those massive stones?


5. This little detail was on a rather simple building in St. Germain (on Rue Cherche Midi). It was just sitting up there over the doorway. Love the bow.


6. I think this next simple white door and wall was around Place des Vosges in Le Marais. I like that all the straight lines are broken up by a round window.


7. I only just noticed that above the face is “J’écoute” (I listen). This was also above an entry way and I am impressed by all the details…look at those flowers. How, how, how did people do this kind of thing centuries ago?


8. The Sacre Coeur. Okay – so I lied in one of the above comments. Just like everyone who visits Montmartre, I stared at the Sacre Coeur. It’s too incredible. And very white. It’s made of self-cleaning stone.

White-Cabana-Sacre Coeur-Paris

9. My friends and I attended Sunday mass at St. Sulpice. It was beautiful. No surprise, right? The organ concert after mass was incredible. Did the Da Vinci code mention the organ?


10. A few bridges in Paris are getting filled up with padlocks-of-love, but I think Pont des Arts definitely has the most! I hope the bridge can handle the weight of them all.

Pont Neuf-Paris-White-CabanaAnd there you have it – another Paris update. See more here.

Design: Merci Paris

I hope to get to Merci on this trip to Paris. I’ve read so much about it, and I’m eager to have a look for myself. Wish me luck!


White metal A chair, Tolix by Xacier Pauchard, €190


salad servers, €16.90


1L teapot, €79


table lamp with hinged arm, by Bernard-Albin Gras, €415


golden bell pendant – Artek by Alvar Aalto, €379

Uptown: The Tronchi Lighting

When I bought my house I thought one of the first things to go would be the hall light fixtures. They looked, to me at least, to be too flashy and I couldn’t really imagine how they would match my furniture. The dark burgundy walls didn’t help their case.


before: the foyer with dark walls and a fancy chandelier

Once I painted the place white, the chandeliers seemed to (almost) disappear. They looked less gawdy than before and they actually began to grow on me. In fact, I’ve become such a fan of them over the last few months that I have now decided to keep them.

And I don’t seem to be alone in my interest in this style of chandelier.


From the Right Bank


47 Park Avenue


via Ebay

The chandeliers in the above photos are the tronchi style. They’re made of crystal and each piece is in the shape of a tube or trunk (hence the Italian translation of the name). These handmade Murano glass Venini chandeliers can also be made up of prism crystals and balls like the gorgeous fixture from 1st Dibs below.



via 1st Dibs

A couple of weeks ago, I found a few similar chandeliers and decided to scoop them up for other places around the house. I’m completely hooked on these now and I have completely embraced their fascinating style! I should say, though, that my collection of lighting fixtures is made up of the budget/imitation version of the Venini glass chandeliers but they still reflect the light beautifully and are interesting to look at (not to mention great conversation pieces). The lucite prisms in my chandelier collection are proving that they work perfectly with my decor. I’ve dropped a few of the prisms as I cleaned them so I’m pretty thankful that the pieces are durable. They’re fairly lightweight too which has made installation smooth. Be on the lookout, people. I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing more of these Venini chandeliers (or the lucite versions) all over the design blogs and magazines soon enough.

Check back soon for a full lighting reveal!

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