A café environment is a good place to think about designs for your home,” says the Malaysian-born co-owner of Maison Trois Garçons, Hassan Abdullah. It’s certainly true of this shop-cum-café, where the relaxed yet sophisticated aesthetic encourages visitors to buy the mugs (from £12) and colourful plates (from £15) on which coffee and pastries are served. Bespoke starburst mirrors (£380) adorn the raw brick walls, while balloon-shaped glass Memory lights by Brokis (from £150) enliven the ceiling. “People enjoy lingering,” says Abdullah, “and, at weekends, sometimes stay for afternoon tea as well as lunch.”
Abdullah and co-owner Michel Lasserre, part of the trio behind the super-stylish Les Trois Garçons restaurant and Loungelover cocktail bar, are constantly sourcing striking pieces for these east London venues and their co-owned Château de la Goujeonnerie in western France, where the third garçon, Stefan Karlson, manages holiday rentals. As former antiques dealers and, currently, interior designers for private clients and chic hotels, including Zanzibar’s Four Seasons and Prague’s Mandarin Oriental, Abdullah says they “never stop buying”.
Vintage pieces mix with contemporary designs in this former 17th-century blacksmith’s forge and veneer workshop. Spiky 1960s Dartington glass bowls (£150 for a pair) sit on a vintage lacquered dentist’s cabinet (£950), while wooden shelving displays vintage handbags, including a beautiful black snakeskin frame bag (£180), and china tea sets (a 1950s French one costs £140, while a Victorian version is £220). “We want to offer things that catch the eye, changing the collection seasonally,” says Abdullah.
On my visit I found a vintage Louis Féraud red crepe suit (£220) displayed alongside contemporary Italian Perspex table lamps (from £690). Bestsellers, meanwhile, include whimsical cushions with cats and dogs dressed as Henry VIII and D’Artagnan (£38), and vintage costume jewellery, such as a 1930s Bakelite necklace (£140).
A large space at the rear is furnished like a chic living room; here you can sit on a turn-of-the-century Swedish sofa (£2,300) and pop your drink on a 1960s glass-topped coffee table (£680). Abstract works by artist Simon Robinson (£800 for a pair) brighten the wall, while display cabinets are filled with 1950s ceramic dogs (from £140) and fine German crystal (£60 for a set of six wine glasses).
Alongside these carefully curated items, the garçons recently launched their debut furniture collection of chic cabinets (from £1,800), tables (from £900) and sideboards (from £1,800). And they’re also adding to an own-brand range of fresh-fruit cordials (£2.50 for 500ml), tins of tea (£6.95 for 50g) and condiments such as ginger purée (£4 for 250g). Still, it’s quirky pieces, such as the Candlepoise candlestick with an adjustable, angled arm (£75), that attract the most attention. “People appreciate the humour,” says Lasserre.