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Shopper’s Diary: Leaf Shop Végétal in Paris

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Shopper’s Diary: Leaf Shop Végétal in Paris

May 9, 2018

If browsing for houseplants at Leaf feels like shopping inside a Parisian greenhouse, it’s no coincidence.

Architects Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzmann of Heju Studio, who designed the 700-square-foot interiors of the new houseplant shop in the 10th Arrondissement, created “walls” with the aid of translucent polycarbonate panels typically found in greenhouses.

When owner Axelle Duflot first saw the retail space next to the Canal Saint-Martin, it was in need of a major remodel. “At the base, the room was quite dark, very partitioned, the walls and the floor were covered with stones. But the location and the big windows convinced her,” the architects said.

Post-remodel, Leaf has a relaxed atmosphere, with pale pink walls and friendly vines twining over shelves. Duflot, who presides over a diverse collection of specimens (houseplant prices range from €2 to €300), may even offer you a cup of tea.

Photography by Fanny Cortade, courtesy of Heju Studio, except where noted.

Photograph courtesy of Les Jolis Mondes.
Above: Photograph courtesy of Les Jolis Mondes.

Leaf is at 46 Rue Albert Thomas (a five-minute walk from the République metro station).

Tiled walls and exposed copper plumbing: Leaf is a houseplant laboratory.
Above: Tiled walls and exposed copper plumbing: Leaf is a houseplant laboratory.
On offer are vigorous specimens of succulents including a handsome, trailing string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) at right; variegated pothos vines (at center), and baby fiddle-leaf-fig trees (in a terracotta planter beneath the potting bench).
Above: On offer are vigorous specimens of succulents including a handsome, trailing string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) at right; variegated pothos vines (at center), and baby fiddle-leaf-fig trees (in a terracotta planter beneath the potting bench).
A table and comfortable chairs invite shoppers to flip through the horticultural journals and gardening books that the shop sells.
Above: A table and comfortable chairs invite shoppers to flip through the horticultural journals and gardening books that the shop sells.
A spiky tillandsia explodes from a ceramic planter. Leaf sells small-batch pots, planters, and vases from a diverse group of ceramists, including Copenhagen-based Arhoj and Portland, Oregon–based Mimi Ceramics.
Above: A spiky tillandsia explodes from a ceramic planter. Leaf sells small-batch pots, planters, and vases from a diverse group of ceramists, including Copenhagen-based Arhoj and Portland, Oregon–based Mimi Ceramics.
In the front of the shop, the new floor is light gray-beige waxed concrete.
Above: In the front of the shop, the new floor is light gray-beige waxed concrete.
The custom shelving, built by Duflot and a friend, is birch plywood, varnished (as shown) or painted white.
Above: The custom shelving, built by Duflot and a friend, is birch plywood, varnished (as shown) or painted white.

On the left wall, two shades of pink—Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: On the left wall, two shades of pink—Farrow & Ball’s Calamine and Pink Ground—create subtle shadows on stair-step shelving.
“We wanted to subtly delimit different subspaces,” the architects say. “Axelle needed a hidden area to repot and store her plants at the back of the shop. We created a greenhouse using a cleat structure and a corrugated polycarbonate coating.”

A small copper watering can from UK-based Haws has a long-reach spigot.
Above: A small copper watering can from UK-based Haws has a long-reach spigot.
Photograph courtesy of Les Jolis Mondes.
Above: Photograph courtesy of Les Jolis Mondes.

Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for our favorite plants with our curated guide to Houseplants 101. Read more:

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