This May, local lifestyle mogul Marie Eiffel and her partner, fashion and interior photographer Jason Penney, opened “Marie Eiffel Home,” a furniture boutique that offers a variegated collection of antique and modern pieces for the design-minded homeowner.
Unlike other popular furniture stores , which “focus on the mid-century,” Ms. Eiffel is trying to curate an “eclectic mix” of bold statement pieces sourced from various time periods and parts of the world.
“Our style is unique, rustic, South of France , but that is not all we have. A lot of stores, you buy sets. This is a store where you come in and mix things.”
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and located on North Ferry Road, the store is a “passion project” for the couple — the culmination of many years of treasure hunting in India and Europe, collecting and restoring unique finds for their home.
“We’ll go out of our way for an hour just to find an object or a piece of furniture. We’ve been doing this all our lives.”
They eventually tired of house guests saying, “I love this. Where did you get this?” and decided to create a “sanctuary” where people can come and shop their style.
It’s also a sentimental project for the couple. Before opening the clothing boutique and French market in the Heights, Ms. Eiffel’s first shop on Shelter Island was a furniture store (also called “Marie Eiffel”) which she opened in 2005 and closed in 2008 — “It was consignment-based. I was poor then,” she said.
One day, Mr. Penney came in as a customer and bought a lamp.
“That’s how we met. I insisted to know where he would put the lamp,” Ms. Eiffel recalled.
Ms. Eiffel says that it’s “completely crazy” managing the clothing boutique, the market and the home goods store all at once, but that running the home goods store “brings fun into our lives.”
“The nice thing about furniture, as opposed to fashion, is that it’s not seasonal. So maybe this piece doesn’t sell this year, but the right person is going to come in someday and find that piece, and that’s what we wait for,” said Mr. Penney.
Ms. Eiffel is hoping that interior designers will use the store as a resource for their clients.
“We are doing it as a challenge. If it makes money, we’ll be thrilled, but we don’t know if it will be sustainable.”
“We chose this Island and then the Island chose us. Every time we see a “For Rent” sign we think, “Oh, what could we do in there?” she added.
Part of their challenge is to prove to New York City people that contrary to popular belief, there is great shopping to be done on the Island. In the words of Mr. Penney:
“There was an article in The New York Times and they interviewed someone who had just moved to the Island, and she made the comment that, ‘There is no shopping on Shelter Island’ and we find that very unfortunate. We’re on the Island, and there are lots of places to shop on the Island, and we have things that nobody else has.”