Founder of the Nantes boutique Mizué, Marcy Legeard’s love of different ambiances stems from spending time at her grandparents’ home. An eclectic setting filled with unusual objects brought home by her sailor grandfather, and Breton furniture that was far from classic; she was fascinated by the exoticism. A fascination that she continued to develop. This Breton native welcomes us to an eclectic interior, influenced by cinema and its staging, to the point of “completely missing the story if (she) liked a film visually”, as well as her trips to the Middle East and China. She trained in interior design in Paris, and with her partner Guillaume, transformed two houses into one. A home located “in an old cannery district, on a square that still has a village feel” with a layout that they changed so that the main rooms ringed the garden. Rooms with contrasting colours and materials which overlook a lush green space. A home full of surprising combinations where bargain-hunted furniture and rare pieces work together perfectly.
Marcy, could you introduce yourself, please?
I grew up in Brittany, by the sea, in the Gulf of Morbihan. Then, after my studies in Rennes, I spent a few years in Paris before moving to Nantes with Guillaume, my boyfriend and our son Marin.
Tell us about your background.
I have a degree in interior design. It was my ambition to work on set design! When I finished my studies, I got an internship with the Beijing opera, which was cancelled the day before I left. I went anyway, and found myself all alone in China, totally unemployed. So I took train journeys, and I fell in love with the atmosphere and the culture of the country. That’s where my love of brown furniture and subdued atmospheres came from. I was taken on by a Parisian architecture firm when I got back. That was an interesting experience professionally, but personally, it was disastrous because I had to take my employer to court. After that, I did a series of odd jobs to pay my rent and go to concerts. Then we left Paris because Guillaume’s work took us to Nantes. With the money from the industrial tribunal and determined to be my own boss, I opened my shop, Mizué, where I initially sold clothes and decorative items and jewellery that I made. I became a shopkeeper somewhat by chance, but it was a real revelation. I love my work. My favourite part is the relationships I build with my customers, giving them confidence through clothes. Then when our son was born, I felt like taking a step back. I was lucky enough to meet Carl at that time. He now works with me and has brought a fresh perspective to the shop. And now, without giving up the shop completely, I want to return to my first love, interior design.
Tell us about your education. Where did you grow up, and how did that influence the way your tastes have developed?
As a child, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ home; they looked after me. My grandfather was a sailor. He’d travelled around the world several times and brought back all sorts of curious and unusual objects from his travels. These were all accumulated in the house: screens, carpets, stuffed fish, Japanese chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, shell necklaces, etc. All this was displayed on Breton furniture. It was an eclectic mix, far removed from classical notions of beauty (some would say bordering on bad taste), but I was fascinated because it was so exotic. I think that’s where my attraction to objects that have stories to tell came from. My parents are very curious about architecture. In the summer, we took to the road and, thanks to them, I often went to the Middle East. Sites like Palmyra, Petra, Ephesus and the pyramids of Egypt impressed themselves on my mind as a child and sharpened my eye.
What about designers, creators, and artists: whose work has influenced you?
I’m very much influenced by the cinema; I like the staging and the unique worlds. If I like a film visually, I completely miss the story because I get carried away by the aesthetic atmosphere. Wim Wenders, Aki Kaurismäki, Eric Rhomer, Jean Luc Godard, Stanley Kubrik, Wong Kar-wai, Shūji Terayama… My phone is full of photo captures of scenes with “perfect” colours or harmony. I also love architects who work with concrete, and I worship Tadao Ando and Oscar Niemeyer. There are also places like the Villa Magnan and the homes done by Atelier Vime. Their charm inspires me enormously.
Tell us about your first encounter with your house.
It was a no-brainer. It looked like a holiday home with hollyhocks in the garden. It was quirky, a bit dark, imperfect… like us! And beyond the house, we fell in love with the surroundings. It’s located in a former cannery district and on a square that has retained a village feel.
How did you design it?
It all came together very naturally, but we did an enormous amount of work. It was actually two houses, so we started by dividing them up and only keeping one part. We changed the layout of the rooms on the ground floor, arranging those we spend most time in around the garden, and then we created large openings. On the first floor, the central element is the bathroom. We had a very precise idea of what we wanted, so we called on carpenters from Nantes (the company is PS:MDR) whose work we like. We needed a large room in which the wet and dry areas could be clearly separated, as in Japanese bathrooms, so we sacrificed one of the bedrooms. But for us it is a real living room; we spend a lot of time there as a family, much more than in the kitchen! There was a mezzanine above our sleeping area, and we deliberately built it into the dressing room to create a sort of secret room where we keep our books and screens (our sanctuary).
I find it difficult to define my tastes because I don’t have a particular leaning towards one style or era. Above all, it’s the atmosphere and the original combinations that appeal to me (...)
What about furniture?
With very few exceptions, all the furniture and objects have been found by bargain hunting. I find it very difficult to buy new. There are paintings on our bedroom wall and in the living room by Lou Ros and France Parsus which came from the Haos gallery. Valentin Villeneuve, its founder, brings it to life with his massive enthusiasm, and it’s a place I love.
Do you have a preference for any particular period?
Not really! I always find it difficult to define my tastes because I don’t have a particular leaning towards one style or era. Above all, it’s the atmosphere and the original combinations that appeal to me in an interior. After that, I can easily fall in love with an idea, and when that happens, I act on the spur of the moment. It happens regularly, but it’s not usually appreciated by everyone else in the house! (Laughter)
We can see a lot of colours here. What do colours mean to you? How do you like to use them?
I have a very strong relationship with colours. There are always Pantone charts lying around the house, and Seigensha’s Japanese colour combination dictionary is by my bedside. Then I like contrasts, dark colours and black above all.
But combinations of materials, too. Which ones did you particularly enjoy working with?
It’s a bit like the colour. I like to play with opposites and contrasts: wood and concrete, wool and stainless steel, that sort of thing. At the moment, I’m dreaming of a room with thick white carpeting, stainless steel furniture, mirrors everywhere and Gérard Garouste paintings on the wall. That would be my ideal combination!
How do you plan the associations between these and the colours and textures?
Everything starts with a strong piece or colour, and then one object leads to another, like a conversation. Usually, in the end, my son comes and puts stickers on the table or draws a picture on the wall, and it’s the accident that was missing to make everything perfect!
What does this place say about you?
That I’m a total control freak, and all the junk must be hidden in the drawers! (Laughter)
If you had to tell us your favourite addresses in Nantes, what would they be?
For decoration, Barak and Marie Carcuac, Le Canclaux for lunch in the sun or a drink, Les Fleurettes Sauvages for its magnificent bouquets, Mathilde Mercier if you want to treat yourself to a superb made-to-measure carpet, Pépite for children’s clothes and decoration and finally Haos Galerie for its selection of artists.
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
Beautiful, inspiring media and desirable pieces that fit into any interior.
Where will we see you in the coming months?
Certainly in Finistère because I am working on a project for a place that I would like to be highly influenced by Breton culture and inspired by the Seiz Breur movement, modern Breton art.
Photography: Jeanne Perrotte – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily