Maison Pepin on Saint-Paul Street West is an iconic store in the historic neighbourhood, and a business that the people voted for in droves during the third running of the Lights in Old Montreal contest this past winter. And this victory, shared with Délices, érables & Cie and Le Petit Sao, is the reason we would like to present Lysanne Pepin and Maison Pepin to you today.
A little more than 20 years ago, painter and artist Lysanne Pepin settled in Old Montreal. “At that time, Old Montreal was really lacking in love!” she explained. Impassioned by architecture and art history, Lysanne rented a commercial space to sell her works and “put local artisans on the map”.
“In the beginning, there was me and Olive & Gourmando! I tested out their coffee before it became popular! We were a mini-community. There weren’t a lot of people in le Vieux… Maison Pepin became the first concept store in Montreal”.
A Concept Store
With Maison Pepin, Lysanne helped the world to dream. And was among the first to do so! She continues: “I was the conductor of all the partners; I would take the most beautiful things and present them with my signature. I had a vision, and I arranged everything together to meet this vision.”
Lysanne created a world that is unique and fully Maison Pepin. She intermixes her creations with those of both domestic and international artisans that match her style. An artist before all else, Lysanne follows her intuition. “I can’t find everything in Quebec. For example, I have wicker cage lamps that I adore, but they just aren’t made here. So I ended up getting in touch with artisans from Indonesia.”
The store also plays host to the bakery L’amour du pain. “We’ve had a vegetarian selection before there were very many in Old Montreal. I live in the neighbourhood, so I’m best placed to know what we need in le Vieux!”
Maison Pepin can be described as warm, rustic, and boho. To the property manager, a good concept store is “when you enter, you get a feeling. You can sense the vibe of the place. You have to visit to get the experience. And the presence of L’amour du pain here totally fits that feeling.”
The Pepin Signature
Every item in the boutique carrying the eponymous brand name was dreamed up by Lysanne. However, she also associates with talented experts in order to create them. Just like the Pepin perfumes – she worked alongside a perfumer to create the scents she had in mind and that, once again, match her. “Everything found in Maison Pepin was hand-picked by me. I even designed the signature Pepin furniture and then had it made for the store. I choose everything!”
Do you like the Pepin style and would like to have it in your own home? You can always drop by Maison Pepin to buy furniture and accessories, but they also offer a full design service! To get started with this, just call the boutique. Never fear, if Lysanne cannot personally help you out, her team is specially trained to breathe that Pepin look into your interior design.
A Family Story
While speaking with Lysanne, one thing stood out to us: the omnipresence of her family. If you go to Maison Pepin, you will likely stumble upon her or her husband.
In one of the apartments above the store, you can find NumérArt, a business that deals with printing custom murals, with Lysanne as artistic director and her brother Patrick as technical director, president, and chief executive. In this family company, Lysanne designs the wallpaper that will eventually be sold at Maison Pepin.
If you have seen Pepin’s social media for even a second, you have probably seen the lovely photos of the three generations of Pepin women posing in signature bathrobes – this is Lysanne, her mother, and her niece Élodie, who is more and more present in the family’s entrepreneurial side.
Incidentally, many of the pictures showing the items and furnishings available at Maison Pepin and Espace Pepin were taken in the Les Voisines chalets, which Lysanne envisioned and created in collaboration with APPAREIL architecture.
Looking to the Future
In the coming months, maybe years, Lysanne will continue to concentrate on creating these chalets which she wants to adapt to the reality of families today. And she means family in the extended sense; she also speaks often of the importance of friendship.
With the pandemic, Lysanne has had to invest a lot of energy into “redoing [her] boutiques and attracting clientele to the internet site”. It’s not easy when one of the main draws to Maison Pepin is the client experience. But Lysanne hopes that folks, especially those outside of the greater Montreal area, will reflexively turn more and more to the online store.
While the workshops they offer, such as the very popular Christmas wreath creation workshop, are momentarily gone from Maison Pepin’s schedule, Lysanne is just waiting until the end of the pandemic to start them back up. Same for the Berber Brunches, held in partnership with Old Montreal neighbour The Boho Lab, which normally take place in Cour Pepin.
Speaking of Maison Pepin’s welcoming corridor, did you know that you can rent it out for a private event, like a wedding or a photo session?
In the coming future (sooner than June 2021, if everything proceeds well with the global pandemic), on weekends, there will be a food stand where you can get crepes to go. “A streetside creperie, like you would find in Europe. These crepes to go will be served in paper cones.” A great idea that already has our mouths watering!
Lysanne is a passionate woman who is very invested in her community, and loves to share her knowledge, learn, and bring out the best in others. Her head is full of ideas, and when we ask what pushes her to realize these dreams, she frankly tells us: “If something interests me, it has to be interesting to someone else!”
Lysanne Pepin is a multimedia artist driven by a true instinct, who isn’t afraid to take on the challenges life throws her way. Her motto should be “where there’s art, there’s hope!”
Photos: Maison Pepin - The Pepin Shop