This NYC Bakeshop Serves Up a Mirror Made Out of Real Bread (Oh, and Slices of Cake)
From Lucie brings the South of France to the East Village.
Published May 16, 2023 1:05 AM
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Name: Lucie Franc de Ferriere
Occupation: Founder of From Lucie
Where I work: I used to work from my apartment but recently opened a small cake shop on East 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.
Time I start: The lights of the bakery are turned on at 6 a.m. and turned off at 9 p.m.
Time I clock out: I don’t really ever clock out. I try my best to stick to my French roots and force myself to take time off so that I can enjoy my evenings, but the reality is that there is always something to do, an email to answer, an event to go to, a cake to bake at the last minute.
How I get to work: I take the M15 bus all the way up First Avenue, but a lot of the time it just doesn’t show up, so I end up walking the whole 25 minutes.
Three words that describe my space: Quaint, South of France, home.
How I found the shop: I had gone through a few brokers who kept telling me I wouldn’t find a space for the budget I had, so I took the matter into my own hands and started browsing the Internet. It was probably after only 30 minutes of research that I found an ad for this space with a picture of the storefront on a sunny day. Anyone who knows me knows that I could spend whole days in the sun, so even if it was tiny, I thought I should go and check it out.
My design philosophy: I followed my heart more than Pinterest, bringing morsels of my childhood into the space with small details. I didn’t work with a designer for this project, as I really wanted it to feel personal, as if you were coming into my home in France.
Moments that reflect my roots:
Both the curtains in the window and under the counter were made by my friend Anne Park and her mother. The fabric comes from Bordeaux. It was inspired by the home of my childhood best friend’s mother, Maïté, who had them under all of her counters to hide her condiments and plates. Anytime I would go to their home growing up, she would prepare an amazing goûter for us, and the kitchen would smell of mouthwatering food. I’ve always associated the curtains with a warm, homelike feeling.
The glass wall that separates the kitchen from the boutique is inspired by my glass conservatory back home in Pessac sur Dordogne. It dates back to 1860 and was created in the style of Napoleon III. I worked with my contractor and his carpenter to reproduce the exact different sizes of the windows and the French doors. I got the beautiful antique doorknobs from Olde Good Things in Chelsea.
The lights above the bar are from a woman named Anita, who is based in the South of France. They are vintage milk-glass plates like the ones we had at home growing up.
The top of my counter is part of a very old farmhouse table that came from France. I bought it early on when I thought I’d have enough space to fit a table for people to sit and eat their cake. Sadly, that didn’t happen, so I decided to use the top part for my counter and build a wood base for the bottom. I kept the base of the table for my home. Both artworks, the lights, and the counter are made by friends of mine.
Why a fleurs fridge is a From Lucie staple: I’ve always wanted a flower fridge. My mother has a big garden on our property and so many different varieties of flowers. I use them on my cakes, and they sadly don’t last as long if I don’t put them in a cool place. I had my friend Rei Lem paint the word fleurs on top. During service, we just go and grab them as we need them. It gives a nice dialogue and connection between the front and the kitchen.
Surprisingly risky project: The clay hexagonal floors, called tomettes in French, are inspired by most of my friends’ and family’s homes in France. You will find them in almost all old homes. They stain and get that vintage look really quickly, which I love. If you ask any French tile layer, they will tell you they are the cheapest thing you can find and also that they are the first tiles they learned to lay when still in training. My contractor in NYC, however, wasn’t as excited about working with it. It’s expensive here and easily crackable. He had never worked with them in the past, so it was a bit of a challenge, but he did an amazing job.
Favorite one-of-a-kind pieces: I am most proud of my old plates for people to eat their cakes on. I found them for 50 cents at my local déchetterie back home and had to wrap them up in my clothes in my suitcase to bring them back safely.
What’s on the walls: An amazing mirror made out of bread that my friend Carla Finley gifted me.
Warm greeting: The yellow exterior is inspired by my childhood summer holidays spent at my grandparents’ home in Menton. The homes there are all painted with limewash in different vibrant colors. The two most common colors are yellow and salmon. It always had this warm, sunny, happy, and welcoming feeling to me: walking through the streets after an early-morning swim in the Mediterranean with the incredible food markets and overripe fruits.
The ceramic storefront numbers were a gift from my uncle Jean-Jacques, who lives in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Most homes have ceramic numbers in front of their homes with painted lemons or cicadas, the symbol of Provence and the Côte d’Azur. He also gifted me a cicada sculpture, which I placed in the window. It makes a distinct cicada sound every time someone walks in front of it. It’s the French alarm system, I guess, notifying you that someone is walking by your home.
Work bag I carry every day: I carry my old Telfar everywhere, as I can fit my laptop and snack in it.
Kitchen essential I can’t live without: A tiny rubber spatula that my sister gave me years ago.
Tea I run on: I never liked the taste of coffee (it tastes like jus de chaussette to me). I’m a bit addicted to matcha with oat milk and Earl Grey tea.
Ideal work snack: 85% dark chocolate.
Biggest splurge that was worth it: My huge stand mixer that I named Micheline.
Preferred soundtrack: Any songs by Dalida. I even named my small Italian greyhound after the singer.