With her magpie instincts and expertise at turning trash into treasure, Allanna Alexander has worked her unique creative magic in both her home and her business.
Cocooned half way down North Berwick’s high street you’ll find Madame Butterfly. Step through the door and it’s like stepping into another world. French flea market with vintage aesthetics mixed with feminine glamour – a gorgeous melting pot of whimsical, bright and beautiful pieces.
The creative brain behind this stunningly curated, yet quirky, French-style homewares shop is Allanna Alexander. “People used to come to my home and tell me I should open a shop” Allanna explained. “When my children had grown up and I moved to North Berwick, I thought I’d like to do something for myself, so I opened a homewares shop because I love interiors.”
Allanna might love interiors, but it’s clear from looking inside her home that she has a passion, the vision and a talent for creating truly remarkable spaces. Think hunting lodge with a roaring fire and furs, mixed with a touch of French opulence – chic chandeliers and Louis XIV style winged chairs. Mix with country cottage charm, mismatched furniture and floral prints and you have the picture.
Mixing old and new and repurposing junk-shop and vintage finds, Allanna defies convention with her signature style. Her love of vibrant colour and decoration feels luxurious and eclectic. She trusts her instincts when it comes to combining patterns, paints, trinkets and treasures in her home. A patchwork wall of wallpaper off-cuts provides an eye-catching feature in the living room (pictured top left). “I decided I needed a wow factor so I put together a collage of wallpapers” says Allanna, “I thought it was going to look rubbish, when I started but now it’s finished, it looks pretty fantastic”. Her magpie tendencies are revealed in displays of vintage clothing, shoes, handbags and glassware throughout her home. And every item has a story behind it. From a rocking toy which was her daughter’s first Christmas present to the 1930s statuette, from an Edinburgh antique shop which stands beside a clock she picked up from TK Maxx. Allanna’s interior style is also purse-friendly. She says “You don’t need money for style, you can mix and match TK Maxx with antiques and it works.”
Luckily, for those of us without Allanna’s talent or style, we can pop into her North Berwick shop to add a touch of flamboyance and inject some glamour in to our own homes. And just like her home, her shop – Madame Butterfly – is jam-packed full of gorgeousness. Allanna adds; “I do love my shop. To me, it’s just like standing in my house. When I am work I feel like people are coming into my home.”
When it comes to sourcing products, Allanna favours markets in France and adores travel in Thailand, so many of her finds end up in her shop. Trinkets, candles and coloured glassware adorn French-style dressing tables and brightly painted cabinets. Mannequins rock feathers, scarves, hats and jewellery. And creating a Parisian boudoir feel, are displays of quilts, cushions, kimonos, ornate French-style mirrors and chandeliers. Another of Allanna’s passions, vintage clothing, is displayed throughout and you could be lucky enough to unearth a Missoni poncho or a pair of Chloé shoes in this treasure chest of a shop.
95 High Street, North Berwick