Old-school cool

This article first appeared in Haven, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on September 4, 2017 - September 10, 2017.

Perin (left) and Sunita Petrus

Cut and colour
Merchant & Sisters also partners with retro-style barbershop The Burrow and The Tattoo Parlor, which take up a glass-encased space in the concept store. Now you can score a trim, get inked and snag a full outfit all in one place. Make your appointments at fb.com/theburrowbarbers and fb.com/thetattooparlorMalaysia.

Enamel homeware
With such beautiful plates and bowls, who needs a cabinet? Display them in their full glory, either on a freestanding plate rack or on your marble kitchen countertop.

A scattering of squishy pillows can introduce plenty of colours and textures to an otherwise drab couch. Pony Rider’s pillows are made from cotton with corn fibre inners.

A discreet nod to extravagance, these Voluspa scented candles resplendent in a decorative packaging look almost too pretty to use. Perfume every room in your home with a distinct scent such as sake lemon flower, linden and dark moss, apple blue clover or yuzu rose stonecrop.

Bed throws
They can soften a boxy layout or make a neutral space come to life. Most important of all? They will keep you warm and snug all day long.

Coffee table
It is a piece of furniture that gets “rustic chic” just right. This coffee table, constructed from exposed wood sourced from Bali, will bring an outdoorsy vibe to any room.

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A cross between a shop, café, barbershop and a tattoo parlour, the well-curated Merchant & Sisters will unleash your sense of style and keep your home amply stocked  

Sibling relationships can be a great source of inspiration and strength, and this perfectly describes the synergy between Perin and Sunita Petrus, owners of multi-genre boutique Merchant & Sisters in Damansara Heights. This shop with old-world charm — located above the popular coffee shop Yum-Me-Place at Plaza Batai — offers creative merchandising and a bespoke retail experience, a refreshing change in a city ostensibly fixated on everything big and shiny.

A vintage-looking door with a gilded frame opens up to a flight of stairs. At the top is an expansive space selling an array of items ranging from fashion, lifestyle and home décor to food. There is little room for boredom: every nook and cranny is filled with surprise finds such as homemade furniture and accessories. In a corner, a small white-tiled café decorated with leafy plants allows shoppers to take a break over breads, cakes and coffees supplied by Huckleberry Food and Fare, owned by another Petrus sister, Shantini.

“I like to call this a general store where you can find everything quirky and unusual under one roof. We’re modelling it after the shops in California and Paris that are more artisan-centric. Everything we did was by instinct, even the name of our shop. Actually, ‘Merchant’ refers to our other co-owner Farouk Aljoffery, who is also a partner at Perin’s film production company, Planet Films,” says Sunita. 

The sisters opened the boutique last December upon discovering that there was an untapped appetite for vintage products among KLites. They regularly explore the crafts markets in Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Bangkok, Vietnam and Madagascar for inspiration. Like going on a scavenger hunt, the owners trawl the markets and speak to a host of vendors to source items such as ornate jewellery, brightly-coloured enamelware, jeans, digital prints, clothing, soap and men’s grooming items. 

We may be living in a digital age of speed and efficiency, where things are faster, easier and more goal-oriented, but there is nothing more stress-relieving than breaking away from the maddening mall crowds and participating in a tactile, personal shopping experience. Draping a fine merino woollen blanket over your shoulders, your nose being tickled by the floral scent of a candle and a cushy pillow easing the ache in your back — are all experiential pleasures that can only be enjoyed in-store, especially in a well-edited space like Merchant & Sisters. 

Merchant & Sisters, 8A Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights, KL. Opening hours: 8am-6pm (Tuesday to Friday), 9am-6pm (Saturday and Sunday). Call (03) 2011 4774 or visit fb.com/merchantandsisters for more information.