June 9, 2008
a floral designer's home: my own!
When I lived in Austin I ran Pollen Floral Art out of my home, so I thought this would be a great first sneak peek into a floral designer's live/work space. Unfortunately we didn't renovate and do the exterior landscaping until we were ready to move to New Zealand, but at least we enjoyed it for a few months!
Kyle and I designed and built the steel planting boxes and bed borders - in fact he welded them into place sitting in the front yard. We got to know our neighbors very well that summer. I used plants that would provide color and texture, and also stand up to the Texas heat. Purple sweet potato vine, black bamboo, purple and green grasses, succulents, agaves, cacti and orange-flowering bulbine. I'll bet it's grown in significantly now, and I'll get to see it as a mature garden when I take a trip to Austin this summer (I hope the new owners don't mind me loitering around a bit!).
I love fresh shades of green, especially the viburnum and yellowy-green dogwood branches that accent the living area. All the other colors in the room are so rich and warm lime greens really pop. For clients I tend to create floral arrangements that include tons of different flowers, textures and foliages, but when doing displays for my own home I go for one or two elements in a simple vase.
The photograph of an Angel Trumpet bloom above the couch is by Kate Breakey, a phenomenal Australian photographer (who lived in Austin for a while) that takes shots of flowers, plants and dead birds. She goes over large format black and white prints with oils and colored pencil, building up layers of dense color. Check out her book Small Deaths here.
One of our cats, Billy Bob, would not get out of the shot - at least he goes with the color scheme.
The dog photos in the dining area are by another favorite photographer, Keith Carter. I used my favorite orange Crate&Barrel glasses as votive holders on the table - they look great with floating candles, as well as bunches of multicolored zinnias.
I used to do all my floral work under the skylight in the dining room - working on a rolling cart, using the kitchen sink, and covering the floor with leaves and stems (before we installed the bamboo floor we lived on the painted concrete slab; great for easy cleanup but hard on the feet). I did one event that covered the whole living and dining room with arrangements, and packed my 3-door floral cooler in the carport.
I try to have a plant in every room - usually a low-maintenance tropical, like on the dresser, or a potted succulent or orchid. It makes a space feel so much more inviting, and improves air quality - ever notice how fresh the air feels in a florist's shop? The hard part is getting our cats to leave them alone.