Home & Design

Green Acre #465: Rooms for Blooms

Detail of an idyllic flower-arranging room shown in the online catalogue of Garden Trading, gardentrading.co.uk, out of England.

By Stephanie Cavanaugh

WE DO NOT have a mud room. We just tromp that street muck on through. 

We do not have a gift-wrapping room. People do have such things, rooms with ribbons lined up neatly, wrapping paper in neat cubbies along with scissors and tape and so forth. 

We don’t even have a gift-wrapping corner. I knew someone who had one, though. A cushy bench staged as if she were perpetually in the process of gifting, with a half-wrapped box, and a cunning tangle of ribbon curling . . .  She was a little nuts. 

And I certainly don’t have a dressing room, with walls of closets and bins, a little table to hold my prosecco next to the leopard velvet pouf where I can slip on my Manolos and admire myself in a gilded mirror. 

Never mind a home gym, a theater room, a music room, a pool room, or a library, 

Ours is a row house on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, one of approximately 6,500 cheek-by-jowl dwellings in the neighborhood. Many other city streets are lined with them, such as Philadelphia, which has the highest concentration. Wherever they are, most are two stories, with maybe a basement. The average size 1,200 to 1,500 square feet. Ours is 1,800 square feet, if you count the basement, which is on occasion the guest suite. On other occasions, now for instance, it’s a disaster area. 

This is a historic district so there’s not much you can do to expand the space. So, where does one fit in a mudroom and a gift-wrapping room in a house where a powder room is a challenge—never mind a second bath. And a dressing room? Hoo-ha!

Let’s not even mention those poor souls in apartments. 

Which brings us at last to flower-arranging rooms, which are currently all the rage in England. Not just your average flower-arranging rooms either. These are Bespoke Flower-Arranging Rooms, according to the London Times.*  

The deliciously named Butter Wakefield, who helms the eponymous garden design company, says: If you like to cut and arrange flowers, a room dedicated to this joyful task seems an obvious choice.

She adds that you will also need a purposefully deep sink [note the purposefully] . . . generous work surfaces [note the plural] . . . and plenty of shelves for your vases. She suggests an easy-to-clean tiled floor and . . . an oversized window overlooking the garden to inspire the creative spirit.

Designer and architect Claire Sà says, The flower room at the Reschio Estate in Umbria epitomizes what I think such a room should be: rugged old flagstones on the floor, mottled limewashed walls . . . a large rustic table. None of it is too precious . . .

Right! I can move to Umbria. Or . . . follow designer Melissa Hutley, who converted her kitchen into a flower room. It’s a place of peace and calm where I can switch off from work and get creative. 

And then go out to dinner, I presume. 

The Bespoke Flower-Arranging Room does not, you should note, replace the potting shed, which might contain many of the same items plus mulch, soil, and gardening tools but is adjacent to the garden. I imagine each place requires a different wardrobe, though this is not expressly expressed in the article. Maybe Laura Ashley for the Bespoke Flower-Arranging Room, Wellies and an ensemble from The Row for gardening—they do such fine basics. 

Of course, if you have gardeners, you’ll just wear Laura Ashley and lambskin gloves, and carry a trug in the crook of your arm for the blossoms you’ll snip with your monogrammed secateurs. Or have someone else cut the flowers while you relax in your dressing room, or wrap some packages . . .


*Thanks to follower Maggie Hall for digging this up and sending it along from her home in Yorkshire. Your suggestions and questions are always welcome!

A dedicated flower-arranging room designed by Melissa Hutley, of Hutley & Humm interiors of London and Surrey, England.


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