08 November 2007

a potted orchid = feel good luxe

when you flip through the pages of any decorating magazine there is one element in common in almost every featured home no matter what the decor. whether traditional or modern, high-end or low, good design, or not, they will, almost to a home, have fresh flowers in them. to me, it's one of the most important design elements of a room- flowers literally bring decor to life and animate the other inorganic, static elements. next time you look at a photo of a room in a magazine and think it looks cold or uninviting, look closer-i'll bet there isn't a flower or plant in the rich have florists deliver fresh flowers and plants regularly to their homes, and in magazine photo shoots, a highly paid stylist is in charge of all that, but here at maison21 we have other things we'd rather spend our money on (like our tchochtke shopping addiction) so we have to use our wits to get that high-end look without resorting to a florist on-call or adding on a greenhouse. my favorite way to bring a luxe, living element to my home is simple, and a timeless decorating classic: a potted orchid.

i've probably had a thing for potted orchids since i was a kid and saw pictures of tall white phalaenopsis orchids in the glamorous new york apartments of halston and liza (i know- waaayyy too gay, even as a child). back then, orchids were quite expensive but now you can get them for $12.99 at trader joe's, or maybe a little more than that at your local supermarket or home depot. even if you are on the tightest of budgets, a $12.99 investment is sooo worth it for the enjoyment it brings- if maison21 were down to his last $10.00 in the world, he'd probably borrow the other $2.99 and go buy an orchid- they are THAT important.

but you can't just plop the orchid in your home as-is, straight from trader joe's. first, it needs a maison21 makeover:
  • step one: throw away whatever outer pot the orchid came in from the store. that's right- throw it away. it's cheap and will make your orchid look cheap and store-bought. not a look we aspire to here at maison21.
  • next, keeping the orchid in it's plastic nursery container, place the plant into a chic cache-pot. i like to keep a supply of cool vintage planters on hand, (like the two shown), in different sizes for different size plants, in black, white and brass- my personal accessory color choices.
  • now if for some crazy reason you don't have a stash of your own (i mean, everyone does, don't they?) you can start by purchasing a chic planter from ebay or haunt thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, where with a little searching, there's always something cool to be found.
  • tip: if you find a planter you love and it's more than you want to spend- splurge- you'll use it again and again over the years so it's really quite cost-effective in the long run.
  • after placing the plant in your container of choice, if the stem of the orchid is tied to a plastic stake, replace the stake with a piece of bamboo, wood or even a straight branch from your garden (better yet- if stalk will stand on it's own, let it).
  • replace any plastic clips used to hold stem to stake with a small, inconspicuous piece of gardener's wire, or a TINY bit of brown twine or raffia (no bows used to tie, please- a simple knot with ends cut close will do).
  • then, i like to wipe down the leaves of the plant with a little olive oil to remove water spots and make them green and glossy.
  • last, for the final touch, cover the brown orchid bark with a packed down layer of green moss- available by the bag at any hardware/garden center for about 5 bucks (one bag lasts forever). the moss gets messy, so do this step over newspaper, or outside.
  • if pressed for time, skip the middle steps, but a chic planter and the moss are a must (some orchid purists say no moss, but they are already using expensive exotic blooms- we're trying to make an off-the-rack bloom look couture, so the moss is vital).
  • when finished, place your orchid in a prominent spot where it will be viewed often (i like to keep one on a console in my entry hall and another on my mantle), water once a week, and enjoy- i've had blooms last for up to 3-4 months.
voila- you now have a chic potted orchid that looks like it came from a fancy florist, for a not a lot of time or money, and more important than the money you've spent, every time you see your orchid you'll feel rich and glamorous, just like liza or halston (but without the drug problems, hopefully). try it out, and let maison21 know how it's changed your life!


Fairfax said...

a friend of mine used to laugh at me because no matter how poor i was, i always had a little $$ left for my flower budget. it's amazing how fresh flowers can cheery you right up.

great blog!

LondonCalling said...

I altogether agree.