Category Archives: Decor

Homepolishing for Fashiontoast

Photographs by Tessa Neustadt, Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Fashion Ladies,

Do you read Fashiontoast? It’s the beautiful fashion diary of Rumi Neely. Do you know who Rumi Neely is? She’s the cute girl that’s so cute it will make you want to scream and tear out your eyeballs and cry blood until you die. Homepolish recently hooked me up with Rumi to redesign her living room and dining room to reflect her elegant, minimal style. Here’s me excusing her beauty while we looked at magazines together:

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DINING ROOM

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For the dining room, we started with a large-scale French country-inspired table from AllModern (who sponsored the project). They also provided the lovely rug, chair, bench, and chandelier. Rumi likes to choose her colors wisely. She’s really a minimalist in that sense. So instead of bringing in a ton of color I decided to bring in texture. One thing that surprised me about her is how into animal skins she was. I mean, the girl has fur all over the place. I imagine that she spends her weekends murdering animals just so she can luxuriate in their skin every day. As beautiful and demure as she is, I can tell she’s secretly a warrior princess. The furs were great because it helped me bring in texture and natural color. To finish off the space I added my favorite go-to that’s guaranteed to add life to a space: plants.

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This gorgeous vintage textile, glamourously framed in a simple lucite frame was exactly Rumi’s style. It’s from St. Frank. They have a huge collection of amazing, one-of-a-kind textile pieces and I want all of them. Just a really beautiful way of bringing pattern and color into a room whilst also bringing in an object that has a tremendous amount of history.

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Rumi already had those beautiful moss brass candlesticks. I love them with all of myself and would die for them if it came to that.

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The plants and planters come from Mickey Hargitay Plants in West Hollywood, where I go once every 25 seconds. I spent $175 on that beautiful fiddle leaf fig and about $80 on the succulent arrangement.

Sources: Chairs, Rug, Chandelier.

BEDROOM

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Here’s another picture of Rumi being obnoxiously gorgeous. We bonded over the fact that we were both from Northern California and have hippie names. She’s such a sweet girl and I had so much fun staring at her whilst breathing heavily, sweating. I mean working with her. Awkward silence.

We kept the color palette in the bedroom minimal, just like the rest of the house. I used one of my favorite go-to colors for the walls, Benjamin Moore’s Half Moon Crest. It’s a beautiful grey that is just warm enough but not so warm that it starts to look beige and gross. Sidenote: I might be starting to like beige. Is that weird? I have hated it for my whole life, but it’s starting to grow on me when used correctly (like in some warm, Mediterranean adobe home). Anyway, it’s kind of blasphemy that I don’t hate it anymore but I’m dealing with it so please, no judgements.

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Most of the bedroom was sponsored by AllModern, where we got the bed, bedding, and bedside lamps. The pillow comes from Ninespace (have you checked them out? I love them). And the side tables are from, GASP, Target.

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Sources: BeddingLampsPillows.

The photograph in a simple white frame is by Matin Zad, who is an incredibly talented young photographer winning ALL THE ACCOLADES right now. The piece is available from Tappan Collective and I highly recommend you buy one. I have the same one hanging in my bedroom and looking at it every day makes me so happy. It went perfectly with the theme of the rest of Rumi’s house. Clean, simple, minimal. I’m so relaxed I’m going to take a nap now. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Love,
Orlando

If you’d like a space as calming and lovely as Rumi’s please contact Homepolish and set up a consult with me or one of our ridiculously talented designers. It’s likely that we are in your city and we’d love to help you with your space. HURRY!

Special thanks to AllModern, St. Frank Textiles, and Tappan Collective for the beautiful things found in this home makeover.

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D.I.Why? Making an Ugly Coffee Table Into A Simple Work Of Art

Beautiful Photographs by Sean Gin. Ugly Photographs by Orlando Soria.

coffeetable6Dear Old Coffee Table I Got from Emily Years Ago,

You taught me a lot of things. Firstly, you taught me that it’s important to take care of things or they’ll turn into garbage. I remember the day years ago when Emily and I looked at each other and were like “What are we going to do with this piece of garbage?” This once-beautiful royal blue lacquer coffee table got scratched after we moved it around in our storage for two years. Which reminds me, I HATE LACQUER. Yes it looks amazing for a little while. But if you just so much as set your teacup down the wrong way, it scratches immediately and you have to get it re-lacquered and it’s totally annoying and expensive and terrible. Emily was going to donate this piece to Goodwill, so I took it home KNOWING I would think of something to do with it. Fast forward two years and it’s still sitting in my parking space outside, waiting to be loved. I really couldn’t think of anything to do to it. But then one day I was daydreaming, thinking about how much I love Christo, and I remembered his early work where he used to wrap furniture in canvas and other materials. Those pieces looked like this:

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I’d love to make a sofa like that someday, all wrapped and organic and crazy. But I wanted something simpler for my coffee table, so decided to try and make it look like a giant canvas, wrapped in raw fabric that’s meant to be painted on. Like this:

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This is the table I started with:

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I know. Gag me with a spoon. But good bones for a new, canvas-covered coffee table. Below I’ll tell you how I transformed my table.

Firstly, Here’s What You’ll need:
1. Ugly Old Coffee Table That Literally Makes You Want To Scream
2. Raw Canvas (I got mine for $6/yard at Blick)
3. Scissors
4. Staple Gun
5. Iron

Before you get started, it might be helpful to revisit my How To Strech A Canvas Tutorial, many of the same rules apply here if you cover your table in canvas.

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Step 1: Cover both ends of the coffee table by stapling canvas onto the table. Don’t worry about the staples, you’ll be concealing them later. Just like you concealed your true opinion of your best friend’s new French Bulldog, which is scary and looks like a gremlin.

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Make sure to pull the canvas very taught so it won’t be gross and wrinkly. Like my face is after a weekend of heavy drinking in the sun.

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Step 2: Drape canvas over the top to determine width (you will be folding it under so the seam is not exposed).

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Step 3: Tape your creased canvas into place. This will help keep everything in place while you staple the folded over canvas to the bottom of the table’s legs. Make sure you are pulling everything tight while you do this. Whatever you do, don’t relax. You should be as tense and wound-up as possible while you stretch this canvas over your coffee table to ensure that you pull it hard enough. Keep in mind that if you mess this up your life until now has been useless and there really is no reason to continue living.

Step 4: Using an iron on a high steam setting, iron out all wrinkles and creases in the canvas. This will also help tighten the canvas as it shrinks a bit when exposed to moisture.

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Step 5: Make sure to use lots of trays and coasters. Raw canvas is highly sensitive and cannot be cleaned. I plan to eventually paint on mine so I’m not too worried about stains. If you are an out-of-control messy barbarian, you can either choose a more stain resistant fabric or choose something darker that wont show all the wine stains that result from staying home alone every weekend to watch “Maid in Manhattan” whilst wearing Garfield pajamas.

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The whole project cost me about $25 (all I had to buy was the canvas) so I’m pretty pleased with my practically-free new coffee table. It’s a scientific fact that people with nice coffee tables are 90% more likely to run into handsome men on the street who are carrying big stacks of books. It’s also known that people with nice coffee tables will themselves be carrying large stacks of books and when they run into aforementioned handsome men carrying books, they will both simultaneously drop their books and then the books will get mixed up and then they will fall in love as they try to figure out which books belong to which person. Thus, it’s very important to have a coffee table that you can be proud of.

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So, there you go. I transformed a coffee table from despicable to delectable within minutes, for mere pennies. Now, go forth and do it yourself! Hurry!

Love,
Orlando

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Gray’s Gardens

 Photography by Nicole Lamotte, Courtesy One Kings Lane

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Dear Gray Malin,

I’m pretty jealous of your outdoor space. The glamorous, enormous back yard you have behind your West Hollywood home is green and lush and inviting. I want to go to like 500 gardenparties there. Designing this outdoor space in conjunction with One Kings Lane was a dream because I basically had the best outdoor stuff at my fingertips.

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We began our design by selecting this wonderful outdoor sectional from One Kings Lane (where all the furnishings came from). Like most type-A LA Gays, Gray and his husband Jeff have 500 million friends and like the have them over all the time at parties that are so perfectly composed that it makes you want to scream and tear out all your hair. Being so obsessed with hosting, they wanted as much seating as possible. Which is why all the glamorous upholstered outdoor seating we found was just what the doctor ordered.

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Gray designed this gorgeous series of surfboards and I want ALL of them. The plant is from Mickey Hartigay’s Plants, where Gray and I went crazy and bought everything.

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I’m a huge fan of these large outdoor rugs. Since the deck is long, we created two distinct seating areas using the rugs to corral the furniture. We kept the color palette pretty monochromatic. Since we both love navy it wasn’t difficult to figure out what color to choose.

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These succulents make me want to drown myself. So that I can come back as a succulent. So that my life will actually be worth something.

So Gray, if you’re reading this, I’m coming over right now to luxuriate in your back yard. Forever.

Love,
Orlando

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Styling Emily’s New Dining Room

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Dear Diary,

I had some fun styling with Emily at her new house the other day. Check out what we did with her dining room. Using awesome art from Tappan Collective, vintage accessories, and some cool lamps, we transformed the dining console from grotesque to gorgeous. Happy Monday!

Click here for full story!

Love,

Orlando

PS: Click here for a chance to win the beautiful Molly Berman photo we used in Emily’s dining room.

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Homepolish & One Kings Lane Give Gray Malin a Home Makeover

Photos by Nicole Lamotte, Courtesy One Kings Lane

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Dear Reader,

By now, you’ve probably heard of Gray Malin (pictured above with his hubz Jeff and my scaryface), the brilliant photographer who took these gorgeous photographs:

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As you can see, these photos are right up my alley. We both love Miami colors, tropical locations, and the coastal aesthetic. You can check out the rest of his beautiful portfolio online.

Homepolish hooked me up with the opportunity to design Gray’s home, starting with the living room and outdoor spaces. In collaboration with One Kings Lane (who sponsored the project and donated their lovely home furnishings), we created a preppy space with the color and sophistication Gray and his husband Jeff wanted (Sidenote: they are the cutest couple in the world. I ogled their wedding book and literally wanted to die because it was so sweet).

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We selected this elegant sofa because Gray wanted something that was both comfortable and sophisticated. Quick tip: if you’re looking for a comfy sofa make sure you seek one out with lots of down in the cushions. This will mean you will have to reshape the cushions every day but will make it way softer and more inviting. The sofa we chose is called the Dunsmuir (all products in this post are sourced from One Kings Lane).

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The crazy gorgeous Geometric Étagères were a game-changer and immediately made the space look more beautiful, the ceilings higher. I styled them using Gray’s collection of family photos, art, and objects, and trays and accessories from One Kings Lane.

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I love that dog portrait, kinda wanted to steal it.

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One of the challenges of this project was keeping it colorful while not making it look like a rainbow exploded all over the house. Gray loves color. I love color. But his main goal was a sophisticated, grown up space so I had to keep the color intentional and well-curated. Luckily, these beautiful nightstands served as the perfect console tables flanking the bay window AND they echoed the gorgeous colors in Gray’s Swimmer Photo Series, which we placed above (Sidenote: decorating for an artist is the BEST because you don’t have to worry about finding art, which is normally totally annoying and hard and no one wants to spend any money on it).

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I’d by lying if I said these chairs weren’t my favorite part of this project. I am a huge Milo Baughman fan, so these Baughman-inspired pieces speak directly to my tender, needy heart. I love how modern and out-of-control chic these are (I totally want them for my own home).

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See??? I told you those chairs were the best thing in the world! Also, those roman shades. I had them custom made for Gray by The Shade Shoppe and they are so lux that I just want to tear them down and wear them as a tuxedo to a royal wedding.

You can check out a detailed behind-the-scenes story about the makeover on Gray’s Blog. Also, check out these links:

To get design services: Homepolish

To source the items seen at Gray’s House: One Kings Lane Gray Malin Homepolish Sale

To see more of Gray’s beautiful work: Gray Malin

Enjoy!

Love,
Orlando

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Homepolishing in La Habra Heights

Photos by Bethany Nauert courtesy of Homepolish. Portrait by Matt Lara.

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Dear Diary,

One of my first projects post-Emily is also one of my very favorites. I was called upon to decorate this glamourous house in La Habra Heights, a beautiful little town about 40 minutes east of Downtown Los Angeles. The home is located on a huge lot on top of a hill and has an amazing view. The family that lives there (who wish to remain anonymous because they are already, like, way too famous) is a young couple with two kids. They recently remodeled this 1930s Spanish home and added an extension that was in perfect keeping with the gorgeous Spanish Revival style of the original house.

THE KITCHEN

Their lovely kitchen. I didn’t want to over accessorize in here because it was already so pretty and white and open. I sourced a few table top items from the Los Angeles Flower Market, but otherwise allowed the beautiful cabinetry and subway tile to speak for itself.

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I love that little geometric cloche. I found it at some weird store in Beverly Hills that was going out of business. A fun fact about me is that I am really good at killing air plants like the one above. I water and water them, but they are still dry and sad and die.

THE SUNROOM

This is one of the brightest rooms in the house. It overlooks the pool area and serves as the entry to the outdoor area when the family has people over for pool parties and/or glamourous BBQs. The pool has a lovely dark blue finish, so I brought that color indoors in the chairs and rug. The family found that amazing Jeffrey Pallidini painting while on a trip to London and it finished the room off perfectly.

The space next to the television was a bit awkward, so I made that graphic trianglepainting to engage the space and make sure that wall wasn’t all about the television.

Sofa from Room Service. Man in pool painting by Jeffrey Pallidini. Coffee table from Blu Dot. Rug from West Elm. Gold stools from West Elm. Blue deco chairs are vintage. Pillows from Ikea and West Elm. Tray from Crate & Barrel. Accessories from Shopclass. Geometric painting by Orlando Soria.

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I love both of these classic pieces. The parson’s bookcases added some beautiful, open display space while that barcart, in all its Milo Baughman-inspired goodness, gives a nod to the couple’s love of hosting.

Parsons bookcases from West Elm. Bar cart from Crate & Barrel. Accessories and art from Shopclass.

THE MUSIC ROOM

This room is part of the original portion of the home. It is also where the kids play and practice piano and talk about how they want to be like me someday. I kept a lot of the furniture the family had already while updating it with a few pieces to give it a fresher, younger feel. The beautiful coffee table from Empiric was a game changer, making the space feel as young and cool as the couple that owns the home.

Sofa from Pottery Barn. Coffee table from Empiric. Chair, bench, side tables, armoire and stump accent table all vintage. Rug from West Elm.

Ceramic tray from Nickey Kehoe. Pierre Cardin chess set and brass die from Lawson Fenning.

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Bench and mirror vintage. Pillow Nate Berkus for Target. Pillows on sofa from West Elm, Ikea, and Nickey Kehoe. Throw from Ikea.

Gallery wall sourced from Shopclass. Standing lamp from West Elm.

MASTER BATHROOM

Bathmat from West Elm. Turkish Towel from Poketo. Garden stool from Wisteria. Burl accent table from HD Buttercup. Accessories from Shopclass.

MASTER BEDROOM

The master bedroom is on the second floor and overlooks the gorgeous backyard and hillside vistas of La Habra Heights. The bed is the room’s most exciting feature and I wanted it to feel effortless. I achieved this look by using a collection of bedding from five different sources. I think this helped make it look a lot more nuanced and natural, less like someone just went in to a big box store and grabbed a boring bedding set.

Bed from Restoration Hardware. Side tables from Cisco Home. Lamp from Empiric. Rug from West Elm. Gold mirrors vintage. Accessories from West Elm and Shopclass. Duvet from Serena & Lily. Throw and blue pillow from Nickey Kehoe. White pillows from Ikea. Gold pillows from West Elm.

All art and accessories vintage. Drapery from Pottery Barn.

THE GREAT ROOM

The palatial living room was one of the biggest challenges of the home, mainly because the space was so grand. I combined a lot of vintage furniture with some new pieces to give the space some character. The sofa, in custom navy velvet, is a vintage piece from the 1960s. That and the ottoman are my favorite pieces in the room. A Ben Medansky sculpture and a great collection of art books gave the coffee table an art-centered appeal.

Left: Sofa, side tables, and ottoman are vintage. Leather chairs and mirrored coffee table from Restoration Hardware. Rug from Madeleine Weinrib. Chandelier from Cisco Home. Round mirror from Organic Modernism. Right: Art vintage, gilded by Orlando Soria. Green console table from Mix Furniture. Extraction sphere sculpture by Ben Medansky. Accessories from Shopclass.

THE PLAYROOM

The playroom was a chance to have a little fun. I wanted it to be colorful and exciting so I painted the built-in shelving Hague Blue and created a cork board wall with a hand-painted pattern on it (I drew the design small and then blew it up wall size with a projector).

Organizational supplies from Land of Nod. Desk and shelving by Land of Nod. Rug from RugsUSA.

THE GUEST BEDROOM

I’m all about updating a traditional space with a piece of contemporary art, so I made this glamorous circle painting for above the bed. I think it added the needed pop to this room, allowing everything else to be calm and relaxing.

Bed from Cisco Home. Bedding by Serena & Lily. Gold blanket from West Elm. Art by Orlando Soria. Drapery from Pottery Barn. Side tables from Cisco Home. Lamps from Ikea. Accessories and art from Shopclass.

THE OFFICE

I kind of died for these chairs the moment I saw them at Lawson Fenning. Since they are so open, I paired them with a graphic table. I liked this side table from Crate & Barrel because it reminded me of an Ellsworth Kelly drawing.

Chairs from Lawson Fenning. Side table from Crate & Barrel. Art and accessories from Shopclass.

Desk from Wertz Brothers. Lamp from Lawson Fenning. Desk chair vintage reupholstered in leather. Rug from Rugs USA. Accessories from Shopclass.

Sometimes, you work with clients that are so special that you end up falling in love with them and wanting them to adopt you so that you can just continue to decorate their home for the rest of time. I felt this way about this family, who would constantly supply me with champagne and glamour hors d’ oeuvres every time I came over. Luckily, the family keeps adding on to the house (you should see the adorable tree house they built for their kids!) so I don’t think my job there will be done any time soon.

Love,
Orlando

PS: Interested in making your house La Habra Heights Haute? Contact Homepolish!

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How To Plant a Succulent Garden Without Making a Giant Mess in Your Apartment

Photographs by Sean Gin

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Dear Other People Who Live in Urban Apartments,

Do you ever feel sad about the fact you have no outdoor space? Like no yard with a hose to water your plants, a space to run around in? That you can’t just go outside and dig your hands in the dirt and feel SO connected to nature just like you did in your forest upbringing? I do. As someone who was raised in a land where I could stick my hand in dirt whenever I felt like it, without the risk of getting a lethal strain of face-eating virus from the city-germs in the soil, I feel sad whenever I have to buy dirt at a nursery. Also, I don’t understand how people who live in urban apartments pot their plants. I tried one time, and I totally clogged the sink and my landlord told me I’d have to buy a new sink if I ever did that again. So I’ve decided to share a few of my tips for living in a big city AND potting plants without getting kicked out of your apartment.

Plant nurseries are one of my favorite places to hang out. I find it so relaxing to be around all those plants growing, birds chirping, pesticides brimming from the potted succulents. One of my favorite nurseries in Los Angeles is Mickey Hartigay Plants, where I went this week to search for plants for Rumi Neely, a wonderful fashion blogger whose house I’m designing for Homepolish. The nursery is in the middle of Hollywood and feels kind of like it belongs in another time. I can be totally pissed off and crazy and high on caffeine and as soon as I step into this place I feel better. Perhaps it has something to do with the big-ass Buddha head:

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So here we go…

Five Tips For Potting Plants If You Live In An Apartment

1. Force the dude who runs the nursery to pot your plants for you.

This is a trick I learned a few years ago. Normally I feel badly asking anyone to do anything for me. Like at a restaurant if the waiter brings me a meal I totally didn’t order, I’ll just pretend it’s what I wanted so I don’t cause a fuss. I wont ask him to exchange it for the right one because that makes me feel like a jerk. But I’ve noticed a lot of people who work at nurseries (I’m talking about mom ‘n’ pop nurseries not big box places) tend to be really friendly and willing to help. If they won’t pot your plants for free they will normally charge you a small fee (usually around $5). Which is totally worth it not to make a big mess in your apartment. If you’d rather plant your own plants (like I did), you can ask them if it’s okay for you to use their facilities. Most will be fine with this, especially if you are doing something interesting like potting a succulent collection. They might stand there and ogle you, but the attention will give you energy and make you feel important.

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2. Choose your pot wisely. And make sure to look very concerned while you do so. 

Choose a pot that looks like it actually belongs indoors. If you choose a terra cotta pot or something that looks too rustic people will feel like they’ve stepped into a terrifying outdoor farmland when they enter your space and they will never want to talk to you again. Also, most plants need drainage so keep that in mind. Or be very careful with how frequently you water (I actually chose a pot with no drainage, but I’ve figured out how to  make sure the soil gets dry enough between waterings).

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3. Use the variety of plants available to your advantage.

I like to compose my succulent arrangements while looking at all the options available. Thus, I tend to arrange them right in front of the succulents on display. As a genius plant artist, you need to be surrounded by all your most essential art supplies. I like to have a few statement plants, a few clusters, and a pop of color. It’s good to vary the scale and texture to keep the eye moving around the arrangement. Really it’s not rocket science. Just play with plants until they look pretty and then you’ve got your composition. Watch this video Emily made if you want more info on composition.

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4. Ask boring and sciency plant questions.

Nurseries are a great place to ask a lot of questions about your plants that no one else would know how to answer. Keep in mind these people spend all day watering plants and trying to make sure they don’t die, so if there’s anyone who can tell you how not to kill your fiddle leaf fig, it’s them. You can show them pictures of spaces in your apartment, describe lighting situations, and ask them what plants would survive there, ask them what type of plant food to feed your plants, how big the pot needs to be, etc. The kind man at Mickey Hartigay referred me to the correct soil for succulents, which hopefully means the plants I buy for Rumi will live forever. Like I plan to.

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5. Make sure they wrap/box up your plants so dirt doesn’t get all over your car/everyone on the subway/however you get home.

Nurseries are great at figuring out how to wrap plants so dirt doesn’t go flying all over the place on your trip home. Usually this means they wrap them in newspaper and tape to hold in the dirt and keep the plants in place. Make sure they package your plants adequately so they don’t get murdered on the way home. I’ve had one too many fast stops where the plant goes flying and my car turns into a succulent graveyard FILLED with dirt. Don’t let that be you.

So there you go. Mainly the moral of the story is that if you live in an apartment with no yard and hose, you should never try to pot anything inside. It’s just a recipe for disappointment and misery and fear. Kind of like eating a giant burrito right before going to a fancy gay pool party.

Love,
Orlando

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