Jennifer McGarigle had only $2,000 in seed money when she opened a floral design studio out of her Venice, California, home in 1993. But she has steadily built a following around town with her sculptural arrangements, creating everything from a centerpiece striped with pink and brown flax leaves to a globe-shaped glass chandelier filled with rose florets. In 2004 McGarigle's company, Floral Art, moved into a former supermarket in Venice with a studio in back and boutique in front. Three years later, while gazing at a large projection screen showing time-lapse film of flowers blooming—an installation created for her shop—McGarigle came up with an idea to use flowers in another larger-than-life way. Soon she was sketching out a line of floral-inspired furniture.
McGarigle—whose lifelong romance with flowers began in the dreamy garden of her childhood home in Sonoma County, California—says she tries to design pieces that will enhance each flower's characteristics. (A calla lily stretches across a sleek bench; the circular back of a dining chair accentuates a ring of daisies.) Her Floral Art Home collection launched in 2009 with a chair featuring a photographic rose floating within its Lucite back. "It took almost two years to find a manufacturer," McGarigle says; nothing like the unusual piece existed on the market. Since then the line has expanded to include bookshelves, accent tables, and other home accessories.
Floral Art Home's line also includes pieces like a credenza with poppy-covered removable panels (you can swap in new flowered panels as you like), as well as less-floral furnishings—like a chair with Venetian lace upholstery, which McGarigle likens to "sitting in your favorite dress." But however her sensibilities expand, McGarigle always returns to her roots. "I can't imagine anything more beautiful than fresh flowers," she says. "I want my furniture to help people experience them in a whole new way."
Photo: John Konkal