Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brian Coovert, floral designer, Extraordinaire

I am so excited to share with all of you my interview with, Brian Coovert, from Blooms Direct. His work has been seen in Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Weddings, Traditional Home, and Southern Living.

He has truly given me inspiration and such joy from the beauty of his work. All of his flower arrangements have a personal touch and even an ordinary arrangement has a different twist to it. I always love to see what he creates. I usually just tell him the colors I want to use and let him go to work; we have to let the experts do their job and they will do it magnificently.

CB: How did you start as a floral designer?

BC: I have a visual merchandising background- worked in the south- worked for Belk Department stores as a visual merchandiser. I had 4 stores in Myrtle Beach. Then I moved to Charleston with Saks 5th Avenue. Saks used fresh flowers for everything-everything - and I became good friends with the florist, Zack Hughes. I ended up going to work part time with him on the weekends. I started off washing buckets, cutting flowers- that's what I could do. I wasn't allowed any type of arranging whatsoever. And then slowly, I become like his assistant. And then he let me do a $30 arrangement or two, and it just escalated from there.

CB: So this was your formal education?

BC: Yeah, because I had no formal education- I was fortunate to work with the world's most unbelievably talented people in the industry. Part of it is just my own imagination. I've always been a creative person to some degree, but I think if I was to credit my "talent" if you will, it would be my Mother, because she is a very talented person. And just my love of the product. I literally love what I work with. When I was growing up-single mother, 4 kids, we lived out in the middle of nowhere in Southern Ohio. We didn't go to the movies or eat out. The way I would entertain myself was going to the woods. I was terrible- I was always digging up something and bringing it back to see if I could get it to grow.

CB: And after Saks did you open your own shop in Charleston?

BC: I went into being an event florist and a concierge florist because people entertain differently down there. They have to have fresh flowers for everything, so I was very, very fortunate that I had clientele like that. I didn't have a storefront- I had a warehouse that I basically worked out of.

CB: I love that about Southerners. Their love for flowers and great hospitality. They take it over the top. I would love for us Northerners to be a little more like that. What brought you to Columbus from Charleston?

BC: I sold my share of the business to my business partner and went into the event/concierge business which was great for me. Then on a personal note, my mother who lived in Southern Ohio became ill, so I left Charleston to come back to Southern Ohio to take care of her. I had lived in Columbus probably 25 years ago. I felt that I needed to be in a big city but one that was close in case I had to go home quickly to her, so I came to Columbus. It was going to be a part time thing and thankfully she became much better. I loved Columbus, I was waiting tables at Barcelona Restaurant, and a friend told me about Blooms, so I applied to them and here I am.

CB: Did you start designing immediately?

BC: I started off as basically a designer- doing the daily work; hospitals, birthdays, anniversaries, whatever. And then with the economy being the way it is, we had to do some restructuring. At this point I moved into management. My really strong points are the events, the special customer- the special event. And that's what I wanted to play. In order to grow and get the business to where we needed to be, someone needed to grab those reins, and that person was me.

CB: What is your inspiration?

BC: My mother, and I get my inspiration from nature, like a branch or a blade of grass. When a brand new product comes in I like to see how it moves, how does it bend, how can I manipulate it. I love manipulation. My two strong points- things that I really love are color and texture. Texture can be foliage, greenery or a plant material, berries. I love strong, vibrant colors- nothing washed out.

CB: Other than your mother, is there a designer who inspires you?

BC: Mr. Joe Smith- that's a very common name. He was an older gentlemen who took me under his wing. In the floral industry there's an accreditation called AIFD American Institute of Floral Design- its huge. I met Joe at one of the exams. He is a true Southern gentleman from Tennessee, and he was just remarkable. I was living in Charleston at the time. On at least a half dozen occasions, Joe would fly me up to Tennessee to work with him on a project, a huge wedding or something like that and it really showed me what horticulture could be. It was on a much larger scale than I had ever seen -very high end- like a $150,000 budget for a wedding. So, I would credit him, and also going to the AIFD symposiums and seeing all of the incredible talents- true artistry- just like painting a picture or seeing a clay sculpture.

CB: What is your favorite flower?

BC: I love so many. Probably one of my very favorite is the Gloriosa Lily or Rothschild Lily. I used to grow it in my yard in Charleston. It doesn't grow well here. It's a vine, and a star shaped lily that is probably 4" in diameter- it's yellow on the inside and red on the tips and the petals fold completely back. I don't get to use it too often, because it's so expensive.

CB: Do you have any color combinations that you have been using together?

BC: Any color of pinks, like hot vibrant pinks and oranges, mango's, papaya colors; I love those together.

CB: If you could travel anywhere in the world to buy your flowers where would you go?

BC: Gosh, I would love to visit the farms in California- buy American and at least see what the American farms are doing, but the largest floral suppliers are in South America- like Columbia. And of course, there is the Holland Flower Market. But to go to see how the flowers exist, I would think maybe Africa, because I love greens and foliage, or a rain forest type like, Costa Rica, lush and green.

CB: I have noticed that flowers I get from Blooms Direct last so much longer than flowers I buy at Kroger or any large store, why is that?

BC: A lot of times when you buy from a larger place, like Kroger, or corporately, God only knows how old those flowers are. When we order flowers, they are ordered directly from the farm, and they have literally been cut for a day- two days tops and then they are shipped to us.

CB: What are your favorite projects to work on?

BC: Anything that the client gives me free rein on!! I love weddings, I really do, the whole planning part from the beginning of that little seed to watching it grow to a finished project.

CB: Three things in life you can't live without?

BC: My dog, my family, but I obviously know that you can't keep them with you forever, and my passion.

Thank you so much Brian, for the time you took to sit down with me and give us a glimpse into your work and creativity. Columbus, is very fortunate to have such talent here. All of you call Brian and his team for the next floral arrangement you need. Whether it is a gift, for an event or just for your sheer pleasure!!! I believe you can never have too many flowers around yourself!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reclaimed, Recycled, Refurbished

Mixing the old with the new was definitely still the trend at the furniture show at High Point. At times I felt like I was transported back to an oh so "tres chic" European farmhouse. I was like a kid in a candy shop imagining all the possibilities for these delicious objects and where they would be laid to rest.

I can just see the kitchens that these cutting boards were used in and what a great display they now make. Do you have a collection you have had for years and don't know what to do with it? Start getting creative. Hang them on a wall, arrange symmetrically on a bookcase, or re-purpose in a fresh new way.

I fell in love with this serpentine console. It's absolutely great for small spaces, and by adding the ottomans you can create additional seating.

Layering these mirrors in front of one another adds interest. I love how recycled wood is used to make new mirrors.

The beauty of this table is that the more use and distressing it gets the better it looks. It's great for those family rooms that get a lot of use and will give you no worries with your children beating on it.

Mixing the metal with this reclaimed wood top gives it a fresh new look. I dig the wheels!

All these pieces arranged on this charcoal wall really make a lasting impression. Start by shopping at those deserted antique shops or flea markets. Even at your local thrift store you can find an interesting object that needs a new home. I would love to see what you are collecting or re-purposing. Send your photos to

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nuru Event

Recently we had an event benefiting Nuru. This is a wonderful organization that is empowering lives globally. Nuru partners with impoverished communities around the world. Nuru seeks to empower the poor with the means to acquire clean drinking water, food, health care, education, and micro-enterprise. To learn more check out the Nuru story. Thank you, Billy Williams, for educating all of us and taking the time to attend. It really was a pleasure meeting you!!!

The event was hosted by

A special thanks to David Hunegnaw, and everyone at Sandbox. I love this building and what they have creatively done with the space, really a beautiful co-working environment. If you're searching for a place to work outside of your home and connect with other entrepreneurs then check out

Food by Chef Doug Brown

Thanks to everyone who graciously gave of your time and so much more. Thank you!!

Flowers designed by Brian Coovert

Thank you to my dear friends. I have so enjoyed working with you on this event.

Be hope to her!

All photos taken by the talented Alie Tredeu

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 4 brings so much more

I have never seen this company before, but it's so whimsical and fun. The showroom was a feast for the eyes! The wall art, pillows, and lighted signs pictured here are great for a kids room, a bright porch, guest bedroom, lake house or just for fun. They have a wide range of canvases from botanicals to vintage circus motifs. The pillows were just as fun and came in euro, bolsters, and 18" squares.

Design Legacy

The lovey banquette would look great in a restaurant. I love the wide brown and white stripe. Many colors can be used as an accent with this very neutral stripe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Books and bookcases

I wanted to post these photos I took today. I think many of us find it difficult to arrange the many books we collect in an aesthetic arrangement. Even as a designer, I at times need to see creative ways to rearrange those shelves. Here are a few ideas: cover books in your favorite color of paper. Kraft paper can be used or simply a pretty wrapping paper. Group all the same color books together or place them with the pages out. (gives the appearance of the books in the same color) Add cork board with pretty tacks that can be used for invitations, magazine pages, or pictures.

Adding baskets can help with the clutter that collects. Also add architectural elements to any built-ins or bookcases for interest. What I think works well in these rooms is that everything is tonal or in the same color palette. It is easier for the eye to take it all in, because your eye is not going directly to an object that is really sticking out. It's a really quiet space.

Here 2 different color bookcases have been stacked on top of each other. Great idea!!! Get creative in those small spaces with all the books you have collected that you just can't get rid of. If you're like me you never know when you might need to open one of them. So appease that spouse (who you have been arguing with to keep them) and make them interesting and presentable.

Photos taken at

Day 3 at High Point

I love the tufted sofa in this picture. The color is beautiful. I call it an icy lavender. I love the combination of pillows and adding a little red with the kilim rug pillow. This has been a big color in the new trends I have seen this week. It looks beautiful with many color combinations. I love it with shark tooth blue to a deep indigo blue. Icy lavender also looks great with a clear crisp celery green. You will see much more of this color in the next coming months. Looking forward to creating fun color combinations with this lavender for a beautifully designed space.

Wow, the picture of this chaise does not do it justice. Its really a rich lime green. The fun striped pillow adds life and reminds me of summer creamcicles.

Another basic sofa but love it paired with this kilim rug upholstered ottoman. Great prices on these pieces.

To learn more about this great upholstery company check out their site. Use the website and select your fabric. The selected fabric will then be shown on the piece so that you can really see what it will look like. Also what I LOVE are the selections of outdoor furniture. It looks like slipcovered furniture and it can be left outside!!!!! Love it!!! I need to add these pieces to my own outdoor space. Everyone needs a double chaise outside. Let me know what you think of this upholstery company.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 2 in High Point


Blue-greens were definitely the theme of my day today at the High Point Furniture Show.

Global Views

I also love the large white carved frame leaning against the wall

Art and accessories really pop off of this ocean blue wall

I love the beautifully painted tables used as nightstands

The fabric on the headboard is one of my favorite patterns

The pillows really work well with the orange and gilded gold
Check out the latest Elle Decor. Look at their highlight on this trend

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 1 at High Point

Splashes of Color

Yellow leather....Love it!

These stripes are lovely!!

The most memorable showrooms I viewed today were the rooms with lots of color. Turquoise is still hot! It's seen paired with a fresh pear green, chocolate brown and tangerine. The combination has given us inspiration for the new design of a comfortable family room.

Other colors we loved were orange and coral.

Pink! Fresh!

Tangerine....and charcoal? It actually works.

I love the large over-scale ottomans shown in the above pictures. The detail in the upholstery has really stood out; everything from a multi-pleated skirt to an upholstered nail head trim. Special favorites are all of the contrast-lined box pleats on skirted chairs. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. I have many rooms designed off of the inspirations found today.