Sunday, 2 November 2014

In full bloom

In our minds, we simply don't get sent flowers often enough. If you, like us, have spent Valentine's Day, birthdays and anniversaries at work, waiting wistfully for that call from reception to say you have a flower delivery, only for the clock to strike 5pm without so much as a petal passing your desk, then this, dear readers, is for you.

Bloombox Co makes receiving a bunch of flowers a weekly (we wish!), fortnightly or monthly occurrence, depending on what you sign up for. Instead of a single bouquet, they send a huge box bursting with blooms for you to play with. Each one is a lucky dip - you might get ranunculus and roses one week, gumnuts and gardenias the next - so it's a beautiful introduction to flowers you might not know about, as well as a chance to find your favourites waiting for you by the front door. Boyfriends/husbands - your position has been filled.

Bloombox Co is the work of friends Melissa Whidjaya, whose background is in fashion design and marketing, and Philomena Kwok, a milliner who has worked for the likes of Escada and Carl Kapp.

Bloombox Co founders Melissa (left) and Philomena (right).

We were lucky enough to visit Melissa's sunny Dee Why apartment on the northern beaches of Sydney recently to see how she styles her flowers and her home. Vibrant and eclectic, it's filled to the brim with upcycled treasures Melissa and her fiancé have picked up on their travels, from far-flung destinations to side of the road finds. "Some of our favourites are pieces we've bought or found secondhand and restored ourselves," Melissa says. Check out some of them (including her amazing Louis XV-style dining chairs, picked up from the street!) below...

Candles, paintings and plastic figurines on a timber console Melissa salvaged.

A glorious bunch of blooms in an antiquated vase.

Q. Have you always loved flowers?
A. "I pretty much love anything that adds fun and colour to life, flowers included. That said, I've never much liked formal floral arrangements - I've definitely always been a fan of flowers put together in a way that reflects your personality rather than the 'way things should be done'."

Q. Have you or Philomena trained as florists?
A. "Phil's sister is a florist but neither Phil or myself are professionally trained. While we definitely follow guidelines when it comes to flower care, I actually think it's great that we aren't florists ourselves - it's allowed us to take chances and think totally outside the box. We love experimenting and mixing things up a bit. The whole concept behind Bloombox Co is that flowers aren't just for florists - it's totally up to you to play, create and enjoy."

Leather Louis XV-style dining chairs and a vibrant upholstered stool surround the rustic timber dining table.

Striking black birds of paradise and hot pink carnations atop the table.

Q. Do you always have fresh flowers at home?
A. "Yes, especially since we launched Bloombox Co! I usually at the very least have a vase of something on my bedside table and in the bathroom. If I haven't had a chance to buy flowers I'll just grab some funky foliage from the garden."

Stacks of magazines, a ceramic vase and a rainbow chandelier adorn the coffee table.

Q. What's your top tip for DIY floral styling?
A. "I would say firstly it's really important to embrace what's in season - that way you know you'll be getting the most beautiful blooms and they'll be fresher, so they'll last you longer. Then when it comes to styling, experiment! Pick a few colours you love and then make sure you have a range of textures and sizes to work with. As long as you love everything that goes in, it's likely you'll love the end result."


Melissa's covetable collection of jewellery is displayed in the hallway in an ornate photo frame she transformed.

Q. What size or shape vases should every girl own?
A. "A few bud vases for small arrangements dotted around the house, a decent-sized ceramic vessel in a fun  colour and something unconventional like a bowl or metallic urn."


Bathroom details.

Q. Where do you shop for homewares and furniture?
A. "Locally, I love Cherry Blossom at Narrabeen for kitsch, Mexican-inspired homewares and the Armchair Collective in Mona Vale for vases. The Bower in Marrickville is awesome for secondhand pieces with loads of potential."

Incredibly, Melissa hand-painted the intricate design on the leather upholstery of this armchair -  as you can see, the seat cushion is a work in progress! 

Q. What do you love most about apartment living in Dee Why?
A. "Being so close to the ocean is my favourite thing about it. I love being able to pop down to the beach for a swim and some sun. We've also got other friends and family living in apartments close by, which is really nice."

The turquoise chest of drawers Melissa and her fiancé restored and painted.

STYLE NOTES {melissa whidjaya} 
dream home: Somewhere by Freshwater beach.
style icon: I don't really follow anyone in particular but I am loving Bianca Cheah at the moment.
favourite flower: It changes all the time! At the moment I'm loving foxgloves and snapdragons.
best scent: the ocean.
colour palette: turquoise and hot pink.
music of choice: Bob Marley and movie soundtracks.
film that inspires: Baraka.
go-to outfit: denim shorts, big earrings and basic tanks.
era of choice: Now is pretty good! But the 70s for the music.
ideal holiday: dog sledding in Sweden followed by a nice thaw out in Bali.
perfect Sunday: sleep in, beach and a breakfast picnic, a surfing lesson with my fella, a seafood feast, some margaritas and a movie.

The most incredible ruby red peonies we've ever seen, displayed in a mustard yellow vase.

Visit Bloombox Co's website for Melissa and Philomena's floral styling tips and video tutorials - we love their video on how to fill a shallow bowl with blooms, here.

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