For as long as she can remember, Nicolette Owen has always loved flowers. Her happiest memories as a child are the endless hours she spent in her grandmother’s garden. “She had an enormous hedge of lilac, and I adored it when it was in full bloom. We would cut armfuls of the sweetly scented blooms and bring them inside to share with friends and neighbours.” Nicolette studied photography in college, but after a stint assisting a florist in California, she found her true calling. “The moment I started working with flowers, I knew I had to be a floral designer. Having flowers in my hands everyday and learning to appreciate their individual characters just made me feel completely at home.” In 2006, she moved back to the East Coast to start her own business, Nicolette Camille Floral Design.
In New York, her search for a new home led her to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, an area that attracted her as much for its relatively cheap rent as the creative atmosphere. The neighbourhood hosts a lively indie music, art, and food scene––a natural magnet for young creative types like herself. With the help of a friend, Nicolette found her dream apartment in an unremarkable building splattered in graffiti. Stepping through the creaky front door, she found a charming small “railroad” apartment, a typical architecture of old New York tenement apartments where all the rooms are connected in a row, like railway cars. Her first impression of the place was not entirely favourable. “It was frightening! Every wall was painted a different color – bright orange, army green, and a yellowish green. The apartment needed a lot of work, but I could see that it had good bones – lovely wooden floors, tin ceilings, and lots of windows.” While trying to make up her mind, she caught a glimpse of the building’s large communal garden through the kitchen windows. Seeing all the flowers in bloom, she knew that she had found her new home.