There's a funny thing that often happens when you provide a professional service: you rarely treat yourself to the kind of experience you give to others. Five-star chefs cooking scrambled eggs for their own dinner, interior designers living in sparse rental apartments—the old cliché that "the cobbler's children go barefoot" often proves itself true.
But florist Alice DeCrom is the exception to the rule. She's someone who doesn't just whip up beautiful bouquets for clients, but who fills her own home—a charming, 100-plus-year-old heritage loft in Fort Langley—with the fruits of her labour. Though DeCrom has been busy this month with the grand opening of a bigger space for her beloved Floralista floral studio, she still makes time to bring herself flowers, too (and cacti, and fiddle leaf figs, and then some).
What's it like to share an apartment with a jungle of blooms? We asked DeCrom for peek inside her quirky home base to learn more.
Tracy Ayton PhotographyWhat’s the story behind this space?
"I have been renting this little heritage loft for three years. I had my eye on it for a while before I got the place, and I had told my friend who knew the owner, a local artist, that if she ever heard of the place becoming available to mention my name—these kinda of character lofts are almost impossible to find available in Fort Langley. I was in Australia for a month when I got the email from the artist, so I had to send somebody to put the deposit down for me without even seeing the place in person. I moved in when I got back and filled it with plants. It's become my little sanctuary to get away and relax."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyTracy Ayton PhotographyWhat’s the biggest change you made to the space when you moved in?
"The biggest change was adding so many plants to the space. The light inside is incredible thanks to three overhead sky lights, so my collection of cacti and tropical plants thrive all year round."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyHow would you describe the style of your home?
"Overall, the space has an eclectic mid-century vibe. Its cozy with lots of antique pieces and has a little bit of Southwestern influence with all the cacti and Navajo patterned rugs."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyWhats your favourite room in the house?
"My favourite room in the house is my bedroom because of the beautiful arched doorway and the large half circle widow that looks out onto a section of beautiful trees. The evening light is magical when it peeks through the trees and into the bedroom window, reflecting on the walls."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyTracy Ayton PhotographyWhat's the most special thing in your home?
"Almost everything in my home has a special meaning to me. I am very sentimental and I only keep things that brings joy or reminds me of a specific memory. My dining room table was designed and hand built specifically for me, the quartz crystals were collected from a mine in Arkansaw from my geologist uncle. Sometimes it can be tough when I need to de-clutter the space, because I love all my little things."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyHow many plants do you have in your house?
"I think at one point I counted 40-plus plants. Luckily most of the plants are cacti and are extremely low-maintenance. I can leave them for months without watering them. I do try to rotate them through the space every few months to make sure they all are getting their time in the sunlight. On the days I am tending to the plants, I check every single one and assess what it needs. Dusting the leaves has been a game changer. I’ve lost a few tropical plants over the years but I’ve been really lucky with my Fiddle Leaf Figs which typically aren't the easiest."
Tracy Ayton Photography
Tracy Ayton PhotographyIs there anything you collect?
"Most of my kitchen glassware and plates have been collected by my mother. Over the years she has always asked me if there was a set of dishes that I loved that she could start collecting for me. I fell in love with pink depression glass and since then that has been the theme. I can usually count on a new piece every Christmas and birthday. I specifically love the pink depression glass vases and almost always have them filled with flowers from my garden or shop."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyTracy Ayton PhotographyWhat's on your nightstand?
"My vintage crystal clock on my nightstand was gifted to me from my mother. It's one of my favourite pieces in my home."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyTracy Ayton PhotographyDo you find yourself eating at the big table or the kitchen island most often?
"I often have the big table set up as a giant art desk, so I usually eat at the kitchen island, but if I have friends over I will set the full dining table."
Tracy Ayton Photography
Is there anything in that upper loft besides plants?
"There is a second sleeping area in the upper loft. It's cozy but it fits a queen-size mattress quite well. I always have it made up for friends if they need a place to stay or spend the night. Sometimes in the winter I sleep up there because the apartment gets quite cold and I love hearing the rain on the roof so close while I fall asleep."
Tracy Ayton PhotographyTracy Ayton Photography
How do you know when it’s time to add something new to your space?
"I feel like everything in my home needs to have a soul. I don’t like buying home decor items from big chain stores like Homesense, because there is no feeling behind it. If it’s not vintage, or a treasure I’ve picked up on one of my travels, a hand-me-down from a family member or friend, a special gift or a living plant, I question if it belongs in my home."
This story was originally published on September 20, 2019.