The Beauty of the Unexpected


By Stephanie Pilk

Photography Benedetta Spinelli

Floral arrangements that burgeon on the sculptural

An extraordinary floral arrangement packs a one-two punch to the senses. It fills the eyes with a dance of color, and sends the nose a symphony of scents. The cut-flower designs of Flora Home’s Stephanie Pilk exemplify this sensory explosion—they are like pieces of living art.

Before moving to Maine in the early 1990s and opening Flora Home in 1999, Pilk worked with fashion designer Norma Kamali in New York City, and spent years as a set-designer for the film and television industry. Today, she has combined that unique design education with her instinctive knowledge of color in order to create floral arrangements that are both sophisticated and unexpected.


“I’m not a gardener,” Pilk admits, “so flowers are purely a sculptural medium for me.

Without a doubt, says Pilk, color is the biggest motivation behind her creations. “I do lean toward the monochromatic,” she says, “because I like the subtle play of hot and cold within the same family of colors.” But, Pilk says, combining flowers that contrast to make an arrangement absolutely pop can be just as exciting.

aa2.jpgA floral arrangement’s shape is often as important as the color-scheme, Pilk says. Whether she’s working with a design that is bold or restrained, Pilk frames flowers with greens to set them off. “Without some sort of greens,” she says, “it can become a shapeless mess.” In Flora Home design, it’s not unusual to find almost any sort of greenery. Describing her style as “globally influenced,” Pilk finishes her flower sculptures with everything from bamboo shoots and sexy succulents, to mosses and twigs—and even the Maine spring stalwart, fiddleheads.

aa3.jpg Not even the shape of the vessels that hold her designs escapes Pilk’s scrutiny. “The vase is half of what you’re going to see,” she says, “it should be something that you love empty as much as you do full.” Providing people with flowers they love is something Pilk adores about her work. In 2005 she shifted Flora Home away from a traditional retail flower shop toward what she describes as “a very personal, high quality floral design service.” After stripping away the day-to-day burdens of a retail shop, Pilk was able to focus all her energies on interpreting the needs and wants of her customers. “Whether I’m putting something together for a one-time order or a regular client,” Pilk says, “there’s a level of communication about creating these arrangements that I absolutely love.”

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