She moved her business out of her home and into new digs last December. She had a baby last January. The baby isn’t quite one, but the new digs celebrate a first birthday in just a few days, December 1. Anna Mara Floral Design will be about four years old – unlike the baby, past the toddler stage and almost ready for school. But Anna Mara is already at school, or rather, at Schoolhouse Electric Supply & Co.
The sunny brick warehouse on NW Nicolai that has been home to lighting and home décor retailer Schoolhouse Electric for the past year is also headquarters for Anna Mara Floral Design. She must be getting good grades. Proprietor Anna herself looks rested and well, calmly arranging greenery for a terrarium, puttering and placing tiny plants just so in the large glass vessel.
Even her wooden work counter looked appealingly disarrayed when I came across it; she’d stepped away for a few minutes, she told me apologetically when she returned. But no worries – I’d been admiring the curl of the grosgrain ribbon unrolling from its spool, the bits of bent wire and stray leaves strewn about casually. Is everything she does so artful? If only I had such talent. But she’s the floral designer, not me, so I don’t need to have the talent.
Anna Mara has had dreams of flowers since high school, evidently, when she first started working in the floral design business, but she only went off on her own in 2008. We can be glad she made the move. The location at Schoolhouse Electric, along with Ristretto Roasters, makes the NW industrial area outpost a one-stop destination for all sorts of lovely and flavorful items for the home.
Such co-housing situations for small (or not so small, in the case of Schoolhouse Electric) businesses makes for an ideal place for each to show off the other's work. Anna Mara's flowers adorn the counter of Ristretto, hitting you right up front along with the smell of roasted coffee. Garlands and wreaths dot the Schoolhouse Electric salesroom, the perfect accompaniment to that company's wholesome, classic American style.
A long garland of magnolia leaves and cedar drapes across the salesroom floor; boxwood wreaths come in traditional circular but also square shapes, each utterly classic yet strikingly, plainly elegant compared to most of the Christmas season greenery one sees around. As Anna describes it, she "prefer(s) to keep Christmas classic and simple rather than too made up or trendy."
She's just beginning to build up her inventory of these seasonal offerings, all of which should look fresh and last through the holiday season. Many of the plants are living, of course, so once the holidays pass, you can just change the ribbons and move into the next season. Paper whites, for instance, will not wilt after the new year rolls around.
Anna Mara will have many of her beautiful greeneries at the upcoming Portland Bazaar, a not-to-be-missed show of local artisans, the weekend of December 8-9th.
Anna Mara Floral Design
2181 NW Nicolai Street
Portland, OR 97210
December 8-9, 2012
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Sunday
Located inside Sandbox Studios
420 NE 9th Avenue