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An Abandoned House and Renovated Hope: Flower House Project | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
This abandoned Detroit home will be converted into a sustainable flower farm as part of the Flower House project.

Interior design usually is – and generally should be – a happy marriage of aesthetics and function. We hope that what pleases our eyes makes at least a modicum of financial reason.

We fall in love with a bolt of Robert Allen chenille, but commit to it only if we believe it will hold up to our lifestyles. We get giddy about Viking’s Apple Red ranges, but don’t put a ring on the purchase until we read reviews about them. 

But sometimes interior design, remodeling or renovation isn’t meant to last, nor make budgetary sense. Sometimes it’s only purpose is to inspire.

Lisa Waud plans to renovate a 17-room house with living plants and fresh-cut flowers. She knows her efforts will wilt and die in a few days, but her aim is to give hope to what some say is a dying city: Detroit.

Fashion Models and Home Remodels

Inspiration for Flower House Project: 2012 Christian Dior fashion show set in Parisian mansion covered in flowers | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
The floor-to-ceiling blooms of a Parisian mansion that served as the set of Christian Dior’s 2012 fashion show, inspired the Flower House project.

Waud was inspired by a 2012 Christian Dior fashion show, which was set in five rooms of a Parisian mansion that had been covered from floor to ceiling with a million flowers.

“How can I do that?” Waud wondered? “I have to do that,” she told Kate Abbey-Lambertz, of The Huffington Post in a March, 2015 interview. She decided to bring the “house of flowers” idea to Detroit, where she is the owner of a floral company called Pot and Box.

Thousands of Detroit homes, including some once-magnificent mansions, were abandoned when the Motor City’s already struggling economy took a near-fatal hit during the most recent recession. In 2011, then Mayor Bing tried to lure people back to Detroit by offering college graduates $2,500 to rent homes and $20,000 forgivable loans to buy them. And he said Detroit police officers could buy a home with a $1,000 down payment if they returned to live in the city they protected, according to an article by Kamelia Angelova in Business Insider.

The generous offer was not enough to restore vibrancy to the city. In May, 2014, a task force convened by President Obama recommended the demolition of 40,000 dilapidated buildings at an estimated cost of more than $850 million, Monica Davey wrote in The New York Times.

Renovating Beauty and Restoring Hope with the Flower House Project

Artists and designers, however, view architecture in ways very differently than accountants and economists. Waud saw potential for beauty in two Detroit homes she purchased for $250 each and believes her ephemeral Flower House project will have lasting meaning.

“I’m really fascinated with the kind of juxtaposition of these old houses that haven’t seen much activity, and then getting this kind of flurry of color and life and people,” she said. “It touches on abandoned house reuse in Detroit and thinking about not just reusing the buildings and the land, but what can happen on the way,” she said.

Waud, with the help of florists from Michigan and around the country, plan to fill the walls and ceilings of a Hamtramck neighborhood home with plants and American-grown flowers such as sunflowers, dahlias, roses and hydrangeas.

Public Relations Bonanza for Professional Home Renovators

Flower House Project: Converting an Abandoned Detroit Home Into A Flower Farm | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
After the 4-day event has passed, The Flower House will be responsibly deconstructed and converted into a sustainable flower farm.

Florists, housing contractors, interior designers, artists and architects are invited to participate in the event, which Waud says will attract national and worldwide media attention for “innovation in floral design and repurposing forgotten structures in the city of Detroit.” Event planners may also apply to scoop up any of the five slots for events, including weddings, during the installation. The Flower House will be open to the public for four days that cover the third weekend of October, 2015.

A preview event that Waud hopes will entice sponsors will be held at a neighboring house in May. The Flower House project provides the potential for major press coverage – earned media in the parlance of PR pros – at minimal expense. Companies that cater to the home renovation industry – Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Top Knobs and Ralph Lauren come quickly to mind – could benefit by supporting an uplifting and media-friendly cause. And designers and artists on a tight marketing budget could as well. Publications such as Country Living, Business Insider, Crain’s Detroit and The Huffington Post are already covering the event seven months in advance.

And, although the Flower House project is a four-day event, its legacy will live on. The house will be deconstructed and the lot will be turned into a flower farm.

What do you think of the Flower House project? Would you like to attach your company name to this feel-good campaign and bask in its media glow? We hope so!

But, even if the Flower House project isn’t for you, you can take advantage of some free – and instant – publicity by posting a review of a luxury products here on the Revuu site. Tell us what you think of any of the products in the Revuu database – or add one of your own – and include your name, company name and website link in your comments.

And, speaking of comments…please leave some in the space below!


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