HOMEFRONT | décor showcase
When Lisa Waud, owner of Detroit’s Pot + Box, creates something, she does so in grandiose fashion. Want to capture the attention of the entire world? Fill an abandoned house in Hamtramck to the rafters with flowers. Waud did just that for three days in October of 2015, with her Flower House.
After seeing a Dior fashion show that incorporated a flower-filled Paris mansion as a runway, Waud had a vision of filling an abandoned house with lush greenery. “My inspiration is a lot of juxtaposition with decay and beautiful things,” Waud says. To make her artistic vision a reality, she purchased a house in Hamtramck for $250. Her goal was to create an art installation and, following the exhibition, to responsibly deconstruct the home and turn the lot into a flower farm. “It wasn’t just a vase that we put an arrangement in, but a bringing together of the community,” Waud says of that installation. “Plants shouldn’t be a luxury; (they should be) something that everyone (has an opportunity) to enjoy.”
With that in mind, she invited surrounding residents to tour the Flower House and be involved in the large-scale event taking place in their backyard. Instead of a flower farm, the property is now a park that all the neighbors can use and enjoy. “I want it to be a friendly property,” Waud says, adding, “I love Detroit because there’s a great energy here. People are makers and doers, and I feel at home.”
Waud grew up near Petoskey, and her formative years were filled with long rambles through the surrounding countryside. Her work reflects a love of nature, and her creations capture her passion in a well-orchestrated way. “Nature is in my DNA,” she says, explaining that her first job was at a garden center, where she first realized that plants were her muse. She started college at Michigan State University, where she studied horticulture, and finished her education at Evergreen State College in Washington. After graduation she returned to Michigan and, in 2007, opened Pot + Box, where she focused on container gardening. Her business was based out of a rented space in Ann Arbor, and she found clients through acquaintances and by word of mouth. When friends began asking her to help with their wedding flowers, she added floral arranging to her repertoire. “I describe my style as wild, organic, textural, and a little bit of everything. Nothing is o limits,” says Waud, who admits she often can be found foraging wildflowers and plants from abandoned city lots. She moved her business to Detroit in 2013, and decided to run it out of her home.
When Waud, creative in every aspect of her business, bought a used ice cream truck in 2015 to use as a delivery vehicle, she envisioned herself selling flowers and plants from the truck — much the same as an ice cream vendor. Since the summer of 2016, the Flower Truck has been making weekly scheduled stops throughout the city and participating in pop-ups at local businesses.
The success of the truck made Waud realize that Pot + Box should become a bricks-and-mortar establishment, allowing her to reclaim her house as a home and making her business more accessible. The goal came to fruition in 2018, when Pot +Box opened its doors in the historic Fisher Building in Detroit. Visitors will find an eclectic mix of locally sourced flowers and houseplants at the shop, which is open Tuesday through Saturday. “It’s important to me to source local farmers and to know them personally,” Waud, a board member of the Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative, an Ypsilanti-based market, says. Pot + Box is a sustainably run business, composting what it can and taking pride in being floral-foam-free. For those who want to incorporate more flowers and plants in their home, Waud says: “Use what is seasonal, support local growers, and even use supermarket veggies and greens. Incorporate potted plants and flowers, as well.”
Pot + Box recently branched out to include interior scaping services, which involves caring for plants in homes and businesses. Waud also uses her artistic abilities to make floral creations for special events, and ships house plants nationwide.
Information: potandbox.com, 313-212-1869.