Step inside Mahonia, located on Louisville’s historic East Market Street in the heart of NuLu, and we predict you’ll feel an immediate wash of calm. Owner and resident designer Bridget Davis created this inviting and welcoming shop as a space to connect with your inner naturalist. It’s filled with a carefully curated, botanically inspired mix of home décor and accessories along with vintage finds, live plants and flowers, vases, containers, pots and gifts. Established green-thumbs and live-plant novices (and even those of us in the “plant admirer” camp) will all find something to love inside Mahonia’s serene, green-filled environment, and that’s exactly what Bridget intended when she first opened this unique home store and floral design studio in March of 2016.
After having spent most of her life living and working in Portland, Oregon, Bridget relocated to Louisville in the spring of 2015. Mahonia was the natural progression from a lifelong love of nature and decades of creating with plants and flowers as a floral and garden designer, merchandiser and decorator. Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood seemed like the perfect location for making this retail dream a reality, and one year later, Bridget is still pretty convinced that she made the right move.
“The neighborhood is so supportive and lovely,” she says. “I really do feel welcomed and so at home here.”
And home is what Mahonia is all about, or, rather, helping people connect with the natural world inside their own interior spaces. The shop’s design elements of deep gray-blue and white walls, wooden shelves and accents, glass and rustic vintage pieces set a serene and inviting tone. The front window display spills over with artfully assembled pots and containers mixed with live plants. Small vintage crates hold delicately assembled succulents and, on the day we visited, a small group of air plants rested in a rough hewn bowl below suspended glass terrariums filled with colored sand, crystals and select air plants. Wooden shelves display a changing array of vintage finds among small containers, vases, geodes and other earthy curiosities. Organically inspired soaps and candles line up inside a painted cabinet, and other gifts and décor that reflect the current season are artfully intermingled throughout the store. Mahonia also features a rotating selection of pillows, scarves, cards and stationery and keeps a small jewelry case stocked with delicate, handmade pieces designed with natural elements in mind.
The finds at Mahonia, while consistently organic in look and feel, include seasonally inspired merchandise. Here in Louisville, Derby is its own season, and Bridget recognizes that Louisvillians see this celebratory time of year between high-spring and the edge of summer as one to embrace. Mahonia mixes Derby-perfect décor alongside the green-infused gifts and live plants for a funky, Kentucky-perfect feel.
Mahonia also keeps things naturally gorgeous with its floral design work. Bridget consciously builds the flowers she uses for her designs into the store display — a table filled with fresh, seasonal and carefully selected flowers and greenery acts as the heart and centerpiece for the room — and the effect is breathtaking. Even more breathtaking are Mahonia’s custom arrangements made from these flowers, primarily designed by Bridget herself. To her delight and surprise, wedding and special event bouquets and arrangements have become a significant part of what she does. Louisville seems to be excited and delighted by Bridget’s talents as well. Her designs are like still-life paintings sprung to life — abundant, lush and just slightly wild — and true to the aesthetic of the entire store. Incorporating locally grown flowers into the mix is important to her Louisville clientele, so Bridget works to include them in the mix of options available.
Finding new and beautiful ways to incorporate green into our lives is important, and finding design-centric, aesthetically pleasing ways to work with plants is inspiring. Mahonia’s staff make every effort to ensure that shopping the plant scene is not at all intimidating. Experimenting with plants at home should be fun, and bouquets should reflect the personality of the person for whom they’re intended; we think Mahonia is the perfect mix of artistic and approachable, where getting greener is delightfully possible.
Bridget Davis has created a naturally beautiful and thoughtfully designed environment in NuLu. This Louisville neighborhood’s inviting streetscape is the perfect setting for this year-round, seasonal green oasis. Stop by to pick up a custom-designed terrarium (or the elements to create one yourself), a thoughtful, handmade gift, the perfect plant paired with a unique container, interior décor element, a simple bouquet or a gorgeous wedding arrangement. Or just take a few moments from the middle of the day to soak up the green and enjoy a room filled with live flowers. We’re certain that the folks in Portland miss her, but Louisville is happy that this Oregon native brought her love for plants and design to share with us here through Mahonia!
Mahonia is located at 806 East Market St., Louisville, KY 40206. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find out more about Mahonia online at mahoniastudio.com.
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