This past weekend, Lisa Waud’s vision of a long-abandoned house re-imagined and dressed in thousands of blooms was realized to fantastic effect. Last November, the florist had attended a public auction at which she purchased an abandoned house in Detroit, Michigan – sight unseen. Crumbling and condemned, the aging duplex was reportedly filled “knee-high with trash, broken bottles, and even a dead dog.”
Waud’s winning bid was $250. But she had a plan behind to madness. She invited florists from Michigan, Ohio, New York and Canada to fill the house with a temporary art installation of 36,000 flowers. On October 16, it was opened to the public.
After a year of planning and three days of hard labor from dozens of volunteers, Flower House now contains “room after room of independent flower designs and installations that flow together to create an immersive blooming environment,” writes This Is Colossal. The piece is said to be part art installation, part memorial to Detroit’s history, and an effort in sustainability and responsibility to American-grown flower farms.
“If you can look at this house as a resource rather than as a problem, we can find a way to use it,” Waud told The Detroit News. She intends to save the house next door — she bought two adjacent houses for $500 — and to create a flower farm, growing plants and creating jobs.
Following its reveal, the house that held the exhibition will be responsibly de-constructed and its materials re-purposed. The land will be converted into a flower farm and design center on their formerly neglected properties.
Jeremy Haines, marketing director for Reclaim Detroit, the nonprofit involved, said the floral designers raised enough money to save 75 percent of the material from the house. Reclaim Detroit trains millworkers and woodworkers, while selling materials to artisans, all with the goal of salvaging and using the legacy of Detroit’s old housing stock.