Kiana Underwood is the owner of Tulipina, an internationally renowned floral design studio that specializes in creating bespoke experiences for high-end weddings and events. Her use of unique color combinations and floral varieties draws admirers and floral designers from all over the world to her sold-out workshops. Her new book, Color Me Floral, covers the secrets to designing show-stopping monochromatic arrangements for each season. She splits her time between Burlingame, California, and Stone Ridge, New York, with her husband, Nathan, and their three children.
Kiana’s work can be seen in NY Times, Brides, Elle Décor, Elle Spose, Country Living, Marie Claire, Flower Magazine, Couture Flowers, French Country Style, California Homes, Veter, Town and Country, Flutter, and more.
Interview With Kiana
How did you get into flowers? Did you grow up gardening?
KU: I grew up around flowers all my life. My grandfather had a beautiful garden where I spent a lot of time as a little girl, and my mother always had fresh flowers in our house. This environment really kindled my love for flowers, and is definitely something that formed the basis for how I design today.
Did you have a gateway flower? For example, a flower you completely fell in love with that led to a larger love of flowers, or a flower that you tend to zoom in on whenever it’s in season?
KU: My mother, who loves aromatic flowers such as tuberose, hyacinth and narcissus, instilled my love for flowers in me from a very early age. So, there really was no “one” flower that drew me into floral design; however, the flower that I “zoom in on” is always gardenia.
How do you keep your creative drive going?
KU: A beautiful or unusual colored flower or an interesting botanical specimen is what drives my creativity. I want to take it and see what I can do with it!
What are some of your favorite local spots?
KU: I love going to nurseries! There are a few near my home which I frequent regularly— Golden Nursery, Half Moon Bay Nursery, and if I’m up for the drive, I’ll visit Annie’s Nursery-– which is about an hour away from me. They have an amazing selection of unusual botanicals.
How would you describe your style? How has it evolved over time?
KU: I would describe my designs as lush, abundant, and organic. I think that my style has become increasingly free-flowing over time, and my use of color and texture in arrangements is what wins people’s admiration.
What are your other floral design influences?
KU: Music and art are what influence my work.
If you could travel to any one destination, floral-wise, where would you go?
KU: If I could travel for flowers, it would be the Netherlands in spring.
KU: A double Americano with cream.