Flower House Mexico 2018

In November, I had the pleasure of participating in Flower House Mexico, a charity event to benefit patients at Mexico City’s Instituto Nacional di Cancerologia. Organized by a wonderful group of women in Mexico, and fashioned after Flower House Detroit (where an abandoned house was transformed into a floral wonderland), several US-based designers (including myself) came down to Mexico City to bring our individual inspiration to a series of spaces at an abandoned apartment complex.

Committing to a project like this was a big leap for me, as it meant being away from home and family for a week, as well as blocking my schedule and declining business - which is always a difficult decision. However, when organizer Pili asked me to participate, and explained how the money raised was going to help cancer patients with no ability to afford treatment on their own, I truly felt that it was something important, both for the recipients, and for me. Sometimes it’s hard to take the time to give back, but when done, always well worth it!

In the end, the US design team consisted of myself, Ariella Chezar, Nicolette Owen (Nicolette Camille), Jill Rizzo (Studio Choo East), and Studio Mondine. Each of us had a designated apartment within the complex, and a set of students who had paid for the learning experience. Essentially, it was a massive, intensive workshop, but where all of the proceeds went to charity. In all, nearly $30,000 was raised for the charity, which is helping countless cancer patients with treatment. The images below are of my space and students, but I encourage you to check out the other designer’s Instagram feeds and websites for their images and experiences as well.

I was excited to have this apartment assigned to me, as I was excited to have the tiles in the hallway which led to a beautiful turquoise bathroom.

I was excited to have this apartment assigned to me, as I was excited to have the tiles in the hallway which led to a beautiful turquoise bathroom.

This basket was lined with chicken wire and then filled with whatever carnations I could get my hands on. With many thanks to my wonderful students who arranged all of the flowers within.

This basket was lined with chicken wire and then filled with whatever carnations I could get my hands on. With many thanks to my wonderful students who arranged all of the flowers within.

We built a series of floral chandeliers. Here is lovely  Paulina  at work in one of our rooms.

We built a series of floral chandeliers. Here is lovely Paulina at work in one of our rooms.

Mexico wouldn’t be Mexico without marigolds and bright, bold colors. Lovely  Marianna  and our wonderful house chef  Coco  brought me all of the citrus for this color filled installation in one of the rooms.

Mexico wouldn’t be Mexico without marigolds and bright, bold colors. Lovely Marianna and our wonderful house chef Coco brought me all of the citrus for this color filled installation in one of the rooms.

Students at work on the chandeliers!

Students at work on the chandeliers!

Team lunches every day at the apartments.

Team lunches every day at the apartments.

My demonstration bouquet during the initial teaching portion of the event, prior to everyone breaking into groups and working on the installations.

My demonstration bouquet during the initial teaching portion of the event, prior to everyone breaking into groups and working on the installations.

Another room in our apartment. I love gladiolus, and there were an abundance of them at the flower market, which was amazing!

Another room in our apartment. I love gladiolus, and there were an abundance of them at the flower market, which was amazing!

Image credits: Corbin Gurkin

Four Days in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has to be one of my favorite places in the world. I have visited there many times, and each time I go I love it even more. The Dutch are absolutely lovely people, and we have never had a negative experience with anyone during our visits. The city is clean (compared to some other European cities) and filled with beautiful flowers. So, during our summer vacation we decided to spend 4 days and show our kids this beautiful city that we love so much. Until next time Amsterdam...

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

We rented a houseboat on the Amstel and biked all over the place.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Every corner of the city has a unique and beautiful touch. It is hard not to take pictures of everything you see.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

A lovely little flower shop tucked in one of the alleys in the city.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

There are bikes everywhere, EVERYone bikes - from moms with two kids in the front basket to business people dressed in suits going to work.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

One of our very own city bikers - always 100 meters ahead.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

The absolutely gorgeous giant baskets of petunia had me every time. So beautiful and abundant.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

We biked with the kids all over the city, and although I was afraid at times that we were going to get hit by a car, or by another biker, it never happened because everyone is pretty respectful of one another and patient with city biking rookies like myself. So, we had a very fun time cruising around the city and seeing everything.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Arasteh Underwood
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Arasteh Underwood
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

I loved stopping by the beautiful Albert Cuypmarkt close to where we were staying to buy some food and flowers.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Oriental poppies grow like weed in Amsterdam. I was envious and in awe!!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

I took a quick trip with my youngest son to the amazing Rijksmuseum for some Dutch Masters while the others were waiting in the very long line for the Anne Frank Museum. We made it back just as they were getting in (2+ hours later).

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

On our walk to Rijksmuseum we encountered these beauties.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Credits:

Photography, styling and design by Kiana Underwood Select photography by Nathan Underwood and Arasteh Underwood.

Ohio Amish Country

One of the highlights of our summer road trip was driving through Amish country in Ohio. We visited a part of northern Ohio with a large population of both Amish and Mennonites. To be honest, aside from the fact that they choose to live a very simple life, I really didn't know much about the Amish. However, after my recent visit, I have to admit that I am in awe of these people. I absolutely loved everything that I saw, from the beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, the perfectly organized clothes hanging to dry in the sun, their amazing produce and farmers markets, to their outfits and the awesome beards (my husband was jealous). It was all a breath of fresh air, and far away from the usual pretentiousness that life in a major city tends to cultivate.

The beauty in the countryside was overwhelming, so I simply took pictures everywhere I went. They absolutely love flowers - flowers everywhere...so I think that the Amish and I would be good friends, if only for the love that we share for flowers.

Our non-equine buggy. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Giant hibiscus on someone's front lawn, so of course we stopped for a snap. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

It's not ber-LIN (like the German city), it's BUR-lin! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

To me, there is something very special about people who choose this as their ride and mode of transportation as opposed to cars. Here is a great example of an Amish buggy. For the first couple of hours, my kids were looking for Volkswagen Bugs every time we said "buggy"...until we did some explaining! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

A visit to the cheese factory. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

She did give me the look of "Really?!" Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Farmland Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Clothes drying on the line. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Hard to see, but this Dalmatian was relaxing next to the driveway. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

The produce (and pies) were amazing. All fruits and vegetables were about 1/3 of the price I am used to in San Francisco. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

We found this abandoned motel about two hours from the Amish farms as we were heading out of northern Ohio. We explored for a bit - which was a lot of fun. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Credits:

Styling, photography, and design by Kiana Underwood Select photography by Nathan Underwood