ISSUE 28  |  Before and After

Shopper’s Diary: Sarah Winward’s Floral Design Studio in Salt Lake City

July 13, 2015 3:00 PM

BY Erin Boyle

Many of this country’s most celebrated entrepreneurs begin their journey within the humble four walls of the family garage. Rock bands, media companies, and tech companies have channeled creativity among dirty work benches and half-empty oil cans. 

Not all garage studios look like that. Salt Lake City-based floral designer Sarah Winward moved her floral design studio, Honey of a Thousand Flowers, to a garage in downtown Salt Lake City recently. No abandoned cardboard boxes or rusty paint cans here, though. Let’s visit:

Photography by Britt Chudleigh.

Above: The open studio door.

Before becoming a floral designer, Sarah was a student studying the Middle East who answered phones and swept floors in flower shops. Then, after helping some friends design their wedding flowers, Sarah was hooked. She began arranging flowers from her yard and wherever she could find them. Sarah explains, “Soon friends of friends were asking for me to do flowers for their weddings, so I made a blog where I posted photos, and then I made a website. And suddenly I started taking clients. It all felt so fast and fluid.” 

 Above: Inside her studio, a table and chairs on a rug create a multi-purpose space for client meetings and evening dinners.

After Sarah decided to move her business into a garage, she spruced up the space with fresh paint and new lights. With her husband, Sarah built wooden tables and cabinets. Outside the studio, Sarah planted a cutting garden she harvests for bouquets. 
Aside from these improvements, Sarah kept the garage mostly as she found it: “Working with flowers is messy, and I find it’s best for me to just have open space to spread out in; it’s pretty utilitarian.”

Above: Sarah’s cutting garden, where she grows zinnia, Lamb’s-ear, and heuchera to use in arrangements.

Above: Indoors, the studio has shelves of props.

Props are an essential part of the business. Some come from wholesale floral suppliers, but many are vintage and were collected one piece at a time. “I am a hoarder by nature, so I feel that my job is the best and the worst thing for me,” she says. “I get my fix by buying new vases and displaying them on my shelves.”

Above: More props, organized by material.

Some of Sarah’s vintage pieces came from thrift stores or eBay; others were collected on travels in the US, Morocco, and India.

Above: Sarah at work, designing.

Sarah is inspired by the natural world when she designs an arrangement: “I love the way flowers look out in the gardens and on the mountainside, and I like to try and let the flowers feel natural when arranged.” 

Above: An arrangement of pear tree foliage, maidenhair fern, Pee Gee hydrangea, echinacea or (white coneflower), and bunny grass.

Color is an integral part of the design process for Sarah: “I usually start with one flower and build a palette around it.” Sarah’s not a fan of too much contrast in her arrangements, so she works to blend colors together by finding the right shades to create color bridges.

Above: Sarah at work in the studio.

The overall floral aesthetic for each wedding that Sarah works on is created by thinking about the couple, the season, and the location for their wedding.

Above: Sarah opens the studio to the street.

The studio sits on the edge of Salt Lake City’s downtown across from Pioneer Park, which holds the biggest Salt Lake City farmers’ market. During the summer when there are concerts in the park, Sarah opens the front garage door and hosts barbecues with friends. 

Above: What does Sarah love most about the studio? “It’s a great space that can transform from a workspace to a nice space where I can host a dinner or a workshop,” she says.

Sarah even has hosted an actual wedding in the space: “I love that is a space where my friends, family, and associates can come and we all feel welcome and comfortable.”

For more of Sarah’s floral designs or to set up a consultation, see Honey of a Thousand Flowers.