After growing up in Japan and relocating to London to study in 2004, botanical stylist Yasuyo Harvey moved to the suburbs before her then-5-year-old son, Noah, started school. Her family’s circa-1930s house in Worcester Park came with a neighborhood full of young children, easy access to “the best Korean restaurant in London”—and daily inspiration for her graceful floral compositions. “The best plants are usually in the alleyways between houses or in someone’s front garden,” she told The Modern House.
After stripping wallpaper from most of the rooms in the house, Yasuyo and husband Phil remodeled the kitchen and turned their attention to the garden. Working side by side for several weekends, they built a Japanese box garden (a tsuboniwa) with raised beds to grow the flowers for her work. “I call myself a botanical stylist,” says Yasuyo. “I’m more interested in creating objects and sculptures for beautiful interiors than conventional floristry.”
Read on for a tour, original botanical art included.
Photography courtesy of The Modern House.
When the couple bought the house, “The kitchen was so tiny,” says Yasuyo. “Phil is quite big, and he could hardly turn round in it. Our friend Ryuta Hirayama, who works at Jonathan Tuckey Design, helped us draw up plans for an extension.”
The remodeled kitchen has a new range, custom plywood cabinets, and a white composite worktop (“the whitest we could find,” Yasuyo says) with an integrated dish drain area.
Yasuyo worked for a florist in London before she began teaching floral classes to Japanese expats, showing them “how to make a bouquet or arrangement. It was great because I could do it in my spare time,” she says. “I did that for two or three years, then started going to Paris Fashion Week with a friend, helping her as a translator.
“One year I met Faye and Erica Toogood when I visited their fashion presentation in Paris,” she told The Modern House. “Faye asked me to decorate her new studio for a photo shoot. … I’ve just finished some work for an apartment that she interior-designed in King’s Cross.”
See more of Yasuyo Harvey’s house and garden at The Modern House.
More projects we love in London:
- The Design Is in the Details: The Weavers House, Chan + Eayrs’ Huguenot-Inspired Oasis in London
- A Star Is Born: A Rehabbed London Maisonette from a Newly Minted Designer, High/Low Secrets Included
- East London Hideout: Inventive Small-Space Quarters for Two Designers
N.B.: A version of this post first appeared on Gardenista; for the original story, see The Botanical Life: At Home with London Stylist Yasuyo Harvey.