Paulina Buckley has an eye for beauty. From her start in New York where she trained as an interior designer, to a stint in Los Angeles where she discovered her love of flowers, Buckley has taken every opportunity to hone her creative instincts. When she and her Colorado-born boyfriend relocated to Denver a couple of years ago, she brought her bold floral vision to play in a whole new Rocky Mountain setting.
Now, with a fresh pop-up shop in Larimer Square, she’s sharing her unconventional arrangements and funky flair for home decor at the sweet-scented Buckley House of Flowers. Customers can drop in for a drink and a chat while they wait for their bouquet, or sign up for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly floral creations that change with the season.
5280 Home: How did you discover your love for blooms?
Paulina Buckley: I was living in Los Angeles, working at this Moroccan-inspired furniture store, and I thought, “I want to try something new.” I stumbled upon a flower shop in Venice, and I walked in there with no experience at all; I just wanted to help them out with their reception area and customer service. When I went in for an interview, they immediately had me helping clean the flowers, cleaning the buckets, and helping walk-in customers if they needed a bouquet or an arrangement. It kind of started from there.
How did you make the transition to Colorado’s floral scene?
When I first moved to Denver, I was freelancing with a bunch of different florists in the Denver area, and then I worked at Fiori Flowers in Boulder. I loved that shop, but I knew that I wanted to make my own name, and I ended up getting a really great opportunity with Leevers Locavore, which is a grocery store in the Highland [neighborhood] that just opened up in November. I started doing flowers for them and I still sell flowers out of their space.
With COVID-19, I initially wanted to do more online deliveries, and they picked up pretty quickly. Then the property managers of Larimer Square reached out to me. They wanted to do something different and have some smaller businesses do pop-ups for a short amount of time. The opportunity came mid-June, and they said they wanted me to start my lease July 1. We were able to pull it all together, with big help from our friends and family. It was an actual village of people who helped us to get this to flourish.
How would you describe your floral-design style?
My style is a little bit more whimsical and bold, more exotic and risky, more untraditional. I really love using the natural elements [native to] wherever I am. Even if I’m walking down my block and I see a tumbleweed, I’ll pick that up and somehow design with it. I’m very resourceful; I love experimenting and making things that are really funky looking and fun.
Weeds do not discourage me at all. I love the overgrown grasses that grow behind the dumpster. Honestly, the flowers in my apartment are things I find growing out of the cracks of the pavement. I’m always looking for those odd grasses growing in strange places. I think there’s beauty in all of that.
Tell us about your shop.
If you were to come to my home, this is what my home looks like. When you walk into the shop, it feels very comforting. It smells like amazing flowers, and we burn candles from a local candlemaker, Wooly Wax. Our plants are eye-catching. They’re very exotic and obscure, not what you would expect to see at a typical plant store. At the same time, we lean toward plants that aren’t extremely difficult to take care of. We carry a lot of cactus, succulents, orchids, and a variety of aloes and ferns. We offer people refreshments when they come in—we have coffee, wine, champagne, water—and we have a table outside with four seats and people can just hang out.
Do you partner with any local farms?
I work with Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Little Hollow in Berthoud, Little Seed in Johnstown, and this really wonderful company called the Colorado Flower Collective.
What else do you sell?
We just got some products in from Ladybird Vintage, and we have lots of different artwork from local Denver artists. It changes every week.
This has been a tough year for a lot of people. Why do flowers matter?
People in general gravitate toward nature. Flowers brighten up a space, and if you’re feeling down, flowers bring joy. Especially now.
1408 Larimer Street, Suite 102