Inside the Glamorous Sydney Home of Instagram's Favourite Florist
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, and take you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head to the stylish home and studio of Emily Michele Smith, the floral virtuoso who sits at the helm of Boutierre Girls. With a thoroughly modern take on a classic art—a quick scroll through her feed will assure you that these are not your mother’s roses—Smith’s style both eschews and embraces the traditions of floristry. A true master of her art, Smith counts Kim and Khloe Kardashian as fans... not to mention, 98,000+ followers who like her every orchid. Here, we discuss interior style, custom renovations and switching careers. You probably didn't know this, but Smith was studying Medical Science before swapping test tubes for tuberoses.
On a quiet, suburban street in Sydney’s North resides Instagram’s favourite florist. Emily Michele Smith lives on a sprawling property in Epping, which houses her studio and a retreat away from it. When we visit, it’s around 2pm—and Smith has been up since 3. Such is the gruelling schedule her bespoke floral atelier demands, but this 29-year-old isn't complaining—not even that many hours into her day. You’ve seen her studio on your Discover page (we’re sure) but her home is as beautiful as her blooms; it’s comfortable and glamorous. It houses her breathtaking collection of designer fashion (pieces from Chanel, Fendi, Gucci, Saint Laurent and The Row line her walk-in wardrobe) and is accented with timeless pieces, but perhaps it is her art collection that best encapsulates her aesthetic. A delicate rose artwork by Vicki Lee hangs above her dining table, while a masterfully layered Craig Waddell Skull takes centre stage in her entrance hall.
Hi Emily! This series is called The Makers. Tell us about what it is you make.
I make bespoke floral arrangements and bouquets, and specialise in weddings, events and gifting.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I've always been creative, and since I was young my love language has been gift giving. Falling into floristry has been really rewarding for me. What I love most is that each day is different—new clients, new briefs and new seasons mean I'm always challenged creatively.
Your work is incredible. When did your appreciation and practice begin?
I've loved flowers since I was a toddler. I grew up with my family at a boarding school with incredible gardens.
My mum also always made a huge effort to have a really beautiful garden, which is a full-time job in itself. And my childhood best friend and next door neighbour also had a Mum who was pretty much a professional gardener with the most incredible garden. We would section off an area of the garden and make it our own! We called it Flower Park.
Tell us about Boutierre Girls—what was the impetus behind launching your studio?
We have just gone into our fifth official year, and to be honest I had no idea it would be successful, or my career. I just knew I was good at making things look pretty.
What keeps you motivated when you have to wake up at 3am to head to the flower markets?
Seeing my friends and flower shopping! It's such a fun part of the job. It's like a rat race in the mornings, running around trying to find the best of everything before it's snapped up.
The flower markets is also the one time where all my florist friends are in the same place. We often get coffee and breakfast and have a quick morning catch-up afterwards, which is great because it can be quite isolating working by yourself or with a small team.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
My parents have owned this home since I was born. It was a tiny little two bedroom fibre cottage which we have renovated and extended over the last 20 years. I lived here the first four years of my life, and then moved back in the last two years of high school. Then, I moved out again.
I conceived Boutierre Girls about six years ago. I used to work out of the kitchen and cover every room in the house in buckets and arrangements. It was fun for the first year or two but things got out of control pretty quickly. We then renovated the garage into a studio to suit the needs of my business.
Now, my parents live in Tamworth and I live here with my sister. It's been really fun making the house my own, as I am a real homemaker.
How did you initially know this was the right home for you?
I didn't. It was more a matter of working with what we had, and renovating it to suit the needs of my business. I'm lucky that my parents helped me bring my vision to life, along with a really talented friend from school (Daniel Andrew Joinery) who designed and built everything for me including my beautiful concrete kitchen sink and bench, shelves, tiling, lighting and insulation. Even on a 40 degree day in summer, my studio is still cool.
Tell us about your bedroom.
It's a sanctuary, and I like to read here. I also do a lot of work, emails and event planning from my bed. I've had chronic fatigue for eight years so if I'm not physically working on a job, this is where you'll find me, with my two cats.
What's your favourite piece in your bedroom?
Definitely my gorgeous painting by Morgan Allender. I need to get a mirror so I can see it when I'm in bed!
What does getting a good night’s sleep mean to you?
Having more than three hours! It's always hard to get a good sleep before a market morning. I start at 3 (yes, in the morning) and the night before I always have lists running through my head; organising what I need to buy the following day, and being scared I'll miss my alarm. (It hasn't happened, but I literally set about 30.)
How does your home reflect you as a person?
I like to keep things neat, tidy and minimal with a side of bling, thus the crystal chandeliers, velvet and touches of silver acrylic.
Tell us about your interior style.
I've styled my home with beautiful, timeless pieces against a neutral palette. My bed and couch are white, and the tables are all marble and stone. I've brought colour in with art and, of course, flowers. It's fun to mix the colours up and I currently have deep purple lilac flowers throughout.
What’s the best thing that’s happened since you started your business?
Definitely the friendships I've made, and most importantly my Bouti team.
Ebony, Sophie and Emily (there's two of us) have literally changed my life. I am so lucky to have such loving, caring and encouraging girls that work with me and have become my closest friends/ family.
They are always up for a challenge. They are happy to work work crummy hours and they keep me sane.
What's the most challenging?
Working with a perishable product to a deadline... and weddings! Brides have the difficult challenge of creating their one dream wedding, where as we have the difficult challenge of bringing to life up to 100 weddings in a year. We are often designing and working on 10-20 weddings at one time, along with events and daily orders.
What's one thing you wish you knew when you started?
Don't undersell yourself.
What would be your advice to other people who'd like to start their own business?
Get some industry knowledge first, save some money before you launch and find a really good accountant and bookkeeper.
Keeping on top of your books and truly understanding tax is hard in the first few years, especially if when you have to do it all yourself. If I had my time over again, I would invest in this from the get-go.
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