Pilar Zuniga of Oakland, CA’s Gorgeous and Green is a true testament to not only following your dreams, but also giving yourself permission to let your dreams evolve. Eight years ago while working in the health education sector for a non-profit company, Pilar began to see that there was a need for resources in wedding design and event planning that were both sustainable and earth-friendly. What began as a mere vision quickly developed into selling sustainable floral designs and offering design services out of her garage.
Shortly thereafter, Pilar was able to leave her day job and open a retail space where she offered locally made and sustainable goods (plants, flowers, and jewelry) that supported 30 to 40 other eco-friendly businesses and makers. After six-and-a-half years of retail, Pilar was ready for another transformation. She left her retail space to transition Gorgeous and Green into the design studio it is now, offering floral design services for businesses and events, floral decor and gifts that are available by delivery via their site (and delivered locally by bike!).
In addition to Gorgeous and Green being sustainable itself, the move to the new studio location was in part to be more supportive to Pilar’s own work life. When Pilar heard that a fellow business woman she had provided floral designs for in the past had opened workshare studios (just eight blocks from her home), she knew it would be a great opportunity to make a connection with fellow creatives and the local community.
Pilar describes her studio space’s beginnings as “basically a large corrugated metal shed.” She has since created a beautiful and heartfelt space that highlights the space’s brick wall and concrete floors, and she added light through the reclaimed french doors so that her floral creations have the light they need to be captured in all their glory. Her first project in the new space was the floors — she spent roughly a week removing old oil marks, staining the concrete, and adding a clear coat. Pieces from her previous retail space and added natural elements play off the existing features, like the reclaimed wood shelves and new cubbies. The result is a space where Pilar can create pieces both big and small, spread out as much as she needs, do the less glamorous details (emails), and also have an inviting space for clients and events. And after seeing her gorgeous flower arrangements in front of that blue wall, you may want to want to splash some blue paint on your own walls! –Rebekah
Photography by Sorella Muse
Workshare Studios: Mignonne Atelier
Reclaimed wood work bench, side table, shelves: Ransom Design
Vintage Pedestal Bathtub, other pieces: Urban Ore
Reclaimed chandeliers: Restore, San Leandro
Chairs: World Market
Area rug: Target
Blue Wall: “The Real Teal” by Behr (no VOC)