These Savvy Spaces are Green and Gorgeous Frederique & Carter
Written By: Robyn Wyman-Dill Frederique & Carter
Photographer: Tae Kwon
If there is one thing in this universe that we can agree on, it is that flowers brighten pretty much everyone’s day. This truth is especially true when it comes to the home, which is exactly the feeling Frederique & Carter want to bring to urban living spaces—combining their knowledge, design savvy and passion for all things related to plants, flowers and the environment— in their new series HomeGrown Makeover on FYI Network. For the captivating businesswoman and celebrity entrepreneur, Frederique Van der Wal, growing up surrounded by fields of tulip heads in columns of rainbow colors is “in the genes.” She received the honor of having the lily she picked, Frederique’s Choice, named after her by the Dutch government in recognition of her international success in modeling. She knows the powers that flowers possess to infuse life into an environment and has a joyous manner to show for it, backed by a bedrock of knowledge in floriculture. Her partner in design, Carter Oosterhouse, had already made his mark enhancing surroundings on television series like Trading Spaces, Celebrity Motor Homes and FYI’S Rowhouse Showdown when he was invited to bring his eco-living expertise to HomeGrown Makeover. For Carter, the show is the perfect fit. The easy-going, lifestyle expert/craftsman, who found growing up in Traverse City, Michigan, is excited to be pushed to do more creatively with someone who inspires him as much as Frederique. Frederique & Carter
Q: Will you take me through the process of how the idea for doing Homegrown Makeover came about?
Carter Oosterhouse: When I was asked to be a part of the show, I thought it was unique and would be very inspiring for people who live in urban areas. People who don’t get to see a whole lot of green. It was something I had not seen on TV before and so for me it was easy to jump onboard. I’d never really focused so much on how to bring the outdoors in before and incorporate it in all the different builds and designs, but I love to be pushed and do more creative projects. This was definitely one of them.
Frederique Van der Wal: And we wanted to show how to incorporate it and make it easy for people. For me, growing up in Holland, flowers are so much a part of everyday life so if you are in a home there is always life through flowers and plants. I thought how great it would be to show ways for people to create a better environment in the home. With Carter, what I love is he comes from an eco background which made it really fun for us to collaborate in this way together.
Q: So how do you create “environment‘ when you go into spaces?
FVW: You kind of have to know what works and what doesn’t in some ways but there are fantastic ways to create in these spaces. First we listen to the homeowners but we also put our spin on the project too. There are a lot of plants people don’t realize you can bring indoors that give off oxygen and also absorb bad smells—like eucalyptus and English ivy—that oxidize a room. By using certain flowers and colors you kind of change your environment just through that. So, we’re showing people in each home ways to incorporate that. Sometimes it’s as simple as one flower stand that someone can change out. It doesn’t have to be enormous, but sometimes it was. We made a whole hanging orchard garden basically mimicking something you see in nature.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the materials you use, Carter.
CO: We are trying to bring so much of an organic touch by bringing the green in. That, as a builder, is something I strive to do on every project, not just this one. We went from Forest Stewardship Council certified lumber to second hand stores in search of salvageable materials so it would be as eco-friendly as it can be. First I have got to try and make sense of what elements and materials work with the types of greenery Frederique wants to bring in. In design, you never want to sacrifice style for functionality but in this case we feel that we really hit it on the head with both. What we are trying to achieve in spaces that are always lived in and are used to the fullest, especially in New York, is functionality and style.
Q: How does your areas of expertise connect?
CO: Frederique brings her floral background and design and I have the building background and design so we were able to match those two. It was really two different world coming together.
FVW: It was interesting because a lot of it was even on the spot where we would have these ideas and say, let’s do it that way. It was really about how the inspiration hit us. And, of course, when you’re dealing with small spaces, it’s a wonderful challenge and that’s kind of great too.
Q: Share some tips viewers can expect from the series?
FVW: What I am seeing already is that it really inspires people to think how you can make, for example, a dreary, dormant winter season feel like spring with little changes in your home. Either building something where you bring in plants or you make your environment more upbeat by incorporating flowers and plants. It’s really something to hear the different ways people take what they learn and create something.
Q: You mentioned earlier that flowers have always been part of your life but what was it that kickstarted you to pursue this path?
FVW: When I moved to New York to start my modeling career, I noticed that flowers were not as accessible as they are in Europe so flowers became even more of an inspiration because I was in search of them to brighten up my apartment. In 2005, I was honored by the Dutch government for my modeling career with a lily in my name. Up till then, I really didn’t know the long journey a flower makes from growing fields to market. Did you know it takes about 10 years to produce a new breed of lily? So, the journey itself is such a fantastic element of it, I decided to develop, produce and host The Invisible Journey, for Discovery Channel that traced the route flowers travel and that brought me to start an e-commerce company, Frederique’s Choice, so flowers could be brought to people in an approachable way. This brought me to say, “Wouldn’t it be great to tell the story of how to incorporate greens into your everyday life with Homegrown Makeover using flowers and plants?”
Q: What do you like best about the series and working with Carter?
FVW; I’m enjoying the ride with Carter. What I’m most proud of is learning all these new trades and how to use all those machines from Carter. What I love about the show is seeing the surprise on people’s faces when they see the transformation that has taken place in their spaces. Because surprise is a great feeling.
Q: What do you like best about the series and working with Frederique?
CO: You know we had such a fun time. It was in the middle of the summer in New York City. I’d worked in New York before but never in the middle of summer so it was accomplishing all these makeovers in small spaces in the city, which is such a task. If you can do that in an urban area you can take that out and do that anywhere. Greening up spaces was something I didn’t know we could really pull off and to what extend but, at the end of the day, when we looked at the makeover, it was impressive what we could accomplish in a short amount of time with design using plants and floral accents without ‘pushing the occupants to the side‘ to accommodate that in their little 800 square foot apartments. I learned so much from Frederique in terms of flowers. She would come and explain which flower she was going to use and I would think to myself, “How are we going to do that?” She would tell me what that flower would help the room in terms of smell and what it’s going to do for the room aesthetically. I have always believed in flowers but, never used them in my designs before. Now that I’ve learned so much from her, hopefully in the future my designs will be so much better.
Q: Frederique, share with me your favorite picks of flowers and plants to uplift your home.
FVW: Any flowers work well. I think people should not be afraid to combine different flowers. In plants, Peace Lily is an air purifier. Also English Ivy, which is an easy one. Citrus trees—you need a little bit more light for that. Calla lilies are easy to grow and they last long. Hydrangeas are beautiful.
Q: When you are not working, what do you like to do on your days off?
CO: Well, I can tell you what Frederique likes to do on her days off. She’s the biggest biker in the city of New York, which is really cool and which I got to see first hand.
FVW: He even rode on the back of my bicycle. I made him sit sideways.
No doubt, discussing the many-splendored qualities of lilacs, peonies, roses and hyacinths as they cruised Manhattan.
Homegrown Makeover is on FYI Network, with new episodes airing Saturday mornings, 8:00 a.m. PST and 11:00 a.m. EST.
4701 W Jefferson Blvd Ste 3
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Celebrity Design Team Frederique & Carter Bring Urban Spaces to Live