Date: September 1, 2023 | Story: Eileen Beard | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Bailey Dougan |
The owners of Fayetteville’s Meus Floral Studio create moody arrangements with pops of color to take you from summer to fall
Speaking to Faith Hundley and Molly Barnes, owners of Meus Floral Studio in downtown Fayetteville, one would guess they’ve been friends since childhood. However, they didn’t actually meet until working on the same freelance floral project in 2018; and in that meeting, something clicked. “That’s where Molly and I first started bonding, talking about our grandmothers’ gardens and the desire to work with our hands,” Faith says. “I remember telling someone right after I met Faith that we were going to be best friends,” Molly adds with a laugh.
Molly, who studied fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, had just moved to Fayetteville that year so her husband could attend graduate school at the University of Arkansas. Faith, a Northwest Arkansas native, followed a similar path back to the region after living in California for three years. During that time, she took classes at the San Francisco Flower Market. The duo opened their floral studio in 2019, but their plan to focus on special events was quickly derailed by the pandemic. “A lot of our weddings got pushed back, and we really had to think about how to make our business continue to work,” Molly says. They switched their center of attention to single-day celebrations like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. “On those days especially, we see each other more than our husbands,” Faith says. The two don’t seem to mind. “I can’t believe I get to work with my best friend,” Molly says. “It’s the craziest, luckiest thing.”
Faith and Molly both look to nature for inspiration, creating arrangements with flowers and grasses that appear as if they’ve just been picked from the garden—because some of them have been. “I really like to discover new varieties of flowers to grow and bring them into the shop to work with,” Molly says.
For this issue, the two created arrangements based on the changing season using flowers available in early fall. “We’re playing off the colors that are occurring in nature around this time, which is something we usually try to do,” Faith says. Read on to learn more about their creations.
Molly and Faith will celebrate four years in their studio this month. “I would say Faith is the creative director making sure everything is absolutely perfect,” Molly says about her business partner. “Molly makes sure we can actually execute,” Faith says. “We’re a good balance.”
Easy Does It
Marigolds, yarrow, and wild grasses burst forth from tiny bud vases, which Faith and Molly recommend starting with if you’re new to floral arranging. “You don’t have to work as hard,” Faith says. “Just throw some flowers in there, wiggle them a little, and the opening kind of determines the shape.” Molly suggests placing bud vases in a line down a dining room table for a look that is more minimal and modern than a large, traditional arrangement. “It’s nice and low. Even the tall elements are grasses so you can see through them,” she says.
Ranunculus, astilbe, smoke bush, chocolate cosmos, scabiosa, and wild grasses fill a ceramic flower frog, another great starter vase for the home florist. “If you have little bits from your yard, they are perfect to stick stems into the individual holes,” Faith says. “You can even just have two to three stems and it could look really neat.”
Burgundy sunflowers peek out of a ribbed vase, complemented by yarrow, chocolate cosmos, autumn eucalyptus, and foliage from Molly’s garden. “The color of this vase is very neutral so it will go with a lot of different color schemes, but the texture of it adds some visual interest,” Molly says.
This wispy arrangement is a mix of chocolate cosmos, yarrow, and wild grasses in a shallow compote vase. “There are only three elements but, paired with that vase, it looks so interesting. A cool vase allows you to have less variety which can be helpful if you’re working at home,” Faith says. Chicken wire wrapped around the base of the stems keeps them upright, but putting a small flower frog inside a larger vessel would also do the trick.
Light & Fluffy
A combination of chocolate Queen Anne’s lace and smoke bush create a pink and white arrangement reminiscent of cotton candy. “Don’t be afraid to put two things together that are really similar colors and textures,” Molly says. The small footprint of this terracotta vase makes this a great addition to a nightstand, where space is limited.
Good as Marigold
Marigolds pack a punch in this single-flower arrangement with a simple, tone-on-tone vase. “It’s our favorite flower we get locally to use summer into fall,” Molly says. She adds that using a single flower is a great place to start designing arrangements at home: “You can focus more on the shape and the way the flower moves versus mixing different flowers.”
“I love single element arrangements. The abundance feels like a luxury.”
Garden roses in faded pink and orange hues are the focal point of this late summer stunner, supported by ranunculus and lisianthus. Amaranth, astilbe, and cherry foliage from Molly’s garden add texture. “We always try to add something light and airy at the end, like cosmos, which Molly calls dancers,” Faith says. With the exception of the roses, all of the elements of this arrangement were locally sourced. “Whenever we can get local flowers, we jump at the chance,” she adds.
The artful mix of florals and low, modern compote container make this a welcoming arrangement for an entry table.