Born in LA to a father in the Marines and a free spirited mother, Gregory grew up living in various towns and cities across the US until making his home on Vashon Island in the 1970s. As he approached his 30’s, he decided to sell everything, pack his two faux alligator suitcases with all he owned and move to New York where he lived at the Chelsea Hotel before settling in Brooklyn. In New York his creative jobs began in merchandising and sales at merchants Artwear/ Robert Lee, Morris, Zona, 5 Eggs, and Umbrello / Portico.
Eventually, he became homesick for the Pacific Northwest, returned to Seattle to help create Nido, subsequently opening Little Nido with his friend and colleague Andrea Stuber. Some years later, after opening and running Hipberry Tearoom in Fremont and side gigging for Foundation, he spent the next 17 years at Barneys NY in Seattle. For the last 5 he has been an integral part of Churchmouse Yarns and Tea on Bainbridge Island, until this January, when we were lucky enough to have him come aboard as store manager for Our Seattle Concept Shop.
Gregory brings his ample experience and specific, soulful perspective to everything he does—a special note, a beautiful display, a tender conversation. Read on to get to know the newest member of the flora and henri family!
a watercolor by Gregory
"I have always been attracted to painting, drawing and what I call 'The Lady in Waiting Arts' (knitting, embroidering, crocheting). Since I was about 10, I was in love with a weird mix of artists from Aubrey Beardsley to R. Crumb."
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOU-
Practical, I like things to work well and simply, I believe that a fab display always starts with a great inventory (all of it at once please!), lots of cleaning and filling a space with focused energy. I think people respond to the vibe that’s left.
Intuitive, I think it has taken years to learn there is something that happens before first impressions. It’s a gut feeling and sometimes it's not even that, it's ending up where you need to be by what seems to be fate or not pushing too hard against the flow.
Lucky, very lucky. Most things that have worked out well for me are things I feel I had no control over at all; they just appeared out of what seems like the blue, jobs, our house, my husband - (thanks for introducing us Jodi).
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Kazuko- Actress and Jeweler (may she rest in peace, one of the kindest and truly beautiful beings I have ever met).
All kinds of music: Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Bryan Ferry, Taking Heads / David Byrne, Rufus Wainwright, I could go on forever...
My husband Peter. He is a major talent in so many ways, art, music, baking, cooking, you name it, he does it well.
one of Peter's infamous tarts
Jodi and Al Davis of Hound and Bottle-they have created a world that I love out here in Bremerton and not to mention Nancy from the Weekender. This trio of friends have been in my life for years and are my heart and inspiration. They have been manifesting beauty and love in our community since I met them.
Kimmy Siebens, her heart is huge. See her work at Bremerton Homeless Community Coalition.
a Jessica McCourt paper cut
Jessica McCourt @empireofpaper on Instagram is not only an inspiration for creativity but of discipline and humor. I commute with her many mornings out of the week and she always is creating something beautiful and rare.
WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
That is a tough one to answer because some things are so everyday, and some just silly. Black tea, English style milk and sugar, like Builders or Yorkshire Gold.
Alan’s Vespers Martini at Hound and Bottle.
Really good paper and a beautiful fountain pen, I have a pen that there are only 3 of in the world. They are all named Helena, from Annabella at The Lost Quill, she has one and Gretchen Scoble has one too.
My 2 dogs Lily and Archie.
Cologne = Santa Maria Novella Patcholli, Potpourri (Marescialla), Dries Van Noten by Fredrick Malle, and a new one Peter bought me in Edison called Amor Fati by Sigil
Santa Maria Novella Patchouli Cologne
WHEN ARE YOU MOST HAPPY OR IN BALANCE?
When I am home with my husband and dogs on the sofa knitting and watching T.V., Escape to the Chateau, on Sunday night.
Making a list, on pretty paper with a good pen.
Doing a display with gorgeous stuff at home or at work.
center table display by Gregory at flora and henri
HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN QUARANTINE BEEN?
Honestly, I have loved most of it. To have this much time at home working on our shelter has been perfect. I have felt the losses other folks have experienced and counted myself so far as lucky and grateful for the restrictions that are in place. I know it has been said, but my heart goes out to everyone in the thick of it, from medical workers to the janitors who make very little and do so much. Our local government has done an amazing job of keeping us alive and healthy.
The big project that I have been working on has been our front garden. We live on a very busy and kind of noisy street. The front yard really had no direction, just a funky old fence and a few scrubby plants. Very city living. I have put in raised beds because our soil is so bad and the old trees that have lived there forever suck all the energy and water from our ground. Peter and I have been trying to figure out how to make it work. I have put in 3 raised beds, soon to be 5, stained them black along with our fencing and filled them with flowers, herbs and vegetables. I have also been trying out new colors to paint the house, so our house looks like a Guernsey cow right now, but we have picked our colors and it is starting to look like something good.
Our dog Archie had a big back surgery and had to be watched every day during his recovery. We were both here at home. For this extra time, I am totally grateful.
I am looking forward to time in the city again, commuting with my friends ( I have a brilliant pod of friends I commute with, so lots of quality time in the morning.) I miss working and can't wait to get into flora and henri and shake up the floor with new beautiful displays and return to whatever might be normal.
a shot from Gregory's front yard project
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL WHERE WOULD IT BE?
We were on our way to Palm Springs for our friends 50th Birthday, but it was canceled. We were planning on going to Oaxaca Mexico in the fall, but who knows what will happen. Fantasy would be Portugal and Spain for a big trip. I have never been to Bali or Thailand, and I would love that. We have been to Mexico City and loved that so much. Tulum is so great too, I love the beach.
MY FAVORITE ITEM IN THE STORE IS
The Nymphenburg Egg Lantern by Ted Muehling, with the Santa Maria Novella Patchouli coming right behind.
YEARS FROM NOW WHERE WILL YOU BE?
I love where I am right now, I will take more of the same please.