There’s no place like home for Center City Philadelphia resident John Whitenight, especially since he lives in a five-floor, brick-and-brownstone row house built in 1862 that has barely been altered since its glorious hey day.
The view from the street is impressive, but the interior is more so. Whitenight has lovingly filled a 40-foot conservatory with rare and worldly plants; he’s created two plush Parisian-inspired parlors draped in velvet; and amassed antiques from the 19th century, now carefully restored and displayed.
Whitenight, who taught high-school art for 30 years in Bucks County, is teaming up with longtime Flower Show exhibitor Jamie Rothstein Floral Design to bring a French parlor and garden to “Springtime in Paris,” the 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show. His home serves as just the beginning for their inspiration.
“That lush, over-the-top Parisian life, that’s what we are trying to capture,” Whitehouse said recently.
“The exhibit will be the best blend of what we both do,” Rothstein said.
Early designs for the exhibit, which will come to life near the Show’s main feature, include an interior parlor with crown molding, architectural urns overflowing with fresh cut flowers, sconces and large windows. The exterior will include antique wire window-boxes, a walk-through Parisian garden, and a central fountain. The display may also draw from period-appropriate plants, such as chenille, Kentia palms and Aspidistra.
“Aspidistra were very popular. They were the only plants that could withstand coal and gas fumes of the 19th century parlors,” Whitenight said. “That’s why they are called cast-iron plants.”
We can’t wait!