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Updated: Jul 7, 2020

I am so glad you could make it over! It's brunch o'clock at the Plant Penthouse, so I've set the table and saved you a seat right next to me! Today, we're serving up a full-course meal on how the Plant Penthouse living area was brought to life, with leftovers (style tips and tricks, of course) you can take back to your penthouse. Before we get to the main course, let's start with an amuse bouche of where this all began to add just the taste for what's to come!


After living the West Coast life from August 2016 - July 2019, I packed my belongings into a storage unit in downtown Seattle and made the move back to my home state of Minnesota with a suitcase and my newly formed management consulting business. Finding my own space to call home was on the immediate to-do list (family is wonderful, but there is nothing like having your own, am I right?), so after a few months of searching the Minneapolis area, I purchased the condo of my dreams, which became the Plant Penthouse you see today!

While I had ideas of transformation grandeur the moment I grasped the keys, I faced an incredibly humbling journey ahead. Remember that storage unit in Seattle with all of my belongings? Well, a freak roof incident caused water damage beyond repair. The most devastating part was that storage management did not feel it was necessary to inform storage tenants of the accident, so I flew in for my relocation move, only to find all of my furniture and the majority of my personal belongings completely destroyed. Again, HUMB-LING.

Starting over taught me how quickly we can 'covet' things, and how quickly they can be taken away. I am exponentially appreciative for each item and experience I've been blessed with, and recognize now more than ever that everything has it's place (and time) in our lives - and to focus on that which is irreplaceable. And would-ja look at that, the rest of the meal is ready! *Dabs napkin to eye* Let's get the fine silverware!

While I do that, here's a remnant of the amuse bouche, in pictures:


SOUP | Time to add another layer to this meal! If there is anything I have learned on the ongoing quest to create 'home' from ground zero, it is this: ensure you can see yourself in your space. I guarantee it will instantly transform into a happy place. But here's an example of what not to do: Because I have always admired dwelling spaces with a modern, monochromatic and minimalist essence, I decided THAT is precisely what I would copy/paste into my loft. With my Pinterest board locked and loaded, I started by purchasing a neutral area rug and classic wood-framed bed. Don't get me wrong, they were BEAUTIFUL. Upon arrival, however, I felt like something was...missing. Ironically, the bed arrived broken, so I took that as my sign from Jesus to abandon the inauthentic and reunite with what represents me: color, pattern, travel and a teaspoon of the unexpected. What does that mean for you? Whether it is incorporating your favorite color, an heirloom piece, or a HomeGoods find that makes your heart sing: incorporate THAT into your space without apology.

SALAD | In the same fashion that a salad dish sets the palate for the main course, I recommend visualizing your interior style, then finding ways to center it with a consistent theme. How did this come to life in The Plant Penthouse, you ask? Well, with my own Soup formula in mind (color + print + global inspiration + wild = happy Shayla), I started by shopping for a 'signature' piece of furniture and an area rug that embodied me (i.e. do I simultaneously Kool-Aid smile and nod when I see them?). While I love all the color, all the time, I was cognizant that there must be some method to the madness; and an area rug is a fun way to ground your personal style and create a cohesive flow. If area rugs are not your cup of tea, a piece of artwork, accessories, or paint/wallpaper can also accomplish the same result! Once you have decided upon your focal piece, pulling colors or unique elements from it will lead you right into a main course you'll be excited to share with friends and family!

MAIN COURSE | Time to bring it all together, shall we?

At the plant penthouse, by sticking to the happy Shayla formula detailed above, and using my area rug as a color-wheel of inspiration for my space, the next step was selecting elements to add substance. This is where I let my inner plant enthusiasm EXPLODE. Plants are such a wonderful way to add texture and interest to any space. And note, you do not need 80 of them to accomplish this! By placing even one plant in a corner that could use some love, on a kitchen counter, or as a warm entryway welcome, I promise you will feel new life breathed into your space. As an added benefit, plant pots are another simple way to add personal flair!


Remember, a "penthouse" can be any dwelling space with a different layout from others in the building, ample outdoor space, or premium views! And it's not necessarily on the top floor. This means each of us has the space to cultivate a penthouse experience; regardless of the size, location or circumstance. So raise that pinky and let's do this, Residents.

Until next week <3


4 comentarios

Maya Ballbach
Maya Ballbach
20 may 2021

Hey I’m Maya and I checked you out a few weeks ago at Tonkadale! I decided to checkout your website and instagram and you‘re so inspiring! The patterns and colors you use whilst incorporating plants into the design is so creative. I would never think of the combinations you think of but it gives me food for thought. You are a true artist :))

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jeanne moffat
jeanne moffat
23 jul 2020

Just saw you on The Jason Show on Fox. Love your story, this site and your plant ideas. I have been trying to figure out how to tie it all together in my new apt. Thanks for all the tips. Congratulations on your new endeavors and moving home.

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Shayla Owodunni
Shayla Owodunni
05 jul 2020

Thank you Angelica!! Omg you too?! I think that style wave swept up a lot of us! I appreciate you taking the time to read - it means so much!! <3

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LOVE the storytelling behind it!! Esp. when you mention trying to go monochromatic... I can totally relate!!!!

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