MEET LAI-CHUNG HOULIHAN
GARDEN DESIGNER • SPROUT HOME
Lai-Chung Houlihan is Sprout Home's garden designer. Which means exactly what it sounds like: she designs gardens, (inside and outside) across Brooklyn and beyond. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Burlingame, CA, Lai-Chung eventually came east seeking an escape from her small-town California upbringing. After moving to New York in 1999, studying Fine Art Drawing at Pratt in pristine Fort Greene was enough to make her a dedicated Brooklyn resident, and she's lived here ever since.
On the way to Green-Wood Cemetery, Lai-Chung talked about her lack of experience with gardening prior to joining the Sprout Home team. Except for when we got to Sprout, she named every tree, plant, flower. Not with arrogance, but just energy that comes from someone who knows and loves what they're talking about.
Lai-Chung is an artist with both plants and paint. Floral themes. Focus on the female role in society. The art-creation process itself, all culminates here.
With her vast knowledge of plants and their needs, an eye for horticultural beauty, and an impressive ability to translate her client's ideas into complete installations, Lai-Chung has helped Sprout Home become a Williamsburg institution.
INTERVIEW: MADELINE TURNER
PHOTOGRAPHY: JASMINE KIM
My husband and I had a beach day and ended up at Littleneck a couple of years ago. We were driving down 3rd Avenue and it looks just like a restaurant by the coast. I love seafood and they have yummy cocktails. My favorite is the Chevette made with Bourbon, lime juice, simple syrup and IPA with the sidecar of draft beer.
Used to be on 5th Avenue, but relocated to Bergen Street a few years ago. Best curated boutique I have ever been to-all of their clothes are so soft and simple. They carry a brand called Ace and Jig, which I love because of the textiles they use. As a garden designer, I need clothes that can reflect my sense of style and at the same time the clothes need to be practical enough to work in. This is the place! My favorite items from here are my Stutterheim raincoat, NSF Shirt dress and a light coat by Ace and Jig.
TOURIST ATTRACTION: GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY
First heard about this place because they give away free mulch! I also have a client close to it, so I looked through the fence one spring day and saw the cherry trees in bloom and decided I have to go check it out. One warning: It is not a park so don't try to get too comfortable with your shoes off! It is a very high point in Brooklyn, so you can see the Verrazano Bridge and Manhattan from there. The little lanes and paths named after trees and shrubs are so adorable. Perfect for dates all year round!
DANCE: UNDERGROUND DANCE PARTY
I can only recall places where I used to go dancing: Moe's, Black Betty, & Soda- these are places in Brooklyn- but before that it was Limelight, Twilo, & even Coral Room. Recently, I did go to an underground dance party in Bedstuy- people were smoking inside just like it was 1999!
THINK: BIKE RIDE TO WORK
From Boerum Hill to Willamsburg- I take Dean to Vanderbilt, to Kent to Grand and I have to say it is very peaceful going the opposite traffic (Most people are riding to Manhattan). For those cooler months when it's hovering around the 30's, that's when you find yourself alone riding along the Navy Yard. The leaves on the trees have fallen, so the sky opens up and it is the clearest thinking time for me. I can think of all the things to do for the day and at the same time the bike lanes make me feel like it is safe to go straight for awhile with my head deep in thoughts!
READ: THE BEACHES: BRIGHTON, FORT TILDEN, ROCKAWAY
I just realized that this question can go in different ways- such as where is your favorite book store? or what do you like to read? or in my case is: where do I like to read? My favorite place to read is the beach- Brighton, Fort Tilden, Rockaway, I usually have a stack of New Yorker's to go through. Nothing is better than tanning and reading at the same time. I also love to take the Sea Streak Ferry to NJ- those beaches down there are amazing and the ride on the ferry reminds me there are so many places outside of NY to explore!
Coney Island Ave & Brightwater Ct., BKLYN
169 State Rd., QNS
Beach 67 St., QNS
TAKE A GIRLFRIEND & TAKE A DUDE: BICYCLE RIDE
Bicycle ride from Brooklyn Heights to Red Hook- I like to go down to the Promenade, take that little bridge or that very steep hill down to Dumbo, take the bike path at Brooklyn Bridge Park along the water all the way to Red Hook- stop at Pok Pok for a drink and or Lobster Roll at the Lobster Pound.