Jenna Holmes, owner and creative director of Plant Mama, moved into her Collingwood home in early 2018 (after moving out of a divine historic Richmond home that was demolished. Devastating.) While the shopfront on Johnston Street looks unassuming from the outside, enter Jenna’s jungle house and find an absolutely enormous two-storey haven – complete with a resplendent Edwardian staircase – right in the hustle and bustle of Collingwood!
Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from both Smith st and Hoddle Street, Jenna’s rented home is located in an area dense with other small businesses. ‘It’s apparently been called “The Friendship Strip” for years – Nicholson Street, Abbotsford to Smith Street, Collingwood’, she says. ‘We all support and know what’s going on with each other, everyone goes to the same café every morning.’
Jenna initially moved in with her friends, who joined forces to transform the space – starting off by painting the interiors all white. When the Plant Mama business started to expand (quickly!) she found she ‘needed a bigger studio’, so she took on the whole space herself, and put her own twist on it. While some would have baulked at the task of overhauling this space and making it feel homey (it really is enormous, especially by Collingwood standards!), Jenna’s can-do attitude and aptitude for paintbrushes and power tools made her the perfect woman for the job.
Given this property is a commercial space, Jenna has been able to make more substantial changes than a regular residential rental. ‘This is the first place that I have been able to paint the walls, and when I realised I was able to, I went completely nuts!’ Jenna ran to Bunnings (literally ran) and purchased Dulux colours Persian Pastel, Highland Green and Government Green paints. Not surprisingly, this bold palette acts as a dramatic backdrop for the many plant vignettes set up around the house. She also renovated the back courtyard, her favourite part of the home, to create a peaceful sanctuary. Because of the layout of the home, Jenna is able to close the residential space off and rent out the incredible downstairs (plant-filled, of course!) living spaces for photoshoots and events, which helps her offset the costs of living in such a coveted spot.
Jenna delightfully describes her home aesthetic as ‘chaotic 70s European/Italian.’ The space is filled with beautiful second-hand pieces, as well as artwork by her brother Cam Holmes, and she emphasises that the thrill of the hunt is half the joy. With its high ceilings, the space is bright and light, and provides a perfect setting for ceramics, paintings and other creations by talented friends. And plenty of plants, of course!
Plant Mama’s amazing Collingwood space is available for event and photoshoot hire! Click here for more info.
The front room/shop front of Jenna Holmes’ (aka Plant Mama’s) Collingwood jungle! Almost everything in this room is secondhand – including this FAB yellow sofa that came in three pieces and cost $65 for the lot! Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
‘My most creative work is done in this room. I have created my version of a dream space that encourages and inspires creativity within myself. A lot of my girlfriends who work for themselves will come work with me in the space, we’ll play Aretha Franklin, drink wine and throw ideas around the space, it has a good vibe’, Jenna tells. Couch + paintings are all secondhand. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Plant Mama herself! Jenna upstairs in her Collingwood home. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
This table is one of Jenna’s best secondhand vibes, ‘I will have it forever without a doubt!’ she enthuses! The rug comes from Jenna’s landlord, The Rug Gallery. Artwork by Jenna’s brother, Cam Holmes. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
There are propagation vessels all throughout the house. ‘It’s the easiest way to expand your plant family and they last longer than flowers’, Jenna advises. HanMade ceramic sculpture. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
All vessels in the house in the house are either handmade by Jenna’s friends or second hand. ‘I think it’s the easiest way to add a little flavour to a room’, she says. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
‘The lady at the shop selling the yellow vase said it had been there forever because people were afraid of the colour. NOT I!’ Jenna says! Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The light in the house streams into the second floor. It’s the only fully white room in the house, so in true Jenna style, she had to paint the fireplace just to ‘add a little something-something’. Daybed, lamp and painting are secondhand. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The stairway, where Jenna drinks her morning coffee, is ‘a light-filled dream’, she says. It showcases the little quirky design additions to the home, including the stained glass window and glass lighting fixtures. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The kitchen painting is by Jenna, ‘I needed to fill that space and after a few wines with friends I found some creative courage to just paint something and it’s not the most terrible thing in the world.’ The fruit baskets came from Facebook Marketplace. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Jenna’s floating propagation station using single stem glasses. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
‘The Blue Room happened in 24 hours’, Jenna tells. ‘I had a dream about a relaxing blue reading room and ran out immediately to get paint. Played some Kanye and Meg Mac very loud and just smashed it out like a crazy person.’ All the prints came from a Salvos in Hampton. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Jenna’s room. ‘The bedroom is north facing and made of steel so it’s my own little hothouse, the plants in this room have thrived beyond all the others.’ Jenna’s brother Cam Holmes painted artwork next to the bed, ‘Grow’. It’s one of Jenna’s favourites in the house. Linen is from Bed Threads. Wall colour is Government Green by Dulux. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Jenna’s home is filled with treasured pieces gifted and made by friends. Ceramic sculptures by HanMade. Prints by Edie Willmett. ‘Plant Mama’ water colour print by a Slovakian painter, Kristina Kemenikova. Secondhand lamp + vase. Bed Threads bed linen. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
‘I always have dreams of coloured walls and this was my first one. I was nervous when I put the first brush on the white wall…but after I was very very happy that I listened to my creative gut!’ Jenna says! Wall colour is Government Green by Dulux. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
‘This may be highly illegal but it was done 50 years ago so….it doesn’t count. This Prickly Pear cacti actually comes from Italy, I bought it from a lady on Gumtree whose mother had smuggled a pad into her luggage when they moved to Australia and it was planted in Thornbury. It’s produced many cacti plants and I am very honoured to own my own piece of Italian Cacti.’ Jenna says. Fence colour is Highland Green by Dulux. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The backyard has been Jenna’s biggest labour of love in the house, and has seen the greatest transformation. Fence colour is Highland Green by Dulux. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.