@Really_Really_Lizzy • Liz Sparacio
There's something about Liz Sparacio - the French would probably call it je ne sais quoi. But her Instagram nom de plume - @really_really_lizzy - sums it up for me: her positivity + fearlessness are really, really inspiring. In a world of more of the same, she's one of the few people I know with the audacity to be an original.
This spirit shines through in her latest venture - houseplants! Over the past few years, Liz has transformed her Northern Liberties loft in the heart of Philadelphia into an indoor oasis that's quickly become a favorite among photographers and designers. Moreover, in her professional life, she's brought houseplants into the offerings of the vintage home decor store where she works, partnering with local nurseries to make these beautiful, living pieces of decor more accessible to us (mostly) car-less Philadelphians. Not all heroes wear capes!
What’s the story behind where you are today?
I love interiors. Always have, always will and I’m truly fascinated by what others choose to be surrounded by in their homes! Before I landed where I am today, I previously worked as a home decor merchandiser for large retailer. While I worked in a field that I loved, I felt disconnected from the huge trend driven environment and lacked the authenticity I craved from helping those achieve their own unique style in their homes. And not to mention, I lived in a small, dark, and completely houseplant free apartment! Flash forward, I left what I then thought was my forever career to join the small business community selling vintage furniture/decor and moved into an open, light filled loft! Transitioning into a new career and filling my new home with pieces I loved was easy, but something was still missing. So, I bought a houseplant, and I killed it almost immediately. I had no idea what I was doing, but my houseplant journey had begun!
What’s your Why?
At first, I wanted houseplants exclusively for aesthetic reasons. Dividing space in a loft can be tricky, and I needed them to serve a purpose other than just being beautiful! I tried (and failed) to make them live in certain spots where they just couldn't get what they needed to thrive. I was determined to make it work, and I finally decided to really dig in and do the research on what types of plants would fair well in a space like mine which has LOTS of direct light and very drastic indoor temperature changes depending on the season. My trials continued, and in turn, my failures became fewer and fewer, but most importantly, I paid attention to each individual plant's needs. I never expected to take to plant parenthood, especially since I originally just wanted them to fit into the vision I created in my head as space filler, but the gratification of not only creating an enjoyable living space, but also helping something actually grow, is unlike any other hobby I have!
What’s on the list for today? What’s next? Where do you hope on going?
I’m that person. I want to talk about my houseplants all the time. Luckily, social media has been great outlet for like minded plant folks to ask questions, share successes or tips, and grieve over failures together. I put mine out there, and I never expected for people to actually be interested in my home and my plant family! I wasn’t in-tune to this world a few years ago, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that everywhere around me, there are so many people who are interested in expanding their plant collections or longing to care for a houseplant for the first time!
Sadly, without use of a car, there aren’t that many places within the city to purchase houseplants, so as a trial last year, we started carrying a small assortment of plants to sell in our vintage shops from local farms and nurseries, and the reactions from the customers and neighborhoods outstanding! What started out as an experiment grew quickly, and I now I visit these local farms weekly to ensure that our stores always have a fresh assortment of plants in need of new homes! I couldn’t be happier to talk about love for interiors, furniture, and houseplants all in the same breath!
What’s one thing that you’d like people to know
We all want immediate gratification, but it’s fleeting. I bought and killed more plants than I should admit before I adjusted my attitude and gave them the care they deserved. Every plant that enters into your home brings a different challenge and in turn something new to learn! Not every plant is going to survive, and that’s perfectly okay, now you know a little bit more for next time! Most importantly, being honest with yourself about the type of care you can provide is key. Are you neglectful and going to forget to water? Hey, there are some plants that won’t mind that! Lack of indoor light? There is still a plant for you and artificial lighting options that can help! Know what you are working with and give it a try! There are so many outlets for support along the way and worst comes to worst, I will happily adopt your unloved plant!