In The News

2016/02/06, The Gazette, Montréal
Seeing Green


A few plants in the house, whether they're real or not, add warmth




What draws us to the outdoors? Nature. Greenery. Trees and bushes and flowers. Living things.


So it should come as no surprise that plants are an appealing addition to our indoor spaces. Not only do they add a certain look and feel to a room, but they can even have an impact on your overall mood. "Plants immediately make people feel happier in a room," explained Sonia Liby, vice-president of Alphaplantes. "About style, I would say that when there are plants, the room looks more luxurious and original. Plants never look ordinary or boring."


Placement of plants throughout a home will influence its overall design and feel. "It depends on the space you have; every look will have a different application," said Nelson Calfat, president and founder of Calfolia. "If you find that your decor is a bit cold, greenery can warm it up. If it's too bland, it can add colour. "You can use plants and flowers as accents or to soften a hard edge — such as a difficult corner, tricky spot, or something awkward. Oftentimes, plants are used to soften an edge and can be used to move people's eyes. They're also great for traffic flow and to give a sense of arrival. Greenery can help to create a cosy corner as well."


From real to faux, there's an infinite number of plants that can be incorporated into a home. Calfolia as well as Alphaplantes specialize in natural and artificial versions, both of which afford homeowners the look of living flora. "We carry replicas and a line of real plants that are preserved to stay in their natural state without water and light," Calfat said. "We also offer plastic and fabric in all different qualities. "We have a hybrid replica inspired by nature, which uses natural wood and branches with fabric foliage, so it's part natural and part man-made. And we carry preserved plants where you wouldn't know it isn't real — they use materials like this in the Botanical Gardens and Biodome."

Plant positioning plays an important role in the overall effect that greenery has on a space. It depends on the room and how the room presents itself, Calfat said. "The natural tendency for people's eyes are to search out the farthest corners of the room and stand at eye level, which we call the 'money zone' That's where you put the money and why we hang picture frames at eye level. So if you want to warm up a room when you come into it, you should have something that breaks that line," he said.


If you have really high ceilings, for example, Calfat suggests using some cascading plants on the top of an armoire to create a visual break if the space is too big and too cold. If you have too much floor and want it to be cosier, use a floor plant to achieve the same warmth.


For most homeowners, a variety of plants is best for an overall ambient outcome. "If it's a house, most people will choose a combination of floor plants and table plants, but if it's a condo, they will take table plants," Liby said. "And for those people who live in a loft, floor plants are the answer. To make a real difference in the atmosphere, you definitely need a nice floor plant. If space is an issue, there are very narrow varieties available."


Decorative pots and urns to house these budding beauties can really extend the style factor of a plant. So, too, can ambient lighting, such as uplighting positioned under a stately floor plant. Such factors are really the final touch when it comes to choosing greenery for the home.


So, whether you have a green thumb and want real plants in your home, or you're more relaxed and would rather deal with almost-real replicas, houseplants are a wonderful addition to any space.

They bring vibrant colour and organic beauty into a room while transforming the atmosphere and making a home feel that much cosier.


2010/02/24, The Gazette, Montréal
It`s`All in the Finishing


Nelson Calfat has a lesson or two for you: 
"You can make over your home with a few hundred dollars," he says. 

"It's about the finishing. People are always walking into a room 

and saying:  'I have to do something.'  Usually they change floors,
draperies, tables, something - but they inevitably make the mistake of not realizing that all they really needed is the finishing." 


By finishing, Calfat means flowers, plants and trees - decorative elements that tie everything together in a room.


Whether a plant to balance a long wall, colour to liven up a drab space, maybe a tree to soften that tight, awkward corner, using flowers as elements of home decor - to create focal points
or distract the eye, if need be - is not new,  but Calfat  demonstrates that it is affordable, simple and very effective if done by professionals.

Essentially, says the longtime floral designer and decorator, 

the perfect arrangement must incorporate everything in that room: colours, styles, angles, everything.

"It's a tall order, if you're not versed in it", he said, "but with an experienced person, it's a five-minute conversation."


A simple tip he has for everyone buying pots for their plants: 
"Use the pot as furniture. Simply put, the container for a plant 

must go with your furnishings, not your decor.  Match the pot to the chair or the sofa, not the drapes or the paintings."

All these considerations combine for a surprisingly simple approach he uses with the artificial plants, flowers and trees 

that he creates. 



In fact, many of Calfat's own techniques have permeated 

the modern artificial plant and flower industry, one of them being his expert use of artificial and live elements in the same arrangement.

While fresh flowers are wonderful on your wedding day,
or dining-room table during Easter or Passover, for the other 363 days of the year Calfat says you need to ask yourself: 

"Do you want a hobby or a decoration? With live plants, 

you'll be watering, cutting, cleaning and transplanting. That's wonderful if you want to do it or have someone do it for you," he said, "but if you want a decoration, something to expertly finish your room, then artificial is the way to go."

His company, Calfolia, offers a new service: home decoration parties, demonstrating to people what an impact it really can have.


"Whether large homes, condos or apartments, it's accessible to everyone," Calfat said, adding that by witnessing the "before" and "after"- much like the home-improvement shows on television - homeowners can see 

  • how greens can subdue a room with many colours, 

  • how arrangements with movement can liven up static spaces, 

  • and how respecting the visual line can create an overall feeling of harmony. 


"It's tremendous what we can do. You have to see it to believe it."


The visual line figures prominently in Calfat's view, like all rules of proportion, height, width, movement and volume.


"When we walk into a room, our eyes go into the far corners. It's natural," he said. "If an element is below the eye's visual line,the mind registers it as a blank space. There is a feel that something is missing."

1995/03/11, La Presse, Montréal
Calfolia: a living room  vegetation paradise, without the chores

Claudine Hebert


You want to beautify your cozy nest with exotic tropical plants, yet you are unable to keep a cactus alive? 

Contrarily, you love plants so much that your living room looks like the Botanical Garden, yet you still want more! 

A solution exists and it is called "Calfolia", a company specializing in artistic reproductions of plants and trees.

Upon entering the warehouse/showroom of Calfolia, located at 1250 Beaulac, in Saint-Laurent -- it is extremely difficult to recognize real from fake!

Actually, all the plants in the showroom seem real.

The only clue for us to realize that these plants are not alive -- comes from our olfactory sense.

There is no fragrance from all the exotic plants and flowers.

Nevertheless, your eyes will love the beauty of these accurate botanical reproductions.




Using real-trunk trees imported from the four corners of the world, Calfolia attaches foliage and silk flowers making small bonsai trees, to thirty foot tall coconut palm trees. Calfolia vegetation includes varieties beyond imagination -- Mexican agave, Brazilian dracenas,  or Japanese ghostwood.

In addition to creating these botanical reproductions Calfolia carries a variety of naturally preserved plants and trees. Using a technology edge that ensures the conservation of the plant and its natural appearance, this company in Saint-Laurent creates plants to last forever. 


They do not need water or light. 

If none of the models of plants and trees in the showroom meet your needs, you can  order your own tailor-made plant or tree.

The company provides a term of seven to ten days to produce.

Since each design becomes an unique object of art, be ready to loosen your purse-strings.

While the price of the majority of the reproductions varies between $200 and $600, a California palm tree costs over $1,000!

Recognized throughout the international scene, the creations of Califolia could be seen in Jurassic Park Science Exhibit in New York and Rome, Italy --to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Montreal Biodome.