Coffee, tea or fig leaf? Visit the perfect cafe for houseplant lovers
On the outskirts of Christchurch’s central business district, in a gritty, dead-end street in Addington, word has spread of a hip cafe. It is a divine little place overflowing with vegetation, resulting in a bohemian atmosphere.
Little Merchants is largely the result of its owner Regina Shin’s obsession with houseplants. The artist and former furniture and interior designer has owned the building housing the cafe for six years.
After falling in love with a large Monstera deliciosa she had purchased for the office suites’ common area, she added additional potted plants, softening and bringing life to the interior of the building, and bringing joy to all of its inhabitants. Shin explains, “I started collecting potted plants one by one.”
The owner of Little Merchants Cafe, Regina Shin, is proud to admit her obsession with houseplants.
But before long, hundreds of people were living in her 19th-century Merivale cottage, obtained from everywhere — online, garden centres, and supermarkets.
Additionally, various houseplants dominate the Little Merchants Cafe’s countertops.
However, operating a cafe required her to be away from home for up to 13 hours per day. She felt that she was not giving her cherished houseplants the care they deserved.
Thus, she brought them to work (as you do). And because the tiny cafe would never have enough space to accommodate them all, the only solution was to construct an addition for them, along with a few more tables for delighted customers.
Now, a vast and diverse assortment of plants inhabit the new area. They are suspended from the ceiling on custom-made metal racks beneath skylights.
Part cafe, part conservatory, and part rainforest, Little Merchants is a coffee and plant lover’s paradise.
They fill and overflow the window sills and window ledges, diffusing the sunlight into a golden hue and scattering it across the concrete floor.