Floral Designer Extraordinaire
One of the top floral designers in the South, Karin Jeffcoat’s work was most recently displayed at the Masters golf tournament
By WARREN HUGHES
On a beautiful afternoon last summer, Cate Simmons and Nick Mongell were married at The Millstone at Adams Pond in Columbia, a perfect canvas for the lush flower arrangements by Karin Jeffcoat of Cote Designs.
The ceremony is just one of many over which Jeffcoat has presided as one of the South’s leading floral designers. Her work has been featured on HGTV and in Southern Accents, Southern Living and Southern Wedding, Style Me Pretty, Magnolia Rouge, Wedding Sparrow and Grey Likes Weddings.
In April, Jeffcoat’s creations were on display at the prestigious Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, where she serves as the official floral director. International corporations also call on Jeffcoat for hospitality events during Masters Week. As one client says, “She has a keen eye for color, design and can transform a space like no other. She can take multiple nights in the same room and change the look and palate to make you think you're in a totally different environment.”
Just recently, she was a featured speaker at the April symposium of the Columbia Garden Club Foundation. There, she demonstrated the process for composing her signature straight-from-the garden, tumbling designs that evoke the beauty of the southern landscape.
Her talents were also chosen for display at a styled shoot last summer by Meredith Jamison Photography at historic Wavering Place, a beautiful plantation event venue in Lower Richland County. “Our organic florals and designs went so well with Meredith’s vision,” Jeffcoat recalls. “It's not hard to do when you have a venue as stunning as Wavering place. Potting sheds and gardening have always been a love of mine from childhood. Some of my fondest memories were gardening with my mother in Europe.”
“Designing the concept for the shoot was so dear to me, because it brought me back to those days where we lost ourselves in our garden,” she added. “The grounds and garden were amazingly beautiful and filled with native foliage. We were able to gather cuttings to make stunning foraged bouquets. The location was so beautiful to begin with it didn't take much to transform it into such a soft and romantic spot.”
Jeffcoat has devoted more than 20 years in mastering her craft, presiding elegantly as the creator of stunning events, but you are also just as likely to see her with a little dirt under her nails, a warm smile and breathtaking florals spilling out of her Chevy suburban as she scoots to engagements across the region, says noted wedding coordinator and colleague Elena Balkcom of Milledgeville, Georgia.
Columbia wedding director Meagan Warren, who worked with her for the Simmons-Mongell wedding at Adams Pond, has high praise for Jeffcoat’s gift in creating memorable settings. “Karen is an absolute joy to work with as well as her entire team. She’s so creative and always thinks ‘out of the box’ ―whether it’s designing for a wedding or a dinner party.
“She certainly makes our brides happy and our weddings beautiful,” adds Warren, who herself is recognized as one of South Carolina’s best wedding planners. Warren notes that Jeffcoat’s inventory of containers and décor alone is spectacular at her shop in downtown Aiken. The boutique is like a little slice of France, and that’s even before vessels are filled to overflowing for a special event.
Jeffcoat began designing arrangements as a child in Germany, under the knowing eye of her artistic mother who taught her to use the seasonal elements she found nearby. The gardens of architecture of Europe are still reflected in her work, although her creations now often also display a regional influence from the American South. As guests spill through the doorways at a venue she has decorated, they are awed by overhead garlands and tables with lush delicate blooms reflected in warm candlelight. Leaving no detail unattended and no leaf out of place, she understands the effect her clients want to achieve.
“We combine our passion and artistic flair for floral design with the desire to evoke nature. Lush flowers and branches, often along with fruits and vegetables, are paired with unique textiles and ribbons to create designs that are loose and elegant,” she says, in describing her creations.
“We believe each event should reflect the personality of the client evoking their unique vision and style,” she says. That devotion has created a legion of devoted patrons. When you step into the Cote Designs Studio in historic downtown Aiken, you know Jeffcoat will fulfill your dream for a truly memorable event.