At Home With — Maya Villiger of Florets

We visit the baker at her vibrant home in Titirangi 

We first met Maya when she was taking photos in New York for TurnedOut, her self-built digital library, archiving the effortlessly cool, their nuances and ways of being in the world, which, at the time, when everything else was becoming so monotonous, felt like visual permission to just be yourself. But before Maya returned to her home land of New Zealand, she had, one: become a mother, and two: become distracted with the idea of baking highly nutritious bread. 

Perhaps always one to create her own world, Maya has since built Florets bakery in Grey Lynn as a way to connect to her local community, through the mutual love of wholesome bread for the whole family. 

We visited Maya at her Titirangi home, and chatted to her as she made the bed and pottered around her kitchen space. As with everything that Maya does, her home also has an intentional, thoughtful feeling, every object is because it is true to her and her family, whether it be sentimental or functional. 

What sort of textures or colours do you gravitate towards?

I like cosy textures and colours that welcome us all in. The longer we live in our house the more keen we are to add different colours to the walls and ceilings. I’m less interested in a monochrome feeling. 

Can you tell us a bit about your process and reasoning behind choosing a jute rug?

The colour of this rug looks so soft with the old Rimu floors in our house. We wanted a rug that felt weighty and substantial, but also casual for our bedroom, not anything overtly glamorous. Also for a jute rug, this one is soft underfoot which is nice.

Can you tell us about a few pieces in your home that hold a story or sentiment for you?

I’m not a particularly sentimental person, my husband loves to hold onto certain things as they store vivid memories for him but I don’t feel like that so much. As we get older we do seem to get out more and more photographs of our family and have them propped up or in frames to look at which I like. I really like to have things that our son Finn has made around the house. I do get comfort from having some furniture that we lived with in New York, which provides a physical connection to our old apartment in Brooklyn and to when Finn was born. The main piece that comes to mind is our burgundy wool sofa as it reminds me of having certain friends over and sitting for hours in our lounge with Finn as a baby. I have two pieces of art that friends from our time in New York made for us which always make me happy to look at, to see their work with us at home in Titirangi, so far from where they made it, again it feels like a direct physical connection to these people.

"We wanted a rug that felt weighty and substantial, but also casual for our bedroom, not anything overtly glamorous."

What was your first encounter with baking that inspired you to do your own?

I spent some of my childhood living in Switzerland and there was a very comforting feeling about visiting bakeries with my family, even at first when everything was so foreign to us. I loved the smell of fresh bread and coffee, they were often cosy, dark and always welcoming spaces. 

When I met Sarah Owens, at one of her weekend workshops in New York, I felt inspired to go on to study bread making. I loved how she had crafted a unique life and career for herself centred on the practice of bread making.

Can you tell us about your philosophy behind Florets?

I wanted to build a whole-grain bakery to help support healthy land, a healthy team, and healthy community. We source produce from local growers using sustainable farming practices. At the heart of this is our commitment to source 100% NZ grown and milled grain. We work hard to bake highly nutritious bread with this whole-grain flour using slow sourdough fermentation.

What do you love about living in Titirangi?

I love the clean air and all the birds. After years of living in New York we really appreciate these two things day to day. 

"I’m less interested in a monochrome feeling. I like cosy textures and colours that welcome us all in."