Meet Shayla, founder of the Plant Penthouse!

Meet Shayla, founder of the Plant Penthouse!

Posted by Shayla Owodunni on Aug 3rd 2020

Meet Shayla!

As the saying goes, looks can be deceiving. While my Plant Penthouse is home to over 80 plants, this lifestyle is fairly fresh! I give my plant-loving parents credit for sowing seeds throughout my childhood, which came full bloom when I moved to Seattle, Washington in 2017 and became a true plant enthusiast. My first Seattle plant purchase stemmed from a simple desire to decorate vibrantly within the parameters of my city apartment and has since blossomed into a hobby I never predicted!

Styling my wardrobe and interior surroundings has always been a means of creative expression for me, so the thought of sharing my personal joy for styling and plant care beyond friends and family did not become a serious thought until this past year! Upon moving home to Minnesota with a clean slate to decorate, after a few minimalist design attempts, I identified that tropical travels bring me the most rest. So, with that in mind, I sought to encapsulate vacation each time I opened the door—and the Plant Penthouse was born!

From researching the definition of a penthouse, I learned that a penthouse is any unit with a different layout from others in the building, ample outdoor space, or premium views – and that really resonated with me. The way I see it, we each have the space to cultivate a penthouse experience, no matter the size, location, or circumstance. In light of everything happening in the world today, it is my goal to help others discover new ways to infuse joy and vibrancy into their homes.

Top 5 Styling Tips from the Pro

1. Add a plant or two…or twenty. 

Whether you are a plant parent of one or ninety, I believe that bringing the outdoors in breathes life and warmth into spaces large and small. I have yet to find the answer for how many plants is too many plants, but I will let you all know as soon as I find out!

2. Embrace making a statement.

Area rugs are a wonderful way to ground your personal style and create a cohesive flow for any space. If area rugs are not your cup of tea, a piece of artwork, personal mementos, or paint/wallpaper can also accomplish the same result!Once you have decided upon your focal piece(s), pulling colors or unique elements from them will provide a personalized color palette that is all your own!

3. Let your plants do the talking.

What do I mean by this? Plants have a way of infusing personality based on the shapes, colors, and size. For example, I wanted to create a tropical environment and used birds of paradise, monsteras, pothos, and palm varieties to accomplish this—while sprinkling in an array of smaller plants to support the design vision. Secondly, plants are the perfect décor for creating visual contrast by grouping your favorite varieties. For example, I love pairing a more linear plant, like a bird of paradise, next to a trailing pothos (a silver satin or marble queen are fun go-tos!) for lively juxtaposition.

4. Ensure you can see yourself in your space.

I guarantee it will instantly transform your surroundings into a happy place! What represents me? Color, pattern, travel, and a teaspoon of the unexpected. What does that mean for you? Whether it is incorporating your favorite color, an heirloom piece, or a new baby from Tonkadale that makes your heart sing(!): incorporate THAT into your space without apology.

5. Have fun! 

Interior styling is all about testing, learning, and rearranging to arrive at the final look. A primary way I infuse the fun factor is through unique planters! Which reminds me, have you perused Tonkadale’s curated planters in the Plant Shoppe? It’s one of my favorite spots to end my Greenhouse shopping trips.

Tips for Shopping in the Greenhouse

While there is no wrong way to shop the Greenhouse (in my humble opinion), here are three pointers to keep tucked into your back pocket for your next Tonkadale adventure!

1.Feeling like a kid in a candy store when you walk through those Tonkadale doors? You are not alone! While I love wandering for inspiration, a great tip to keep in mind is that the Greenhouse is grouped by plant similarity! So, while you are eyeing that silver satin pothos, don’t shy away from the heart-leaf philodendron nearby. Talk about an easy add-to-cart moment.

2.Once you’ve found the plant of your dreams (which has become a frequent occurrence for me), Tonkadale is on the scene for all of your planter needs! Whether you need help potting your purchase or drilling a hole in that amazing planter you found, a member of the Tonkadale team is there to help with the finishing touch. They’ve really thought of everything!

3.Did you know Tonkadale offers plant care cards to-go to help you keep your new plant babies thriving? Ask and you shall receive! Alternatively, you can always reach out to the experts via their Instagram @tonkadale or by email at

P.S. You can also head to their YouTube page for helpful tips and tricks, too! I see the award for Plant Parent of the year in your future.

Top 10 Favorite Plants for Beginners

Call me partial, but my top 10 plants for beginners also happen to be some of the firsts I (successfully) nurtured as a new plant parent!

i. Pothos
ii. Heart-Leaf Philodendron
iii. Bird of Paradise
iv. Monstera deliciosa
v. Anthurium
vi. Rubber Tree
vii. Pilea Peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)
viii. ZZ Plant
ix. Spider Plant
x. Snake Plant