Most evenings after a long day’s work, you’ll find Michael Quesada enjoying a cocktail with his husband, David Nadeau, and their dog Daisy in front of Opal Restaurant and Bar on State Street. They’re a portrait of both accomplishment and style.
For more than 20 years, Michael and David have owned Kaleidoscope Flowers, just a few addresses up from Opal. Walking into their storefront shop reminds me of the distinctive flower shop scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Vertigo. There’s an old-world quality about it and so much warmth, and I half-expect to run into Madeleine at any moment.
Michael took some time away from arranging flowers to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your current state of mind?
Fragile and psychotic because wedding season is just about here!
What do you like most about your job?
Working with beautiful flowers all day long and being as creative as I can without anyone telling me how to do my job.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My love of animals.
Who do you most admire?
My friend Gerry Toh, for he is an amazing floral designer and creative director. He is probably the most humble guy I know and is always willing to help a friend or anyone who might need assistance. He hates the “spotlight” and prefers to hang with the little people.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and owning a successful floral business here in Santa Barbara.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Staying at home on a cold, chilly day, watching old movies, eating popcorn, and cozying up on the couch with my dog Daisy and my husband, David.
What is your greatest fear?
An ever-expanding waist size.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My little red Mercedes SLK 280 convertible hard top!
What is the quality you most like in people?
Talented yet humble floral designers who are extremely down to earth.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Talented and full-of-themselves floral designers who think they’re “all that and a bag of chips.”
What do you most value in friends?
Their ability to make me laugh, no matter what the situation and their ability to hold no judgement.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I love the word “gazillion” and I’ve overused the phrase “Hot Mess!”
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be coordinated.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had big, Scandinavian legs, ‘cause I have exactly the opposite!
Where would you most like to live?
San Francisco or New York
What is your most treasured possession?
My dog Daisy.
Who makes you laugh the most?
Three people: my husband, David Nadeau, and my two best friends, John “JB” Bowlin and John Savage.
What is your motto?
What do I have to do in order to get out of the flower shop by 5 p.m.!?!
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Vanna White, because she is ALWAYS on her feet — just like me!
On what occasion do you lie?
When I’m asked my age or my weight.