“You know that feeling you get when you look up and turn your face to the sun on the first warm day of spring? That feeling of warmth on your skin, the smell of the end of winter in the air, the smile on your face as you feel the first signs of spring—that’s the feeling I get every time I enter a space with plants,” writes Hilton Carter in his introduction to Wild Interiors: Beautiful Plants in Beautiful Spaces (CICO Books 2020). Oh, to have that experience every day! In this book, we find inspiration for re-creating it in our homes.
While in his first book, Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants, Carter focused on choosing, situating, and caring for houseplants using examples from his home studio, in Wild Interiors he branches beyond his own walls. His journey takes us inside lush, greenery-filled homes across the U.S. and around the world where the plant-loving inhabitants are also interior designers, stylists, artists, or otherwise creative souls. As such they each offer a unique perspective on integrating these living elements of decor into rooms.
Some, such as London-based interior curator Joel Bernstein, take a more minimalist approach. His houseplants number a relatively conservative 20, though he tends to hundreds in his outdoor garden. Others joyfully embrace the “indoor jungle.”
Whichever camp you fall in, the beginner will find practical takeaways and tip boxes throughout. For pet owners, Carter suggests suspending a pot from the ceiling to keep it out of reach of curious four-legged friends. He also provides a room-by-room guide to which species will work best where. In a bathroom, for instance, try a heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens), a satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’), or an air plant (Tillandsia species), which will all thrive in the humidity.
For the trendy at heart, Carter includes a listing of what he believes are the next 10 “it” plants, those that you won’t find ubiquitously stocked at every grocery and hardware store, along with care instructions. However, he will not judge more commonplace choices—his four fiddle-leaf figs are named Frank, Treezus, Li’l baby, and Clavel.
Start small and who knows? Maybe one day you will find yourself welcoming, as artist Alina Fassakhova does, an hour spent every day caring for your indoor garden.
Scenes from Wild Interiors
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Whitney Leigh Morris and Adam Winkleman share their tiny (less than 400 square feet!) American Craftsman-style cottage with their young son and two dogs in Venice, California. Fortunately, as a small-space living consultant and blogger, Morris is up to the task. Plants bring life indoors, while outdoor spaces extend the living areas. In a dreamy garden room adjacent to the master bedroom, two large mirrors behind the sofa visually open the space.
UK-based interior designer Dee Campling adds interest by placing plants at different heights, such as this Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) in the entrance hall. The Chinese money plant is also on Carter’s list of nontoxic plants for pet owners.
Book review by Terri Robertson | Photography by Hilton Carter © CICO Books 2020 | Signed copies of Wild Interiors and Wild at Home are available at thingsbyhc.com
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