Inspiration

These 3 plant-lovers know how to bring the outside in

Three plant-lovers take us on safari through their foliage-filled spaces, which take the concept of ‘bringing the outside in’ to a whole new level

1. Tahnee Carroll 

Freelance stylist Tahneelives in a two-bedroom unit in Sydney.

Tell us a bit about yourself: your background, what you do, the space we are shooting you in.
I am an interior stylist. I studied interior design straight out of school and gradually made my way across to the media industry. I have worked my way up from an assistant stylist to where I am now. I now style large campaigns for furniture and homewares brands as well as major publications, such as Real Living. I am the co-creator of Citizens of Style, a photographic and styling agency that creates imagery and motion for brands, artists and magazines.

I live in Sydney’s inner west with my dog Rue, a Catahoula cross border collie and my housemate Cloud Tuckwell, a ceramicist who works at Mud Australia. Our house has a very eclectic mix of old and new; I am quite the queen of finding amazing stuff on the side of the road, but also have a taste for expensive mid-century antiques and ceramics. The colour palette is earthy with black and brass accents and loads of plants in every corner.

Indoor plants were incredibly popular in the 70s and it seems that trend is well and truly back. Why do you think they’ve had such a resurgence?
I guess everyone just got sick of the minimalist trend – I know I did. I think indoor plants have become popular again because people are realising the benefits they bring, especially living in the city. With so much pollution outside it’s nice to come home to clean fresh air.

As a stylist you’re constantly creating beautiful images. How do plants play a role in setting these scenes?
I feel as though a room isn’t complete without a natural element and, for me, it’s as simple as adding an indoor plant, whether it be a large sculptural plant to add height and depth to a room, or a trailing vine draping from a fireplace or shelf. A touch of greenery instantly removes any clinical vibes a room might give off.

2. Jin Ahn & Giacomo Plazzotta

Jin and her partner Giacomo are co-founders of Conservatory Archives in London.

Jin, tell us a bit about yourself: your background, what you do, the space we’re shooting you in.
I was born and raised in Seoul, the most crowded city in the world. I moved to the UK in 2010 to improve my English skills and make a change from my career as a fashion designer. Spending time in the English countryside was inspiring. I come from a huge city with a lot of concrete. I thought, if I can work with nature, I‘ll live happily ever after, so I decided to study horticulture.

While I imagined I’d be working in a botanical garden or a nursery, the reality of working outside in the English weather wasn’t ideal for this city girl. After completing my degree and moving to London, I realised I could use my previous experience and background in design and business to open a store dedicated to indoor gardening in the context of a big city, and so Conservatory Archives was born.

How did you come to open Conservatory Archives, and what is it all about?
Once I had finished my degree it seemed weird to me that people gave little attention to indoor gardening, and not many stores and businesses in London specialised in indoor plants. Seoul has a very different lifestyle than here, as the majority of people live in high-rise buildings, which means no outdoor gardens. So I grew up seeing loads of houseplants. The creative locals in East London are very supportive of what we are doing so it seems we made the right choice.

How has your design background influenced your work with plants?
My background in design, as well as growing up in the city, means I feel very comfortable with interior spaces. I like to see plants in buildings, surrounded by furniture and other things. My interest in design and vintage furniture definitely influenced the idea of what Conservatory Archives would be as well as the look and feel of the store itself. I believe choosing a plant is not dissimilar to choosing a piece of furniture, so why not do both in the same place?

3. Georgina Reid

Sydney-based Georgina is the founder and editor of online magazine The Planthunter.

The Planthunter explores the relationship between plants and people. How do people benefit from having a life filled with plants?
The bonds between people and plants, while often hard to articulate or quantify, run incredibly deep. Firstly, if plants don’t exist, we don’t exist. That’s enough of an impetus to live a life surrounded by plants, right? Secondly, tending to plants teaches so many lessons about the intricate connections between all life. The poet Stanley Kunitz once wrote, ‘The universe is a continuous web, touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.’ I love this sentence because it illustrates both the incredible beauty and fragility of existence, and the interconnectedness of all life. Plants, and the act of gardening, teach us about life and perspective in a way few other pursuits can.

On the flip side, do plants benefit from being around people?
I guess it depends on context. An indoor plant needs people otherwise it’ll die a long, slow death due to starvation. But people, clearly, are not always good for plants. I imagine the millions of trees that have lived for centuries – standing tall and silent in forests, along rivers, in bushlands – that have been razed to the ground as a result of mindless human desires. They clearly haven’t benefitted from being around people.

What are some of your favourite indoor plants?
I love Hoyas. They’re subtle and beautiful and tough.Then there’s Rhipsalis – I’ve got plenty of them. And Lepismium, Peperomia and more. I love them all, and have an ever-revolving collection hanging out in my living room and kitchen.

Words by: Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan. Photography by: Luisa Brimble and Anna Batchelor.

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