Sunday, February 19, 2017

Art and Air Purifiers: Houseplants are Making a Comeback

Interior designer Sera Hersham-Loftus organized the plants in her London
office like the kids in a school photo: short in front (rosemary, lavender, daisy);
 tall in back (magnolia, kentia palm). “There isn’t one plant overshadowing
another. It’s as simple as that,” she said of the jungle-like design scheme,
featured in “Evergreen.” In addition, she arranged the foliage to allow
 a peekaboo view of a painting. Beyond that, serendipity is the plan,
as vegetation rotates in from the balcony: When the magnolia droops for
want of sunlight, Ms. Hersham-Loftus sends it outside and
hauls in a new garden. Photo by Michael Paul.
By Michael Tortorello
WSJ, Feb. 17, 2017

For many people, houseplants remain stuck in the 1970s, when it was entirely common to macramé a hanger for your 14th Boston fern while listening to Mac Davis 8-tracks and sipping Riunite on ice.

Forty years later, design pros are evangelizing a more considered approach to indoor greenery. A half-dozen new décor books—with titles like “Rooted in Design,” “Urban Jungle” and “Greenteriors”—feature rooms that appear unmistakably ’17 as opposed to ’71 and provide guidance far beyond care and feeding.

What you won’t see on these pages is a static line of houseplants, snoozing on a windowsill like a tabby house cat. The arrangement, shape, and pattern of plants have become integral to a room’s design scheme. A swooping fern does the work of a pattern on a drapery. A stately palm, noted New York designer Frank de Biasi, can “give height and verticality to an otherwise low-ceilinged space.”

Tara Heibel, founder of the Sprout Home plant stores in Chicago and Brooklyn, concurred that statuesque forms catch the eye of her “more fashionable” clients. But she also sells plenty of violets and philodendra, which she said serve as “comfort plants” to younger customers, who associate them with, say, a grandparent’s house.

In the right hands, these new plants don’t languish in foil wrapping like a leftover from the office birthday pool. They’re purposeful parts of a room’s décor, as seen in the interiors shown here, and see a list of designers' top five favorite houseplants:

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