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Greenterior Reviewed: Plant-filled Homes for Creative Life

Words by
October 11, 2017
An obsession with interiors is nothing new, nor is the human need for curated green, indoors and out. Magali Elali & Bart Kiggen were quick to catch on to this. Their website, Coffeeklatch, was founded to showcase the lives and homes of creative entrepreneurs through a series of interviews over coffee or tea. Not only did the duo stumble upon interesting stories, but they also noticed that many homes were filled with plants or flowers in unique ways. In this, they saw an opportunity to put together Greenterior, a book dedicated exclusively to the plant-filled homes of creatives around the world, from Antwerp to New York.
House plants reflect how you feel as a person because they are completely dependent on you. You can tell by the state of your houseplants whether you feel good about yourself or not.
“From a botanical garden in ancient times to the emergence of houseplants in the second half of the nineteenth century. Man has been trying to interact with plants for centuries. The nature of this conversation may have changed over time, but the desire to connect with nature has remained,” reads the intro to their book, which offers to readers a look inside the spaces of 18 different creatives around the world and includes a plant index that outlines the scientific names of the plants featured in the book, alongside a physical description and light and watering needs.

Among the glossy pages of this simply styled book is an interview with Openhouse magazine creators Andrew Trotter and Mari Luz Vidal in their workspace/home in Barcelona. Openhouse started with the intention to encourage creatives from around the world to open their homes or private spaces to the public and put on some form of open house, centered around food, art, or design. Inside their own home, you can witness walls with patches of peeling paint and geometric tiled floors that bring you from the pages of the book to sunny Spain with just a look.

Mari Luz wanted to create a “lush, verdant, oasis” and the result is just that: a home that isn’t far from a greenhouse. “I mainly like green, more specifically the green of tropical plants. As soon as you get them though, you know you have to be dedicated and give them constant attention. Caring for plants is mostly a case of finding out what works and what doesn’t.” When in need, there’s a special recovery room in their home for plants that become ill or need special care.
On the other side of the sea, Anna Kras, a Serbian-born New York artist, is living temporarily in a tiny studio where plants feel larger than life and stark white walls contrast the vibrant leafy greens. Anna, who travels a lot and works to keep her plants happy, points out, “House plants reflect how you feel as a person because they are completely dependent on you. You can tell by the state of your houseplants whether you feel good about yourself or not.”

Also in New York is Shabd Simon Alexander who lives in an enormous industrial loft in Williamsburg, the opposite of Anna’s tiny studio. While he clearly enjoys living in his true indoor jungle, it doesn’t stop him from pausing to reflect: “I sometimes wonder whether a tall houseplant is the new status symbol. Because if you are wealthy, you can afford a large space with large windows.”

So whether it’s pure pleasure or status symbol, one thing is clear: houseplants have made their mark in the interior design world. Greenterior is a fascinating read for those who love plants but also easily enjoyed by the naturally curious, who want to see into the homes and lives of inspiring people from around the world.

Author: Coffeeklatch (Magali Elali & Bart Kiggen)
Publisher: Luster
Language: English and Dutch
Published in: 2015, Antwerp, Belgium