Every space in this colourful and artisanal London home is a work of art, yet it is comfort that is prioritised above all else. So discovers Hilton Carter in this extract from his beautiful new book, Wild Interiors
THE AMOUNT OF LIGHT THAT FILLS JOEL’S HOME FROM THE LARGE WNDOWS AND SKYLIGHTS MAKE IT A PLANT-LOVER’S DREAM. IMAGE: HILTON CARTER © CICO BOOKS
Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, had a huge impact on Joel’s aesthetic – living next to the sea and seeing a lot of blue sky really inspired him, and his home in northwest London is a testament to that.
You see, Joel’s approach to decorating is very cosy and bright. When I asked him to describe his style, he said it was, “textured, muted, colourful, and artisanal,” which can clearly be seen in these images. But what he wanted to make sure I noted was that he, “always prioritises comfort above everything else.”
A LARGE BIRD’S-NEST FERN (ASPLENIUM NIDUS), A PONYTAIL PALM (BEAUCARNES RECURVATA), AND AN ASPARAGUS FERN (ASPARAGUS SETACEUS), A SOUTH AFRICAN PLANT – ALL IN STATELY POTS – CREATE A SOPHISTICATED ATMOSPHERE. IMAGE: HILTON CARTER © CICO BOOKS
As you move throughout his home, what truly vibrates is how passionate he is about making every bit of the space a work of art in its own right. His love for collecting handmade objects and natural finds is displayed on the many tables around his home.
As they say, there’s a place for everything and everything has its place. That is very true for how Joel brings greenery into his home. Although he is a maximalist when it comes to the objects and art he displays, it is very clear that he is a minimalist when it comes to plants. While his outdoor garden is lush with hundreds of varieties of plants, he has just 20 indoors, bringing in bits of greenery where it feels right and doing what makes sense for the plants. The importance of that self-awareness is everything – Joel understands that it isn’t quantity over quality.
TINY SPECIMENS OF MIMOSA PUDICA AND JADE PLANT (CRASSULA OVATA) SIT ON THE TABLE, WHILE OPPOSITE, A RARE AND BEAUTIFUL HAWAIIAN PALM (BRIGHAMIA INSIGNIS) SITS ON THE COUNTERTOP. IMAGE: HILTON CARTER © CICO BOOKS
Having plants in his life has always felt natural to Joel, and while he didn’t grow up with plants indoors, he was surrounded by beautiful gardens. He told me that he used to have many more plants in his home but has transitioned the majority to live outdoors. The plants that have remained inside all need an indoor environment to survive.
Shopping mostly in specialist nurseries, Joel has a wish list of indoor plants, many of which are quite rare plants. Joel does not appreciate them specifically for their rarity, however, it’s more about what they represent to him and how they grow. He especially likes “the element of surprise” with plants that are not like any other plants – he doesn’t like to have plants that are overexposed. This I took to mean “trendy” plants. In particular, Joel is always on the lookout for tubular Euphorbia but says they are difficult to come across in the UK.
GLAZED DOORS TO THE MATURE GARDEN FROM THE KITCHEN HELP TO MAKE IT A SOOTHING SPACE. IMAGE: HILTON CARTER © CICO BOOKS
There are so many inspiring rooms in Joel’s home – I found myself walking around with a goofy smile on my face because I was just so taken by everything I saw. I thought about what I wanted for myself in life and felt happy for someone who had obtained it. Joel’s living room, with its high ceilings, whitewashed wooden floors, and beautiful skylights is everything I’d ever want – it’s in his living room that I found my true bit of calm, and where you’ll find the most greenery.
For Joel, his favorite room is the modern kitchen extension that he added to the existing home, which had been a Victorian artist’s studio. He wanted the kitchen to be in keeping with the original building, but also have the feeling of a cottage in a woodland.
It’s in the kitchen that Joel spends most of his time in the summer, with friends constantly coming in and out. To blur that line between interior and exterior, he loves sitting at the table and having the doors in the kitchen open to the garden all summer long. He says that he used to keep the doors open all night, too, until an urban fox came in one night. He put an end to that soon after – I think we all would!
Taken from Wild Interiors by Hilton Carter, published by CICO Books* RRP £16.99
Follow Hilton Carter on Instagram @hiltoncarter
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