Sophie Hitchens

Sophie Hitchens


Turning Over a New Leaf: Foliage Inspired Interiors

Sophie Hitchens Wednesday 26th January 2022

Fiona Lindsay, location owner of Ham House is featured in a new book ‘A New Leaf’, a showcase of gorgeous homes integrating plants as a focal element of their décor. An alternative take on interior design, authors Jen Haslam and Pip McCormack look at how and why plants and design go hand in hand.

This inspiring book invites you to turn over a new leaf and think differently about what interiors mean. It showcases 20 homes designed and lived in by creative souls. Architects, interior designers, artists, sculptors, and other innovative personalities. The authors examine each home in detail to understand how and why different creative minds incorporate plants into their designs.

We are avid lovers of foliage inspired interiors. So we caught up with author and stylist Jen to take a closer look at this delightful publication about nature-driven design.

Which Homes to Choose?

When it came to finding and choosing which houses to include, Jen told us,

It was a collaborative search with Pip McCormac my co-Author. We were already aware of some though our work, but we contacted lots of architects and creatives who we thought could be a good fit.

Whilst researching the book, the most surprising thing was the vastness and diversity of the styles of homes & owners that loved house plants. I was really interested to find the different types of plants the owners had chosen and how that reflected their tastes and interior styles too. Everything was effortlessly considered.  

We did have to curve the book slightly as we were unable to make it to Europe to shoot several homes due to lockdown travel restrictions. But all the owners were super accommodating and flexible with the shifting shoot dates. We found it was one of those projects that once we started we just kept finding more fascinating people with beautiful homes.


A Beautiful Collection of Homes

Each homeowner has meticulously thought through their design. And as the book takes us through the individual homes, we see that foliage hasn’t been a last-minute addition to add colour or life. Instead, it is part of the fabric of the design. Some owners chose plants to soften the hard edges of a brutalist décor. And other designers include living elements in their homes to bring about a connection with nature.  A relationship with a breathing entity that requires attention to survive and thrive. The common theme throughout, though, is how plants bring a softness, depth and personality to a home.

When we asked Jen which was her favourite home, she told us,

It’s hard to say as each home has a different look and feel and narrative. Plus all the owners had such a wonderful and interesting story to tell. I genuinely would think one was my favourite then we’d shoot the next and I’d think oh no it’s this one.

 However, I do really love the modern rustic rural properties such as Ham House and Kent Barn as they have executed the mix between old and new so well. Plus the scale of the plants in both of these was really interesting. I also these properties are hard to place in terms of where they were, which adds to their appeal. Whilst both UK based, neither of these homes has a typically British feel. Kent Barn particularly could have been an American property or somewhere European.

A New Leaf at Ham House

One of Jen’s favourites, Ham House is one of our Light Locations. Owned by Fiona Lindsay, Ham House is a stunning contemporary barn conversion. This divine dwelling was designed as a home and a shoot location. It was also a place for Fiona and her business partner Ange to showcase their range of contemporary homewares.

Fiona has ensured that plants and nature are woven into the fabric of Ham House, both inside and out. Located in the Wiltshire countryside, its serene rolling hills and blue skies set the overall tone. “Everything here is about looking out the window at the changing skies”, Fiona says. And ripping down several outbuildings provided a fantastic opportunity to plant a wildflower meadow. An area that now attracts a wide variety of local wildlife.

A Blank Canvas for Bold Plant Choices

The interior was created as a minimalist blank canvas for Fiona’s own interior business Hue Home. And Ange Howell, Fiona’s business partner, created the beautifully simple design. All the walls have been painted matt white which skillfully sets the scene for indoor plants to stand out. And Fi loves how their inclusion changes the character of the spaces throughout the day. “The patterns the plants make against the walls as the sun goes down are so fascinating, so beautiful.”

Plant choices at Ham House are bold. Large potted trees define the character of the large and open internal rooms. With its original beams, vaulted ceilings, and simple design, plant help the space feel less like a warehouse.

Ultimately, the inclusion of plants helps to break up and soften the spaces. Which it does with texture and earthy, simple décor. The result is a quiet and peaceful space that Fiona adores. When asked what one thing she’d change, Fiona says, “I’d have more plants if I could. But it’s the scale of the ones I have, growing on their own, which makes them really stand out.”

Find Out More

Has this brief insight into foliage focused interiors inspired you? Are you now looking to incorporate more plants in your interior designs? If so, A New Leaf is now available as an invaluable resource to any interior design lover.

Sophie Hitchens

Sophie Hitchens