Can one plant make a room? I think so…
No Victorian house is compete with out a Nephrolepis exalta, better known as the Boston fern. One of the most popular houseplants of that era, they seem to be making a comeback these days and perhaps never lost their popularity as a hanging basket on covered porches. Adding one to my home has been a priority from the very beginning, but what I needed was some kind of plant stand to give it a visual lift.
Now I have shown photos of vintage itomaki (Japanese thread spools) on this blog before.
And if you find it hard to imagine how one was used, here is an actual example of a thread spool on its winder.
But it wasn’t until I stumbled across this big six spoke spool just before leaving Tokyo for the summer that I had the epiphany of using it for my still to be purchased Boston fern. I also bought a smaller one to use as a counterpoint accent, perhaps without any plant on it all, like in the very top photo.
Both had interesting burned in markings that I haven’t had time to investigate. Unfortunately, they don’t show with a plant on top.
For me, I think my fern obsession started with this photo of Chessy Rayner‘s Southampton beach house. Living for over 20 years in my tear sheets, for me it has always represented the perfect summer house. The casual choice and arrangement of furniture and objects is everything a beach house should be. Over the years, I can remember so many bad “Before & After” spreads, particularly in Architectural Digest, where they would take a simple beach house and throw away all the wicker and bring in contemporary furniture.
But it was the image of a single Boston fern that I carried most strongly in my memory – not the furniture – and so I am actually surprised to see that there are a few other plants, such as the pair of Hibiscus standards in the room.
A more recent photo with a similar plant vibe, Joanna Madden’s Point Pleasant beach house would fall flat without its single Boston fern adding a bit of color to her carefully curated all white room. Only about 20 minutes south of here, her home shop Summerhouse nestles in among all the Point Pleasant antique stores I keep writing about.
I am trying to content myself with an inexpensive version of the above – a Dorchester Bench from Ballard Designs. I haven’t yet made a cushion for it in my lovely Kemerton Check from Cowtan & Tout, but you can get the general idea. I am loving the vertical accent the coat rack adds to the room, but it is the Boston fern that makes the vignette.
But at the same time, I think I might want a fully upholstered settee in that wonderful fabric. Obviously this entry hall is much more spacious, but I wonder if comfy seating might make more sense.
Image Credits: 1-5 & 9. me, 6.Elle Decor September 1990, photo credit: Karen Radkai, 7.Country Living February 2011 photo credit: Bjorn Wallander, 8. House Beautiful February 2011 photo credit: Victoria Pearson, 10. I know this is House Beautiful, but I just can’t remember the credit. Please let me know if you know it.