Outdoors Is Just Indoors Without Walls

By Teo Spengler | September 29, 2022
Image by HannamariaH
by Teo Spengler
September 29, 2022

It is interesting to contemplate having two completely different decorating styles, one for indoors, one for outdoors. I would love to be the kind of person who could pull off ultra-modern indoor décor and pair it with a cottage garden. But I am not. For better or for worse, my decorating style remains consistent, a casual look with lots of wood and plants.

Plants, Plants and More Plants

If I had to select the one element most prominent in my decorating style, the answer would have to be plants. My house in San Francisco is packed with houseplants and the backyard garden as well. In fact, the plants move from inside to outside and vice versa with regularity.

As a plant rescuer, I end up with lots of container plants. People in San Francisco tend to dump plants readily, leaving them outside near their garbage cans and I tend to pick them up and bring them home. Repotted, trimmed, they usually thrive. Many are succulents that can go indoors or out, and I cycle them in and out, so virtually every surface in the house and in the backyard is laden with container plants.

Plants in France

The indoor and outdoor décor in France also focuses on plants, but there, things are wilder. The yard plants include a lot more trees and shrubs and a lot fewer container plants. 

How about indoors? The plants I keep inside the house in France tend to be overflowing hanging baskets that I move outside during the day, then back inside in the evening. I also have a lot of plant cuttings that I am rooting from outdoor bushes, like hortensias and honeysuckle

Natural Wood and Fiber

Obviously, I also have furniture in both San Francisco and France, but I cannot claim to use any trendy decorating style. In France the ceiling is oak, a peaked roof with big oak beams, and the floor is terra cotta tile. My furniture is oak too, a large dining table that seats 12, a Vermont castings wood burning stove, an oak bookshelf. 

In the San Francisco apartment, there is less oak but still a lot of wood and fiber. Lots of fun eclectic art, including French Basque Country posters, Durer prints, and photos of Yosemite. It’s a mishmash but it works. 

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