Living Walls: Remodeling with a Touch of Green

It’s been stated that on average, Americans spend over 90% of our time indoors (these statistics may not reflect most Californian’s and other sun-seekers who no doubt use their outdoor environment as a yearlong playground).  Even so, it is particularly surprising to hear that indoor air is scientifically proven to be often times more polluted than outdoor air.  And most of these toxins are given off by a countless number of common household products including: carpets, plastics, furniture, paints, cleaning products, inks, dyes, foam, rubber, and the list goes on.  We practice sustainability for more than just street credit. We love to work closely with landscape architects and gardeners and use natural finishes and furnishings to keep that integral balance between a healthy and fabulous home, both inside and out!

The good news is that adding live plants to your interior and interior increases the value of your home immeasurably—reducing the amount of toxins and provides a calm, relaxing setting. Crooked Nest, a local San Francisco firm whose "creative interventions & foliar juxtapositions", is another element we've added to a current remodel and we are beyond excited to share.  We got in touch with Candace Silvey, owner and creative director, to give us her insights on installing the Begonia and Fern living wall in our current client's home.

"This was a fun project that we drew inspiration from studying the layers of the rainforest: the emergent layer, canopy layer, understory layer and forest floor.  We were so happy and thrilled to be a part of the custom steel frame fabrication and vertical garden installation at this property. Given the clients interest in complex systems as well as his love for bold color we chose to create a fern grove of sorts sprinkled with begonias which offer splashes of intense color year round."

Candace, whose formal background is in architecture, and business partner, Elena Powditch, (a formally trained fine artist and industrial designer) are the masterminds—and hands behind Crooked Nest.  "We create projects that are engaging, but also projects that speak to the architecture and line of the space," Candace adds.  "We take a very thoughtful approach to how we address each of our custom plantings. In addition, we like to source our plants and materials locally, and we enjoy using curious and unique specimens that draw the viewer in and hold them there to observe and meditate."

"We address all of our plantings as synergistic systems and choose plants that work together in order to create harmony within the system. We apply these same principles to every project that we undertake including our landscaping projects, interiors, as well as our large-scale hand blown glass terrariums. Through our foliar juxtapositions, we hope to bring a little bit of healing earth energy into the concrete jungle in order to enliven and inspire."

Taking a look at the wall viewed from above, it shows that a top canopy provides shelter for more fragile ferns as San Francisco can get quite windy.  Walls such as these (mostly green walls installed outdoors) have all sorts of benefits: they shield from the sun, rain, and intense thermal fluctuations; can cut electricity bills, dampen noise and air pollution, reduce stress, and are living works of art, to boot.

Do check back to see how the rest of this client's remodel turned out as we will reveal the entire home in the near future.  And too, if you would like to learn more about the work Crooked Nest does or are interested in a consultation, terrariums, urban landscaping, or unique plant accessorizing, check out their facebook page and/or contact any of the two lovely ladies at info [at] CrookedNest [dot] com.