Vines Indoors

{Rose Tarlow's home, featured in Architectural Digest in 1991, via Cote de Texas}

I've always had a love for plants despite the fact that I've killed (way!!) more of them than I can count.  I'm especially drawn to plants that go wild & take over.  (i.e. ivy-covered houses)  As a little girl, I was fascinated by the mysterious thorns ensnaring Sleeping Beauty's castle:

...and I've been known to fall in love with rooms just because there's a gorgeous green plant in the photograph of the room. 

I dream about a conservatory one day where I can kill beautiful plants one by one.. hahah no seriously, I'm going to get better with plants & one day hope to have a semi-green thumb!!

My best friend texted me this photo this Spring (taken on her phone) of a provate residence in Richmond on a home tour:

{and those laneterns too!!!}

There's just something about vines....

It reminded me of the conservatory at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown that I'm obessed with:

{The walls are being seriously accosted by the various vines & I'm in looooooooove...  I desperately wanted to take our wedding photos here but it didn't work out.. rain & I'm not sure its allowed :(  I still regret not having those pics...}  The photo above is from the anthology of ms. emily & mr.ben.

Anyway, since we're moving into a new house &because my houses are my design labs, I really want to try to experiment with it & do some things I've been wanting to do for a while now, namely, attempting to grow vines indoors.  Like up-my-walls-indoors...

 {I think there's a planter up there with the vines cascading down...}

I cannot get over the fact that some people have been able to get vines (!!)  to grow inside their homes & up their walls!!!  I want it!!!!  so bad!!!!!!!!

In the photo below, it looks like the vines are growing from the large pots around...

{image via}

...But in some of the other photos I'm seeing, it looks like the vines are coming in through the windows:

My favorite parts of the vines are where they've attacked the walls & ceilings:

{Garden and Gun Magazine}

In the kitchen above & below, I've seen the vines tagged on pinterest as "wild fig" vines...  Anyone know anything about them??  I loooooove them!!!!

{Garden and Gun magazine}

Are they coming through the windows??

The room below looks like a conservatory:

{love.. would go apey to have this!!}

And some of my absolute favorite vines are in Rose Tarlow's home (published in Architectural Digest in 1991).  All of the following images are via Cote de Texas and it's worth clicking here to read all about the home & Rose Tarlow.  (I would move right in if I could!)

isn't this amazing?!!!:

It looks like the vines are coming in through the doors!!!   ahhhhhh so good!!!

If you read a lot of blog, you've probably seen this image before:


Here (below) you can really see the vines coming down from the ceiling:

{This one looks like ivy}

ANd in some of the photos you can even see how the leaves are golden/ orangey:

Here, they look green:

{I love the recessed bookshelves}

...So.. does anyone know anything about this?  Many of the walls featuring vines look like plaster...  Is this a requirement?  How do the vines "stick?"  Do they just start cracking into the drywall/ plaster?  How can I do this?  I'm guessing the pot method?  Or could I grow them through a door without keeping it cracked?  I have a huge slider in my new living room...  What  type of vines can I grow??  I really love the ones with the smaller looking leaves...  Anyone have any experience or kow how to grow these?? 
S.O.S.!!! :)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

ps- I will tell you all about the new look on the blog as soon as the blog links are totally ready to rock. 


Jamie Evelyn said...

I love your new blog look. I can't wait to see more pictures of your new home.


Shorely Chic said...

interesting! I never thought of this, maybe for a sunroom...

laura said...

I love the whole look, although I'm happy to keep the vines outside!

I have some fig vines growing up the side of my brick porch. I alternate between loving them, and wishing they'd just chill a bit, but perhaps I just need to direct their growth a little more. I didn't plant them...not sure if the previous homeowners did, or if they are wild, but they are voracious... I cut, they grow!

Love the picture of the Richmond trellis ... That's where I live, and now I'm wondering how I could go find this house and seek a peek!

The Holloways said...

The "wild fig" may be what is also known as creeping fig. It has small leaves, closer together than many of your examples. It grows outdoors in relatively warm climates such as Charleston, SC. and further to the south. If I were going to try this "experiment", I would grow it indoors in pots so it would not die back in the winter. I expect it would grow up any wall if you gave it a little help by tacking it to the wall as the vines began to grow. The vines send out little suckers / tendrils that secure it to the wall. I doubt you can grow wild fig or any similar vine without damage to your wall, but perhaps that is not a concern?

Caroline said...

First of all, I LOVE the new look of the blog! I think it's the perfect look for this space.

Now onto vines, I'm not sure that I've ever really considered having vines grow inside my house intentionally, but I'm intrigued! I do really really love the look of when vines run rampant on a home's exterior! We had a lot of those wild fig vines growing on the side of my childhood home and they were so beautiful. I love the organic, cottage feel they lend to a home. I also LOVE when yards are overgrown with English Ivy. And it doesn't hurt that that means no yard work :)

Linda said...

Intrigued but in the wrong hands, could look very eccentric granny. You won't let that happen...

Stephie Z said...

The ones in the house from Garden and Gun grew through cracks in the window. They liked the look so they never fixed it- I think they have multiple cabins on their property if I remember correctly. I would probably say it is better to grow them out of a pot and they need to be in a sunny room. The walls would need to be gritty enough for them to "hold" on.

bagfashionista said...

i'm curious about having plants "Grow" on the walls (i'm thinking more exterior though) but have wondered if having those there would damage the integrity of the structure?

Darija said...

To me, this is one of those things that looks very interesting in pictures but I wouldn't actually want. I would probably keep it to the outside on a porch or pergola.

Having replastered a lot of the walls in our 1930s house I would say that vines with stickers to cling to the surface (like ivy) could definitely damage the wall. On drywall I bet it would take off the paint and maybe some paper but would be easy to repair.

I wonder if you could get a trailing plant and put it on a high shelf and have it trail all the way to the floor? Or some tropical plants have really large foliage that could get the lush, wild look without actually being on the wall. I had a night blooming cereus that liked to create great big arching shoots.

There's a sort of abandoned look to the vines climbing the wall that makes me feel sad for that house like it's being neglected. Very interesting pictures anyway!

~D @ The Tiny Homestead

Wendy said...

I love Dumbarton Oaks! So much inspiration there.

I used to have English ivy growing up my kitchen window frame above my sink instead of a window treatment. I had a pot on each side at the base of the window frame and attached clear fishing wire to nails in the side and top of the window frame for it to climb on. In a year or so the two sides met at the top middle of the window frame. I really liked the look, but the ivy got root bound and I needed larger pots, which took up too much counter space so when the ivy on one side died I didn't replace it.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I love your new blog look! I cannot wait to hear more about the change.

Now the vines growing on the walls...what about bugs? Mites? Etc? I think it looks great in some of the photos, and then in a few it looks like scraggly weeds growing on the walls.

I am looking forward to seeing your ideas! Who knows you may just inspire me to try something new. But I am still afraid of the bugs...

Have a great week!

Tawna said...

I have no idea about ferns inside, but I love the update on your blog! This is my favorite pattern in your fabrics...I want some pillows for a couch in it one day.

Nancy said...

creeping fig vine...its all over the place here in just sticks to whatever, you don't have to do anything to train it to climb.

googled it and found this for you:

kayce hughes said...

Loving your new blog look!

Karen said...

Great post and I love the look of your new blog page.

Pam said...

So interested to see what you do in your house with this idea. I really like the idea of indoor vines, they look very poetic.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Definitely a natural, semi-wild look. I really like it! I hope you can do it!!

Merry said...

I live in Southern California and Creeping Fig grows here beautifully. I have it in my yard covering an entire length of fence. Gorgeous! You can keep it flat-ish and tight or let it get "fluffy" and it is a lovely background in any setting. The ONLY prob I've had is that the word gets around and rats come to check it out for their new "digs." No vacancy! But it should be easy to control on an indoor wall, etc. that receives some sun, as it is a slow creeper. You can "peel" it off eventually, sand, replaster spots if need be, paint, no evidence.

toocolorcrazy said...

I agree with the "NOT for me crowd" - they would be messy and it would drive me batty. Bugs and dead leaves - not something I would ring willingly into my house.
I also think it falls into the trying to hard category.
Your aesthetic is so nice and clean while still having that gathered look. Id stick with that.

Love the new look of your blog.


Love the enchanting effect. Hmm I know that when I was growing up in Poland many houses Ive been to had vines on walls. I'll explore :)


Becki said...

I get it, I get it I get it!!!
I love this romantic look, too, and would gladly put up with any critters that come along for the ride.
That creeping fig ivy is an easy and fast grower.
Do it!

Jean Tepper said...

I'd be very careful about letting vines attach to your walls, indoors or outdoor. Years ago my grandfather refused to plant a wisteria bush to grow along a porch because he was afraid it would ruin the structure of the house. He was pretty knowledgeable and was very firm about it. And the house is still standing, to this day, almost 100 years later.

Vines grown in a pot and left to hang, well that is something else.

Great blog, love your posts and your new house. Enjoy!

christina @ greige said...

I love this look. My only warning about the creeping fig is that it can be VERY invasive. Use caution because if it is happy it is hard to control. I am excited to see your new house though!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lauren,
I like the idea of a "living wall," but would not want the plants attaching themselves to the interior structure of my house.

What about building a large rectangular (and waterproofed) planter on wheels and attaching a trellis to it? That way, you could move the entire structure away from the wall when required. Instead of filling the planter with dirt, you could place individual pots inside the planter.

Trim the plants so that they only grow on the trellis. Eventually, you will end up with a solid "green" wall.

I've seen this design applied to an outdoor screen, about 8 feet tall. Three Japanese Red Maples were trained to grow on a criss-cross patterned trellis built from thick bamboo stalks.

Nice update to your blog.

Congratulations on your new house! Looking forward to seeing your transformation.

Timmi said...

Vines are very charming but high maintenance to look well. I know ivy is very prone to spider mites and many other vines are prone to ants. To me right there would have me saying no to these things in my house. Also they can become very invasive and destructive. My parents' house has vines on the outside and while it looks nice, they have grown inside the siding and into windows which is very hard to remove since just pulling will cause damage. They have major ant problems because of the vines on their house. And lets not forget about birds and snakes nesting in them YUCK!

Annie said...

I have a philodendron "gone wild" in my sun room. I didn't intend for it to happen, but the vines just took it upon themselves to start growing up the walls. A couple of them are at least 15-20, maybe 30 feet long. They drape along the tops of the window frames and I've doubled (and tripled) some of them back over themselves. I've never seen a bug on them, but do occasionally pick off a dead leaf or two. The walls are drywall and the vines attach themselves, ever so slightly, to it. If you were to pull it away, you could see where it attached, but it could be easily removed with a (very) light sanding.

Natalie said...

I love it but don't think I'm brave enough (or my husband would support it;) ) to do it myself. BUT that pic you asked about that was on pinterest looks to me to be a double hanging basket directly in front of the window...with the vines growing in a way to completely cover it. Will definitely be an interesting venture! Prayers for green thumb(s) :)

Lane McNab said...

OMG. I. Love. This. :) I have been pinning photos of interior vines lately too and can't wait to see you go for it! I have been working on my horticultural skills for the last couple of years too and it is possible to turn a black thumb green. I realized plants need way more water than I ever thought and good drainage. Also, I get so busy with 3 young kids that if I don't keep the plants in visible easy to access spots, they don't get watered...

Can't tell you about the climbing vines but looks like you got some good info in the comments section. This is going to be beautiful!


Miss Iris said...

I loooove your new blog look (and your fabulous photo). And I love vines too...have always heard they can ruin the walls, but I see so many houses covered in vines. Just wished my babe liked them the same, every time I comment on how cool they look when we come across a vined-up house, first thing out of his mouth is "eeew spiders." lol. At a former place, I once let a plant grow so long in my bathroom I had to start putting up nails on the walls to hold it looked pretty cool, went around 3 of the walls. Good luck, can't wait to see your new house get the "Lauren" touch. Xo

Canned Pam said...

I don't think so. It's pretty but all I can think about is bugs and dust. said...

Forgive me if someone has already pointed you here, but you might be interested in Penelope Bianchi's indoor/outdoor room. There's a recent post on her blog about it at I'm sure if you had any questions about vines indoors she'd be your woman to ask - she's enormously generous and big hearted.

Pegster said...

After seeing the damage that removing creeping fig from my fence has done, I cannot recommend having it grow on your indoor walls.

Perhaps begin with some cascading plants on a shelf. "String of pearls" is lovely and low maintenance
as is "strawberry begonia."

Best wishes for much happiness in your new home.


Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage said...

I have a room I'm going to have to gut in my house, and the wall is hideous for now. A vine would be awesome for a lovely coverup.

Don't let them grow from the outside to the inside. You'll get ants, termites, who knows what using it as a path. But indoor only plants, unless you already have a bug problem, I don't see that being an issue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, "Pimp my bricks"!!

Key word is deciduous! Creeping fig is not. It is destructive to wood; and also gets way to thick on stucco; or even stone.

I have adored Rose Tarlow's house and vines inside since I first saw it years ago! (she didn't put the doors on until they had grown up; and they aren't a tight fit!
I especially like the one you have to move aside or brush up against as you walk through!

They turn color in the fall, and lose their leaves in the winter. They should be trimmed off the wood windows; but oh so romantic to me!

Nothing that I do does "everyone" like; so some people object to the little "feet" on the plaster (they come right off.....lightly sanding); but they do not damage the plaster!

There are stone and stucco houses all over Europe that have had Wisteria (also deciduous) for centuries on their walls! That does not make them fall down!

And I adore the tendrils hanging down! We have had a dozen or more hummingbird nests on those tendrils over the doorways!

Anonymous said...

PS They grow at my house and at Rose Tarlow's from the outside in! I have had them for 15 years; I think she has had them for at least 25! None of those "dreaded" things happened!

Hannah Maple said...

LOVE your style...your blog is always such a refreshing escape :)

The "wild fig" looks to me like it's "creeping fig"...a vigorous climber! I live in Charleston, SC...and creeping fig is everywhere. I plnated some along the (horribly barren) back wall of our house. In a few years it will be completely green! Just did a post about can see the beginnings of the fig creeping :)

Thanks for sharing your amazing style. Best of luck with the move!

Ellpell said...

I love vines! I've tried potted English Ivy inside, but I just can't seem to keep them alive for more than a month ...