We can all agree on the fact that plants have the power to transform a space. A hint of natural green can elevate a minimalist decor scheme, extend the lush aesthetic of a bohemian space, and revitalize a tired interior. While most of us may stick to a plant or two, there are those who take their love for organic greens to an entirely new level. One such example is Hilton Carter. The artist, who shares a one bedroom loft with his girlfriend Fiona, resides in a building formerly known as Mt. Vernon Mill No.1, a historic cotton mill from the 1870s, situated in the heart of Baltimore. His home comes filled with an abundance of plants, set against a complementary backdrop where an array of unique touches – like stone columns and original wood flooring – contribute to the historic characteristics of the space. We caught up with Carter to get the lowdown on his envy-worthy home and to learn how he manages to keep all those plants alive and thriving. Take a look.
What’s the first thing that drew you to this space?
We chose a corner unit because it gave us a great view of the river along the mill and it had large windows, which would provide the best type of light for our houseplants.
What is the inspiration for your decor scheme?
The design aesthetic in our place is a mash up of bohemian, industrial, modern and urban jungle…if that’s a thing. Basically, I’m just trying to bring the outside in and pretend as if we’re in our own private greenhouse.
The inspiration for our decor scheme comes from all over. Honestly, you just try to stay as unique as possible while knowing that outside influences will enter your space. I can say most of our purchases were made because they just felt right at the time. Lately, I’ve been inspired by things that have a story or history tied to them. So for the last few years, most of the pieces I’ve collected were either handed down to me, purchased at flea markets, or thrifted.
How did your plant collection begin?
My plant collection, or should I say obsession, began 3 years ago while I was living in New Orleans. It started small with a single golden pothos and a few succulents, and then rapidly progressed to larger purchases like a fiddle leaf fig and staghorn fern. The mission then was to have plants as a design element in the apartment. But for me now, it isn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and….yes! At this point, we have over 140 plants and the only reason is because we have the space and light to care for them. You give us more windows, more floor space and I’m sure we’d have more plants. If I had my way, I’d peel the roof back and let the sky in. Like I said…obsession.
Most people can hardly keep one plant alive, let alone a whole troop! What’s your trick to keeping all of yours thriving?
My trick for keeping my plants alive really isn’t a trick. It’s just knowledge of the plant, patience, routine, and often trial and error. So it starts with knowing the plant you have. A snake plant and a monstera have different needs. So you can’t just water them on the same schedule or place them in the same spot in your home. One requires more light while the other is more tolerant to less light. The general rule of thumb is if you stick your finger an inch deep into the soil and it’s fully dry, it’s time to water the plant. We have over 140 plants but don’t get me wrong, I’ve killed a few over time. Many, not from lack of attention, but just the opposite.
How do you ensure that each of your plants get the TLC they deserve?
To make sure I give the plants the care they need and make it easier on myself, I place plants that are on similar watering schedules together in certain windows and set alerts on my phone. That’s the only way to stay on top of it, especially when you have as many plant buds as we do.
Any tips for those lacking a green thumb?
The one thing I would say to someone that’s lacking a “green thumb” is to not overthink it. Just do the research on your plant, place it in the right spot in your home and love it.
Color scheme you’re currently coveting: a mix of green, gray and gold, with earth tones weaved in throughout.