Places to Find Inspiration That Will Make You a Better Interiorscape Designer

Inspiration…where does it come from?

When I started my business in 1988, I already had about 3 years of experience working for an interiorscape company in Houston, Texas. On my own, I wanted to change it up. I was always looking for innovative designs. I spent hours and money at newsstands, buying subscriptions to magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Architectural Digest, Fine Gardening and Southern Living.

I can remember searching on my ancient desktop computer, stringing words together like tall+plant+striped+footcandles…my, my how times have changed.

Behold the 21st century “search engine” and platforms like Houzz, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and more. The search is lighting fast, with a dizzy, distracting barrage of visuals on anything you need, or want to know that would pertain to plants.

We dissect, and embellish, putting our own creative touches in place. Sometimes we just duplicate what we see, because it is an effective visual. For many of our clients, that aesthetic is essential.

inspirationSince our work revolves around plants, many naturalistic elements and a variety of textures; not only are we responsible for something live, we’ve managed to turn it into an art form. When I was commissioned to do 3 large preserved moss wall panels for an office lobby, my inspiration came from an area not too far from where they were going to be installed. Our city has some amazing greenbelt trails with large limestone rock formations oozing water from internal aquifers. Small pools lead to crevices that are covered with live moss, lichen and maiden hair fern, spreading in interesting patterns.

Visiting these areas I studied the colors, the smells, the way the light, or breeze changed their textures. This helped stimulate, connect and formulate the foundation for this particular interior project. It was a very rewarding experience for both myself and the client.

Where does your inspiration come from? Could someone in your organization have some creativity that’s untapped?

inspirationI encourage you to utilize all the aforementioned platforms for inspiration, but I also encourage you to get outside. Spend some time on a nature trail, visit a botanical garden, sit a spell on a bench, or blanket in a park. When the weather doesn’t permit, art galleries and descriptive naturalist books are another great source of inspiration.

This passage from “Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water” by Kathleen Dean Moore, speaks volumes…

“I wish to speak a word for the art of poking around. Although the art can be practiced in libraries and antique stores and peoples’ psyches, the kind of poking around I am interested in advocating must be done outdoors. It is a matter of going into the land to pay close attention, to pry at things with the toe of a boot, to turn over rocks at the edge of a stream and lift boards to look for snakes or the nests of silky deer mice, to kneel close to search out the tiny bones mixed with fur in an animal’s scat. People who poke around have seeds in their socks and rocks in their pockets. They measure things with the span of their hands. They look into the sun when the see a shadow pass across a field. They spit in rivers to make fish rise”…

Go poke around.

Robbin Voight is a 30 year veteran of the plantscape industry. Her company, Interior Gardens, is located in Austin, Texas. Robbin is a registered Green Plants for Green Buildings trainer looking forward to presenting the accredited Advanced Living Walls continuing education course and The Economics of Biophilic Design to architects & interior designers across North America.

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  • the Ficus Wrangler

    I love your comments, Robbin. Especially the quote from Kathleen Moore, and the question about untapped potential within our own companies. I hope some folks will be encouraged to make the effort to try tapping that potential.

    • Robbin Kees Voight

      Thank you, Marlie. I hope so too. With all the details and “busyness” of our work, taking some moments in our day that aren’t scheduled, can free up wonder and possibly reveal that potential.

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