sneak peek: isabelle palmer of the balcony gardener

after years of successfully growing flowers, herbs and vegetables in tiny urban spaces, isabelle recognized that there weren’t many resources geared toward young, urbanites who craved a little green oasis but only had limited space (and limited time!). so she founded the balcony gardener to help people easily bring a little green into their lives while staying true to their personal design sensibility. isabelle has two balconies in her hampstead, london home, which gives her the space to experiment! {thanks isabelle! and many thanks to keiko oikawa for the lovely photographs!}amy a.

[My home is right at the top of a beautiful old church that was converted into flats. It has two stories, three bedrooms (one of which I use as an office), and two balconies with stunning views over London. It’s quite spacious with lovely tall vaulted ceilings and lots of light. I live and work here so it’s important that the space is restful and calming as well as inspiring and energizing. his was the first house that I owned myself. I had to kit the whole place out from scratch and do it quite economically so I started with some Ikea basics and then over the years I’ve bought individual pieces as and when I’ve spotted things I’ve loved and of course, when I could afford them. Alot of my pieces are from antique shops and fairs as I love trawling through looking for bargains. And some pieces are bespoke. I guess my style is quite eclectic as it’s evolved over the years. I didn’t really have a vision to begin with so each room has a slightly different feel but on the whole it’s fairly modern with some vintage finds added in here and there.]

[image above: My bedroom. I painted the Brigitte Bardot myself and the other art is a combination of old family pictures and some favorite postcards. The room has skylights, which makes it feel quite airy. The bed, I adore, because it’s a huge old sleigh style bed and is the focal point of the room.]

[image above: This is the spare bedroom which is smaller than mine. It features the lovely church windows. I found the little side table in an antique store and I painted it. This is a really cozy room.]

[image above: This is the balcony which leads off the living space. You can also see the beautiful Bell Tower outside which is part of the original church building. All the pots and window boxes are thriving out there. I’m lucky as I have the privilege of trying all the products before I put them on the site so it allows me to change the balconies every year. This year it’s quite wild and rustic. There’s lavender, rosemary, boxus, huchera, grasses, and bay – just to name a few.]

CLICK HERE for more of Isabelle’s London home!

[This is the same balcony but taken from inside the living room. My bookshelf is filled with all my favorite books. It’s a nice quiet area to sit and read. The lamp is from Habitat, and the chair is from Laura Ashley. The little cushion is actually an old jumper of mine that I accidentally shrunk in the wash. My mother made it into a little cushion for me, and I love it.]

[image above: This is a close up of the English country garden window box.]

[image above: This is the downstairs balcony which has amazing views over west London. The Bistro Set table and chairs are perfect for my small balcony because I can fold it all away. This balcony is a really small space but it’s also very convenient to sit out here as it’s directly off my office space. I take my laptop out here and take in the sun … when we have some! I also grow all my vegetables and herbs out here in pots. Lots of trial and error.]

[image above: This is a small collection on the dressing table in my bedroom. There’s an antique silver sugar bowl that I was given as a present and hydrangea which has grown roots in the water and which I intend to try to grow into a plant. I love the little shell fairy lights, and you can also glimpse one of my collection of ceramic butterflies on the wall.]

[image above: The books are mostly biographies. I painted the wall in Farrow and Ball’s Downpipe, a dark grey. It adds impact to an almost white room. The kitchen is small but functional, again all white with white brick tiles.]

[image above: The dining table is from a reclamation yard. It was caught in a flood so there is some water damage to the bottom of the legs, but I think it adds character. The chair is the Hi Tech chair – it’s a simple, classic yet modern Swedish design and can be used inside or outside.]

[image above: This is a collection of lovely old bottles which I keep on the mantlepiece in the living room.]

  1. Such an inspiring home! The bookcases in the living room are such a cool shape, and I am a HUGE fan of farrow + ball’s downpipe paint – lovely!!

  2. Shanon says:

    Boy do I need to live here.

  3. Shannon L. says:

    This is a beautiful home! The balcony gardens are so lovely.

  4. Brittany says:

    what strikes me the most are the shape of those old church windows in the spare bedroom. stunning!

  5. sarah says:

    i want to live here. this is such an amazing, exquisite home. i can only hope mine is as gorgeous some day!!

  6. packdesign says:

    The greatest asset is the building itself, what amazing details… gothic windows and views from them are amazing.

  7. Allie says:

    What a great sneak peak! I had written in a little ago to ask about decorating small spaces on a smaller budget. The tip about balcony gardens and her comment about starting with Ikea basics and building from there really spoke to me. Thanks!

  8. I love the church windows and the little side board and all these beautiful cushions. It is a miracle how she arranged the balcony. To place so many amazing plants on a small balcony. I am fascinated by “small” gardens and each day I look at “String Gardens”

  9. Masha says:

    I’m in love with all those pillows around the house…

  10. J Is a Bird says:

    Great post. I’ve bookmarked the website to check out in detail. I have a large balcony but little idea of what I can do with it so it’s helpful to have some suggestions.


  11. It’s true, it’s amazing how the personality and feel of your living space evolves over time as you find things and ideas to use to mold your home into the visions you have in mind. Very inspirational post!

  12. Ronnie says:

    those windows with the brick are amazing!

  13. Susie M says:

    Wow. What a lovely home. You have so many bright fun pillows in your home. I just love them. I also envy your balcony and the lovely plants because I do not have a green thumb. You have given me the inspiration to give it another try though.

  14. I’d love to live in that spare bedroom with the church window! I might change the upper glass of the window with stained glass to complete the church theme and bring in the sunlight with a myriad of colors.

  15. Eva says:

    what a view! and a very nice and cozy place. The church windows are amazing! i would love to see the kitchen too though ;-)

  16. I’d love to stay in that spare bedroom with the church window! I guess changing the upper glass of the window with stained glass will continue the church theme and bring in the sunlight in a rainbow of colors.

  17. rachael says:

    The exposed brick, arched windows are a little slice of heaven. Lemmie have that please! :)

  18. Sofia says:

    Hah, not to be mean or anything but the french bottles in the last picture arent old at all, i bought a couple in germany just last month. thats ok and all, why does everything have to be old’?

  19. Really nice interior design. Good thing that some homes have mini garden because it really brings out the best in your house. I really like this.

  20. Lauren says:

    Less is more? Hell no – throw another 10 plant pots on the balcony, and keep going.

  21. DJinny says:

    Oh my gosh, you have the most beautiful place ever…. Just wondering how you can keep the guest room for guests!!!!
    Love it!

  22. Krista says:

    so gorgeous!! would love to hear more info about the plants on the balcony.. i’ve tried to grow lavender and it died :(. i love the forest-like grouping. beautiful!

  23. Just.Gorgeous.I attempt a spot of gardening on my balcony and this has inspired me to freshen up my collection of little pots. Thanks

  24. Lana says:

    are those ikea klippan sofas? If so, what kind of slipcovers are those?

  25. What a lovely, light-filled home. And the balconies are so sweet!

  26. Isabelle says:

    Thank you all for your lovely comments!
    The sofas are from Ikea and the covers are klippan
    CoverS for the two-seat sofa.

  27. Talley says:

    Your apartment is absolutely beautiful. I am smitten with your bed and would love one just like it. Where did you find it?

  28. Isabelle says:

    Hi thank you! the bed is from

  29. vanessa j. says:

    Love to find apartments with such beautiful creative touches and the balcony garden is amazing. Inspired me.

  30. Laura Harwood says:

    Can’t believe she dosen’t use the bedroom with the church windows…Its stunning!! love the herbs everywhere.

  31. zms says:

    Absolutely lovely!


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