Text by Bethany Adams
A fascination with antiques and an adoration for all things gardening collided when Ashley Kay Johnson finally realized her dream of building a greenhouse on her Alabama property. “I’d been wanting to do it for five years,” she notes, adding that the process involved a lot of thrifted vintage windows and plenty of help from her husband, Brian, who owns a construction business.
With the structure complete, she says, the goal was for it to be “one with the landscape.” To achieve this, Ashley blurs the lines between the manmade and the natural with foraged foliage and an expert hand, building swags and arrangements on the exterior from scratch. The effect is perhaps most enchanting in autumn, when sunset oranges and canary yellows burst from arrangements over the antique doors that lead the way to even more natural wonders.
Complementing dishware and taper candles in dramatic tones—a favorite tendency of Ashley’s—the runner finds texture and color in both fresh and dried elements, including bold splashes in the form of burgundy and gold eucalyptus. “I love a moody table setting,” says Ashley, who filled in with pears, amber bottles, feathers, and moss tucked beneath pumpkins for an effect that any 19th-century naturalist would love.
Feeding into that spirit are the antiques that she incorporated into the space, which include an apothecary cabinet turned buffet that charms with its cracked paint patina. Collected favorites like antique busts and leather-bound books fill empty surfaces, tucked in among sprigs and twigs clipped from the property, combining the cozy atmosphere of a book-filled study with the richness of an autumn garden.
“I have a large collection,” Ashley says of the books, “and I use them all over at home and all over the greenhouse, just because I love the texture and the color.” They’re also the perfect companions for a burnished orange chair made cozier with a knit throw—an inviting spot for appreciating the allure of a rainy fall day.
But rain or shine, it’s the chandelier hanging from the ceiling that truly captivates. Ashley dressed the antique fixture with layers of foraged materials, using floral foam to craft an arrangement that further integrates the greenhouse with the beauty of the land surrounding it. Contrasting the rustic splendor of dried hydrangea and pampas grass with the timeless elegance of cut crystal, the centerpiece proves that this oasis is right at home in the Johnsons’ fall garden.
To see more of Ashley’s home and garden, visit her on Instagram at @ashleykayandco.
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