We recently had the pleasure of perusing Annabelle Hickson’s awe-inspiring new book, A Tree in the House. 

While flicking through the page upon page of bloom inspiration and DIY projects, one creation seriously caught our attention.

It was this gorgeous autumn-inspired overhead installation, hanging high in a quaint church. Vibrant in its autumn hues, magnificent in its scale, and perfect in its imperfection.

Annabelle says, ‘This old church was a dream. Not only did it have wonderfully textured walls, it also had very high ceilings and overhead beams. I hung a roll of chicken wire from them, letting the wire blanket hang in swags in-between the beams.’

‘Starting from the first beam, I built little explosions of autumn branches up and down the wire magic carpet. From the floor, it looked as though the ceiling was a wild wave of autumnal reds and yellows.’

Lucky for us (…and you!), Annabelle takes us through the steps for creating this foraged masterpiece ourselves.


– Autumn branches

– Chicken wire

– Zip ties

– A ladder


STEP 1: source your branches

Annabelle says, ‘Tall and light in weight, this branch – and branches like it – are exactly what you want to look for when you are building your overhead explosions.’

Steer clear of particularly heavy branches – they are a pain to work with and tend to distort the curved waves of the chicken wire magic carpet.’
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Step 2: Prepare the ceiling 

Before starting, Annabelle hung chicken wire between ceiling beams, forming a structure to poke branches through. HOORAY!-A-Tree-In-The-House 03

Step 3: create ten or so bunches at ground level

Securing each bunch together at the point where you would naturally want to hold it (much as you would when making a bouquet) with a zip tie.

STEP 4: tie each bunch to the beam

Then shimmy up a ladder and tie each bunch to the beam with string or zip ties – some higher, some lower, some pointing diagonally left or right.

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And then 

Annabelle adds, “Occasionally, leaves will fall on the ground, a quick sweep will bring everything back into order.”

Annabel says, ‘I really don’t understand why people get bothered about leaves on the floor. Of all the things to clean up, they are the easiest and most pleasant. A quick sweep and everything is as good as new. Plus, the crunching sound of an autumn leaf underfoot takes me straight back to my childhood, throwing myself into the mounds of fallen leaves piled up on the footpath..’



This is an edited extract from A Tree in the House by Annabelle Hickson published by Hardie Grant Books AU $50.00/NZ $55.00 and is available where all good books are sold.

Photographer: © Annabelle Hickson + Luisa Brimble