Taking Inspiration: Where the Wild Things Are

Where the wild things are kids fort inspiration

I was so excited to take my little people  to see “Where the Wild Things Are” last Friday evening – though I had a little apprehension.  I worried about too much hype and potential disappointment.   Happily, the movie was lovely – really one of the best I have seen in a while.  I laughed, I cried, my kids were captivated, and so was I.

Beyond being one of the best adaptations one could ever expect from a 10 sentence kids book, I really found the the imagery and styling so fascinating.  Prior to the opening, the design site Booooooom.com held a Where the Wild Things Are fort building contest that ended last week.  The winner, Eric Rice, seriously blew me away. I love his design and that it was constructed of recycled palettes and string. I would love to create something like this for children…with Eric’s construction kids could be highly involved.

I spent the long weekend building my fort out old pallets and other discarded materials. I didn’t use any nails or screws to build the actual fort, it’s lashed together with hundreds of feet of string, and is surprisingly sturdy, even on the third floor. I had an awesome time building it, and hope you guys do some more contests in the future.

– Eric

behind the scenes on the set of where the wild things are fort

Watching the movie I think I might have spotted a trend. In the movie, Max and the Wild things build a fabulous fort from sticks that is truly awesome. It is textural and shapely in a way that many structures are not.

Antropologie where the wild things are inspiration

The interesting thing about it though is that a few weeks back (before the movie came out) I snapped off this picture at the mall in front of an Anthropologie store. I loved the rustic and imperfect wooden structure in the window and it seems positively influenced by the same things that inspired the fort in the movie.

Similarly I found these images of other Anthropologie flowing stick structures. anthropologie where the wild things are inspiration

This one with the sticks coming right out of the building and completely altering the facade of the building is very exciting.


This way of building, whereby wood is used to create curved and rounded structures seems ripe for garden inspiration. Don’t you think? I am imagining flowy pergolas and arbors.  And now that I have seen it at Anthropologie and in what will surely be one of the biggest movies of they year, I think it might be a trend.

I think it is worth mentioning too that I just learned about Patrick Dougherty – an amazing artist who I am now inspired to write a future post about….but I think he might really be the original inspiration. What do you think?

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. ryan on October 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I think you’re right about it being a trend. I saw a new woven wicker-type sculpture in an SF park two weeks ago, one in the Late Show garden show a couple of weeks before that, and we designed one as the entry way to a community garden earlier this year, among many other examples. They look really nice, an old building method but with a contemporary feeling.

  2. Susan aka Miss R on October 21, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Glad you liked my thoughts about Where the Wild Things Are and Patrick Dougherty. If you ever get an opportunity to be in one of his structures–take it. They are as magical as the film was. Love the orange stick entrance by the way.

  3. Jacqui on October 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I recently learned in an art history class that Egyptian peasants used to build entire houses out of wicker. This sounds hideous at first, but the buildings are truly magnificent, and look just like the wild things structures on a smaller scale. According to my teacher, this is actually the reason why Egyptian stone columns were finely fluted–they were imitating columns made of wicker!! If anyone can find pictures of this, I would be truly gratified–I can’t seem to find them anywhere except on the teacher’s film slides.

  4. Kari Lønning on October 27, 2009 at 1:17 am

    How I would have loved to see the design competition! The possibilities of building with reed is endless (and potentially very strong), but what Patrick Dougherty does with willow saplings is magic!

  5. Kari Lønning on October 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I thought of Andy Goldsworthy’s approach to building this morning – http://tinyurl.com/37w867

  6. Ted Hirsch on November 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    My wife and I both thought that Patrick Dougherty was the influence. He is an old friend and I hope that film makers honor his work directly.
    Ted Hirsch

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