Old Man Winter, Jack Frost, Heat Miser and Mother Nature all have one thing in common: they’re related. However, it’s Mother Nature who is in charge in my book and whom I adore and can count on, therefore she is always welcomed in my home. Old Man Winter sends chills down my back but offers me the opportunity to walk on water — okay, so what if it is frozen!? Jack Frost, never really got to know him very well as I avoid him whenever I can. Heat Miser, now there’s a guy that has a hot temper and spends a great deal of time in the South, so other than those isolated heat waves he comes and goes a lot like my brother.
With regard to Mother Nature, also know as Mother Earth, she keeps them all in line, but like any family, sometimes they don’t always get along. For example, Jack Frost can show up, devastate us displaying his power, yet the next day Mother Nature might clean up his mess by offering copious sunshine and warmer temperatures. Some may call the melting global warming and I’ll agree, but I can’t help relate back to my own family and how we don’t always get along.
That said, my home is filled with Mother Nature’s family, and my designs are all inspired by this dysfunctional yet lovely group. Here are some of my design secrets that rely on the outdoors for inspiration.
- Mirror shapes that occur in nature. Understanding this helps understand design trends. Currently, “ball” shapes are extremely popular. Rope, moss, and even willow balls offer interest and texture in the home. Discover clumping them is groups, in a basket, on a fabulous bowl or even on a cake plate covered by a cloche.
- Mirror finishes that occur in nature. Aged crackled furniture always adds history and a weathered look to any room dÌ©cor. One piece can make a room go from cold to cozy. Just tie in color to match other fabrics in the room or wall coloring.
- On the rocks: incorporate pebbles, stones, and rocks into dÌ©cor. This neutral palette goes with almost everything. Once simple idea: add an element of surprise to guest soap dishes by using outdoor rocks as a bed. Clever and always a conversation-starter.
- Outdoor finials add drama and an unexpected touch to your home. On a table as a doorstop or even in a bookshelf. The older, the mossier the better. Discover this whimsical touch in your home. An outdoor tutor can also be duplicated indoors as metal pyramids offer another great texture that’s open and of interest to the eye.
- Dare to go bare– remove the window treatments and invite the light in. Window treatments are overrated and expensive whenever there is no need for privacy.
- Get a tree! An indoor tree that is. There are many types that work well such as a decorative fig ficus — a wonderful large tree that offers a wonderful punch of color to your home.
- New ways to use an urn indoors. A decorative urn can be used as an indoor planter, a magazine rack, or to even a great place to hide the remotes. Find new ways to use the classic urn indoors and you’ll love them as much as me. Wire them for a lamp, fill with wood for the fireplace, or even let them host a potted plant — just keep it in its container so it’s ready to pop out again.
- Capture nature in apothecary jars. Large jars with lids are readily available and not too expensive. Fill with something that reminds you of nature for a simple but highly decorative statement. Lemons or limes are great in the kitchen, nuts or pinecones or birds’ nests are great in the living room, and shells or stones are great in the study or bathroom.
- Get a kitchen window box. If you have a window that opens over your sink then there are no excuses. Water access is there and all you need is to create something that invites the colors and textures of the garden indoors. This is just one way to bring the outdoor that offers many, many reasons for you to do the dishes. It was the first thing I did when I purchased my home and today it still makes me smile when I can enjoy the small garden just outside my window. Can’t add a window box? Then add an indoor extended ledge for small decorative potted plants. Extra credit if you have both. Whether you rent or own, this is not a big commitment and an inexpensive way to bring Mother Nature indoors. A must, people, a real must!
However you choose to invite the spirit of the outdoors into your home, it begins a natural progression to being more aware of the endless beauty that is at your fingertips — or in this gardener’s case, is also under my nails.
And there you have it.