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I've spent most of my adult life traveling the globe and finding inspiration in the variety of cultures, people and places in the world around me. Here's a look through my eyes, as I share interior design tips, inspiration from my travels, and art and textiles I’m finding and creating.
Having grown up in Oregon, where the forests are dense, the rivers run wild, and mountains and coastline lie within about an hour in either direction from Portland, I was immersed in nature. Our family went camping and hiking, and my mother took us on nature walks. I learned to appreciate the beauty and curiosities of nature as a child. Now I’m blessed to live in the mountains of northern Utah, where countless trails are minutes from my home. I love hiking, and on the trails, I find endless inspiration for the homes I am working on, from color palettes and lighting projects to custom furniture designs and texture combinations. Below are a few examples of how nature inspires my design.
One early spring morning I hiked in the mountains after temperatures had taken a dip overnight. I walked alongside a steeply descending creek that seemed to sparkle. Curious, I drew closer. It was an amazing sight. Ice had formed the night before, encasing branches and shoots of grass in ice. Bubbles of water had frozen solid on a rock. They sparkled like jewels. I was delighted at the beauty! I started to wonder… can glassblowers create a piece of glass with an actual piece of nature inside? I haven’t taken that question to my local glassblower yet. But the idea has been planted in my mind, and perhaps one of these days I will have a specially created glass light fixture with one of nature’s gifts I have collected from the mountains preserved inside.
For some recent clients, I worked with a custom lighting company, who does the glassblowing and metal work all under one roof, to create some fantastic custom fixtures. One of them was for above the dining table. I wanted the pieces of glass to resemble shards of ice, since this home is located in a mountain ski resort. We met together, shared ideas, then they went to work. Voila! A gorgeous, one-of-a-kind piece of lighting art, ringed in what appear to be sheaths of ice from the mountains.
The color palettes and textures found in nature are always harmonious. Layers of woody browns and grays on tree bark, turquoise or amber veining in rocks and pebbles, pops of purple or russet tinted tree leaves, brilliant flowers. The color combinations are often unexpected and always aesthetically pleasing. Mother Nature is an artist and a great source of color scheme and textural inspiration to bring inside your home. I find that when I’m using neutrals, adding a variety of textures adds interest both from a visual and tactile perspective.
You can see that this heavily textured bark, in a range of light and dark tones, with a bit of gold lichen, influenced the design of the master bedroom below. The color palette is limited, but a variety of textures, ranging from smooth woods, polished brass, nubby linen, plush sheepskin and earthy leather add visual interest to the space.
Begin by observing the beauty in the outdoors around you and, as you contemplate what appeals to you, start thinking of ways to bring those colors, textures and ideas into your home. Play with ideas and, with practice, it will start to become easier and you’ll grow in confidence.
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