My Latest Obsession: Natural Decor
I mentioned last week that my latest fascination is interior design. This might actually be a good thing, since I actually have to stop and think before purchasing a piece of furniture about whether it would fit into my space, whereas periods of shoe obsession, not requiring that period of reflection, can turn into a fiscal bloodbath. As you may have guessed from my past posts, I’m just the tiniest bit obsessed with biology, zoology, and the natural world in general, and my obsession extends to my taste in interior design. My ideal space would have some warmth, some color, simple lines with a bit of an Asian influence, and a big splash of the organic in the form of nature photography, driftwood tables, you name it.
Luckily, these days the marketplace (and the internet) are full of decor inspired by the natural world. After the jump, a collection of my favorites.
One of my favorite natural touches in a room is driftwood. I just love the beachy-casual feel of it in contrast to more hard-edged modern lines. I personally have a piece of driftwood on a stand on my bookcase that I picked up from Crate and Barrel (sorry, no longer available), but driftwood furniture is also available if you’re looking for something more substantial. Try this disguised coat-rack on for size:
This end table from Crate and Barrel has great functionality, and the glass top gives it a little visual balance. New Yorkers can also stop in to ABC Carpet and Home, where they have some terrifically impressive tables made from tree trunks and other great if high end offerings. (I picked up a great petrified wood trivet there a while back.)
For those shopping online, there is also some great lighting available. This chandelier, for instance:
I admit, I’ve posted this before, but I continue to be obsessed. The flower-inspired lighting fixture is made with capiz shells for a touch that’s slightly modern and slightly organic and all-around gorgeous.
And then, of course, there’s the whole world of accessories. Even if you’re not the person for a driftwood table, a few well-placed branches or shells can go a long way to soften up a room that might otherwise be too severe or too modern. My latest favorite playground is Nettleton Hollow, which you may have caught on Daily Candy. If you’ve ever wondered where to get branches, bunches of ornamental grasses, or dried chili peppers, look no further. They have a great selection of different botanical accents of all kinds, from dried moss to thika pods. I have at least one empty corner that I think could use a good branch arrangement. I am currently loving the zany curliness of kuwa branches:
But I also like the texture of cholla wood, a type of cactus:
I’m not sure what the arrangement is going to look like in the end, but I’m really looking forward to finding out.
If you live in the New York area and are looking for a few natural objets to add interest to your space, you may want to try a trip to Evolution in Soho. One of the best wildlife-derived knick-knacks on my bookcase is a rainbow array of five iridescent Thai beetles in a glass-backed shadow box that The Ex picked up for me at Evolution. The guy may be gone, but the beetles continue to spiff up my living room. They also have a terrific selection of fossils of all kinds, butterflies and other insects in shadow boxes, minerals, shells, old natural history prints, and even taxidermy. The really impressive specimens are mostly on the pricey side (try this beautifully preserved trilobite at nearly $6K), but there are selections available at all price ranges. I personally have my eye on a selection of shells for my coffee table (uh, once I buy a coffee table.) Limited holdings are also available on their website, but it’s nothing like the whole of their stock, so visiting in person is the way to go if you can.
As far as wall decor goes, well, everyone has their own personal tastes, but I am a huge fan of Robert Turner‘s landscape and nature photography. If I had a medium-format camera and a ton more patience, this is what I’d do with my time:
I am also completely loving the visual pop of kirei wood, a totally sustainable new composite board made from sorghum stalks and non-toxic glues.
I saw kirei panels in an elevator in a new luxury condo building up in Boston, and they were gorgeous. The fact that they’re also renewable and environmentally friendly is fantastic. I don’t have much of a use for kirei just yet since it is only starting to make it into mainstream furniture and I am not going to be building anything any time soon, but you bet I’ve got my eye on it for the future.
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s favorites. I’m just starting this interior design journey, but I promise to post pics when I’m done!