The trend of “biophilic” design which is connecting to nature thru design is being incorporated in more homes in order to create more flow between indoors and outdoors with expanded living spaces. One of the places Tish Mills takes her initial cues from for a project, especially a ground-up, is from the surroundings, views, and nature.  It doesn’t matter if the house is contemporary or traditional.

What’s the best way to Bring Nature Indoors? 

Utilize the site and surroundings to pick up on color palettes, not just the greenery. There could be interesting tree bark, mushroom, the color of the dirt, that gives you a feeling for elements to bring into space.

Lighting is another area. Sometimes it’s the way it reflects on the property.  She did an entire space in Napa Valley based on the beautiful sunsets.  Windows, Slider, and French doors all can bring indoor/outdoor spaces together.

Textures are another great influencer that reminds me of a project in Sedona, AZ, and the beautiful red mountains that surround the area with the heavy rock formations.   Using stone and other natural materials can give an environment a grounded feeling.  The way that a stone can feel on bare feet makes an instant connection to nature.

And finally, climate.  For a beach house, she doesn’t use heavy materials given the light nature of the surroundings and the typical temperatures.  Fabrics need to breathe.

And with everyone staying at home, what kinds of things are you doing to extend outdoor living spaces?

This area is on fire right now.  “Pools are the new black” everyone has to have one.   Seriously, pool areas, walking trails on properties with destinations like benches at prime viewing have been a common request. Outdoor televisions on porches and near pools are another.  We had a client make sure their front yard could be used for Lacrosse practice if need be.  People are using every inch of their property since we’ve all spent so much time at home.

What’s new in outdoor living areas?

Comfortable seating areas are at a new level.  Thank goodness outdoor and performance fabrics have developed and been elevated to a new level with a plethora of colors, patterns, weights over the past few years.  We really can make an outdoor porch act like a living room at this point.  I also love the motorized retractable screens and Infratech heaters which can turn outdoor porches into year-round spaces regardless of what part of the country.    And the outdoor kitchens have been a thing for quite a while, but with ventilation now the outdoor kitchens can be much more inclusive and even include the drop-in countertop burners for cooktop burners in addition to grilling spaces.

Here is to nature!

Tish Mills Kirk of Tish Mills Interiors, a preferred vendor of The Meridian Real Estate Group, is an award-winning interior designer who has been working with clients in their homes for more than two decades. She believes that it is essential to put together a cohesive plan for your home renovation before you get started that can be carried out by the team of experts you assemble.

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