Sue Walsh: Nature in Design

January 21, 2014

Our winters are long in New England, and most of us spend a great deal of time indoors. In other parts of the world, homes with sliding glass walls, lanais, or four-season patios allow for the much talked about “blurring of inside and out.” Not so practical in the Northeast! During the month of February it’s important to add a bit of nature to our indoor environment—a reminder that our time for outdoor adventures is not too distant.

Bringing the “great outdoors”’ inside doesn’t have to mean tending to a fig tree or perpetually filling a vase of tulips—though those are wonderful things. Our nature references can also be simply graphic, happy, evocative elements in our indoor landscape.

BIRDS
It’s summer Down Under: kookaburra and cockatoo cushions bring a burst of character and color to our New England February. Inspired by the bounty of Australia’s flora and fauna, these pillows are hand-printed and handmade using water-based inks on linen.

Photos courtesy of Artefact Home | Garden

Big birds in black on natural linen are a bit more stately—but equally fun. A glimpse of these pillows on a dreary day takes me right back to the El Questro Station in the Australian outback.

THE OCEAN
Most of us in the Northeast associate the summer with lovely days at the beach or sailing the coast. Beautiful, textural, and definitely a conversation piece, barnacle vases and urns are intriguing and are a less literal beach reference. Looking at these pieces brings me back to joyous days at the seashore.

The Sea Fan collection in platinum from Caskata is sleek and sophisticated—a wonderful ocean reference that’s not too “beachy.”

Oysters anyone? Beautiful pearlescent shells collected at low tide—always with a surprise inside—are another summer delight. Alison Evans of Maine is the creator of these gorgeously glazed pieces, paired here with a school of fish in gold from Caskata. Chic!

FLOWERS
Elegant, fanciful, dramatic—on the darkest day a single flower can bring joy.

No need to be a wallflower! Be bold in your warm-weather pleasures, all year long!

—Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh and her sister Maureen own Artefact Home | Garden, a shop in Belmont, Massachusetts, that sells furniture, lighting, decorative accessories, and gifts, as well as being home to a boutique container-gardening and floral-design venture. They continually seek out beautifully designed pieces from local artisans and craftspeople around the globe for a design-loving clientele whose aesthetic emphasizes casual glamour and laid-back luxury.