• Deliberate displays. Highlight favorite objects or collections by giving them prominent placement in composed arrangements. Weathered-wood frames, old glass jars and other display accessories/containers can elevate “ordinary” objects to a special status. Marks of wear or aging should be left as-is, not doctored by refinishing or restoration efforts.
• Borrow colors from nature. Sure, some flowers, fish and feathers offer stunning displays of brilliant color, but in temperate regions especially, muted colors are far more common. Fresh or faded leaves, wet sand, tree barks and, of course, various soils and rocks can offer a varied palette of understated colors. Think tranquil and soothing for the large surfaces, and use more intense colors only sparingly, as accents.
• Use a lot of texture. Blomquist calls texture the “secret ingredient” in the natural home. It can come from scuffed or weathered wood, corroded metal, hewn stone or the weave of linen or burlap fabrics. Either figuratively or literally, texture can soften a space.
Like many environments with an artistic intent, a few of these interiors exhibit an intensity that might be hard to sustain throughout an entire home, but most of them are friendly and livable spaces. That they might have a quality of ritual space shouldn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed informally for everyday living; in fact, they seem designed for both purposes.
Reconciling these simple elements with some of the more complex trappings of modern life such as computers, flat-screen televisions and laundry appliances might mean creating some artificial boundaries inside a home, but there are certainly ways to bring this quiet natural tone to life in some spaces, and they will likely become favorites.