Superbloom: Happy Healthy Interiors Inspired by Nature

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Happy spring! A “super bloom” has popped up all over California in the past few weeks, a result of a record-breaking amount of rain this past winter season. Bright orange poppies, desert lilies, yellow and white evening primrose, and pink Bigelow monkey flower, are some of the flowers blossoming in considerable numbers to the delight of hikers, tourists, and nature-lovers throughout California. The super bloom has people flocking to parks such as Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, Near Desert Lily Sanctuary, and Diamond Valley Lake.

Close up of a wild poppy.

Close up of a wild poppy.

Flowers blooming in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Flowers blooming in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Los-Feliz-local Sarah Barnard, interior designer, WELL AP, LEED AP, keeps her own wildflower garden, where she planted a variety of poppies from seeds and is experiencing her super bloom. “The colors and textures that come with each season are delightful and inspiring,” said Barnard. “I grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, (carrots, radishes, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers of all kinds, cantaloupe, lemons limes, avocado, lettuces & herbs) as well as cactus, succulents, and flowering/ornamental plants.”

Barnard recently took time to visit Griffith Park, Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, and Anza Borrego State Park to see the super bloom herself. Sarah, who specializes in interior design that contributes to her client’s health and wellness, and strives to make nature a part of each home she creates, shared photos of her recent trips.

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“This year’s superbloom is a colorful reminder that nature informs life and design,” Barnard said. Incorporating this principle into the design of your home is one way to contribute to your happiness and health. The study of the effect of nature in design on our health is called Biophilia, and we have previously written about this phenomenon.

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One way to bring this happy and healthy nature into your home is to incorporate natural and organic forms, which are visually pleasing and encourage our connection to the outdoors. Selecting art, lighting or furniture for your home that resembles natural forms is one way to make an inviting and exciting space. Art and shapes inspired by nature could mean a light fixture that looks like a plant or a sculpture that looks like an animal.

Fresh flowers and bright pink leather reminiscent of wildflowers create a warm and inviting dining nook.

Fresh flowers and bright pink leather reminiscent of wildflowers create a warm and inviting dining nook.

Cheerful coral pink tile pairs beautifully with flowers.

Cheerful coral pink tile pairs beautifully with flowers.

Sarah Barnard is a strong advocate of having nature incorporated directly into a space as well. Add your favorite flowers, succulents, and ferns. “In my home, I keep a healthy variety of plants: bromeliads, tillandsia, monstera, and ferns are among my favorites. Having this connection to nature makes my home feel lush and light, as well as contributing to cleaner air.”

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Using natural materials, aside from being beautiful and adding diverse texture to space, is also an excellent way to contribute to mental and physical well being. Having materials like wood, cotton, and glass rather than plastic and vinyl will avoid toxic off-gassing.

This dining room features fresh flowers, bright colors, and natural wood tones.

This dining room features fresh flowers, bright colors, and natural wood tones.

This colorful palette was inspired by flowers.

This colorful palette was inspired by flowers.

Fresh flowers add life and warmth to a contemporary space.

Fresh flowers add life and warmth to a contemporary space.

To battle the stresses of everyday life, you can use mindful interior design practices to create open spaces connected with the environment, plant-life, and the seasons. Barnard reminds, "Our surroundings deeply and immediately impact our mental, physical, and emotional health. A visual connection with the outdoors can improve mood and productivity, and what we bring into a home or space (finishes, furniture, artwork) determines both the quality of the air we breathe and how we function in our daily lives." The flower fields make great inspiration for such a space, with their bright colors, gorgeous views, and fresh air.

There is energy, beauty, and vitality in wildflowers. Spring is the perfect time to find inspiration from flower fields and create a connection to the outdoors. You can do this by beginning a garden, using interior design to personalize your home or office, meaningfully incorporating plants, natural light, and elements inspired by nature. Choose natural materials like wood, cotton, and linen, and take inspiration from this season's super bloom by using bold and bright colors. As more of us make our careers our focus, nature and design are imperative to promote calmness, serenity and healthy living.

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And when in doubt, go hiking!

by Kelsey Betancourt

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Steven Dewall, Abby Siniscal, Chas Metivier

Pantone’s Color of the Year: Living Coral

The family cat is the primary resident of this Manhattan Beach guest suite featuring a pink and coral color scheme.

The family cat is the primary resident of this Manhattan Beach guest suite featuring a pink and coral color scheme.

Coral reefs are disappearing from our oceans at an alarming rate. It is imperative to the ocean’s ecosystems, and as much as a quarter of all ocean species depend upon it for food and shelter. Precious marine lifeforms are also the inspiration for Pantone’s 2019 color of the year: Living Coral.

Coral and lush greens create a lively and inviting atmosphere for an outside space.

Coral and lush greens create a lively and inviting atmosphere for an outside space.

Sarah Barnard, a Los Angeles-based interior designer, WELL AP and LEED AP, specializes in interior design that contributes to her client’s health and wellness and strives to make nature a part of each home she creates. “A happy and uplifting color reminiscent of the ocean is the perfect starting point for a happy, healthy home.”

Coral colored tiles and beautiful glossy stone slabs make this coastal bathroom warm and bright.

Coral colored tiles and beautiful glossy stone slabs make this coastal bathroom warm and bright.

This color takes its name from the beautiful coral marine invertebrates that build extensive coral reefs, habitats for a vast diversity of life in the ocean. Sometimes referred to as the "rainforests of the sea," coral reefs are quickly dying, and are projected to reduce to 10% by 2050. Half of the world's coral has died since 2016, due to rising sea temperatures, pollution, destructive fishing, invasive species, and changing sea chemistry.

"The timely selection of this color by Pantone should be an important reminder to all of us that nature inspires beautiful interiors. If we aren't careful to preserve the natural world, we will have nothing left to take inspiration from," said Barnard.

Coral naturally complements with blues and ocean tones. Coral embroidery was a perfect companion (complement?) for a throw pillow in a coastal home.

Coral naturally complements with blues and ocean tones. Coral embroidery was a perfect companion (complement?) for a throw pillow in a coastal home.

Pantone is most widely known for their color swatch books. It is the company responsible for color matching paints and graphics; and now devotes the time and resources of Pantone Color Institute to research the purchasing trends of various industries. With this information, Pantone determines this year's color. The naming process regularly pulls inspiration from the natural and human-made world, naming colors such as "rose quartz" or "millennial pink." Pantone's color of the year for 2018 was ultraviolet, a beautiful, energizing shade of purple reminiscent of bright flowers and the sky at sunset. This year's choice is PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral, a potent reminder to preserve and protect ocean life.

Coral colored ceramic provides earthy contrast against the ebonized table and black lamp.

Coral colored ceramic provides earthy contrast against the ebonized table and black lamp.

Coral is vibrant, cheerful, delicate and energizing, and the perfect shade to start the New Year. Living coral, described by the Pantone team as “An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.”

The bath and shower feature locally sourced handmade ceramic tiles in a coral gloss.

The bath and shower feature locally sourced handmade ceramic tiles in a coral gloss.

Pantone published, “Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment. [...] Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

Coral and pink shades blend beautifully with wood tones. Art is a subtle and seamless way to introduce colors like coral.

Coral and pink shades blend beautifully with wood tones. Art is a subtle and seamless way to introduce colors like coral.

While top interior designers don’t necessarily recommend painting one’s home to match the color of the year, art, accents, and of course plants are an easy and safe way to introduce vibrancy to your living or work space.

Pinks and coral create an inviting atmosphere.

Pinks and coral create an inviting atmosphere.

For those interested in using Living Color in their home, Sarah Barnard said,  "Living Coral is a perfect complement to blue shades, and pairs well with coastal or beachy interiors. For the daring, reupholstering a treasured piece in a bright color like Living Coral can revitalize a space. For those who prefer to mix pops of color with neutrals, I recommend starting with small accents."

Pantone's Color of the Year is an excellent opportunity to add lively, earth-focused tones to your home. Make having a happy and healthy home your New Year's resolution.

by Kelsey Betancourt

Cream and coral ceramic jars are a perfect storage solution for bathroom necessities.

Cream and coral ceramic jars are a perfect storage solution for bathroom necessities.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.

Photos by Abby Siniscal, Chas Metivier, and Charlie Daniels

Beachy Bachelor: Masculine Interior Design, Santa Monica Style

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For this Beachy Bachelor, Sarah Barnard introduced a mid-century vintage character with a beautiful collection of modern pottery, driftwood, and vintage ceramic vases. This Santa Monica townhouse embodies the coastal California luxury lifestyle, effortlessly combining opulent materials with a relaxed beach-side setting.

A custom calacatta gold marble bar expands the living rooms entertaining space, while the natural wool rug anchors the conversation area. The floating American walnut console keeps the masculine space light. A reclaimed Elm wood side table rests atop the home's original Oak floors. Crisp, white walls accentuate the natural wood finishes throughout while allowing the minimalist stair-railing to float in space.

The masculine dining room and adjacent patio make the most of their indoor-outdoor connection with a versatile area rug specially selected to withstand the bright light and high traffic. A sculptured glass and steel chandelier reflects the natural light of the surrounding space.

Handmade roman shades attach to a custom wood enclosure for privacy and shade on the patio. A natural teak root ball fashioned into a rugged side table pairs with a weathered teak armchair and lightweight concrete pottery. Acacia wood deck tiles add a warm angular base to the cool blue patio space. Found in Georgia by Sarah, the vintage mid-century modern whale ashtray is brass and a perfect complement to the cool tones.

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The master retreat features a handmade bed of tweed by Domonique Keiffer from Venice, Italy is covered in Belgian linens and shaded by wool draperies. A bold, abstract painting by Jonathan Elder hangs above the bed. Surf-inspired artifacts and unique vintage pieces complete the look.

A vintage leather chair with its original leather patina, designed by Percival Lafer, manufactured in Brazil in 1958. Sarah worked with her longtime collaborator, artist Reid Winfrey, placing several of his surf-inspired paintings in the beachside home.

Sarah Barnard designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art.

To learn more about Sarah Barnard Design, please visit www.SarahBarnard.com.