Superbloom: Happy Healthy Interiors Inspired by Nature

by Kelsey Betancourt

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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!

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

How To Stay in Your Home Forever

By Melinda Cardenas

For many, a home is a place of comfort. It acts as a sanctuary, where people can escape the busyness and hectic atmosphere of life. The benefits of making a home a place of comfort, luxury, and accessibility will not only be beneficial for immediate satisfaction but will also allow people to stay in their homes for as long as possible. By utilizing the resources that are available such as hi-tech designs, strategies that benefit everyone in your home, and spaces that focus on the emotional value, homeowners can enjoy being in the comfort of their own home for many years and will benefit from its results in their daily lives.

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Homes designed for everyday ease-of-use can benefit everyone from toddlers through grandparents. By utilizing available technology, everyone will be more comfortable in his or her living environments. One current emerging design in the industry that has benefitted its users is the addition of motion sensor lighting to rooms. Not only are these developments benefitting people practically, but it also helps the environment by saving electricity. Another developing design that benefits its users is smart appliances. Appliances that offer sensor operating systems also can positively impact day-to-day living by making food preparation and kitchen storage simple and easy to use.

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Redesigning a home can seem like a daunting process; however, the results will ultimately make a home more luxurious, safe, and accessible to its users. Living in a comfortable environment should not decrease the aesthetic value of a home. Interior designers can be used as helpful tools in this area to create and organize a unified living environment that meets all the needs of its users, while still being a beautiful space. By integrating designs with features such as walk-in showers, sensor faucets, under-counter appliances, and larger pantries, homeowners will see the immediate results that can improve their day-to-day living.  Spaces that are open and barrier-free can create an inviting and spacious feel to the bedroom and living room areas while being safe and functional spaces for everyone. This consideration not only can improve the lives of many but also help homeowners through every stage of life from having young children and the elderly in their homes. These small changes will enhance the quality of living that everyone deserves.

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A sanctuary can come in many forms, but people should be able to call their own home a safe place of comfort especially. Everyone should experience a living environment that is comfortable, easily accessible, and a beautiful place to be. There are benefits of integrating designs and technology that will benefit a homeowner’s life currently, and for many years after. The rewards experienced when investing in making a home the best possible place to live are priceless. It is vital that people have a connection to their living environment, and it all starts with making that first step. Simple upgrades that are available now will have long-term benefits that will impact everyday living. Making improvements will create a better overall living environment, and will cause homeowners to be satisfied with their home now and in the future.

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.

Music Room

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The music room, with restored coffered ceiling and oak french doors, hosts much of this Pacific Palisades Estate's antique instrument collection. The painting by Brian Johnson rests on an antique side table in the conversation area. Displayed are handmade sofa pillows embroidered in India using traditional methods and craftspeople by Bandhini Design.

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The original stone fireplace is the focal point of the music room featuring a painting by Renae Barnard on the mantle. The Oak French doors open to an expansive back garden with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. Light filters through the sea view window, illuminating an antique chess table.

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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