December 20, 2014 - 6:03 am
The desert typically doesn’t lend itself to enjoying the four seasons as most transplants from northern states or middle America are used to. However, if you are a savvy hunter and decorator, you can bring the outdoors into your home to create a sense of winter.
Working with lush, seasonal greenery and sparse branches, you can integrate natural elements into your home, said Ilena Yarbrough, founder of Interior Gardens, a family-owned interior design firm that specializes in orchids and plant installations among other natural decor items.
“Some of my personal favorite items are oversized pinecones displayed with an assortment of live conifer greens, magnolia branches and a little winterberry holly for a pop of color, which are relatively easy to acquire locally,” Yarbrough said.
You will be surprised by what you can find when you start scouting your garden for items to decorate with, said Kimberly Joi McDonald, owner and CEO of Designing Joi.
“You can bring the outside in by creating mini trees and wreaths of greenery, juniper, pinecones, herbs such as sage and rosemary, and evergreen, all creating an organic and natural aesthetic of joy,” said McDonald, a local, award-winning interior designer.
Taking advantage of the pinecones that litter many valley driveways and parks around town can be an easy way to bring a natural landscape into your home. Painting pinecones with pastels or metallic can add a complementary DIY touch to your decor,
Natural elements allow home designers to incorporate the various spectrums of rustic and casual elegance.
“(Many homeowners) want an earthy design leaving them at peace with their environment,” McDonald said. “Colors that really play up a natural element’s aesthetic are tan, beige, white, cream, green and even red.”
Adding texture can create a multisensory effect that designers often lean toward.
“It is the rustic, yet warm textures, such as burlap and tree branches, and nonelaborate, fussy style, that highlight the natural elements,” McDonald said, “paying homage to nature’s glory.”
Natural elements such as raw and finished rocks, unusual plant varieties and sandblasted wood such as manzanita, ghost and grape woods, which can often be found at upscale markets, make authentic decorative statements.
“Adding raw materials to a space instantly softens the stark, hard lines commonly associated with modern decor,” Yarbrough said.
Containers laced in bark or slate chip will add a complementary and unique flare to a modern space.
If cut floral arrangements are your flavor but you’re looking for a commitment that is longer than a few days, Yarbrough recommends trying a few magnolia branches placed in a simple glass cylinder with white lilies or Amaryllis.
“This simple yet beautiful arrangement can easily last two weeks or more,” she said.
Some of the more popular, inexpensive plants are Tillandsia, which are more commonly known as air plants. There are more than 600 varieties of Tillandsia, from airy Spanish moss to denser perennial flowering plants.
“They are simply beautiful plants that offer a bold statement for only a few dollars,” Yarbrough said. “Mindfully placed on a branch or alone in a glass globe, Tillandsia will evoke interest and confidence for those who are too busy or too fearful of losing another plant in their home or office.”
By simply submersing an air plant — from a soft, willowy fern to a thick-leafed variety — into a bowl overnight a few times every week, the plant will easily survive most any office or home climate.
Holidays are particularly busy for design firms as most clients feel live plants offer warmth and authenticity to seasonal decorating.
“Our most popular holiday items are white Phalaenopsis orchids grown in a cascading formation to emphasize the beautiful blooms,” Yarbrough said.
Interior Gardens, 6275 S. Rainbow Blvd., offers a wide variety of premium indoor plants, containers and orchids for the home or office.
“We opened our retail showroom in February 2014 to the public to simply offer products that were exclusive to our existing clients,” Yarbrough said. “Acquiring healthy, unique indoor plants and trees is finally available for the discerning customer who wants more than average.”
The design firm also offers monthly Learn &Grow Workshops for those who are interested in orchid arranging, succulent boxes and terrariums among other indoor gardening stylings.