Biophilic beauty: the story behind this nature-inspired interior design project

In this post: We take a look at a nature-inspired interior design project from Sarah Barnard, an expert in biophilic and eco-friendly concepts. All images courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design.

The Home Green is reader-supported and may receive a commission if you decide to purchase through a posted link, at no cost to you. 

“Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.”

– Gary Snyder

Despite the many ways we artificially remove ourselves, our connection to nature is universal. We're physically and economically dependent on our environment — but more than that, we learn more every day about how important nature is to our overall well-being. In light of this connection, it’s not surprising that designing a home that is in harmony with its surroundings benefits the health of both us and our planet.

A passion for balance with the natural world is a driving force in the work of sustainable interior designer Sarah Barnard and the inspiration behind one of her recent projects. Sarah was approached by the owners of a beautifully situated property in the hills of the Pacific Palisades who wanted more than a typical redesign. As environmentalists and naturalists, they were keen to take advantage of their idyllic surroundings and to bring the tranquility of the mountains and ocean around them into their design. 

As a credentialed expert in creating healthy and sustainable spaces, Sarah knew that focusing on the principles of biophilic interior design would be the best way to bring their vision to life. Sarah’s nature-inspired interior design was built around natural elements and a visual connection to nature. The final design also focused on respecting the environment through thoughtful, eco-friendly features and ethically sourced materials including VOC-free finishes, and solar energy.

Perhaps no room better encompasses the unique aims of the project more than this one, designed specifically to nurture wellness. With an enviable view of the surrounding California landscape, this space embodies the core principles of biophilic design. Natural light floods the interior which features organic materials and reminders of the scenic landscape just outside the walls.

Nature-inspired interior design at work

Many of the spaces in this home celebrate the inherent beauty found in raw timber. Incorporating the live edge and natural wood grain, for example, brings a sense of peace and life into this office space. Sarah prioritized using FSC-certified wood. This means it came from forests that are managed responsibly according to the standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. 

The presence of FSC certification is far from the only example of thoughtful material selection in the home. Some other inspirational examples include cabinets made from salvaged wood, tiles constructed from recycled clay, and terrazzo counters for the laundry room created using recycled materials.

Pollinating well-being​

As the project came to life, a cohesive theme around pollination emerged and the concept became the inspiration behind many of the striking details. Floral patterns, from lighting fixtures to the custom pattern created for the stair railing, boldly highlight this idea. 

The intricate and organic shapes of the lighting fixtures throughout the home are one of the most unique ways the theme of pollination came alive. In Sarah’s own words: 

“The entryway features two bronze sconces by the artist David Weisman, whose work draws deep inspiration from the natural world. [They] feature a small bouquet of beautifully rendered geranium leaves that are backlit to create a warm glow around the material, calling attention to the simple, uncomplicated beauty of common plants that often exist in gardens all around us.

The dining room features a beautiful light fixture made of porcelain ginko leaves. The porcelain is semi-transparent, giving the room a soft, warm glow and composition of this light fixture gives the leaves a sense of lightness, as if they are gently blowing in the wind.

This warmth continues in the living room, which features a prominent glowing light fixture made from washi paper. The circular shape and lightness of the material create a poetic indoor-outdoor connection to the ocean nearby.”

The theme of pollination wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the literal queen of pollinating: the honey bee. The unique honeycomb tiles in the guest bathroom feature small, detailed golden bee tile inlay. Bronze cast moth-shaped hardware helps increase the biodiversity of insect designs in the home.

Bringing nature-inspired interior design home

The fusion of biophilic design principles with eco-conscious practices in Sarah Barnard’s project beautifully demonstrates the possibilities of nature-inspired home design. By integrating natural elements and sustainable materials, this Pacific Palisades home not only enhances the well-being of its inhabitants but also honors the surrounding environment. 

While Sarah is an expert in bringing the beauty of the outdoors inside, there are things we can all do to incorporate these elements into our own projects. Sarah's advice to anyone aspiring to create a biophilic home includes:

“Be conscious of the role that materials play in interior design. Selecting organic, ethically sourced, and sustainable materials to convey aesthetic concepts of nature is a rewarding way to connect the benefits of biophilic design and sustainability to create beautiful, healing spaces that also reflect our morals and ethics.”

We hope this project inspires you to consider nature-inspired interior design in your own home. Follow us on social media or subscribe to The Home Green for ongoing ideas and inspiration!

About Sarah Barnard Design

Sarah Barnard, WELL AP + LEED AP, is a leading designer of personalized, sustainable spaces that support mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. She creates highly personalized, restorative spaces that are deeply connected to art and the preservation of the environment. An advocate for consciousness, inclusivity, and compassion in the creative process, Sarah has appeared in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Vogue, HGTV, and many other publications. In 2017 Sarah was honored as a “Ones to Watch” Scholar by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).  

Other articles related nature-inspired interior design

Free tips and inspiration in your inbox

Enter your email address below to receive the latest news from The Home Green. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *